|ROLEX REF 1665 – THE SINGLE RED PROTOTYPE – PATENT PENDING –
500M-1650FT – ONE OF SIX KNOWN
Rolex - Ref. 1665 - Single Red Sea-Dweller - Patent Pending, Rolex, "Oyster Perpetual
Date, Sea-Dweller, Submariner 1650 ft. = 500 m., Superlative Chronometer, Officially
Certified," case No. 1602931, Ref. 1665. Made in 1967.
Fine and extremely rare rare, center seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless
steel diver's chronometer wristwatch with double red Sea-Dweller logo, helium escape
valve, date and a stainless steel riveted Rolex Oyster Ref. 7206 bracelet with patent
pending extension link.
|C. Three-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back engraved:
"Oyster, Gas Escape Valve, (Patent Pending)," helium escape valve at 9, graduated
bi-directional revolving bezel for the decompression times, winding crown protected
by the crown guard, inner case stamped IV.67.
D. Black with luminous round, triangular and baton indexes, aperture for the date,
"Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000" in red letters. Luminous steel skeleton hands.
M. Cal. 1570, rhodium-plated, oeil de perdrix decoration, 26 jewels, straight-line
lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to temperatures and 5 positions,
shock absorber, self-compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring, Microstella
Dial, case and movement signed.
Diam. 40 mm. Thickness 15 mm. Approx. overall length 195 mm.
Property of a Japanese Collector
|Estimate: 80,000 CHF - 120,000 CHF
Estimate: 85,000 USD - 130,000 USD
Estimate: 66,000 EUR - 100,000 EUR
|The Rolex Sea-Dweller is one of the most purpose-fully
designed watches that Rolex has ever made, and possible
the most important diving watch of the second half of the
20th century. Born from a collaboration with various diving
professionals, governmentally agencies, and Rolex, the
watch was the fi rst to introduce the idea of the helium gas
escape valve. This valve solved the problem of achieving
deeper dives while maintaining the functionality and
integrity of the watch. As an ongoing development, the
Ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller saw many revisions and iterations
with the most coveted being the very earliest examples.
The watch offered up for auction here is one of those
pieces. Never seen at auction before, including this
particular example, there are 6 known examples of the
“Single Red”. According to research, this may be one
of the only two known examples with escape valve.
The moniker is given for its one line of text on the dial,
“SEA-DWELLER”. It is unique from other examples of the
1665 as the depth rating on the dial is 500m instead of
the more common 600m. The dials also have a very rough
and prototype feeling about their printing as the “DATE”
in Oyster Perpetual DATE is much larger and seemingly
added to the text as an afterthought. The luminous
material on these watches also looks to be hand applied
and many still glow, which is an attribute usually associated
with the latest production gilt dial sports watches Rolex
made in the late 1960s.
These watches generally come in two confi gurations.
The earliest ones have no helium gas escape valve, nor
engravings on the outside of the caseback to denote
this. These were the very fi rst examples that were given
by Rolex to commercial divers to test in the fi eld. The
subsequent ones that did have a gas escape value fi tted
had an identical dial, but also bore a hand-engraving
along the lip of the case that reads “OYSTER GAS ESCAPE
VALVE PATENT PENDING”. This is very different from later
examples (Including standard Patent Pending Ref. 1665s) as
the engraving is done by hand and looks much more rough
and hand made as opposed to being machined.
The most signifi cant and important example would be this
one, which can be argued is the very fi rst watch Rolex made
to have the helium gas escape valve. These watches truly
were the prototypes for subsequent production models
of the Sea-Dweller. Their history, intertwined with the lives
and contributions of important divers of the 1960’s make
them one of the most historically signifi cant watches that
Rolex ever made, and thus one of the most important dive
Rolexes to have ever come for auction. A truly superlative
example in rarity and condition. Bought by the current
consignor in the late 1980's, the watch has remained
unworn in the safe since its purchase and has remained
in excellent original condition. Published in the Japanese
magazine (illustrated above) in 1995, it is without doubt the
most important SeaDweller offered at auction until now.
We would like to especially thank Eric Ku for his help in
researching this timepiece.
|Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces
|Sold including buyer's premium: