Finds Vintage

Meters First, Tropical Mk2 1680 Rolex Red Submariner


One of the many appeals in vintage Rolex collecting is the vastly different character that the same reference can have, simply as a result of having led different lives. Not all patina is equal. Everyone knows what a red Submariner is. But I’ll be damned if anyone knew it could look this good. This is perhaps the most even chocolate tone I’ve ever seen on a Sub, contrasted against perfect cream tritium and a bright red Submariner script.


The 1680 was not Rolex’s first Sub with a red line of text (that was probably the 6536/8), but it was the most widely-distributed watch to do so. It was, however, definitively Rolex’s first Sub to introduce a date complication to the Sub line, which was distinct amongst its competitors. Ever curious where the famed cyclops crystal was popularized? Look no further. Granted these are all highly-nuanced details only collectors seek, but for those who care about details the reference holds immense charm.


The red line of text was only available for the first half of 1680 production. This example is a Mk2 dial, characterized by its meters first depth rating. The red existed first on the 6536/8, but was was likely a nod toward the 1665’s single and double red text line in a bid to move the Sub’s aesthetic upmarket. It features a calibre 1575 with a 40mm steel case. Although it is highly collected, this reference is not particularly rare. The entire appeal of this particular Sub is in the life it has lived previously, and I quite like that.


The dial is perfect, truly exceptional. I have no further comment. Unfortunately, its case has seen a polish. But it’s not horrific by any measure. Still quite full. The bezel is quite black still for all the sun its dial has seen, make of that what you may. Case is in 2.2 million serial range, it comes with a true dome on a 9315 from a well-regarded retailer.

Find this Tropical 1680 here from S Song for 47500 USD.

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