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Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 16800 - Transitional Matte Dial

Sale price$10,500.00 USD

The Rolex Submariner is a true icon - and the word icon does get thrown around a lot. If you were to ask 10 people to draw you their idea of a watch looks like - chances are they would draw or describe something that looks like a Rolex Submariner. It’s the dive watch of reference good/bad/indifferent there is no escaping it. Over its 70 year run there have been numerous changes made to the model, but this 16800 represents a very interesting period in the Submariner story.

The Ref. 1680 was the first Submariner to feature a date, and had a long production run spanning close to 15 years - and was eventually replaced by the 16800 series of Submariner Date. During that 16800 era, the watch underwent a series of changes that saw the early models born with matte dials, while the later ones were born with glossy dials with white gold surrounds.

Some enthusiasts and collectors say that this, along with the last of the matte dial Ref. 5513 Submariners were the last Rolexes that were purchased and used by people who needed the ruggedness and capability of a true sports dive watch. A tool. Where by the end of the 16800s production with gloss dials, Rolex was aware that many of their models had gained traction with professionals who worked in office settings too.

The 16800 that we have here dates to circa 1981 and comes to us in honest overall condition and to our point earlier about tool watches, clearly has a past with stories to tell. The case has been very lightly polished in the past and shows heavy signs of wear from age and use while retaining thick lugs. There are some impressions present on all four lugs and some scratches and blemishes on the left case profile. The matching, correct solid-link Oyster bracelet remains unpolished and exhibits matching honest wear with sleeve polish visible throughout. The bezel shows normal wear and some sleeve polish with a gently faded black insert — now appearing a deep navy blue in direct sunlight — and retains its aged Tritium pip. The dial itself — visible via a sapphire crystal absent of the cyclops — remains in fantastic, virtually-flawless condition, with even patinated Tritium plots and a handset to match.

This honest example of an icon has lived a life — thats for sure — and no doubt has multiple lives left and is ready for its next owner.

After all, isn't this what a Sub should look like?

Stainless Steel 1981 Automatic 40mm
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"As collectors themselves, Oliver and Clarke are on a mission to make buying vintage watches as painless as possible."

"The company focuses on good prices for its pieces, elite customer service and full transparency."

"The appointment-only space is inviting, with comfortable seating areas and exposed brick walls."

From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

Oliver & Clarke