The Gold Rolex Submariner Model 1680/8
by fatboyharris, tomvox1, diverdick, delgado
“Sporty Elegance”, would be one phrase to describe the 1680/8, or the plastic gold sub. With most of the nice steel watches have already been picked up by collectors, gold watches are making a strong impression on collectors and like their steel counterparts; original early pieces are becoming more attractive.
The Nipple Dial.
The dial was produced with a matt black dial with yellow gold markers (commonly known as “nipple” dials) and tritium markers and an equally beautiful deep blue dial with similar nipple markers.
As most early 1680 watches, the dial had depth markings with meters first and later watches came with feet first. These meter first dials have become quite collectible.
The Dials Details.
There are at least two different 16808 feet first dials.
The open "6"
The close "6"
This is a rare early dial.
The Bezel Inserts.
Throughout the life of the watch, inserts were generally gold numbers on black/blue background. However, there was an option for the very first inserts of silver on black/blue background, the same as the stainless steel variety.
On the early bezel inserts, the pearl had no gold ring surrounding it. Later inserts, the pearl was set in a gold ring within the boundaries of the 12 o’clock marker triangle, while the replacement (service) ones, had a larger ring which fell outside the boundaries.
Originally fitted with a twinlock, from 1972 onwards they were all fitted with triplocks. Early triplocks had no O-ring and later triplocks with the external O-ring, were the service replacements.
Bracelets, End Pieces and Divers Extension.
Early clasps are date stamped up to the end of 1972. There are no bracelet number markings. From 1973 onwards, there is no date stamp or bracelet number markings. Clasps marked with 92908 are later bracelets or service replacements.
Most watches were fitted with a yellow gold bracelet model no 9290/8 and the early clasp had a raised crown at the end of the clasp with the fliplock. Later clasps (from about 4 million onwards) had the more common impressed crown in the center of the clasp, as did later service replacement bracelets.
The end pieces had no markings on the outside.
The divers extension was labeled as its steel counterparts with “PAT PENDING” or “PATETED”, depending on the age of the watch.
As many subs of its time, it carried the hardy 1575 (1570 with a date module)
Originally, all case backs had a machined finish which consisted of concentric circles. Most watches no longer have the original finish due to wear and/or polishing.
Impossible to estimate but looking at auctions and sales, there have been less than 40-50 available in the last several years. There have also been several examples that have been available at watch shows and not advertised. Some people guesstimate less than a few thousands but it is again, impossible to speculate.
The gold sub is not only a very functional watch but it can be fun to wear. It can be easily worn either on the original bracelet or on a leather strap. Whether with jeans, or with a suit to a wedding, it stands out and commands attention.