The best Rolex watches of the 1980s
This time, we found the low price of the Rolex Submariner ref. 16800 to be downright confusing. In many ways, it’s the best of both worlds for the “old” Submariner. It updates the collection to a fast-setting caliber 3035 and includes a sapphire crystal for the first time. The model 16800 Submariner is also classified as a “diver” collection. 16800 Submariner is also a window into the use of tritium, which continues to age with its own lovely features, developing a rich and distinctive patina in the process. This combination of modern and vintage makes it a great everyday wearer, arguably more so than the more famous and collectible model.
While it’s true that big, flashy gold jewelry is a product of the 1970s, big statement pieces had their place in the 1980s as well. In this case, nothing speaks louder than a replica Rolex Day-Date solid gold watch, especially a President strap with a bark-textured center link, matching bark-textured bezel, and tiger-eye dial.
Like some of the other stone dials seen in Rolex catalogs, part of the appeal of this model is the simplicity of its dial, which is completely devoid of any indices other than the applied Rolex crown and printed text. While it is certainly not the only reference to use this dial, this particularly attractive model dates back to the mid-1980s and is instantly recognizable as an iconic “presidential watch” with its double calendar holes at 12 and 3 o’clock.
On a more modest note, the classic Rolex Datejust is another timeless option, a replica watch that will always be able to occupy a meaningful place in your collection. One of the older 36mm models is a prime example of a watch that newcomers to the collecting hobby can pick up the perfect “first Rolex” for themselves without breaking the bank.
Technically speaking, the roots of the two-tone trend can be traced back to the 1930s, but in the 1980s, the recession hit, budgets tightened, and the idea of more “affordable” luxury really took hold in watchmaking industry. Those who wanted more for less quickly fell in love with the two-tone trend, and the fake Rolex watch was happy to offer it. The Submariner is one of many two-tone models, which is somewhat surprising given how much the brand likes to capitalize on its tool watch roots. All in all, this move sets the tone for the Submariner as a status symbol, rather than just a piece of diving equipment.