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

Sale price$38,950.00 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, particularly in the first decade or so, and this Ref. 16808 has its own little place in the history of the model.

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.

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 dates to circa 1981 and comes to us in fantastic overall condition. The case has likely seen a very light polishing on the profiles, while the top and bottom of the lugs are seemingly untouched, and a few faint blemishes present throughout. The fantastic matte black dial inside has a well-preserved consistent texture throughout and evenly patinated Tritium-filled 'nipple' indices with a handset that matches beautifully. The black bezel insert shows a few minor blemishes under close inspection with no major damage and has a color-matched Tritium pip. This piece comes fitted to a period-correct solid yellow gold Jubilee bracelet with a desirable signed hidden clasp, and also features a handy 'quickset' date function.

To top it all off, this piece is accompanied by 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 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

Have a question about this watch?

Leave your question below and we'll get back to you shortly.

Thanks for getting in touch!

We appreciate you contacting us. One of our colleagues will get back in touch with you soon!


Have a great day!

Thanks for getting in touch!

We appreciate you contacting us. One of our colleagues will get back in touch with you soon!


Have a great day!