Thread: Red Letter Submariner

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  1. #1
    Member bob5150's Avatar
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    Red Letter Submariner

    While I was on a dive trip in North Carolina, I met up with one of the other divers, Marty, later in the day and noticed that he was wearing a Sub. When I looked at it closer, I saw that the "Submariner" was in red on the dial, and the WR limits were much lower than new Subs. Marty told me that he had purchased the watch new in the early '70s as a gift to himself when he started his career. He doesn't dive with it, strictly a dress watch. I had heard of these Subs, and the Sea Dwellers before, but never had the chance to actually see one. Marty didn't know that the watch was fairly rare until I told him. He said that he never had a reason to send the Sub to Rolex for service, so it's all original. I advised him that if it needed service, he would probably be better off finding a local watchmaker that works on Rolexs so the dial didn't get replaced.

    Can any of you all tell me how rare these Subs are? I've never seen one for sale, so I couldn't give Marty any real idea of it's value, but I told him to hang on to it!

  2. #2
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    Re: Red Letter Submariner

    Hi bob,
    The Red 1680 is a hot item in the vintage community with prices going up and up. Most seem to feel the Red sub was made circa 1967 to 1973. The earlier models had the depth rating in meters first and are generally considered a bit more valuable. The 1680 did not have the depth rating of the modern Sub. If the watch has never been serviced it's certainly due for one.
    If your friend still has the box and papers that came with the watch he has a great package worth quite a bit.
    This is mine circa 1970, depth rating Feet first.



  3. #3
    Member maverick's Avatar
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    Re: Red Letter Submariner

    I would say the red Sub started in 1966 when the Sub/Date was introduced and made until the 1980s as per Skeet and Urul in their book, "Vintage Rolex Sports Models". I have seen real ones later than 1974. Since "red" was not specified on the paperwork it's a minefield to find a real one that has not been re-dialed or re-painted.
    A mint red 1680 with B&P could sell for 9K. They sell for 5-9K anyway even w/o papers.=) maverick

  4. #4
    Member georges zaslavsky's Avatar
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    Re: Red Letter Submariner

    I don't know wether if it is true or not that the red subs and red dwellers were made for the American market can anyone confirm this?
    Omega the sign of Excellence since 1848. Jaeger Le Coultre Horlogerie de Luxe depuis 1833
    22 times Olympic games timekeeper, Nasa watch supplier and holder of several world records of precision, Omega has the world's trust
    Omega and Rolex for ever
    Eterna Nothing but Watchmaking since 1856
    Zenith Swiss Watchmaking and Chronometry champion since 1865

  5. #5
    Member Clifton's Avatar
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    Re: Red Letter Submariner

    Quote Originally Posted by georges zaslavsky
    I don't know wether if it is true or not that the red subs and red dwellers were made for the American market can anyone confirm this?
    Georges, the "Red's" were available for the world market, not just the US.

    Regards,
    Clifton

  6. #6
    Member georges zaslavsky's Avatar
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    Re: Red Letter Submariner

    Thanks for the clarification Clifton
    Omega the sign of Excellence since 1848. Jaeger Le Coultre Horlogerie de Luxe depuis 1833
    22 times Olympic games timekeeper, Nasa watch supplier and holder of several world records of precision, Omega has the world's trust
    Omega and Rolex for ever
    Eterna Nothing but Watchmaking since 1856
    Zenith Swiss Watchmaking and Chronometry champion since 1865

  7. #7
    jac
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    Re: Red Letter Submariner

    Hello Georges

    My Red Sub was sold new in the Netherlands. I bought it from the original owner box, papers etc.


    John.

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