The Rolex Submariner is an icon. It's the first real dive watch. Rolex keeps improving it in small ways, and it's now a very mature product in that it is perfect for its intended use. It wasn't always so, and that is what makes transitional models so interesting.
This 16800 is from 1981. The Submariner 16800 introduced the caliber 3035 with quick set date, a minor engineering modification but a great convenience to the owner. The 16800 also introduced the sapphire crystal to the Submariner. Lastly, whereas previous Submariners were rated as water resistant to 660 meters, the 16800 was the first Sub to be rated water resistant to 1000 meters.
This 16800 is an early watch in the production series, as it has the much more desirable matte style dial with no metal surrounds. Around 1984, Rolex transitioned within the 16800 production to a glossy dial with white gold rings surrounding the luminous hour markers. This dial is in mint condition, as are the original hands. Both the hour markers and hands have a pleasing patina. Date at 3 o’clock.
Movement is the aforementioned caliber 3035 automatic winding with Breguet spring with free sprung balance, 27 jewels and adjusted to 5 positions and temperature and is a C.O.S.C. chronometer. This is a robust workhorse of a movement designed to take abuse and keep on keeping on.
Case is stainless steel, 40mm diameter, with screw down crown and sapphire crystal. Bracelet is Rolex Oyster reference 93150 with 12 links in excellent condition. Case has the sharp edges that one hopes for with vintage Submariners and full metal.
Overall condition is near mint and original throughout. I believe this watch was serviced recently.