In Search of the Perfect Red Submariner

The Rolex Red Submariner ref 1680 is an iconic watch that has proved to be a must have for all collectors of vintage Rolex sports models. There are 7 different versions of the red sub dial that can be identified by the text, spacing and font. The watch was produced approximately for 6 years from the mid to late sixties to the mid 70’s. The rarest versions are the metres first dials, such as the one pictured below (called metres first because the depth rating under the word SUBMARINER, starts with metres – so reads 200m=660ft). These were produced for a very short period and probably represent approximately 18-20% of total red sub production.

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The feet first dials represent the remaining production. Still very rare in their own right, but not as rare as a metres first dial.

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Differences with the shade of bezel or the degree of patina can change the entire look of the watch. Faded inserts are highly prized by collectors. They started life black, but have gradually faded due to exposure to the elements. The charm of a red submariner will continue to make it a highly collectable  watch. What is a perfect red sub, well depends what imperfections you consider perfect.

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