Debuting in 1967, with the specific aim of bolstering Rolex's dive watch offering, the Rolex Sea-Dweller built upon the industry-leading dive watch credentials that the Submariner had earned Rolex over the previous 14 years. Created specifically with professional divers in mind, Rolex collaborated with diving companies like COMEX to perfect the Sea-Dweller's design and ensure it would be the ultimate dive watch. Featuring the ingenious Helium-Escape Valve that Rolex had patented the same year, a hugely impressive water resistance, and a sizeable case design, the Sea-Dweller rightfully toppled the Submariner as Rolex's most hardcore dive watch. Today offered in a few separate styles such as two-tone, with various dials, and in two different case sizes (43mm and 44mm), the Sea-Dweller has taken a leaf from the rest of Rolex's offerings and merged its tool-watch focused design with tasteful aesthetics, to create one of the most sought-after and best-equipped dive watches that any diver might ever need.
The Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 was the first watch manufactured by Rolex to include their patented helium escape valve, an ingenious solution, designed in collaboration with COMEX (the French engineering and deep-sea diving company), to solve the problem caused during saturation diving whereby helium gas cannot escape from the watch during decompression, causing the watch’s crystal to pop off. Made specifically with commercial divers in mind, it had a depth rating of 2000 feet, as opposed to the 660 feet of the standard Submariner. 300 COMEX-signed ref. 1665 examples are believed to have been produced by Rolex specifically for COMEX employees, with each watch being engraved with its own COMEX issue number, with the example we have here bearing the COMEX issue number 2168. An extremely rare piece of horological history, the COMEX-signed ref. 1665 represents the ultimate in dive watch collecting.
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Vetted & Approved
Service Documents, Comex Dive Tables, Provenance
Est. value range
$100,000 – $150,000
Watch is in near-mint condition. Case has sharp chamfered lugs and only minor surface wear. Caseback engravings are crisp and fully legible. Rail dial is near-mint condition with no visible marks. Bezel insert is lightly and evenly faded to a grey tone. Bracelet has 11 links, 1 removable. There is little to no stretch. Watch comes with various service documents, an email with the well known Comex expert Marcello Pisani, as well as Comex dive tables.
Arguably one of the most coveted Rolex timepieces there is to own, COMEX-signed Sea-Dwellers are incredibly sought-after and the ref. 1665 was the very first one to be produced. A true collector's gem.