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Rolex Vintage Submariner 16800 Steel

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Brand: Rolex
Item Number: 128961 x
Condition: (What's This?) Vintage
Model Name/Number:
Submariner 16800
Serial/Year: 8,4XX,XXX - 1985
Gender: Men's
Movement: Automatic 3035
Case: Excellent case that has been previously polished. Comes with an excellent black bezel insert. Case back is stamped 16800. Serial and reference numbers are crisp and well defined.
Dial: Excellent black Tritium dial with creamy yellow hour markers with white gold surrounds and matching hands. Second hand shows some rust.
Bracelet: Excellent 93150 with 501B end links and 12 links. Back of clasp is stamped "I4".
Box & Papers: Bob's presentation box, Certificate of Authenticity, and warranty card
Warranty: This pre-owned Rolex comes with Bob's Watches one year warranty
Return Policy: If not 100% satisfied, return watch in 3 days for a full refund. Terms.


This Vintage Rolex watch is in overall excellent condition with some rust on the second hand.

pre-owned Rolex Submariner 16800

By Paul Altieri

The Rolex Submariner is THE divers watch.  With a 40mm Oyster case that can withstand depths of up to 1,000 feet, it can accompany the wearer on virtually any underwater adventure.  The reference 16800 that is offered here today is an essential addition to the Submariner family.  Introduced in the late 70's, this reference brought with it a newly designed case that increased its water resistance from just a few hundred feet to 1,000 feet.  It also introduced the Submariner to the unidirectional bezel, providing a much safer reading while exploring the dark waters of the ocean for extended periods of time.  This Submariner also boasts the classic Rolex sports watch design with a distinct black aluminum 60-minute bezel, black dial with contrasting luminous hour markers, sweeping "Mercedes" hands, and an all-steel construction.


The Rolex Submariner 16800 is considered a transitional model that bridged the gap between the reference 1680 and the 16610.  The 168000 was the only other model produced between these two but it was in production for an estimated 9 months only.  The only difference between the 16800 and the 168000 was the steel used:  the 16800 used the older 316L, and the 168000 used the updated 904L which is still used today by Rolex.  

There were basically 3 enhancements to the 16800 over the 1680:
1.    The depth rating improved to 1000 ft/ 300 M
2.    The crystal was upgraded to the sapphire crystal
3.    The movement was upgraded to the higher beat 3035 quick set date feature.

The early release of this reference featured a much preferred matte dial which was later replaced with the gloss dial.  Both deviations had tritium lume.  This model was produced from about 1977 to 1985.  Many serious collectors feel this model holds a special place between vintage and modern.  It is also often considered the most under-served in the Submariner family.  
Modern watches are more durable and stylish but most vintage Rolex watches hold character.  They are much more than just a luxury wristwatch -  they have proven themselves over time and each one has a story to tell. Click here to shop all Rolex Submariners.

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*All Pre-Owned Rolex watches are guaranteed to be 100% genuine and certified authentic. All watches are shipped to fit the average size wrist (7 1/4" - 7 1/2" for men and 6 1/4" - 6 1/2" for women). Additional links can be purchased if needed.

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Rolex Vintage Submariner 16800 Steel
5 10 reviews
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  • November 28, 2020
    Rolex 16800

    The watch is in great condition and comes with box and papers and was priced well.

  • July 3, 2020
    Great process

    First time investing in a timepiece. Go forward without fear,doubt or stress. No regrets cant wait to do it again!!! Watch created in my birth year!! Arrived on my bday. Perfect customer service, Thank-you Stacy!!!!!

  • June 1, 2020
    Birth Year Sub 16800

    I’ve bought multiple modern pieces from Bob’s and had a great experience every time. I’ve been looking to buy a birth year Rolex for awhile now and for me, that’s a late production run 16800. Couldn’t be happier with the watch and for those out there looking for a Sub, you should seriously consider the 16800. It has some great “modern” features, but holds true to a more vintage feel and elegance. Incredibly comfortable on the wrist and will undoubtedly continue to grow in value in my opinion. It’s a can’t miss buy all the way around.

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    January 24, 2021
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    Regarding BOB’s WATCHES / *** When purchasing an item that is as expensive as a high quality pre owned ROLEX, you’d only hope for a great experience and great service....  when dealing with BOB’s WATCHES and specifically with *** in the Service/Sales Department, you will receive not only a GREAT EXPERIENCE and GREAT SERVICE, but a truly professional and yet personal connection in which you will treated with the high quality luxury sales & service you’d expect. After my 3rd ROLEX purchase from BOB’s WATCHES, I can truly say I am VERY thankful that I made all of my purchases with ***!!!!    Thank you, ***

    September 14, 2020
  • 5/5

    I have made several purchases and one sales through Bob’s. The order process, payment, processing, and most importantly delivery have all been absolutely flawless. Very quick and efficient. I never look anywhere else for used Rolex.

    November 30, 2019
  • 5/5

    Fantastic experience

    October 22, 2019
  • 5/5

    Watch was exactly as advertised and in excellent condition. Thank you for providing top notch services!

    September 29, 2019

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Bob's Watches is an independent watch dealer and is not sponsored by, associated with and/or affiliated with Rolex S.A., Rolex USA, or any other brand listed on its website. Bob's Watches only sells pre-owned watches and provides its own warranties on the watches it sells. The brand names and associated model names for Rolex, OMEGA and other manufacturers are the trademarks of their respective owners.