Don’t know about the Submariner ‘Reds’? Vintage Rolex connoisseur is a title that you’re just not ready for, I’m afraid.

Submariner Reds are to serious Rolex collectors what Bugatti Type 41s are to car enthusiasts in the automobile industry-highly regarded, but not so easy to discern from an untrained eye.

Vintage Submariners Reds are one of the most highly coveted Rolex watches, having somewhat of a cult following in the collector scene.


What exactly is a vintage Submariner Red Date 1680, Mark I?

The earliest Rolex Submariner 1680 models included a variety of texts on the dials, including the word Submariner in a bright red hue on some styles, hence the nickname.

These Submariner Reds are identified by even further intricacies, otherwise known as ‘Mark I’, ‘Mark II’, and so on up to ‘Mark VIII’.  Each ‘Mark’ is distinguished by tiny character and meter variations on the dial.

The ‘Mark I’ Submariner Red shows meters first on the dial, followed by feet. The red lettering is actually placed over traditional white characters and this dial showcases a specific closed ‘6’ with a long and curvy ‘f’ font.  Occasionally the white lettering underneath peaks through, further indicating an authentic vintage Rolex.

Some of the later ‘Marks’ show feet first with an open 6.

It’s all about the minute details that make these particular 1680 models bucket list worthy, and due to the tiny variations and unique lettering, a Submariner Red can be quite an investment.


The Submariner 1680 History

Originally introduced in 1954, the Submariner has seen countless upgrades and revamps through the years, with each edition seeing a unique, new feature.

The vintage Rolex Submariner Date 1680 was produced between 1969 through 1979. Being the first Sub to carry the date complication with a Cyclops lens, this model has since become one of Rolex’s most collected sports watches.

See another vintage Submariner review here. 


 The Submariner 1680 has a 1575 movement, a common workhorse in many watches still today.  Spare parts are typically easy to find and these watches are fairly simple to service if needed, but Red models pose a more unique case.

Red Submariner models have become few and far between, many lost or damaged over time.  Often damaged dials that were sent to Rolex for repair were replaced with white text versions.

These days, a damaged Submariner Red dial would be an expensive fix due to their rare nature.

Related: More Luxury Rolex Models


Technical Specs

Reference Number

1680, Mark I


Stainless Steel, 40 mm


1575 automatic






Originally 200 m per manufacturer


Stainless Steel Oyster


Final Thoughts

As fun as they are to collect, the Submariner Red 1680 is just as fun to wear. It’s not too loud, but still makes a statement with anything it’s paired with.


If you are interested in purchasing your own Rolex Submariner, give us a call or fill out our contact form. Check out our Facebook page for box openings and watch reviews by our in-house watch expert Sergio Nuncio!

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