I have been hunting a Submariner 1680/8 for quite a long time, as I have always been fascinated by the concept of a vintage toolwatch made of solid gold: It is a quite common concept today, but back in the 1960's only a twisted mind could imagine to produce a full gold version of the rugged 200m waterproof Submariner !
A couple of years ago, I had a close reference, a full gold GMT Master ref. 1675/8. But to my eyes, the case of this watch was missing a little bit of thickness and the brown dial was not showing enough contrast with the gold color of the case.
Now I have found my perfect 18k vintage Rolex with1680/8 !
To me, the most desirable features of this Submariner – especially compared to the later full gold sports models of the sapphire era – are the matte black dial, the high plexi and the very “warm” color of the gold: something between yellow and rose gold. I find less charm in the contemporary gold Rolex watches that are made of more “yellow” gold and carry black glossy dials.
The reference 1680/8 (/8 is the Rolex code for yellow gold, but in fact the case is stamped “1680” like the steel version) was produced between 1969 and 1978, with either a black or blue dial and a color matching bezel inlay.
Here’s the blue dial model on a leather strap (Photo: Ravagnani):
The dial of the Gold Submariner is quite different from the one fitted in the steel model, as the text is printed in gold and the hour indexes are raised with a very small tritium spot in the middle: they are the famous "nipple" indexes ;-) The minute markers are also longer than on the usual Rolex dials and the Rolex logo is also made of solid yellow gold.
The movement used in the watch is he same as in the steel model: the classic Rolex self winding cal. 1575 with the date feature.
The winding crown is the usual Submariner 7mm triplock crown, but it is of course in gold. Concerning the plexi, it has the famous “cyclop” magnifying lens; its height give a lot of character and vintage charm to the watch:
In the Rolex catalog, the watch was available either on a leather strap with a gold tang buckle, or on a heavy solid 18k Oyster bracelet reference 9290 with a brushed/polished finish. Here’s the impressive Oyster bracelet:
Like the steel version, this bracelet has diver extension hidden in the clasp in order to be worn over a wet suit ! (Photo: A. Shear)
Here’s a rare version of the watch with Oman logo dial (Photo: Ravagnani)
And the description of the watch in the 1970’s Submariner booklet:
The original ad for the 1680/8 is one of my favourite, it has a sense of humor that you don’t see often in these kind of ads (Photo: Jake’s Rolex World):
Finally, here’s one last picture to show you the beauty of this watch !
This message has been edited by DrStrong on 2010-06-08