This is the Rolex Submariner reference 16808. As much as Rolex is associated with luxury today, the roots of the brand can be traced to the fundamental idea of a tool watch and the all-important Oyster case. First produced in 1926, the Oyster was the world’s first waterproof wristwatch and this led to the unveiling of the first ever Rolex Submariner waterproof to 100 metres in 1953. The first three sports models from the brand were each associated with a different use - the GMT with dual time zones for travelling, the Daytona for racecar driving and the Submariner for diving.

The reference 16808 was produced for a period of ten years from 1979 - 1988 and housed what was then a new movement in the Cal. 3035, which was incidentally the brand’s first high-beat movement at 28,800 vph and a quickset date function. This came after the original introduction of the 1680 in steel, which was the first Submariner with a date complication. In addition, the 16808 made use of sapphire crystals which increased its hardiness and an increased depth rating of 300 metres. Finally, this example features a “nipple dial”, which was first introduced in the GMT-Master reference 6542 from the mid 1950s up till the early 1980s when they were replaced with lume-filled indices. Highly distinct from the protruding hour markers in gold, this dial variant has a far lower production model than its luminous counterparts.

As one of the most recognizable models from the brand, the Submariner has evolved from a tool watch into something far more luxurious. Somewhat of a transitional model, the 16808 represents a true blend of vintage and modern. Alongside the GMT-Master and the Daytona, the Submariner has proven to have withstood the test of time given how little Rolex has deviated from the original example more than five decades ago. Decadent and robust, the 16808 is truly a reference suitable for all occasions.


This Rolex Submariner 16808 is in good vintage condition. The dial is clean and has turned slightly tropical over time. The case retains thick and even lugs though polish history is unknown. The 9958 bracelet stamped with an E clasp code has minimal stretch with some wear and comes with 11 links but one link is missing a spring bar. End links are stamped 46. Serial dates to 1980 which matches the bracelet and papers are stamped 1983, likely sold later by the retailer. It comes with the original box and punched papers and the watch has just been serviced and is in full working order.


Brand Rolex

Model Submariner

Reference 16808

Movement Automatic

Case material Yellow Gold

Bracelet material Yellow Gold

Year 1983

Condition Very Good

Accessories Original Box and Warranty

Limited No. Discontinued

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