To understand the Vintage Rolex Submariner Date (Ref. 1680), also known as the ‘Red Sub’, you have to understand the history and significance of the Submariner line as a whole. Rolex accurately calls the Submariner “The Reference Among Divers’ Watches”. This title wasn’t earned overnight; the Submariner has seen decades of changes, iterations, and improvements. The 1680 is among the most significant references in Submariner history, and has become one of the most collectable examples.
Originally released in 1953, the Rolex Submariner is the most iconic dive watch, and perhaps the most iconic watch of all time. Developed and born in the mid-20th century, the Rolex Submariner embodies the golden age of watchmaking. A few decades prior, Rolex released the Oyster case – and the concept of water resistant watches – to the world. The first Submariner (Ref. 6204) took this water resistance to the next level, increasing the depth rating to 100 meters. Such depths are only explored by technical and commercial divers; the Submariner is fundamentally a purpose-built tool watch. Regardless, the model has exploded in popularity – far beyond just divers.
Like anything in production since the 1950’s, the Rolex Submariner has gone through a lot of changes. Slowly but surely, Rolex iterated upon the Submariner, upkeeping its status as the ultimate dive watch. In 1959, the Submariner received crown guards and a size increase from 37mm to 40mm. Over the next few years (and references), Rolex tweaked the shape of these crown guards, eventually settling on the rounded design similar to what we see today. If you’re looking for a dive watch without crown guards, Tudor has you covered. In 1967, the first Submariner with a date complication was released. The Submariner Date appeals more to those looking for an everyday watch: not necessarily a dive watch. For this reason, Submariner Dates are somewhat polarizing – some people love them, some people hate them. To this day, Rolex offers Submariners both with and without a date complication. In 1979, Rolex switched to sapphire crystals for all of their Submariners, moving on from acrylic crystals found on 4-digit references. Sapphire is now standard on all modern Submariner references. Throughout the 1980’s Rolex experimented with different materials and colors, offering a two tone steel and gold Submariner (Ref. 16803), as well as 904L steel Submariner (Ref. 168000). Today, all steel Rolexes are made of the anti-corrosive 904L steel, coined by the brand as ‘Oystersteel’. In 2008, Rolex released the first Submariner with a ceramic bezel, which would eventually become Rolex’s proprietary ‘Cerachrom’ blend. This material is now the standard on modern Submariners.So where does the Vintage Submariner Date ‘Red Sub’ (Ref. 1680) fit in? The Red Sub was produced beginning in 1969. The nickname stems from the red "Submariner" writing on the dial, later changed to white in 1973. This easily-recognizable, limited-in-production color led to the 1680 being highly collectable. The major difference between the 1680 and its predecessors is the addition of a date window at 3 o'clock. This was the first Submariner with a date, and the last with acrylic crystal. Everest’s Curved End leather straps are tailor fit to the dimensions of the Vintage Rolex Submariner Date (Ref. 1680), seamlessly hugging the case and lugs. Dress it up or just reduce the weight – Everest has you covered. A leather strap is a welcome addition to any vintage watch. If you’re looking for a strap for your Vintage Rolex Submariner Date ‘Red Sub’, Everest bands are your best bet.