4 Things You Didn’t Know About the Double Red Sea-Dweller

Diving into the history of the Double Red Sea-Dweller highlights an integral part of the Rolex heritage and underlines its steadfast commitment to producing exceptional watches by challenging the status quo. The post 4 Things You Didn’t Know About the Double Red Sea-Dweller appeared first on Bob's Watches.

4 Things You Didn’t Know About the Double Red Sea-Dweller

The Rolex Sea-Dweller is the brand’s ultra-capable professional dive watch, and the Double Red Sea-Dweller (DRSD) is one of the most coveted and collectible vintage timepieces in the world. However, while you probably know why the DRSD is famous – that ‘double red’ text – there’s also a lot you probably don’t know about this famous vintage dive watch.

Below, we are going over four key facts about the Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller to give you more insight into the history and defining features of this iconic vintage timepiece.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 – Double Red (DRSD)

Double Red Sea-Dweller Key Features:

– Production Years: 1967 – 1978 (approx.)

– Case Size: 40mm

– Materials: Stainless Steel

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display, Helium Escape Valve

– Dial: Black w/ Luminous Hour Markers

– Bezel: Bidirectional, Black Aluminum Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale

– Crystal: Acrylic (Domed)

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 1575

– Water Resistance: 610 Meters / 2,000 Feet

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Sea-Dweller.

Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller DRSD 1665

1. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was developed from a collaboration

As the age-old adage goes, “necessity is the mother of inventions” – and that is absolutely the case with the Rolex Sea-Dweller. In the 1960s, Rolex had a special relationship with the leading commercial diving company of the time, COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises).

It was COMEX that requested Rolex to create an enhanced diving watch that was not only capable of reaching great depths but also capable of depressurizing and returning safely back to the surface. Rolex fulfilled the request and produced a batch of special watches for the divers that would serve as the precursors for the Sea-Dweller collection.

Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller Reference 1665 DRSD Tropical Dial

2. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was a souped-up version of the Submariner

The specially created watches for COMEX were actually Rolex Submariner ref. 5513 diving timepieces customized with Rolex’s patented Helium Escape Valve – a groundbreaking mechanism that allowed the trapped helium gases to be released from the case during decompression before the built-up pressure cold risk damaging the watch. The success of the modified diving watches led to the 1967 launch of the new Rolex Sea-Dweller collection in the form of the reference 1665.

When it was released, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 featured the Helium Escape Valve, a thicker domed crystal without a Cyclops lens, a thicker case, and a new dial with the words “Sea-Dweller” and “Submariner 2000” written on two separate lines in red letters. It is these two lines of red writing that gave the piece its nickname, the Double Red Sea-Dweller, or DRSD for short. As clearly indicated on the dial, the new Rolex Sea-Dweller could safely reach the incredible depth of 2000 feet, making it the watch of choice for deep-sea explorers.

Double Red Sea-Dweller Rolex 1665 DRSD Caseback Engraving

3. The Sea-Dweller is one of the few Rolex watches with engravings on the caseback

Guides to buying pre-owned Rolex watches dictate to avoid those timepieces with engravings on the caseback. Why?  Because that’s normally an indication of a counterfeit product since the brand does not typically engrave the casebacks of its watches. However, the Double Red Sea-Dweller is one of the exceptions to that rule.

On the casebacks of DRSD watches are several engravings – the Rolex logo, the words “Gas Escape Valve,” “Rolex Patent” (on early versions of the watch it was written as “Patent Pending”), and “Oyster”. Some models have the Rolex logo etched across the casebacks, while other versions have the logo engraved around the circumference.

Double Red Sea-Dweller DRSD Rolex 1665

4. There are 4 Dial Variations for the Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller DRSD

The Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller was produced for approximately a decade from 1967 until 1978 (with some print catalogs depicting the watch as late as 1979). During that time, several dials were created and are known by collectors as Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, and Mark IV with their rarity ranking in descending order. With that in mind, all variations are highly coveted collectibles. Below, we’re outlining the key differences between each dial variation of the DRSD.

DRSD MK I Dial: 1967

The Mark I dial featured white writing applied to the black dial with red paint on top. Both lines of red text are similar in terms of font and size, and they say the words ‘SEA-DWELLER’ and ‘SUBMARINER 2000.’

