People seek meaning. Some scientists believe that the human tendency to seek meaning could be the result of our cognitive abilities and social nature. And the search for the meaning in or of life — are you thinking about Monty Python already? — could’ve been beneficial in the way humans adapted to their surroundings in the distant past. The meaning of life is less about survival as it is something more philosophical. People want to figure out life’s purpose because if they don’t, it leaves them unfulfilled or dissatisfied with themselves. Achieving goals can help them find satisfaction and meaning, and success driven by passion and purpose also creates fulfilling meaning. And that leads me to watches. Building a collection that includes vintage best UK Rolex replica watches takes love and dedication and gives meaning to a collector’s life. Let’s dive deeper into the subject by looking at a possibly unique Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600.
You just read “Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600.” For those in the know, that combination of words and letters doesn’t make sense. I will explain why it does — not just by presenting you with the awesome shots Morgan took of the possibly unique watch but also with words — after first talking about the difference in significance and perspective when it comes to vintage cheap Rolex fake watches. The process of building a significant watch collection in which vintage watches are the stars of the show is fueled by passion, ambition, and purpose. Knowledge is also needed to find the right watches — meaningful timepieces with a story to tell. And it’s exactly that aspect that can cause friction and raises questions. Is meaning applied afterward? And since meaning also creates value, is that meaning sometimes artificially generated?
The Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 serves as an example
Let’s divide the watch world into BQ and AQ — Before Quartz and After Quartz, that is. BQ watches were predominantly made as functional instruments. Yes, there were complicated watches and precious dress watches, but the majority of watches produced were daily beaters. There were functional and simple watches but also specific timepieces for pilots, doctors, and, of course, divers. Let’s stick with watches for divers. That’s because I will be using the AQ Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 as the example watch. Also because of that, it makes sense to briefly tell the story of the top replica Rolex Sea-Dweller watches, which starts in the BQ period, I will also put the meaning of the word “Red” into the context of this deep-diving watch.
Dwelling in history
Rolex launched the first Sea-Dweller, the reference 1665, in 1967. Before the production version of this “Super-Submariner” came out, the brand produced some prototypes — the ultra-rare “Single Red” Sea-Dweller. The production Rolex copy watches for sale had 40mm steel cases outfitted with a helium escape valve on the left side. The Sea-Dweller was specifically for saturation divers, and production versions had a depth rating of 2,000 feet or 610 meters. This was in contrast to the prototypes, which were “only” rated to 1,650 feet or 500 meters.
The ref. 1665 used a domed acrylic crystal without a Cyclops over the date. While the prototypes showed the word “Sea-Dweller” in red, the production versions showed both the name and the words “Submariner 2000” in red on the dial. After a decade of “Double Red” Rolex Sea-Dweller replica watches for men came a five-year period in which the ref. 1665 had only white text. That version got the nickname “Great White.”
On Chrono24, the prices of the Double Red Sea-Dweller start around €40K and go up to well above €100K. What’s remarkable and even a bit strange is that although the Great White was produced in lower numbers and for half the period of the Double Red, the prices for the monochromatic version are significantly lower. The price you pay for a rare Single Red prototype Sea-Dweller 1665, however, is on another, way higher level. On Perezcope’s website, you can read an in-depth article on the development of the Rolex Sea-Dweller
The No Red Sea-Dweller 16600 and Single Red 126600
While the 1665 was still in production, the 16660 also debuted in 1978. This newer Sea-Dweller with a sapphire crystal over the dial instead of an acrylic one, an improved 1,220m depth rating, and not a red word in sight remained in production from 1978 until the late 1980s when the 16600 took its place. That was made from 1988 until 2008, and during those 20 years, not a single one had anything written in red on the dial. Rolex then discontinued the Sea-Dweller for a few years to put the then-new 44mm Deepsea in the limelight, only introducing an updated 40mm high quality fake Rolex Sea-Dweller watches, the ref. 116600, in 2014.
That first (non-Deepsea) Sea-Dweller with a ceramic dive bezel was replaced in 2017 by the 43mm ref. 126600, the first of its kind with a Cyclops over the date. This 50th-anniversary watch, which is still in production today, also shows a single red line of text as an homage to the 1665 prototype.
Two paragraphs up, I told you that not a single Sea-Dweller 16600 had red text on the dial. However, when you look at the pictures in this article, you see a 16600 with the watch’s name in red on the dial. “It’s a fake!” I hear you shout out loud. But it isn’t. It’s a dial that the brand made upon request of a loyal Dutch client and collector of Swiss movements super clone Rolex dive watches. In the 1990s, he asked if it would be possible to have this dial for his 16600, and Rolex generously said “yes.”
No proof — now what?
The Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 in the pictures will not come up for sale anytime soon. But if it were to, the seller would have a problem. That problem is the lack of paperwork that proves the dial is real and done by Rolex itself. In a watch world where certain Rolex models go for very serious prices, serious proof of authenticity is paramount. The 1:1 replica Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 watches is an undocumented alien and, therefore, would probably be a pariah if it made its appearance at an auction. The owner knows it’s a super rare watch, so it could fetch a price in the range of the Double Red Sea-Dweller 1655 or maybe even half of what a Single Red prototype does.
Now, let’s return to the BQ/AQ theme and talk about significance and perspective. The Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 pictured here — yes, an AQ watch but, importantly, also a 1990s, pre-internet, pre-social-media watch — was originally bought for a few thousand guilders. The watch could potentially fetch a six-figure price at auction today.
