Lot #1900

Rolex Submariner 16808 18k Gold Blue Nipple Dial

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Debuting in 1953 and released to the public the following year, the Rolex Submariner has undoubtedly become one of the most iconic timepieces of all time thanks to its legendary status as Rolex's flagship dive watch. Used extensively by the British Royal Navy and professional diving operations like COMEX, the Submariner set the bar for all dive watches to follow. Featuring a genuinely timeless design that has remained relatively unchanged throughout its history, this Rolex has become the archetypal sports watch. With very few large-scale aesthetic upgrades made to it over the years except for timely advancements like introducing a date function to the collection in the late '60s, and its modern cerachrom bezels, the Submariner is seen as the prototypical dive watch thanks to its consistency. The Submariner has earned its status as a legendary watch, with it today remaining as one of the most sought-after timepieces around.

Launched in 1969 as the very first precious metal Submariner variant ever, the ref. 1680 marked a significant change for Rolex and their Submariner alike. While a toolwatch through and through, the use of 18kt yellow gold marked the alteration of the Submariner’s original rugged usecase into a luxury watch that showcased Rolex’s uncanny ability to create watches from whatever materials they pleased. While the ref. 1680 was met with negative reactions from Rolex’s typical demographic at the time, Rolex stayed the course and eventually launched the ref. 16808 that we have here in 1979 in all of its 18kt yellow gold glory with an upgraded sapphire crystal. Fitted with an appropriately distinctive blue dial and blue bezel, the resulting combination flew in the face of the Submariner’s traditionally reserved aesthetic and allowed the Submariner to continue its journey into the world of modern horology where it exists now at the apex of luxury sports watches.

Loupe This Scorecard


M 8.5


Vetted & Approved


Watch Only

Est. value range

$15,000 – $25,000

The Details








Automatic cal. 3035




18kt yellow gold Oyster bracelet




Very Good


18kt yellow gold


Watch only

Dial Color



Perhaps the most obvious upgrade when compared to its 18kt gold predecessor, the ref. 16808 boasted a sapphire crystal instead of the acrylic crystals that Rolex had used up until that point. As a result, the ref. 16808 is distinctively more modern to wear and enjoy.


Made of 18kt yellow gold and constructed to last just as long as its stainless steel siblings, the ref. 16808 flew in the face of the idea that dress watches were the only timepieces designed to be made of precious metal.


This reading was taken (crown down) with a ONEOF Accuracy Boutique Edition timing machine at time of cataloging. It is provided as a courtesy only, and shall not be construed as a warranty or guarantee of any kind. Please refer to our terms and conditions of sale for more information.


Watch is in very good overall condition. Case has thick lugs with some surface scratches and minor surface imperfections. Blue dial has started to discolor on the right and left edge as seen in the images. There is also some light oxidation in some areas of the dial. The blue color has also started to lighten to almost teal in color. Crystal has scratches and a few small chips on the edge. Bracelet has 11 links total, 2 of which are removable. The band shows light stretch.

Our Perspective

Representative of Rolex's ability to do what they like and not care too much about what the outside world thinks, the 18kt yellow gold Submariner has grown into one of the most coveted watches imaginable with it standing at the precipice of unadulterated luxury, history, watchmaking design and horological engineering.

Eric Ku