Rare early matt dial version, serial number 7,248,XXX dating from 1981, with service documentation from Rolex UK.
The 16800 was a breakthrough watch for Rolex, as well as being their first diver’s watch with a sapphire crystal, it also introduced a new movement, the 3035, a quick set date, fast beat (28,000bph) 27 jewel calibre, a rotating bezel which only turned anti clockwise as a safety feature for divers and a sturdier case which was now capable of handling depths of up to 1,000 feet (300m) rather than the 660ft (200m) of the previous model.
The model was in production for less than a decade, from 1979 until 1988, but only for the first couple of years was the watch produced with the matt dial, which has always been the most desirable, as it is the best of both worlds; the vintage look of the matt dial, devoid of white gold frames around the luminous coupled with the scratchproof sapphire crystal.
The only problem is that as these watches approach their 40th birthday, most of the original matt dials have been swapped during Rolex services for gloss tritium or (even worse) Luminova dials, so finding a watch with the original dial, and Rolex service paperwork is a major accomplishment.
The movement is the newly introduced 3035, a 27 jewel, 5 adjustment calibre with Kif Flector shock protection & free sprung Micro Stella adjustment of the balance wheel.
Dial is 95%, case is 95% whilst the movement is 95+%.
Diameter 40mm; Lug to Lug 47mm; Height 12.5mm., it takes a 20mm bracelet and a heavy 93150 ‘Fliplock’ one is fitted.