Lot 122
  • 122

ROLEX | SEA-DWELLER COMEX, REFERENCE 16660 STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET CIRCA 1982

Estimate
55,000 - 85,000 GBP
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Description

  • SEA-DWELLER COMEX, REFERENCE 16660 STAINLESS STEEL WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET CIRCA 1982
Dial: blackCalibre: cal. 3035 automatic, 27 jewels Movement number: 0’778’379 Case: stainless steel Oyster, screw-down crown and back Case number: 7’336’494 Closure: stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet with integrated folding clasp Dimensions: 40mm diameter, bracelet circumference approximately 175mm Signed: case, dial and movement Accessories: none

Catalogue Note

The Rolex reference 16660, nicknamed ‘Triple Six’ by collectors, is acknowledged as the first Sea-Dweller from the “modern era” and a transitional reference. The newly revamped model was produced from 1978 until 1989, superseding the hardy reference 1665. The addition for the first time of a sapphire crystal and a wider helium escape valve meant the 16660 could reach the depth of 4’000 feet, or 1220m, precisely twice as deep as its predecessor. In an insatiable quest for modernity, Rolex fitted this reference with the new caliber 3035, beating at a resolutely modern 28’800 beats per hour and featuring a quick-date function. Given the extraordinary quality of the Sea-Dweller, it comes as no surprise that the legendary saturation divers from the Marseille-based COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise) relied on the 16660 for their underwater missions between 1980 and 1984. A total of 200 pieces were in fact delivered to them in two consecutive batches: the first 50 watches were fitted with an older-looking matte dial while the remaining 150 examples displayed the later glossy dial with circled indexes.
The present first series example is dated from 1982 and reveals a charmingly preserved two-line transitional matte dial with a white date disc, a newly introduced detail on the ref. 16660. Furthermore, the case bears strong proportions and a homogeneously patinated bezel insert while the back is engraved with the COMEX internal reference 3066 which falls within the range for COMEX refs. 16660 displaying the matte dial.

In addition to its captivating history, the Triple six COMEX, such as this lot, combines the best of vintage aesthetics with the latest technological advancements which could be found in a watch in 1982.

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