Rolex and Blancpain dive watches surface at today’s Bonhams auction


Bonhams is expecting a 1979 Rolex Sea Dweller made for and branded for French engineering and deep-sea diving company COMEX, to sell for £30,000 to £40,000 when it goes under the hammer in London.

It is one of a number of dive watches listed in the auction that are riding a wave of popularity for modern and vintage steel tool watches.

The COMEX Rolex Sea Dweller, Ref. 1665, is one of only 300 produced and is offered by the family of its late owner, a former diver and instructor who joined the Royal Navy at the age of 16. He became a diver in 1955 as part of a bomb and mine disposal unit attached to the elite Special Boat Service. He moved to COMEX after 25 years in the service.


The Sea Dweller is being sold with its box and the diver’s COMEX kit, including diver’s knife with brass scabbard.

Other examples of Rolex divers’ watches offered in the Fine Watches Sale today include a c.1956 Submariner 6538 with an oversize 8mm crown and without crown guards. It has an Estimate of £50,000 to £90,000.

The 1950s heyday of professional diving triggered a battle between watch brands to produce rugged and watertight pieces, and Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms remains one of the icons of the era.

Bonhams has a c.1955 example in the form of a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Rotomatic. The stainless-steel manual wind bracelet watch was originally a special commission for use as a military diver’s watch and is on the block with an estimate of £10,000 to £15,000.

The sale starts at 2pm today with a live saleroom and online at Bonhams.com.



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