Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Monaco, Jan 19, 2023

LOT 26


EUR 15,000 - 25,000

USD 16,100 - 26,800 / HKD 126,000 - 210,000 / CHF 14,900 - 24,800

Sold: EUR 26,000

Fine and rare, stainless steel, self-winding, “tonneau”-shaped, massive diver’s wristwatch, water-resistant with screwed case-back, original gas escape valve and ring lock system, “triplock” winding-crown protected by the crown guards, 60-minute graduated revolving bezel with black insert for the decompression times, black dial with centre-seconds and date of the month (aperture at 3 o’clock).

Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original

Brand Rolex, Geneva

Model "Sea-Dweller"

Reference 1665

Year circa 1981

Movement No. D 968 327

Case No. 6 751 793

Material stainless steel

Bracelet stainless steel Rolex "Oyster" bracelet with deployant clasp

Diameter 40 mm.

Caliber 1570, 26 jewels

Signature dial, case and movement


This watch has never been repolished; it remains in like new condition.


The Rolex "Sea-Dweller" was designed in collaboration with the famous French scuba diving company COMEX (Compagnie maritime d'expertise). The partnership between Rolex and the COMEX was established in the early 1960s, in 1963. When the first hyperbaric centre was built in 1968, COMEX set up a hyperbaric unit and a large modular saturation unit on its site in Marseilles for physiological studies which were adapted to saturation diving under hydrogen at up to 800 meters.

In underwater missions, divers have encountered watch failure during decompression, when the glasses exploded due to an internal accumulation of air pressure. Rolex has modified the standard "Submariner" Ref. 5513 watches to include a helium escape valve to release air while maintaining the water-resistance of the watch. Thus, in 1967, the first Ref. 1665 "Sea-Dweller2 watches were delivered to authorised dealers and selected divers for testing. It had a depth rating of up to 610 meters. The reference 1665 was not only an everyday object, but a tool for divers being an integral part of their gear – and survival. This reference was in production until 1980.