Rolex Submariner Date 16800
Firstly, NO it’s not a COMEX Rolex!
This is a Rolex 16800 Submariner “Gloss Dial” from 1984, with an extra “replacement” COMEX pumpkin dial and hands fitted. Sorry to disappoint you, but surely, it is still worthy of consideration.
Submariner 16800s are considered among collectors to be a “transitional model”, incorporating the look and feel of Rolex’s previous Submariner while introducing many of the modern Submariner features for the first time.
The first major upgrade to the 16800 was the movement. The cal.1575 (19800bph) was replaced with the cal.3035 (28800bph), increasing the watch’s accuracy, while also introducing “Instant Date Change” at midnight. It gained a quickset date feature too. All aspects of a modern Rolex.
Acrylic crystals have their advantages; they are durable resisting knocks and bangs, BUT, are not scratch resistant and they are very prone to picking up many a scratch! To combat this, the 16800 sported a synthetic sapphire crystal for the first time, increasing its strength and clarity whilst being significantly thinner, giving a sleeker look to the new Submariner.
All these enhancements meant the 16800 was the first Submariner offering water resistance to 300m, and it proudly displays this fact on its dial.
Finally, the bezel was new; being unidirectional, rather than bi-directional, it’s safer for divers, as it eliminates the possibility of underestimating dive times.
So, the 16800 is certainly worthy of its place in Rolex history, and being the first “modern” Submariner, you can see why it has caught the hearts of collectors.
Our particular 16800 has all the above attributes and presents as a well-loved, lightly used example. Overall, the watch shows micro-scratching to its case, case-back, bezel, bracelet (c2000), and clasp (also c2000). Nothing out of the ordinary for a watch from 1984, and certainly not when you consider the extra dial that has been fitted to it since 2000. It looks just right!
The watch was serviced by Rolex in 1999 and came back looking brand new – new dial, new hands… a full Rolex service… except, they didn’t replace the bezel. It’s only small, the luminous “pip” on a Rolex bezel, you hardly notice it, UNLESS it’s a different colour to the dial. Then it’s like a dent on a new car; you don’t see the beautiful car; you see the dent!
Presented with these circumstances, the owner at the time, David Cook, the renowned Harlequins Captain who went on to become Captain of England’s Rugby Team in the early 1980s; had two choices… He could replace the original bezel or replace the replacement dial with something more appropriate.
He chose the latter.
David took the watch to a friend of his, called Neil; perhaps better known as “Heuer-Boy” in watch collecting circles. He rose to the challenge and created a pumpkin index markered dial, that perfectly matched the “pip”. In addition, and perhaps rather cheekily, a COMEX logo was added too; the hands were then reworked to match.
As far as we are aware, COMEX never issued Rolex 16800s, so ultimately, it won’t fool anyone.
But on the wrist, it looks tremendous and has that certain “je ne ce quoi”; and if you don’t like it, you could always revert to the original dial.
And again, I’m sorry it’s not a COMEX!
We work hard to ensure you are pleased with your purchase, both before and after the sale. Contact us to request any additional information.
We aim to dispatch items within 1-2 days receipt of payment.
The delivery method can vary depending on the value of the watch. All watches are sent fully insured usually using UPS.
All watches sold without an original box will still be dispatched with a high quality presentation box.
All timepieces purchased from us come with a guarantee of authenticity and our 12-month time-keeping warranty. Please note that accidental damage or damage to the item resulting from third-party repairs, improper handling, or liquid damage will void our warranty. We do not guarantee any of our watches to be waterproof.