Another key feature of the DRSD MK1 dial is the coronet, which is quite sharp with 5 tips of the crown and a well-defined oval at the base. Many of these early MK1 dials are faded, with the red now appearing pink, white, and sometimes even yellow. If the dials are faded you may also see these MK 1’s referred to as ‘Double Pink’ or ‘Double Yellow’ dials.

Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller Ref 1665 DRSD Dial

DRSD MK II Dial: 1967-1970

The Mark II dial features red writing directly on the black dial, with the red lettering appearing vibrantly. On the DRSD MK II dial, both lines of text are also different sizes, the second line (‘SUBMARINER 2000’) being smaller. You’ll also notice that the coronet spikes are not as clear on the MK II, and the oval at the base is smaller and harder to distinguish. Some of the MK II dials have also faded over the years, the matte black dial turning a chocolate brown color that is now highly collectible.

DRSD MK III Dial: 1970-1973

Double Red Sea-Dweller Mark III dials also feature red writing directly on the black dial, but they appear darker and less vibrant than the previous Mark II dials. Even the white writing on the dial is less vibrant. Again, the second line that reads ‘SUBMARINER 2000’ is also written in a slightly smaller text. However, the coronet is much more distinguished on the Mark III and the oval base is also clearly defined again.

DRSD MK IV Dial: 1974-1977

The final and most common DRSD dial is the MK IV, which has its double red writing written directly on the black dial, with the color appearing a bit brighter than the MK III but still less intense than the MK II. Once again, the second line of text reads ‘SUBMARINER 2000’ and is smaller than the ‘SEA-DWELLER’ text above it. What also sets this dial apart is the coronet which is clearly defined (as is its oval at the base), but the text isn’t quite as sharp.

Diving into the history of the Double Red Sea-Dweller highlights an integral part of the Rolex heritage and underlines the brand’s steadfast commitment to producing exceptional watches that are capable of thriving in the most extreme and challenging environments in the world.

Double Red Sea-Dweller Rolex 1665 DRSD

The post 4 Things You Didn’t Know About the Double Red Sea-Dweller appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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Rolex Yacht-Master II Reference 116689 – A Future Classic?

It is widely acknowledged that a Rolex watch makes a sound investment, probably the soundest in the luxury goods world. Take ownership of just about any model in the brand’s comprehensive range and you can be reasonably assured that it will (at worst) hold its value and in most cases, even appreciate over the years. […] The post Rolex Yacht-Master II Reference 116689 – A Future Classic? appeared first on Bob's Watches.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Reference 116689 – A Future Classic?

It is widely acknowledged that a Rolex watch makes a sound investment, probably the soundest in the luxury goods world. Take ownership of just about any model in the brand’s comprehensive range and you can be reasonably assured that it will (at worst) hold its value and in most cases, even appreciate over the years. Of course, as with anything, some pieces will perform better than others and the trick for those looking to hedge their bets is being able to spot the ones destined for future greatness before the rest of the industry catches on to them.

Now, there is no exact science to spotting the future classics. It is virtually impossible to predict where the golden eggs are buried – otherwise, we would have all bought up armfuls of exotic dial ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona watches in the 1960s and be living the high life today. However. some of the current production models stand out so much that they have the ‘uniqueness’ factor to become future classics, and the Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 might just be one of those watches.

Rolex Yacht-Master II reference 116689

Yacht-Master II 1166589 Key Features:

– Production Years: 2007 – Present

– Case Size: 44mm

– Materials: 18k White Gold & 950 Platinum

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Regatta Countdown Timer

– Dial: White w/ Luminous Hour Markers

– Bezel: Ring Command, Platinum w/ 10-Minute Scale

– Crystal: Sapphire (Flat)

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 4160 or Caliber 4161

– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

– Retail Price: $48,150 USD

Click here for our ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Yacht-Master II.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Platinum White Gold 116689

The Rolex Yacht-Master II ref. 116689

The Rolex Yacht-Master II ref. 116689 is a solid white gold skipper’s watch with a platinum bezel. The reference 116689 was one of two models that debuted Rolex’s all-new regatta timer in 2007. The Yacht-Master II 116689 was released alongside a yellow gold eye-catcher with a bright blue ceramic bezel. Where the 18k yellow gold edition (the ref. 116688) was a grandstanding and spotlight-hogging extrovert, its monochrome-metal sidekick was decidedly more understated (at least as understated as a 44mm solid gold Rolex can be).

