Important Collector's Wristwatches, P...

New York, Sep 24, 2003

LOT 89

Rolex, Oyster Perpetual Date, "Sea-Dweller", 2000 ft / 610 m, Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified, Ref. 1665. Produced in the late 1970's.Fine and rare, center-seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless steel gentleman's wristwatch with date and a Rolex stainless steel "Fliplock" Oyster bracelet.

USD 4,800 - 5,500

EUR 4,300 - 5,000

Sold: USD 5,175

C. three-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back and crown, helium escape valve at 9, graduated revolving black bezel for the decompression times, "Triplock" winding-crown protected by the "Crown Guard".D. black with tritium-coated round, triangular and bâton indexes, aperture for the date. "Skeleton" tritium-coated steel 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 regulating screws.Dial, case and movement signed.Diam. 40 mm.

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Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-01


HANDS Original


In 1972, divers for Comex, a company, specializing in underwater engineering, used the Rolex Sea-Dweller in a world record-setting simulated dive down to 2000 feet for one hour and a half. The watch performed so well that Comex decided to use only Rolex diving watches and chronometers in their work. In June 1972, divers Alain Jourde and Claude Bourdier again went down to 2000 feet, in an experiment which lasted 28 days. The divers remained at the lowest point, 2000 feet under sea level (610 mters), for 50 hours, a record-breaking feat, while wearing Rolex Sea-Dweller watches.At 2000 feet, the atmosphere contains a high percentage of helium gas, which can penetrate even a water-tight watch case. The gas cannot escape quickly enough upon resurfacing, and as the outside pressure decreases, the pressure remaining inside the watch due to the built-up gas can cause the watch to explode. The Rolex Sea-Dweller watch is therefore fitted with a special helium valve, allowing the gas to escape quickly during decompression.A similar watch is published in "Rolex, Collecting Wristwatches", 1998, by Osvaldo Patrizzi, Guido Mondani Editore, Genova, p. 237.