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Old 10 January 2018, 04:43 AM   #1
Thathorologist
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How long was Reference 168000 produced for?

Hello TRF I am seeking for information leading to the actual dates of production for the Reference 168000.
I understand some collectors say it was produced for 8-9 months in 1988 and some say it was Produced from 1986-1988.
Itís really unclear why and when this Rare Reference was Produced.
Also any differences between the 16800 would be a huge help.

Thank you TRF and all active members
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Old 10 January 2018, 04:58 AM   #2
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Since Rolex doesn't provide production data, it is always cloudy.

The 168000 is the true transitional. Rolex was set to introduce the new 16610 and 904 Steel, but the 3135 movements were not ready.

They used the new 16610, 904L cases but stamped them 168000 and fitted them with the 16800's 3035 movements.

They were only produced until the 3135 movements were ready and so the less-than-a-year time frame seems to be the most believable.

Visually, you can't tell the difference from a late 16800, a 168000, and an early 16610.
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Old 10 January 2018, 05:45 AM   #3
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less than a year. At that time they added a rubgy ball looking stamp to the case back. Interesting, I had the same mark on a late model 16803, which I assume also used 904 steel case.
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Old 10 January 2018, 07:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tools View Post
Since Rolex doesn't provide production data, it is always cloudy.

The 168000 is the true transitional. Rolex was set to introduce the new 16610 and 904 Steel, but the 3135 movements were not ready.

They used the new 16610, 904L cases but stamped them 168000 and fitted them with the 16800's 3035 movements.

They were only produced until the 3135 movements were ready and so the less-than-a-year time frame seems to be the most believable.

Visually, you can't tell the difference from a late 16800, a 168000, and an early 16610.
Thanks a bunch for all the info,
A dead friend Will be acquiring one and soon enough will share some photos.
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Old 10 January 2018, 07:06 AM   #5
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less than a year. At that time they added a rubgy ball looking stamp to the case back. Interesting, I had the same mark on a late model 16803, which I assume also used 904 steel case.
Very detailed feature.
I will look for that.

Thanks again
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Old 10 January 2018, 07:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Thathorologist View Post
Thanks a bunch for all the info,

A dead friend Will be acquiring one and soon enough will share some photos.


Gotta love autocorrect.


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Old 10 January 2018, 07:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Thathorologist View Post
Very detailed feature.

I will look for that.



Thanks again


Let me know when you dear friendís watch turns up as I would like to do a comparison to mine.



Here is a link to one I saw for sale in Australia. The seller gives some interesting comments in the description. I think they are a very interesting watch for an entry level price.

clockmaker.com.au/w/k5503.html


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Old 10 January 2018, 07:19 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=sdimi;8175491]Let me know when you dear friendís watch turns up as I would like to do a comparison to mine.



Here is a link to one I saw for sale in Australia. The seller gives some interesting comments in the description. I think they are a very interesting watch for an entry level price.

clockmaker.com.au/w/k5503.html

Sorry. Seller has removed the description so I hope he doesn't mind that I've pasted it below:


One of the most controversial pieces in recent years is the Rolex Submariner 168000. This particular model was produced around 1988 for an unknown period of time (most likely less than a year). It is also known as 'transitional' because it features the 'old' calibre 3035 movement with 'new' style bicchierini 16610 dial. Another peculiarity of this model is the case back. It was stamped 16800 (note one zero less), and here is the main problem: the 168000 does not appear in any official Rolex documentation; the number only appears between the lugs of the watch itself!
It is easy to see how such a piece could tempt any Rolex dealer to bend the truth, fabricate facts or just liberally interpret what is known in order to create hype because hype sells. And super rare means possible investment potential.
And, quite frankly, once the 'story' hits the internet, it grows like a snowball, with each dealer or seller adding its twist to it, or another layer of wishful thinking.
So what is the truth?
My advice is simple: do your own research. Start with the serial numbers, production dates, compare the paperwork, and try to figure out how many pieces were made. For all the other 'lazy' collectors: either stay away from it, or pay only as much as you can afford to lose. In other words, don't pay premium. Investment potential? Assume none, at least for now.
I am more than happy to share my own research notes:
1. 168000 is ALWAYS fitted with movement Cal 3035.
2. The correct bracelet for 168000 is steel Oyster Ref 93150 and end link 593
3. It was the first Submariner to be made in 904L steel (316L being abounded due to corrosion problems)
4. The case back for 168000 is ALWAYS stamped just 16800
5. There are at least two dial styles, known as Mark 1 and Mark 2. The main difference between the two is the font style; in particular the style of the letter S in Submariner. Mark 1 is 'curvy S' and Mark 2 is flipped Z, also known as Sorro/Zorro. Also, the MK 1 is semi-gloss (but not quite matte) where MK2 is gloss dial, same as in 16610.
6. Definite production year? Unknown. However, the production started with a high 9 million serial number and finished with the R serial batch. This would translate to 1987 to 1988. 168000 is one of the shortest produced Rolex models of all times (and this is the cool bit).
If you are game enough to invest in a 168000 then I strongly suggest my horse, listed below. The watch comes with the box and it is a very early model Mark 1, with semi-gloss dial.
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Old 11 January 2018, 02:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Styles Bitchley View Post
Gotta love autocorrect.


