Sometimes two is better than one…
In the late 1950s, Rolex and renowned New York jeweler, Tiffany & Co. joined forces to sell watches. The Rolex watches were delivered to the Tiffany & Co stores and it was the Tiffany team themselves who marked the watches with their logo on the dial. The co-branded watches were only available at Tiffany & Co. boutiques, making them just that much more exclusive.
The relationship between the two luxury purveyors eventually ended around 1990, thus making the Tiffany & Co. marked Rolex watches highly desirable and collectible today. Rolex watches with Tiffany Dials are becoming increasingly rare and below we will be taking a closer look at the Rolex Submariner reference 1680 watches that were originally retailed by Tiffany & Co. during the 1970s and fitted with Tiffany Dials.
Rolex Submariner Reference 1680 – Tiffany & Co. Dial
Submariner 1680 Tiffany Dial Key Features
– Reference Number: 1680; 1680/8
– Production Years: 1967 – 1980 (Approx.)
– Case Size: 40mm
– Materials: Stainless Steel or 18k Yellow Gold
– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds; Date Display
– Dial: Black or Blue w/ Luminous Hour Markers, ‘Tiffany & Co.’ Marking
– Bezel: Bidirectional, Black or Blue Aluminum Insert w/ 60-Minute Scale
– Crystal: Acrylic (Box Shaped w/ Cyclops Lens)
– Movement: Rolex Caliber 1575 (Cal. 1570 Base)
– Water Resistance: 200 Meters / 660 Feet
– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet
Rolex Submariner 1680 Tiffany & Co. Dial History
Rolex’s partnership with Tiffany began sometime during the late 1950s. Originally, the Tiffany-branded dials fitted to the watches were embellished in-house by the Tiffany & Co. teams located at individual retail locations. Early examples were done by hand and then later stamped. However, that responsibility eventually shifted to Rolex, where they stamped the dials in their factory in Geneva. Due to the number of different entities that were adding the Tiffany & Co. logo (especially during the early years), an incredibly wide range of variation exists among surviving Rolex Tiffany Dials.
Tiffany kept replacement dials on-hand for servicing for a number of years and during this time, customers could send co-branded reference 1680 Submariner watches (along with any other Rolex model with a Tiffany & Co. dial) to either Rolex or Tiffany & Co. for repair. However, given that both brands were printing and servicing these dials, the result was a significant discrepancy between the dial variations. As Rolex began to exhibit a tighter level of control over production, this practice was discontinued and Rolex’s collaboration with Tiffany & Co. ultimately ended.
Rolex Makes The Tiffany & Co. Submariner
Rolex first unveiled the Submariner collection in 1953 to meet the demands of the increasingly popular sport of underwater diving. With the Submariner, Rolex firmly etched its name in history by giving the world the first wristwatch to be waterproof to 100 meters (330 feet). Because of this technical achievement, the Rolex Submariner would quickly become the must-have watch among underwater explorers and paved the way to earn its reputation as the quintessential diving watch.
The First Submariner Watch To…
The reference 1680 made its debut in 1967 and enjoyed a production run until the end of 1979. It holds the distinction of being the first Submariner to include a date function and it was topped off with an acrylic crystal equipped with the now-iconic Rolex Cyclops magnification lens. The writing on the dial of the Submariner 1680 underwent a few modifications during its lifetime, including changing the original red color of the “Submariner” name to white, along with several font revisions and reversing the placements of the feet vs. meter values for the depth rating.
Driving the Submariner 1680 is the Caliber 1575, which (as the markings on the dial can tell you) is an officially certified chronometer that has passed C.O.S.C testing. Additionally, this being a diving watch, Rolex took special care in ensuring its water-resistance with a more-than-ample depth rating of 200 meters (660 feet). The reference 1680 also signaled a transition for the Submariner from a predominately utilitarian range of tool watches to a more luxury-oriented collection of sports watches marketed towards the general public with some models being offered in solid gold and some later-era editions set with diamonds and other gemstones.
Why is the Tiffany Dial Submariner So Collectible?
The obvious answer as to why a Tiffany Dial Submariner is so collectible lies in the unique partnership between Rolex and Tiffany & Co. A Submariner 1680 with a Tiffany Dail boasts the exclusivity of two of the world’s most recognizable luxury brands. Additionally, it wasn’t uncommon during the reference 1680 Submariner’s production for Rolex to co-brand with other luxury companies.
Today, Rolex no longer sells watches with additional retailer co-branding, and Rolex watches with Tiffany Dials (such as the Tiffany dial 1680) are becoming increasingly rare. With the last Rolex Tiffany dials produced in the 1990s, there aren’t many options available on the market today, and some models like the reference 1680 were only produced for about a decade during the Rolex and Tiffany & Co. partnership. As buyers in the know continue to make Tiffany Dial Rolex watches part of their permanent collections, models like the Tiffany & Co. Submariner 1680 will only increase in value and become harder to find.
Rolex Submariner Tiffany Dial Price
The Rolex Submariner 1680 is already a highly prized collector’s item, with prices averaging between $10k and $15k for those with all-white text on the dial and between $20k and $30k for variations with the red font on the dial (known as Red Submariner watches). Dials stamped with the Tiffany logo command an even higher premium on the secondary market, sometimes selling for as much as double the price of variations without the double-signed dials.
Other factors contribute further to the watch’s value, such as the original Tiffany & Co. paperwork and the original Rolex box. Original purchase papers almost always increase the value of a Rolex watch, but when it comes to Tiffany Dial models, having the original purchase papers from Tiffany & Co. will significantly increase the value of the watch since they help attest to the originality of the Tiffany branded dial being fitted to the watch. For example, a handsome edition with white font and original Tiffany & Co. papers was sold by Christie’s in 2020 for a staggering $43,750.
Other Rolex Tiffany & Co. Dial Watches
The Rolex Submariner 1680 hit the market about a decade after Tiffany & Co. began to sell Rolex watches with its logo emblazoned on the dials. At one point, nearly every model within the Rolex portfolio sold by a Tiffany & Co. retail location included the now-desirable co-branded dials, including the Datejust, Daytona, Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master, and Explorer (just to name a few).
While all Rolex watches with Tiffany Dials command a premium over those without dual-branded dials, there are more affordable options than the reference 1680 Submariner. For example, you can sometimes find less collectible Rolex models such as the Ladies Oyster Perpetual fitted with Tiffany Dials for as little as a few thousand dollars. However, when it comes to vintage Rolex watches that are already highly collectible and fiercely pursued such as the Submariner 1680, the presence of a Tiffany & Co. dial (especially if the watch is still accompanied by its original paperwork) can result in the value of the watch being tens of thousands of dollars more than an otherwise identical model.
Expertly crafted by Rolex and great enough for Tiffany & Co. to place its name on it, the Submariner 1680 Tiffany & Co. watch represents a little piece of history when two of the biggest names in the luxury industry came together as one.