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Rolex Submariner ref 16800 “Middle Earth Day” Matte Dial circa 1978


Most of our customers are looking for fine condition examples of vintage sport models. Sometimes a customer asks for a “beater;” one that is not in such pristine condition, so that they can wear it recreationally while riding a bike, the pedal kind or the motorized kind, and so they don’t have to worry about scratching or nicking and they don’t have to be so careful with. The current example is one that probably exceeds most standards of a “beater!”

We have seen Subs watches covered in paint dripped on the case and crystal from years of wear by a professional painter. We have seen Submariners worn by welders with weld spots that hardened on the case that cannot be removed. And we have seen Subs worn by fisherman or boaters so sun bleached that the bezels have lost all color, and the dial or lume is sun burned. But the current example is probably the most extreme in our experience of a Sub that one might refer to as “tropical.” Here we see the faded insert with obvious chips, and nicks, like an archeological find that has been excavated after decades or centuries.

As is obvious in the photos, the bezel has turned a rich steel blue gray color with small bits of the metal eroded. There are no breaks or cracks per se that compromise the integrity of the bezel. The lume plots are dark and intact and show no evidence of having been altered or restored. The hands show quite dark lume and areas of corrosion on the metal surface. The matte dial we would grade as 85-90% with fine small abrasions to the matte surface, but without any evidence of water damage, oil stains, hand drag marks, or careless watch repair. All the lettering and printing is clear and intact. The case is free of corrosion and the reference and serial #s are all clear and intact . The unidirectional bezel moves freely and smoothly and bears a deeply patina’d pearl.

Recently fully serviced and obviously left with dial, lume hands, and insert unrestored as acquired. Offered with our 1 year warranty of accurate timekeeping and operation. Your watch comes with shown distressed leather bund style strap, or your choice of sporty leather strap.

While clearly not everyone’s grail watch, this surely is a watch that announces that it has had a rich history, though unfortunately we don’t know what that history might have involved!

Your purchase includes one of our beautiful handmade Italian leather watch travel pouches, a $55 value!



Additional information


Model Name/Type

Man's / Lady's

Model/Case Ref#

Case Serial #


Case mm

Case Metal




Dial & Hands

Movement Type

Movement Caliber

Date Function

Strap / Bracelet

Strap / Bracelet Size

Country of Origin

Box / Papers



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