What Makes Single Red Rolex Sea Dweller Prototype Unique

Today I like to introduce to you the “Prototype Single Red Sea Dweller Non Valve”

Jun 29, 2023

Antiquorum Lot 126 has been described as:

ROLEX REF 1665 - UNIQUE RED CAUSE - PATIENT Pending - 500M-1650FT - ONE OF SIX KNOWED Rolexes - Ref. 1665 - Single Red Sea-Dweller - Patent pending, Rolex, "Oyster Perpetual Date, Sea-Dweller, Submariner 1650 ft. = 500 m., Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified", case number 1602931, Ref. 1665. Produced in 1967. Beautiful and extremely rare self-winding chronograph wristwatch, central seconds hand, water resistant, featuring two red Sea-Dweller logos, helium gas valve, date and a Reference riveted steel Rolex Oyster. 7206 bracelet with patent pending extension link.

Three body parts, polished and polished, re-screwed with engraving: "Oyster, Air Release Valve, (Patent Pending)", helium escape valve at 9 o'clock, bidirectional rotating bezel graduated for depressurization time, crown protected by guard crown, inner case stamped IV.67. D. Black with round indexes, triangles and luminous batons, date window, "Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000" in red lettering. Luminescent steel skeleton arm. Mr. Cal. 1570, rhodium plated, bird's eye decoration, 26 jewels, straight lever escapement, 5-position and temperature-adjustable monolithic balance wheel, shock absorber, Breguet balance spring with free spring compensation, Microstella adjustment screw. Dial, case and motion signed. diameter. 40 li. 15mm thickness. About. 195mm total length. Property of a Japanese collector 


The Rolex Sea-Dweller is one of the most carefully crafted watches Rolex has ever produced and perhaps the most important diver's watch of the second half of the 20th century. Born in collaboration with many specialists. divers, government agencies and Rolex, this watch was the first to come up with the idea of ​​a helium escape valve. This valve solved the problem of deeper diving while maintaining the functionality and integrity of the watch. In the process of constant development, Ref. The 1665 Sea-Dweller has gone through many revisions and iterations, the most coveted being the first examples. The watch put up for auction here is one of these pieces. Never seen an auction before, including this particular example, there are 6 known examples of "Single Red". According to the research, this could be one of two known examples of relief valves. The nickname is given to a line of text on the dial, "SEA-DWELLER".

It is unique compared to other examples of the 1665 as the depth rating on the dial is 500m instead of the more common 600m. The dials also have a very rough and archetypal impression of their printing as the "DATE" in the Oyster Perpetual DATE is much larger and appears to have been added to the text as an idea later. The luminescent material of these watches also seems to have been applied by hand and many still glow, an attribute commonly associated with later gold-dial sports watches produced by Rolex. produced in the late 1960s. These watches typically come in two configurations. The former has no helium release valve, nor is there any engraving on the outside of the back to indicate this. These were the first examples provided by Rolex to professional divers for field testing. Subsequent models with escapement values have identical dials, but also have a hand-engraved inscription along the case that reads “OYSTER GAS ESCAPE VALVE PENDING”. This is very different from later examples (including the standard patent-pending reference of the 1665s) as the engraving is done by hand and looks more rough and hand-made. rather than machining. 


The best and most important example is this one, arguably the first Rolex-made watch with a helium escape valve. These watches were actually prototypes for later production models by Sea-Dweller. Their history, tied to the lives and contributions of important 1960s divers, makes them one of the most historically significant watches Rolex has ever made, and therefore, one of the most important diving Rolexes never sold at auction. A truly superlative example of rarity and status. Bought by the current consignor in the late 1980s, this watch has not been worn in the trunk since purchase and remains in excellent original condition. Published in a Japanese magazine (shown above) in 1995, it is arguably the most important SeaDweller put up for auction to date. Special thanks to Eric Ku for helping to find this watch. 


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