1972 Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller (Ref. 1665) "Mk. III" W/ Box & Papers
(Co-Branded DRSD Comex/Rolex AD c. 1970's)
In the early part of the 1960's deep-sea diving and in particular, mixed-gas diving was advancing. The Submariner became the quintessential diver born out of the late 1950s, with its iconic design which set the standard for almost all dive watches to come thereafter its launch in 1953. The Rolex SeaDweller was born in the 1960s out of the collaboration with COMEX a French deep-sea diving company. Comex is sometimes referred to as the NASA of the deep seas and was the pioneer in mixed gas diving.
In typical Rolex fashion meaning form following function, most of the SeaDwellers design was born out of the need to comply with the commercial ISO 6425 diving standard, which defines test standards and features for watches suitable for diving with underwater breathing apparatus in depths of 100 m (330 ft) or more.
Saturation diving requires the use of helium in the breathing gas mixture, and helium particles would accumulate within the case of a diving watch during prolonged exposure meaning long deep dives and or at depths greater than 200 meters/660 feet where mixed diving gas was essential. During the early days of deep saturation diving, a strange phenomenon was arising during the decompression of these dives in which the pressure inside the watch would build as a result of helium gas being trapped in the cases of the watches that were being used. The weakest point of the watch at the time was the crystal and upon decompression from the dives, the helium gas would expand, ejecting the plexiglass crystal as that helium gas forced its way outward. Being that watches back then were crucial tools for timing decompression and other important events this was a major flaw that needed to be fixed. Rolex developed a rather simple and practical mechanism to solve this issue by developing a helium escape valve on the side of the case that allowed the helium particles to escape while still maintaining an ISO 6425 diving standard and water resistance rating.
(Founder Of COMEX, Henri Delauze c. 1970)
The new model of Submariner was created was dubbed the reference 1665, based on the existing Submariner model with some major upgrades. Initial prototype models were exclusively issued to DeepSea Explorers of the 1960s in various configurations but in the late 1960 and early 1970s, the model made it to the Rolex retail stores. The Double Red Sea-Dweller (DRSD) was produced for approximately 10 yrs starting in 1967 to 1977 with serial number range 1.7 to 5.1 million. There were four different dial variations made in the regular production model with three different case back configurations. Post 5.1 million serial number ref. 1665 Sea-Dwellers can be seen only bearing white text and have earned the nickname, "great white" Sea-Dweller.
The Sea-Dweller is undoubtedly the most advanced amongst the diving watches of its time. Featuring a bidirectional bezel, a tropic super domed bezel to withstand greater pressure, and a date complication. Fully certified and guaranteed waterproof to 2000ft - 610m.
|Dial||Black Matte Mk. III|
|Bracelet||Rolex 9315 Folded-Link Oyster Bracelet W/ 380 End Pieces|
The case of this vintage 1973 Rolex Ref 1665 double red Sea-Dweller remains in amazing condition. The lugs are thick and full and the original factory case geometry remains intact. The original case chamfers are still slightly present and the lug holes are centered in the middle of each lug. The bezel insert remains a deep black coloration and the pearl remains intact at the 12 o'clock position. The case back reflects the last 3 digits of the case serial number as is correct for an original Rolex SeaDweller ref. 1665 of this specific era. The Rolex 9315 folded-link Oyster bracelet retains 11 links and shows light stretch from use.
Flawless Mark III Double Red Sea-Dweller dial displaying correct font alignment and the open 6 in 610M depth rating. The dial is free of any scratches and or blemishes and the minute track and edge of the dial remain complete without any chipping or issues sometimes seen in DRSD dial variants. The tritium lume plots and hands have achieved a wonderful and creamy custard yellow patina and under U.V. light show consistent texture and no lume degradation or issues. The original metallic date disk displays the correct open 6 and 9's.
This is a stunning example that comes with the original Rolex punched papers with the original case back sticker affixed to the papers. Additionally, this example retains the original inner and outer boxes Rolex wax seal hangtag and the Sea-Dweller Anchor. This is a piece that is a complete-time capsule worthy of only the most decerning collector. The watch is keeping time perfectly and comes backed by a 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.