A Rare 1979 Rolex Sea-Dweller With a Comex Dial Is up for Grabs

Rolex collectors, rejoice: A rare 1979 Sea-Dweller with a Comex dial just hit the market over at Tropical Watch.

The reference 1665 dive watch features a recently polished case that’s in “excellent” condition, according to the dealer. The bezel insert has evenly faded to a light silvery grey, while the black dial is accented with patinated cream-colored hour markers and hands. The date window—sans the cyclops magnification—sits at the 3 O’Clock. The dial, of course, also features the element that makes this particular model so coveted: the Comex co-branding that marks the collaboration between Rolex and the French diving company.

1979 Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Comex Dial front and caseback displays
Dial and caseback views of the 1979 Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Comex dial watch

In 1967, the Rolex Sea-Dweller launched as the Swiss manufacturer’s next step in watchmaking, a follow up its iconic Submariner dive watch. The Sea Dweller was originally created as an attempt to improve on the Sub. To achieve that goal, Rolex teamed up with Comex (short for Compagnie maritime d’expertises) to develop new models. For 27 years, from 1970 to 1997, the two brands created nine Comex watches between the Submariner and Sea-Dweller ranges.

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The first Sea-Dweller watch, ref. 1665, was created in 1977 and was the first-of-its-kind to sport “Comex” on the dial and the original “600m” text. Experts estimate that only 300 Comex ref. 1665 watches were made between then and the late ‘70s.

1979 Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Comex Dial movement and bracelet views
View of the watch’s movement (left) and inner bracelet (right).

While polishing may deter some collectors from this example, the dealer’s description of the watch promises “sharp, prominent bevels” and only light wear. The watch comes with the original 10-link oyster bracelet, which has only “light stretch.” The model number is engraved on its caseback, and the bracelet’s clasp comes stamped with a 1990 date code.

Rolex-Comex watches weren’t sold commercially; they were only offered to Comex and their commercial divers, which explains their rarity and cost. To get your hands on this “retirement” edition of the Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665, you’ll need to fork over a cool $175,350—a substantial figure to be sure, but one that likely won’t daunt deep-pocketed Rolex collectors. Head over to Tropical Watch for more details.

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