Rolex Vintage Auctions – Rare Luxury Tropical Dial Watches

Bob’s Watches’ online auction is back, starting with an extraordinary collection of four rare, just-listed “Tropical Dial” Rolex replica watches from the 1960s and 1970s. The lot includes the complete set of the “Red” Submariner 1680, Explorer 1016, “Double Red” Sea-Dweller 1665, and “Fuchsia” GMT-Master 1675.
The auction featured a coveted 1970’s red Submariner with a lovely “Mark II” metered dial. Its “Red Submariner” moniker comes from the bright red “Submariner” text directly above the depth rating. The dial has faded from black to brown with some lighter spots, giving it Rolex’s “tropical” status. The tritium lights on the hour markers and hands have aged to an attractive beige color that matches well with the warm brown hue of the tropical dial itself. The bezel has also changed over time from black to a striking blue/grey color.
This Rolex Submariner 1680 also comes with the original folding Oyster strap with the famous diver’s extension misspelled “pateted” instead of “patented.” In addition, the watch comes with a full set of tools, including punch paper.
Next, we have a Rolex Explorer 1016 from 1966 in very good, honest condition. The black dial on this particular example has turned a distinctive and uneven brown color over the years. The tritium light on the hour markers and hands has also turned a warm shade of light yellow and beige. In addition, the second hand has lost some of its luminescence, which further adds to the attractive aesthetic of this tropical dial Rolex sports watch.
With its original studded chain strap, rare tropical dial, and sturdy case condition, this Rolex Explorer 1016 is what makes a vintage collection a standout addition to any serious collection.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller saturated dive copy watch debuted in 1967 with the “Double Red” model. 1665. During its production, Rolex produced several different dials, including the Mark II dial in this lot, which features two lines of red text and a feet-first depth rating. The dial mounted on this example also began to change from matte black to tropical brown, especially around the edges and the date window. In addition, the tritium luminescence on the hands and hour markers has aged to a symmetrical light yellow, while the watch retains its original rivet-linked Oyster bracelet.
The Sea-Dweller features a helium drain valve, which allows it to meet the unique challenges of saturation diving and superior water resistance compared to clone Rolex Submariner watches produced in the same era. While the Submariner of the time was water resistant to 200 meters, the Double Red Surfer (“DRSD”) was water resistant to 610 meters, three times that depth rating. You’ll also notice that the arched acrylic crystal does not have a Cyclops magnifying glass above the date, a feature Rolex omitted to improve the watch’s overall resistance to crushing pressure at depths below the ocean’s surface.
Finally, we have a Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 that features the tropical signature I “Long E” dial. The stunning matte dial has been transformed from black to an even chocolate color, and the tritium lume has aged to a beautiful beige hue that complements the rich tones of the dial face itself. Interestingly, the red part of the “Pepsi” bezel is fuchsia, something we see on some 1675 copy watches from this era. This watch has so much character between the brown dial and the beautifully aged fuchsia bezel that it is also highly sought after.