A case diameter of 44mm makes the Yacht-Master II tied for the title of the largest watch in the brand’s fleet, matched only in scale by another aquatic monster, the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller. It was also (for its day) by far the most complex model the brand had ever launched. Rolex makes very few complicated watches, preferring the simple elegance of three-hand timekeeping and throwing in the occasional GMT or chronograph function to mix things up a bit.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II, being aimed at those who compete in sailing regattas, was designed to time the precise and convoluted starting procedure of a yacht race. To achieve that, it was fitted with a 10-minute programmable countdown timer, in addition to a mechanical memory and both flyback and fly-forward functionality – the first watch in the world to contain such features. The Rolex Yacht-Master II’s advanced functionality enables a boat skipper to be able to instantly synchronize the watch with the official regatta timer, ensuring pinpoint accuracy when crossing the starting line.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 White Gold Platinum Bezel

The Ring Command Bezel

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is a bravura piece of engineering and one that required Rolex’s boffins to come up with a new way to cram so much tech into one watch. The key innovative difference made was to incorporate the bezel, which is typically little more than a decorative feature, into the overall mechanism and the working mechanics of the watch. Called the Ring Command Bezel, it is directly linked to the Yacht-Master II’s internal movement, acting as an on/off switch and unlocking the various operations to create a surprisingly easy and straightforward setting process.

Rotating the bezel counterclockwise 90° allows for the countdown duration to be set via the winding crown, and returning it to its start position locks and (crucially) memorizes the desired countdown time setting. The start and stop procedures, along with the flyback/fly-forward functionality, are then all controlled with the pair of pushers located at two and four o’clock. This marked the first time that a bezel had been integrated in such a way, and it worked so well that Rolex has further refined the concept and included a more advanced version of it into the Sky-Dweller to enable access to its annual calendar and dual timezone settings.

The Movements

The engine driving all this virtuosity is a heavily reworked version of the Cal. 4130 taken from the Rolex Daytona. The Cal. 4160 (later upgraded in 2013 to the Cal. 4161) took some 35,000 hours of perfecting, using a variati0on of the vertical clutch and column wheel system found on Rolex’s legendary racing chronograph. At the time of its release, the Rolex Caliber 4161 was also the brand’s most component-heavy movement, containing some 360 parts, many of them only possible to create through the use of UV-LiGA, a fabrication technology used to manufacture precision microstructures.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Reference 116689 White Gold Platinum Regatta Timer

A Future Classic?

With a solid 18k white gold case and bracelet topped off with a 950 platinum bezel, the Rolex Yacht-Master II reference 116689 is one of the most expensive watches in the brand’s lineup – At retail, the asking price is nearly $50k. This means there just aren’t all that many examples of this model in circulation, because there aren’t that many people willing to shell out for it. Those who want a white metal Yacht-Master II are far more likely to opt for the Oystersteel model at around a third of the cost, albeit with a giveaway blue bezel.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 then is an ultra-rare version of an already pretty rare watch. You simply don’t see many examples of this particular reference out in the wild, and that is a well-proven recipe for a timepiece likely to become highly sought after once it becomes no longer available at a retail level. The reference 116689 also has an aesthetic that sets it apart in the range. It has a more solid look to it than the other references in the series, and the vast expanse of silvery-white metal somehow makes the watch look bigger on the wrist.

Additionally, despite costing several thousand dollars more than its yellow gold counterpart when purchased at a retail level, the reference 116689’s often-overlooked status means that it is actually significantly less expensive when purchased pre-owned on the secondary market. Rather than paying several thousand dollars more to get your hands on the 18k white gold version and its platinum bezel, you can (rather surprisingly) expect to save a minimum of several thousand dollars when buying the ref. 116689 versus its yellow gold sibling.

All told, the Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 is a very special watch. Now into its second generation, Rolex’s first foray into the world of true complications may be aimed at an extremely niche market, but it remains one of the most impressive examples of the watchmaker’s output there has ever been. While there’s no guarantee the Rolex Yacht-Master II reference 116689 is headed for classic status, this ultra-luxurious model has all the ingredients needed to one day be at the top of every collector’s wish list.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 Platinum Bezel White Gold Regatta Timer

The post Rolex Yacht-Master II Reference 116689 – A Future Classic? appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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