Now this is the hardest piece to part with and one I know I will regret .These mark ll Great White Rail Dial (GWRD) pieces are, to my mind, the very best versions of the Sea Dwellers and as they were only produced in 1977/ 1978 rare in any condition, and in my view, this is perhaps the very best example of that unique watch currently available in the UK today.
Bold claims i know. But consider the virtues of this particular variant and the fact that it has worn the last 40 years so lightly. (would that we could all make such a claim!). There is a symmetry to the face of the Mark ll, sharing as it does the same layout as the original Comex, which just feels absolutely right. The Rail Dial formation of text is, as far as I'm concerned, perfection and makes this particular Great White so rare a find. But lets not ignore the heritage of the Great White and pay full homage to its red brother the Submariner with which it shares the stunning caliber 1575 movement and case construction of the highest grade steel at the time.
Yet what distinguishes the GWRD for me is the authentic heritage of its formation. I've always had a somewhat unhealthy obsession with authenticity. I think it's what marks we collectors out for other (normal) people. But the development of the Sea Dweller which evolved from the Submariner as a direct result of the collaboration with French deep sea diving company COMEX just screams authenticity and I love it for that reason. The Submariner had already carved a place in history as the definitive dive watch, but then Rolex just went and made it better!
The result was to take an icon in dive watches and develop the first commercially produced helium escape valve enabling this watch to be the first to gain a depth rating of 600m+ (2000ft). Rolex understood the mechanics of diving to such great depths and how that affected the inner workings of a watch. These were literally, uncharted waters for not just watch makers, but human beings! The increased domed crystal and increased thickness of the marine grade steel was just the final dressing for what was, indisputably, the creation of a legend.
And here it is now, sat on my desk (at sea level!) challenging me to send it on its way. Having worn it on a few occasions i can testify to the subtle differences of the Sea Dweller from the Sub. A slightly prouder profile and a little more substantial on the wrist. A fine hint of the practical tool about it and an insistence on use rather than fashion. The fact it remained practically unchanged for 30 years after being created should tell you everything you need to know about the Sea Dweller from a design and construction point of view. Why changed something that pretty much invented the concept of 'doing the job'.
It will live at a dinner party or conference venue. it will glide effortlessly through corridors of power or international travel. But really this is a watch that wants to be sat in a decompression chamber at 2000 ft with men of action, ready to take on the most extreme environments imaginable. Perhaps at the end of the day that's as good a reason to sell this watch. it deserves better!
Not only is the watch in absolutely time warp condition but comes with a complete full set comprising of
Inner and outer boxes in as fine condition as the watch itself
Rolex Submariner booklet
Guarantee paper punched
two service receipts
Original green document wallet