Vintage Heuer / TAG Heuer watches, and a few others. Plus Handmade straps..

Rolex Submariner 1680

with 8 comments

Rolex Submariner 1680, Cal. 1575 COSC, Date with open numbers & flat 3.
1978 – 5.4mil Serial. (with Superdome crystal)

Normally I do a little write up on the history of a particular model, but this watch needs little introduction, and there is nothing I can add to the plethora of information out there. Here is a quote from VintageSubmariner.com..

“In 1965, Rolex introduced the caliber 1565, which was both C.O.S.C. certified and had a date display. In 1971, Rolex iterated the caliber to include hacking (meaning the seconds hand stops when the crown is pulled out for time setting). The 1565 caliber lead to a new model series, the 168X series. Reference 1680 was introduced in 1965 or 1966 and had the chronometer status and a date display. This also introduced the Cyclops date magnifier to the Submariner line.”

I bought my first Rolex a year or so back, a 16800 and I didn’t get on with it. I think it was because I had this huge expectation of something astonishing.. and it turned out to be ‘just a divers watch’. I was disappointed, so sold it on.

The itch didn’t go away, so I bought an ‘86 5513.. this I instantly liked. The acrylic non-cyclops crystal made such a difference, combined with no huge expectation. It grew on me quickly. Fast-forward 6 months and I sold it.. a combination of me trying to reduce the collection and the need for a new MacBook. C’est la vie.

Months later I regretted it, and started hunting a maxi dial 5513, but the 1665 Sea-Dweller caught my eye – the non-cyclops crystal with date greatly appealed. One problem, the price. I didn’t want to splash that much on a divers watch. During my hunt, I’d spotted a few 1680’s fitted with plain crystals, and that seemed like an ideal solution.  I know the purists may grimace at such a thing, but the idea didn’t bother me – Rolex deemed the Sea Dweller OK to not have it, so why not!

I read an article recently on ‘ablogtowatch’ about the history of the Sub.. and one fact that really stood out was that the founder , Wildorf, wanted to produce a good quality watch that could be worn by many. This really struck a chord with me.. it wasn’t a super high end watch, but was designed and built as a good quality tool watch – average cost about 2 weeks pay. This makes me love my Sub even more.. it’s not a status symbol, glittery or conspicuous, it’s a tool watch. It’s tough, will do a job, and it carries a certain history with it. It’s the perfect size, weight and supremely comfortable. I have to admit to storing the folded link bracelet.. if I’m honest – it sucks, and I didn’t want to tear it apart to size it. So, I’ve fitted an aftermarket bracelet (gasp!). I’m still not sold on the cyclops, but I have to admit, whilst I wore it before getting the crystal changed, it really grew on me.. but with a superdome crystal fitted.. for me, it’s bang on the money.

Written by Heuerville

July 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Posted in Non-Heuer

Tagged with , , ,

8 Responses

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  1. Mr. S:
    What’s not to admire about a handsome and straightforward timepiece with the essentials and nothing more. That it’s been produced (and copied) for decades and without improvement says volumes of the original design brilliance. I have a blue version of its baby sister Tudor which has become the daily go-to and love the aspect of its remarkable readability; some (otherwise) very nifty watches are so busy that one has to study the dial for a moment to determine the time of day. Another good read and of course, lovely images.

    Jim V.O.

    July 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

  2. That looks fantastic, Stewart – I did the same crystal swap with my Red and much preferred it (although the Top hat is itself a bit of alright, one has to say). Is it a Tropic or A N Other?

    Drop me a line when you have a minute, as I’d love to know where you found it!


    July 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    • Hey T, good to hear from you.. AFAIK it’s an aftermarket T39.. I had it in my box of spares! I’ll drop you a mail.


      July 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

  3. It’s funny, I’m not normally a huge Rolex fan – I like them and yiu see various very classy models around, but I’ve never had a ‘wow’ moment when seeing one until now! I think it’s the domed crystal that changes it for me. Fantastic watch (as usual with your blog)!

    Steve T

    July 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

  4. well done, Stew! a vast improvement over the TopHat imho 😉


    July 10, 2014 at 1:21 am

  5. Looks beautiful Stewart, back to the dark side ay! Hope all is well?


    July 10, 2014 at 7:11 am

  6. Your 1680 fitted with that Superdome has convinced me that this is the watch for me! I’ve been searching for months for one as nice as yours, you are such an enabler! If you decide to flip it, please let me know!


    July 9, 2015 at 1:39 am

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