Lot 122
  • 122


55,000 - 85,000 GBP
bidding is closed


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


DIAL: in good condition, with minor darker spots to the indexes on the left side of the dial. Hands are later, with a thin cracking to the luminescent compound to the minute hand. CASE: in overall good condition with signs of previous polishing. The case still has strong proportions with light scuffing throughout, mostly to the case bands. The slightly discoloured bezel insert is in good condition with a patinated pearl and some scarce scratches. Bracelet: clasp stamped 93160 K5 with one 552 endlink at 12 and one later custom made endlink at 6. MOVEMENT: running at the time of cataloguing, date advances, seconds hack when the crown is pulled out Please note that the movement has not been tested for the accuracy of its timekeeping. Please note that Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement and that a service may be required at the buyer's discretion.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping."

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.