Model: 16613

Product overview

  • Box:Yes
  • Papers:Yes
  • Age:1993
  • Movement:automatic
  • Case Size:40mm
  • Case:Steel and Yellow Gold
  • Dial:Blue Lapis Lazuli
  • Bracelet:Steel and Yellow Gold Oyster

Lot overview

  • LOT: #000581
  • Location:Caerphilly, Wales, United Kingdom
  • Seller:
    (private) Sold by an individual
  • Currency:GBP

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The distinctive blue dial of the precious metal Rolex Submariner first appeared on the all-18ct 1680/8 released in 1969. That iridescent blue was the preserve of the all gold models until the mid-1980s when Rolex released the 16803 bi-metal Sub. Since then, the contrast between the blue and the gold has been a hallmark of this luxury sports watch. Not all blue dials are created the same; a precious few are, indeed, precious being created from lapis lazuli, the vibrant blue stone with glittering golden flecks.

Lapis Lazuli has a long history, its use going back over 7000 years creating jewellery and ornaments. Mined in Afghanistan is has been found in stone-age burials in North Africa and was used in the funeral mask of Tutankhamun. It was the basis of the finest blue pigment used by Renaissance painters such as Titian, being referred to as ultramarine. Creating a watch dial from Lapis Lazuli is particularly challenging as the slice of stone has to be free of flaws and blemishes before being ground and polished to a wafer thin slice. The addition of a date aperture, hour markers, printing, and even the hole in the centre for hands can cause the dial to crack and become worthless. Once fitted, rough handling of the watch can cause them to break so finding an older example in perfect condition is rare.

The vast majority of lapis lazuli dials are, naturally, found in the most precious of Submariners the all-gold models. Most of these watches were made in the early 1990s and while this material has been used in other models since there has never been another lapis Submariner before or since this period. A vanishingly small number of these dials made it into the bi-metal 16613, the only 2 known pieces both date from 1993, one sold at auction in Sweden in 2018 and this is the other.

A special order from Watches of Switzerland in 1993, this 16613 comes as the fullest of full sets, even including the original bill of sale where reference to the lapis dial is made. The dial is in immaculate condition, the watch having been only lightly worn since purchase. Aside from the dial, the watch offers the usual refinements you would expect from this model in a classically proportioned case, including a trip-lock screw-down crown and screw-down case back. The movement is a calibre 3135 with 48-hour power reserve and COSC certification The case shows a few light marks while the full-length bracelet shows no stretch and only a few wear marks. The clasp is in good condition. The box and paperwork are complete and also included are the serial swing tag and the red chronometer seal. Offered by the family of the original purchaser, this watch presents an opportunity to obtain an extremely rare version of an iconic Rolex reference.

All watches offered for sale are searched and cleared against The Watch Register database and a certificate is available to the winning bidder upon request.

´╗┐The description of this auction lot is, to the best of the seller's knowledge, accurate and not misleading. Watch Collecting requests a range of detail about the lot from the seller, and performs a level of due diligence. However, bidders must satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the description, and conduct any research they feel is necessary before committing to a bid. Please see our Terms and Conditions for full details.

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