Featured: Patience is Key to Collecting....
Four years ago I had just entered the 'watch dealer' world, after being an avid Vintage Rolex collector and enthusiast for a few years. One night while searching through a forum's classified section I decided to take a look at the Vintage Rolex discussion section on the forum, not knowing that what I was about to see would lead me on a nearly four year search for a very specific watch. After scrolling through the usual 'incoming' posts members post showing their latest acquisitions, I stumbled upon one that really captured my attention. A member had recently purchased a time capsule like example of an early yellow gold ref.1680 Submariner. The exceptional original condition of the watch captivated me, the bracelet and case had light surface wear making it undoubtedly apparent the watch had been sparingly worn by the original owner. It was something that at the time I was not familiar with, as most Vintage Rolex yellow gold sport models I had seen had over polished cases, and bracelets that showed excessive wear, partly due to the softness of 18 karat yellow gold. From the very moment I saw the pictures of this yellow gold ref.1680 I knew I had to have one in my collection. One that was in similar all original untouched condition, it would have to be just as fine of an example. An example of average or above average condition simply wouldn't do! I knew finding a yellow gold ref.1680 in such exceptional original condition would be no simple or easy task.
For the next four years I scoured other dealer's websites, contacted other dealers, posted 'want to buys' on every major forum, and did everything in between. However, it seemed I simply couldn't find an example that spoke to me as much as the one I had seen on posted on the forum years prior. I came close several times to purchasing lesser quality examples, but never followed through as I knew I would just be disappointed. By this time in my search I had made it even more difficult for myself, I had decided that I wanted one of the earlier versions of a yellow gold ref.1680, with the earlier variation bracelet. What I liked about the earlier bracelets was how the Rolex cornet on the clasp was attached at the top, versus stamped on the clasp like on later variations. By mid 2014 I had partially given up on the search, and was more focused on building a business. During the holiday season of 2014 I had some spare time and decided to try once again to find a yellow gold ref.1680 meeting my specific requirements. I decided to contact the owner of the ref.1680 I had seen nearly 4 years prior posted on the forum, and see if he would consider selling the watch. To my surprise a few days later he messaged me back, saying he had hardly worn the watch since purchasing it and would entertain offers. I swiftly made an offer, and within 24 hours we had concluded the deal. I was still in shock, I had just purchased the very watch that had lead me on a four year hunt.
Upon arrival the watch exceeded my best expectations, the condition was outstanding. It is very apparent to me that the original owner seldom wore the watch. The case and bracelet have developed a beautiful rosy patina as a result of years of sitting unworn, and escaping from the dreaded polishing wheel. So often when I see an unpolished Vintage Submariner, the case shows forty or even fifty years of wear, with many 'battle scars'. However this is not the case with this yellow gold ref.1680, the case and bracelet show minimal surface wear, with light scratches here and there that are expected to be seen on a lightly worn yellow gold Submariner. For me there is something really special about the yellow gold ref.1680 Submariner, it is a dive watch and tool watch that was manufactured for a purpose, however cast in 18 karat yellow gold. It represents a most interesting balance between a tool watch, and a dress watch. In my opinion, more so than other yellow gold Vintage Rolex sport model. The ref.1680 was even the first Rolex Submariner to be available in 18 karat yellow gold, originally launched in 1969. The same year the stainless steel version was launched as well.
There is not much more to say, other than this watch will be a permanent piece in my personal collection!
- Michael Morgan