*Unpolished* 1988 Rolex Sea-Dweller (Ref. 16660) "Frozen Dial"

There is steep competition between Rolex models when considering the historical significance each of them carries across the board, however, the Sea-Dweller is undoubtedly one of the most important watches ever created. First introduced in 1967 with the reference 1665, the Sea-Dweller featured innovative patented technology that helped further human exploration to parts otherwise considered impossible to reach. In collaboration with Comex and utilized in the famed SeaLab missions, the Sea-Dweller built upon the existing Rolex Submariner platform to increase the depth rating of the watch to an impressive 2000ft. This impressive increase in possible depth was the result of bulking up of the case, but more importantly, the invention and development of the Helium Escape Valve or HEV which allowed for helium molecules to transfer in and out of the watch case without damaging the watch.

Rolex Sea Dweller Ref. 16660 advertisement

Rolex implemented major improvements to the Sea-Dweller model starting in 1981 with the introduction of the ref. 16660, also referred to as the "Triple 6". Following in the footsteps of the ref. 16800 that was released two years prior, the new and improved Sea-Dweller now featured a sapphire crystal, a unidirectional click spring bezel, and the Cal. 3035 which features a quick-set date. However, the ref. 16660 differentiated itself from the aforementioned Submariner with an overall beefier design and technology implementation such as a more robust and reliable helium escape valve, the first introduction to a solid end piece bracelet which didn't become standard on other models until the late 1990s. These improvements on the Sea-Dweller's design resulted in an increased depth rating to 4000ft or 1220 meters. 

Similar to the other Rolex sport models that were released in the early 80s, the Sea-Dweller "Triple Six" is a very transitional model that we split into two categories depending on the time of production and the dial variation utilized. Early ref. 16660 models from 1981 to 1984 will feature a matte black dial similar to Rolex sport models of the 70s, however, in late 1984 Rolex updated the dial design to a glossy black finish with white gold surround markers, which is still in use today. 

Stock # RLXSD16660
Brand Rolex
Style Sea-Dweller
Model 16660
Serial R9XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Glossy Black
Millimeters 40
Bracelet Rolex 93160 Oyster Bracelet W/ 592 Solid End Pieces



The impressive case is believed to remain unpolished, retaining strong factory finishing and crisp chamfers with honest wear from use throughout. The original bezel insert retains its tritium pearl that features an eggshell patina and is in excellent condition overall, remaining deep black in color with minimal signs of use present. The case back exhibits honest signs of use and retains the factory engravings which show subtle fading from wear. The original Rolex 93160 Oyster bracelet with solid 592 end pieces retains 10 links along with the integrated diver's extension and will fit up to a 7-inch wrist. The bracelet exhibits minimal stretch. 


The original glossy black dial is in exceptional condition and has achieved a beautiful vintage aesthetic. While retaining its glossy finish the dial features a subtle frozen patina that sparkles in certain lights, however, no actual damage is present on the dial. The tritium lume plots have achieved a vivid golden patina and exhibit no degradation under UV light inspection. The original tritium hands have aged to a creamy patina slightly lighter than the dial, but matching the tritium pearl on the bezel insert creating a cohesive overall patina and vintage aesthetic. The hands exhibit no degradation when inspected under UV light. The white date wheel is original with "open" 6's and 9's. 


None. The watch is keeping time, but the service history is unknown. A movement service can be provided upon request.