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Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 16808 - Black 'Nipple' Dial Box & Papers

Sale price$39,950.00 USD

The Rolex Submariner is a true icon — and the word "icon" does get thrown around an awful lot. If you were to ask ten people at random to draw you their idea of what a watch looks like, there is a significant chance that they would draw or describe something that looks like a Rolex Submariner. It’s the dive watch of reference, and good/bad/indifferent there is no escaping it. Throughout its 70-year production, there have been countless small changes made to the model, ranging from the details on the dial, to the case, and everything in between.

These were the first of the 5-digit Submariners, replacing the first Submariner Date — the long-running Ref. 1680. During the 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. As was the case with the Ref. 1680, the 5-digit also received the solid yellow gold treatment.

Enter the Reference 16808. These pieces carry over a very similar matte black 'nipple' dial and black bezel insert, while also upgrading the movement, and water resistance by way of a sapphire crystal.

The example that we have here, an early piece, dates to circa 1981 and features a fantastic dial with deep, evenly patinated indices and a matching handset and a thick case showing a very light previous polishing and light wear throughout. The typical sapphire crystal that you would find in this Reference has been swapped out for a domed acrylic unit by the previous owner for a more vintage look with no cyclops, and its looks fantastic. Furthermore, this piece comes fitted to a solid yellow gold Jubilee bracelet with a signed hidden clasp.

To top it all off, this piece comes with its inner box and punched papers dating to 1982 — something we definitely do not see everyday!

It could be argued that a yellow gold GMT-Master makes sense, but a solid gold dive watch? There is no point. And that is exactly what makes it great.

Yellow Gold 1981 Box & Papers Automatic Sport

"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