1680 MK1 RED 1969

This absolutely fantastic ‘Meters First’, 1680 MK1 Red Submariner, manufactured in 1969 with a 2104XXX case number, has a lovely dial with pale yellow Tritium on the hour plots and a more creamy colored Tritium inside the hands. Only about 1.5 percent of all Red Submariners have a MK1 dial execution, making this vintage Rolex an exceptional collectible (as well as a lovely Submariner to wear of course). Assuming that approximately 25% of these early Red Subs are no longer available due to missing or incorrect dials, or simply due to accidental destruction (loss at sea, excessive water damage, etc.) we are likely dealing with an exceptional vintage Rolex sports watch.

We were able to buy this watch from the original Dutch owner, so we are dealing with a ‘Fresh To The Market’, and never offered for sale before, MK1 Red Submariner. The original owner, Mr Z, an intelligent gentleman who is now in his late seventies, joined Shell Oil in Qatar immediately after leaving the Dutch military in the late 1960s. He worked for Shell, but he also held positions at BP and Aramco before retiring with an impressive oil industry career. This gentleman can tell a terrific story as well; He remembered being asked to wait outside the Doha, Qatar Rolex AD, The Modern Home in April of 1971 as members of the Royal family made purchases in private, reserving the entire store for themselves. Another interesting anecdote is when he returned from the Rolex AD with his Submariner on the wrist, he encountered some professional divers who worked on one of the offshore oil rigs, who couldn’t figure out why in God’s name he bought this dive watch, saying things like “you’re not even a diver” or “what could you possibly be doing with this watch” Funny, and another indication that these early Submariners were true Toolwatches back in the day, designed with the diving profession in mind. You’re now probably wondering what he did do with the watch. Well, he used this Submariner to time the number of strokes per minute from each oil pump, but also on pressure and oil gages on drilling rigs, both on and offshore, and he found the rotatable bezel extremely useful in going about his daily tasks, which he continued to do until that work was digitalized. His watch on the other hand, remained analog throughout his entire career.

As most of you are aware, the dial is the most valuable component of most vintage Rolex models, and this one here is no exception. The dial is free from damage and/or traces of water, and the matte black MK1 Meters First dial includes Red Lettering of the Submariner name, which is printed over white ink to make the color more brilliant (look closely and you will see). The so-called closed 6’s on the 660ft depth indication on the dial, are extended with a curved F, as well as a distinctive and condensed font that is typical of these MK1 dials, therefore readily recognizable as such. The black insert (that was also on the watch when we bought it) is a MK3 fat font insert that is historically and periodically correct. As far as the owner recalls, this insert has always been a part of his Red Submariner. The Oyster bracelet fitted to this 1680 MK1 is a 7206 Riveted Oyster bracelet with 80 end-links, this bracelet remains in one hell of a condition, and are becoming ever more rare. By the way; this combination of watch and bracelet can also be seen in an online add Rolex ren 2.5 years ago, depicting a similar and early MK1 Red Sub on this exact same bracelet (please see the add via Rolex here).

The original case remains in an extremely good and clean condition. All of the paperwork, including the original purchase receipt from The Modern Home in Qatar are present, Chronometer certificate, original warranty booklet, cigarette card, coffin box, and so on, remains included with the watch and was all very well cared for over the half-a-century it has been in the original owner’s possession. We are excited to present this watch to a new owner who will take care of it for the next 50 years. The movement was fully serviced in accordance with Rolex requirements, but we kept the polishing to a bare minimum – This rare and exceptional 1680 MK1 RED Submariner will be covered by our exclusive “certified vintage” five-year warranty! (a special warranty created by WatchWorks to confirm our confidence, certainty and the full originality of only the best vintage pieces we have to offer.) Here’s your chance to own a true piece of Rolex Submariner history!


reference: 1680
case number: 2104XXXX
year of production: 1969
case diameter: 40mm
movement: automatic, Rolex caliber 1570
box and papers: yes!

Price: € 47.500,-