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The 1665 Double Red SeaDweller. Where are they now?

April 28, 2014

BY Ed Delgado, doubleredseadweller.com


The Sea-Dweller was born in the 1960s out of the collaboration with COMEX a French deep sea diving company, and the NASA of the deep seas. The new model was called reference 1665 and based out of the existing Submariner model. This was evident since a Submariner’s thin case was used for the early Sea-Dwellers and a Helium Escape Valve (HEV) was added to be able to withstand much larger depth ratings.

A Double Red Sea-Dweller has the early developments of the HEV.

A Double Red Sea-Dweller the same thin case as the Rolex Submariner.


Initial models were issued to DeepSea Explorers of the 1960s in various configurations but in the late 1960 and early 1970s the model made it to the Rolex retail stores. The new Sea-Dweller was based out of a larger case, new domed crystal, HEV, and new dial with two lines of red writing on the dial. SEADWELLER, SUBMARINER 2000, indicating the new watch was based out of the existing Submariner but instead of 660ft of depth, the new watch was rated to over 2000 feet. They usual date cyclopes was also gone with the domed crystal and a case back engraving was also new to this model.

double red sea-dweller - Bob's Watches

A Stainless Steel Double Red Sea-Dweller has two lines of red.

The Double Red SeaDweller (DRSD) was produced for approximately 10 yrs from 1967 to 1977 with serial number range 1.7 to 5.1 million. There were four different dial variations made in the regular production model with three different case back configurations.

double red sea dweller - Bob's Watches

A Double Red Sea Dweller Watch has a great patina due to the oxidation.

The early version and the most rare is the Mark I dial on a patent pending caseback. These were made in the serial number range of 1.7 to 2.2 million. Mark II dials have also been seen on patent pending models. Patent pending Mark I watches command a pretty significant premium and some have sold for over $100,000.00. Mark II patent pending are also very desirable watches by collectors.

flat view double red sea dweller - Bob's Watches

Upside Down View of the Double Red Sea Dweller

The second version of the dial, Mark II, have a different look and some have oxidized and changed the color to a very “chocolate” or “tropical” brownish color. These watches are very attractive and have become very fashionable due to their unusual vintage color of the dial.

The mark III and IV dial were the final version in the later production. Mark IV are the most common, followed by mark III, II and the rarest mark I.

The DRSD has become iconic for several reasons. The watch is relatively easy to find but finding a nice example with nearly perfect dial and original condition makes it relatively rare. The watch wears very comfortably for everyday use and the beautiful dial with two lines of red makes the dial stand out from most other watches available. Not to mention the watch is relatively indestructible plus tells the date! Lastly, the allure of the vintage look of the domed crystal makes this watch a must have to any vintage watch collector.


movement double red sea dweller - Bob's Watches

Movement from a Double Red Sea Dweller

Pricing of the DRSD has reflected its polarity amongst watch collectors. The bases for a serious Rolex collector, the watch has become an icon.

The watch sold for a few hundred dollars in the 1970s and significantly more than the red submariner. In about 2000, they sold in the $5,000.00 range and in the early 2003 was trading in the $8,500.00 range. In the boom of easy money of early 2000’s, and with more knowledge from collectors about the watch, its history and the ease of information available from the internet, the watch took off to an incredible price range.

In conclusion. The DRSD will continue to win collectors hearts and mind. The original tool watch with larger dimensions, and attractive dial configuration and writing on the case back will continue to be the cornerstone of most Rolex vintage collections. Rolex has even recognized the this and a Rolex Deep Sea continues to be the desirable brand used by current deep sea explorers and even after its production of the deep sea and the new Sea-Dweller, the DNA of the original Sea-Dweller 1665 remains.

rolex double red sea dweller prices - Bob's Watches

Asking prices in a popular internet forum from 2005-2014.

Double Red Sea Dweller, mark IV, watch only (no box and papers), asking prices in a popular internet forum from 2005-2014. Note: 2008 was a peak year with the economic boom and asking prices reflected this. Somewhat of bubble pricing. In 2014, there is not enough information to see a pattern but asking prices seem to be increasing.

Double Red Sea-Dweller pricing table chart - Bob's Watches

Average asking price per year of Double Red Sea Dweller

Average asking price per year of Double Red Sea Dweller, mark IV, watch only (no box and papers), asking prices in a popular internet forum from 2005-2014. Note: 2014 only limited number of sales noted.



5 Responses to “The 1665 Double Red SeaDweller. Where are they now?”

  1. David Sinclair says:

    I’ve a 1665 which has lost its bezel and spring. What should I do?

  2. Jose says:

    I have a double red that needs repairs, is this something Rolex will do ? It’s a 1976 model handed down to me by my father and I would like to refurbish it but keep it original.

    • Paul Altieri says:

      If your primary goal is to keep it original, you may want to consider sending it to an independent watchmaker, as you will have a much greater say in the service process and what ultimately gets done (or not done) to your watch. Rolex is notorious for replacing parts as they see fit, with the primary purpose of restoring the watch to full functionality, but this can often come at a detriment to its value for collectible vintage pieces like the Doubler Red Sea-Dweller.

  3. Collector says:

    The above is correct. Sending your prized possession back to a Rolex SC might not be the best idea, as they will do what THEY feel is needed… perhaps not what YOU need. I am a victim. They replaced my original Sub’s case with a new one (and crown), as they couldn’t guarantee it being waterproof (some minor corrosion found, which is odd, as it was never wet). Silly me… I let them do that, which cut the value of my 1971 vintage Sub in half. My mistake was that I didn’t understand what their plan was. When I got it back from the AD, it looked stunning (and $3000+ later)… but then it hit me… new case and crown halved the value of this vintage beauty.

    Before you send ANYTHING to a Rolex SC (RSC), do your homework. Independent watch repair shops are out there…. in hindsight, Rolliworks in CA would likely have been very accommodating in keeping this Sub as original as possible, and probably at MUCH less cost. Lesson learned.

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