In the current watch world, that’s nothing new or strange. Vintage AAA China Rolex fake watches that originally cost a few hundred bucks now sell for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars if their paperwork and stories are legitimate. And it’s inside the story where the meaning is found. But we often give AQ meaning to BQ watches. Sure, prototypes are rare by nature, justifying a high price when something not intended for the market enters it anyway. However, in the case of standard-production watches, the numbers change from a few to many.
Red is hot, and white is not
When Rolex produced its first four generations of Swiss made replica Rolex Sea-Dweller dive watches, the brand didn’t seem to think too much about the color of the words on the dial. Other than aesthetics, there’s no meaning to the text switching from red to white and staying like that for decades. But red means “rare” in the Rolex dictionary. There are the ultra-rare Single Red prototype Sea-Dwellers and less rare but still scarce Single Red Submariner Date 1680 watches. After Rolex discontinued the 1680 in the 1970s, there never was a “Sub” with red text on the dial again. But “red” doesn’t always mean “rarer than white.” The Great White Sea-Dweller is rarer than its Double Red predecessor, yet it changes hands for way less money. Logic quite often has no place in the minds of watch collectors, it seems.
When mechanical Rolex fake watches shop became emotional products to overcome the Quartz Crisis, the storytelling part increasingly became more and more important than the physical, functional parts that comprise a watch. And when a product becomes emotional and luxurious, the product-to-price ratio becomes fluid. Now, in this rare case of fluidity, prices always flow up and never down. The watch industry has slowly but surely hypnotized us — brainwashed us, if you like — and put us into a state of luxurious bliss where we pay a rather large premium for daring divers of the past. We don’t wear our Sea-Dwellers to go diving. Rather, we wear them because we want to make a statement: this watch represents who I am, what I have achieved, and so on.
The return of the Single Red Sea-Dweller
A Rolex price list from 1973 shows that a Sea-Dweller 1665 cost US$450 at the time, the equivalent of US$3,112 now. The current Sea-Dweller 126600 has a list price of US$13,250. It also shows a single line of red text, just like the original prototype. Back then, the use of the color was perhaps just to make a practical distinction between the Sea-Dweller that Rolex was testing and the existing Submariner. After all, the Rolex replica watches site did look so incredibly similar. I’ve never heard or found a conclusive reason for the use of red, though. Having red text on the current Sea-Dweller is a thought-through marketing decision. It’s there to warm people’s hearts and open their wallets because it refers to the ultra-rare prototypes of the past.
But if the use of two lines of red text on the Sea-Dweller 1665 had no real meaning when Rolex put it on the dial, why does it have meaning now? That’s because we look at BQ watches with AQ eyes. We need a story and meaning to justify spending our good money. When the watch was a tool, it was built to do its job and sold by emphasizing its functionality. There were no collectors back then who scrutinized every detail of the Swiss online fake Rolex watches that were simply meant to be worn. Watch brands just did what they did. They made what they made in the way they saw fit, and that was that.
When a watch had a problem, the owner sent it in for service, and then the brand did what had to be done. That meant a few drops of lubricant left and right, very likely a bit of polishing, and, if necessary, a new dial. Oh, dear — a so-called “service dial” that replaced the broken or damaged original one. Some purist collectors compare service dials to mortal sins. But keep in mind that while originality might be king nowadays, once upon a time, functionality reigned supreme. It shows that the functional ways of the past don’t particularly suit the emotional morals of today. We expect to find deeper meaning in the mundane while there is none.
The meaning of watch collecting
Many watch collectors want something familiar yet rare. They want something unique that also stands in a well-known tradition but that immediately tells others it’s rare with an easy-to-detect detail. I don’t just mean red text on a dial, but something like “Tiffany & Co” also works very well. Collectors want a meaningful watch that brings greater meaning to their collecting and collection. The more meaning, the better. There’s meaning in the fact that there are only a dozen or so Single Red Sea-Dweller prototypes. But sometimes meaning doesn’t make much logical sense. The fact that the Great White Sea-Dweller is rarer than its Double Red predecessor yet less costly is a good example of that.
Mundane facts of the past become modern myths
Again, Monty Python pops up in my mind — not The Meaning of Life but the 1979 movie Life of Brian. There’s a scene in the movie in which Brian, who some see as the messiah, accidentally loses his shoe while fleeing his followers. The excited group stops in front of the shoe, and one follower picks it up and shouts that it’s a sign. But within seconds, a fierce discussion ensues over the different meanings of the dropped shoe.
Yes, scene 18 in Life of Brian pokes fun at how peoples’ interpretations of the same starting point create different religions. But I also see a likeness to watch collecting. Rolex changing the text from red to white had no meaning. The meaning came from followers who needed that so badly. Also, it was because the growing interest in the matter has led to a rise in prices. If you pay a premium, you better have a good reason, so the best quality Rolex replica watches better have meaning.
Final thoughts after seeing the Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 in the metal
Rolex did a client a favor, and that was it. The brand put a single red line of text on a Sea-Dweller dial. Did Rolex do it without thinking? Well, without having to think about scrutinizing watch fanatics who use something called the internet to exchange thoughts, stories, findings, and theories that lead to the creation of mythological meaning. The Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller 16600 doesn’t have any papers to prove that the red text comes from the factory and is 100% legit. The owner likes the watch because it perfectly complements his collection of wholesale fake Rolex dive watches. And besides the fact that it’s a unique watch, it’s also a very nice gesture from The Crown.
But in the highly unlikely case that the watch comes up for sale, you will have to trust that the owner is offering a legitimate Single Red Rolex Sea-Dweller replica watches store that’s possibly one of a kind. That’s step one. Step two is considering whether a personal favor, provenance, and uniqueness create enough meaning. Well, the meaning is in the eye of the beholder.