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Up for grabs is an incredibly rare Rolex Submariner, Ref. 16610, made for COMEX, circa 1997. COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertses), which stands for “Expert Maritime Company”, was a famous diving company which specialized in deep underwater engineering, construction, and exploration. Rolex partnered with COMEX in the 1970s, and supplied them with Submariner and Sea-Dweller wristwatches for their underwater exploits – a collaboration that was unheard of for the brand to that point, and has yet to be done since, making the co-branded COMEX watches some of the most collectible Rolex sports watches on the market.
This particular example comes to us from the son of the original owner. The watch was issued to a commercial diver, employed by COMEX from 1974 to 1984. According to a letter provided by him, he received a COMEX Submariner in 1974 during assignment as a Commercial Diver, and in 2003, was given the opportunity to buy the present watch, of which he eventually gifted to his son. Included in the sale are the original Rolex boxes, Guarantee Certificate, booklets, and a whole litany of provenance and extras provided by the original owner/his son, including COMEX medallions/medals, pictures of the original owner wearing his COMEX watches over the years, books, COMEX literature, and more.
This Rolex COMEX Submariner remains in lovely vintage condition. The case appears unpolished, but worn from use, with thick and even bevels. The dial remains perfect and glossy, with no flaws. The dial and hands both retain their original tritium lume, aged to a nice creamy color. Likewise, the insert remains in good shape, with no major wear. The watch comes fitted on its original Rolex Oyster 93150 flip-lock bracelet with 501B endlinks, and has 10 links (plus diver’s extension), showing negligible stretch.