AWCo Dinsdag 20 juli1952AWCo Dinsdag 20 juli1952

Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 16660

Triple Six, this nickname refers to the Sea-dweller with an interesting production run. This is transitional period has introduced us to some features on Rolex watches we still see today.

In the early days of this production, the dials were matte. Later on, the tritium plots got the white gold surroundings (bicchierini is what the Italians call it), but still on matte dials. The last dial completed the transition since Rolex went back to the glossy black dial paint, which we still know today.

This Sea-dweller was furthermore the first diver’s watch by Rolex to feature a sapphire crystal.

The triple six is a greatly valued reference among the Sea-Dwellers from an attractive era. This piece we have on offer is from 1985 and features the MK4 bicchierini dial.

The tritium on the dial and hands has developed a nice patina over time. The white gold surroundings on the hour plots in combination with a matte dial is very cool to see and it has been produced for only a very short period.

The original bezel insert has a pumpkin tritium pip which complements the vintage look on this piece. The overall condition of the case and bracelet is very good. If you’re looking for a Rolex diver’s watch this is definitely a piece you should try on. It is way cooler than a modern Sub!

Year 1985 Tags , , , ,


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Brand Rolex
Movement Automatic
Model Sea-Dweller
Diameter 40 mm
Reference 16660
Bracelet/strap: Steel
Year of production (circa) 1985
Lug Width 20 mm
Material Steel
Warranty 2 year (AWCo)
Crystal Sapphire
Dial color Black

The Sea-Dweller is a more hardcore version of the Submariner. Quite literally, as it was developed with French marine engineering company Comex on the Submariner platform, to withstand greater depths. The Ref. 5514 Submariner formed the starting point. A tougher case back and a helium escape valve were added, upping the water resistance to 2000 feet or 610 meters. The Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 was born in 1967.

A date complication was required, because many professional dives and decompression sessions would last days or even weeks. The helium escape valve prevented the crystal from popping out when saturation diving. An issue the Submariner would never run into during more casual SCUBA dives.

The Ref. 1665 came in several different dial variants, throughout its 16 years in production. From Double red Sea-Dwellers to Great whites and several subtle variations with differing degrees of rarity within those variants. A particularly legendary version is the Single red, of which only 12 are known to exist.

The Rolex Sea-Dweller was updated to the Ref. 16660 in 1978. The tritium dial was replaced by a LumiNova version in 1998/99. Several other variations exist within this reference. Later updates, among which the Deepsea and the James Cameron, saw an increase in size and a ceramic bezel, among other updates.

The Sea-Dweller is arguably the most toolish of all Rolex models. Where the Submariner has become a cross-over between diving and casual wear, the Sea-Dweller always remained a tool for exploring the bottom of the ocean. While quite similar to the Sub in appearance, it does convey a lot of that feeling when you handle it. So if you are of the adventurous inclination, the Sea-Dweller might just suit you perfectly. And do not worry if you put a scratch on it. Looks even better!


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Year of production (circa)






Dial color





40 mm



Lug Width

20 mm