Comex is a sacred grail to those who worship at the altar of flat fours and frog feet. Coming across a strong (or more importantly genuine) example within any generation is an accomplishment. When watch people call a double red 1665 rare, they are kind of correct. They are rare relative to standard 1665 or 1680. For context, there are probably fewer than 1 Comex pieces per 100 DRSDs. With no expertise whatsoever I am still confident of at least that ratio. Seeing two come to the market simultaneously with a tethered history is somewhat akin to witnessing the second coming twice.
COMEX (short for Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises) was a French company founded by Henri Germain Delauze fond of saturation diving (for repair of offshore oil rigs) who invested in related research. Part of that research involved pioneering the durability testing of helium escape valves, which had been patented by Rolex in the 1960s. The two brands worked together to develop the durability and nuances of HEV systems for decades. That history is told by a series of Submariners and Sea Dwellers the two developed. Two of those Subs, very rare beasts indeed, are offered by a former employee.
The 1680 is said to have been issued to the former employee and the 16610 is a commemorative Comex piece purchased for his son at discount in 2003. The pair come with whole host of accessories, boxes, documents, and other Comex memorabilia. One has clearly been worn hard but not absively. The other sports lighter wear. I should note here that Comex fakes are well known to be proliferating rapidly with modern dial manufacturing techniques. Xupes are a very well-respected retailer but as always one should perform deeply extensive research and checks before such an investment. A pair like this is not likely to surface again for some time. The Submariner community will be looking on with envy to the future owner and so will I.
Find this pair of Comex Submariners here from Xupes listed as POA.