Tropical ‘Root Beer’ 1680/8 Rolex Submariner
I’ve spoken once or twice here about the phenomena of what I call double take watches. This category I define loosely as the following: a watch which, at a glance under 2 seconds long, looks like something you’re very familiar with. Then you pause. And after spending 5 seconds staring in confusion, you realize the watch is something entirely foreign for which you have no precedent. The Tank Monopoussoir is one such watch. The Cartier signed Movado Super Sub Sea, another. At a glance, this is a 1675/8 GMT; a Root Beer, you’re familiar. Give it two seconds and you realize the world makes no sense anymore. This is in fact a 1680/8 Submariner. A very tropical one. When it left the doors in Geneva, it was a blue dial and blue bezel. Today, it’s Sylvester Stallone masquerading as Clint Eastwood. I’m going to level with you, I’ve only seen this once or twice like this, ever.
If you look very closely at the left hand side of the dial, there’s the faintest whisper of that original royal blue hanging on for dear life under the rehaut. Aside from those few microns, it’s a Sub like none other. Tropical Subs are lovely objects, but nipple dials, when they go chocolate, have a way wearing even more wonderful patina than usual. This reddish warm tone is precisely than of a Root Beer, to within 5%, which makes the fact that it got here naturally really quite bizarre.
Collectors split like Suuni-Shia over tropical dials, there is no middle territory. I’m partial, full disclosure. As such, I don’t understand how this damage doesn’t appeal. There are such few objects that get better with use: defiantly anti-planned-obsolescence. Things which love you back for the love you put in, a mutually dependent beneficial relationship. A leather briefcase, clay teapot, or the way a perfectly cut suit breaks to your body over time. If there were a way a watch could say thank you for life well lived, surely this is it. And here, the effect is doubly brilliant because, at a glance, you might not even know. It’s has a kind of magic about it, and mostly just for you. Like Rambo: First Blood. It’s great, but you can never tell anyone with a straight face. Where is Stallone’s 1680/8 these days anyways?
The case here has been worn but perhaps not by RSC. The bevels are still proud, there’s moderate surface wear, and the back has a small bash or two. Overall, decent to strong. The dial and bezel are on another level altogether, one of the ages. That’s all I can say. It comes from a well-regarded California retailer.