This sub truly does have it all: meters first, red single line, vanilla plots, chocolate dial, and faded fat font bezel. 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. Moreover, this was the runout date-Sub before plexi was replaced by sapphire. 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. As a result, value in these is highly dependent on condition. Condition is what this example has in spades. Tropical dials are not often found this even, a dark chocolate tone with no spotting or dark patches. A thing of immense beauty. The same could be said of this watch’s lume plots, which are somewhere between vanilla and cream. The case is still sporting chamfers and it comes on a 9315 with a ‘PATETED’ extension, a well-known (correct in the sense of Rolex-produced) misprint of patented, from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Tropical Red 1680 here from Bulang & Sons listed as POA.