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Robb Report Ultimate Gift Guide Highlight: A Tropical Dial Rolex Submariner in 18k Gold

Paul Altieri

Robb Report is one of the leading voices in the global luxury market and the company has built a dedicated readership of highly successful individuals who are united by their shared appreciation quality, exclusivity, heritage, and fine design. The digital side of Robb Report’s operations are so wide reaching and well respected that it is sometimes easy to forget that Robb Report is also a highly-respected print magazine and the company has been working in the world of print since it was founded way back in 1976.

Each year, Robb Report’s December print issue features its exclusive Ultimate Gift Guide, which features a curated selection of the very best luxury items being sold by the world’s top companies, all personally assembled by the publication’s expert editors. We are proud to announce that Bob’s Watches is featured in the print issue of Robb Report’s holiday gift guide, and the specific watch that appears in it is a truly spectacular vintage Rolex Submariner.

Robb Report Vintage Rolex Submariner 1680 Tropical Dial

A Vintage Rolex Submariner ref. 1680 in 18k Yellow Gold

As the model that has served as the blueprint for the modern dive watch, the Rolex Submariner is a timepiece that truly needs no introduction. First launched in 1953 and remaining a cornerstone offering in Rolex’s catalog ever since, the Submariner is easily one of the world’s most iconic timepieces and a model that is synonymous with the Rolex brand itself.

In 1969, Rolex unveiled its first date-displaying Submariner dive watch in the form of the reference 1680. Like all previous iterations of the Submariner, the ref. 1680 was available in stainless steel, however it was also offered in solid 18-karat yellow gold, marking the first time that precious metals had ever been featured on the Rolex Submariner collection.

In addition to being the first solid gold Submariner, the reference 1680 also represents the first time that Rolex’s iconic dive watch had ever been made available with a dial and bezel color other than black. The 18k gold variants of the Submariner 1680 were offered with either black or blue dials and bezels, and this practice still continues to this day with the current-production Submariner watches that were just unveiled in September 2020.

Robb Report Solid Gold Rolex Submariner 1680 Tropical Dial

Rare and In Exceptional Condition

When the reference 1680 first made its appearance, the Rolex Submariner was still largely regarded as just a purpose-built dive watch, and this model marks the point where the Submariner first started to make its ascent towards becoming the internationally-recognized status symbol that it is today. At this point in Rolex’s history, the concept of a luxury sports watch was still in its infancy, and the majority of Submariner 1680 watches were crafted from stainless steel with only a relative handful being made in 18k gold each year.

The particular watch that is being offered exclusively to one lucky Robb Report reader is an incredibly well-preserved example of a 1977 Rolex Submariner reference 1680 in solid 18k yellow gold. The watch is entirely unpolished and its original blue bezel insert and matching gold Oyster bracelet are also in exceptional condition with virtually no noticeable signs of significant wear.

As the first Rolex Submariner to feature a date display, the first to be offered in solid gold, the first to introduce the color blue to the collection, and the only Submariner Date to ever feature an acrylic crystal, the reference 1680 is an incredibly important model in Rolex’s history and offers a lot of excitement for collectors. However, the real party piece of this particular example being offered in Robb Report’s holiday gift guide is its stunning tropical dial.

Robb Report Tropical Dial Vintage Rolex Submariner 1680

And a Tropical Dial

In the same way that a great patina on an ancient bronze sculpture is an inherent part of its value, an honest patina on the dial of a watch can also significantly enhance its overall value and collectibility. Due to minor imperfections in the various layers of dial finishing, some vintage Rolex dials naturally change color over time, especially when exposed to certain conditions such as UV light. Now known as “tropical” dials, these unique vintage components are simply one of the happy accidents of natural aging, and they provide their watches with an entirely different overall appearance.

The most classic example of a tropical dial is one that turns from a deep back to a chocolate brown color, but depending on the initial color of the dial and what specific conditions it may have been exposed to throughout its life, a wide range of other colors are also possible. In the case of the solid gold Rolex Submariner 1680 that is featured in Robb Report’s gift guide, its original deep cobalt dial has changed color to a vivid aqua tone that is evocative of tropical waters.

Complementing the warm gold tones of the case and contrasting against the vibrant turquoise color of its dial is a set of original tritium hands that have developed a warm and creamy patina, perfectly matching the color of the tritium-filled hour markers on its stunning tropical blue dial. Truly unlike any other reference 1680 out there, this Rolex Submariner is a must-have for the die hard vintage collector that wants to stand out.

Robb Report Vintage Rolex Submariner 1680 - Solid 18k Gold Tropical Dial

A Private Tour of Bob’s Watches HQ

For the people in our lives that seem to have everything, vintage watches make the perfect gifts since no two examples will ever be exactly alike. And a vintage watch like the tropical dial Rolex Submariner 1680 in solid gold from the December print issue of the Robb Report Ultimate Gift Guide is guaranteed to be unlike any other watch in their collection.

Included with the purchase of the watch is a private tour of Bob’s Watches Headquarters in Newport Beach, California, where the lucky buyer will be able to check out our industry-leading selection of luxury watches and take a deep dive with Bob’s Watches Founder and CEO, Paul Altieri into his personal collection of vintage Rolex watches.

Priced at $65,000, this tropical Rolex Submariner in solid gold and a trip to the Bob’s Watches HQ makes the perfect gift for the luxury watch enthusiast that has it all. You can read more about it exclusively in the December print issue of the Robb Report Ultimate Buying Guide, which you can find at local news stands near you.

See the full article on Robb Report right here.

Robb Report Vintage 18k Gold Rolex Submariner 1680 Tropical Dial

Paul Altieri