Comex 1665 Rolex Sea-Dweller
The 1665 and all its multitude of variants are, to many, thee conclusive tool watch, something of a Submariner turned up to 11. Amongst all the Rail Dial, Double Red, Single Red, and even Patent Pending iterations, Comex issued watches are often considered the apex. This is contentious, particularly as the Patent Pending era predated Rolex’s relationship with Comex in 1971 and is something of a purist’s offering. Sure,the giant stamp-like ‘COMEX’ signature at 6 is an abrupt enough disruption to the familiar 1665 layout to capture the eye like little else. Yet, many including myself find intrigue in a watch which has been used for intended purpose thoroughly, only to continue beating unfazed a half century later.
This reference gained fame well before Comex for being used in US Navy Sealab expeditions, experiments meant to test the health effects of underwater isolation. Sealab divers switched from Subs to Sea Dwellers because the Sub’s crystals kept popping off on ascent. Innovation in steps, not bounds, for Rolex. This was accomplished through a very thick plexi crystal, thicker 39mm steel case, and helium escape valve which allowed helium to exit the case during decompression and prevents the plexi from popping up under the pressure. That HEV was pioneered in a series of Comex 5513/4 Subs and early Sea-Dwellers at about the same time, and these early efforts gave rise to the official relationship Rolex developed with Comex in ’71 as leaders in their respectable fields.
Between 1976 and 1981, just 300 examples of the 1665 were issued to Comex with issuance caseback numbers ranging from 2000 to 2300. This example is one of the earliest from this run, which are distinguished by a depth rating of 600 meters instead of the usually seen 610 rating. The combination of that depth rating, block COMEX signature, and deeply yellow tritium plots sum to a dial like nothing else. Certainly, an apex predator amongst the deep.
This example continues to impress with an untouched case sporting full bevels. Even the bezel pearl is still hanging out. It really is quite rare to see a Comex Sea-Dweller aged so beautifully, as the vast majority were worn and treated as outright tools. The caseback millings are all deep and clearly legible. It is also one of the few to have its serial number on the inside of the caseback. It comes from a well-regarded monegasque (great word, right?) retailer.
Find this Comex 1665 here from Corrado Mattarelli listed as POA.