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Thatís what happens when you drive and Type...

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Old 11 January 2018, 02:34 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=sdimi;8175493]
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdimi View Post
Let me know when you dear friendís watch turns up as I would like to do a comparison to mine.



Here is a link to one I saw for sale in Australia. The seller gives some interesting comments in the description. I think they are a very interesting watch for an entry level price.

clockmaker.com.au/w/k5503.html

Sorry. Seller has removed the description so I hope he doesn't mind that I've pasted it below:


One of the most controversial pieces in recent years is the Rolex Submariner 168000. This particular model was produced around 1988 for an unknown period of time (most likely less than a year). It is also known as 'transitional' because it features the 'old' calibre 3035 movement with 'new' style bicchierini 16610 dial. Another peculiarity of this model is the case back. It was stamped 16800 (note one zero less), and here is the main problem: the 168000 does not appear in any official Rolex documentation; the number only appears between the lugs of the watch itself!
It is easy to see how such a piece could tempt any Rolex dealer to bend the truth, fabricate facts or just liberally interpret what is known in order to create hype because hype sells. And super rare means possible investment potential.
And, quite frankly, once the 'story' hits the internet, it grows like a snowball, with each dealer or seller adding its twist to it, or another layer of wishful thinking.
So what is the truth?
My advice is simple: do your own research. Start with the serial numbers, production dates, compare the paperwork, and try to figure out how many pieces were made. For all the other 'lazy' collectors: either stay away from it, or pay only as much as you can afford to lose. In other words, don't pay premium. Investment potential? Assume none, at least for now.
I am more than happy to share my own research notes:
1. 168000 is ALWAYS fitted with movement Cal 3035.
2. The correct bracelet for 168000 is steel Oyster Ref 93150 and end link 593
3. It was the first Submariner to be made in 904L steel (316L being abounded due to corrosion problems)
4. The case back for 168000 is ALWAYS stamped just 16800
5. There are at least two dial styles, known as Mark 1 and Mark 2. The main difference between the two is the font style; in particular the style of the letter S in Submariner. Mark 1 is 'curvy S' and Mark 2 is flipped Z, also known as Sorro/Zorro. Also, the MK 1 is semi-gloss (but not quite matte) where MK2 is gloss dial, same as in 16610.
6. Definite production year? Unknown. However, the production started with a high 9 million serial number and finished with the R serial batch. This would translate to 1987 to 1988. 168000 is one of the shortest produced Rolex models of all times (and this is the cool bit).
If you are game enough to invest in a 168000 then I strongly suggest my horse, listed below. The watch comes with the box and it is a very early model Mark 1, with semi-gloss dial.


This helped a lot, I appreciate you sharing it and acknowledging TRF about such interesting pieces.

Cheers
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Old 11 January 2018, 02:35 AM   #11
Thathorologist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdimi View Post
Let me know when you dear friendís watch turns up as I would like to do a comparison to mine.



Here is a link to one I saw for sale in Australia. The seller gives some interesting comments in the description. I think they are a very interesting watch for an entry level price.

clockmaker.com.au/w/k5503.html


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I will definitely share pictures as soon as Purchase has taken place.
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Old 11 January 2018, 07:12 AM   #12
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Approximately 9 months. It heralded in the use of higher grade stainless steel.
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Old 12 January 2018, 02:39 AM   #13
MikeB2620
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My 168000

Watch low res.jpg Here is my 168000, serial number 8495141
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Old 18 January 2018, 08:28 AM   #14
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168000 (9,7xxxxx)

Here's one of my 168000..... 9,7xxxxx
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 168000 (9,7xxxx).jpg (95.4 KB, 515 views)
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Old 20 January 2018, 07:53 AM   #15
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Here's one of my 168000..... 9,7xxxxx


Very Nice thank you, that one was an R serial and he backed out because of Hands patina not matching the Dial. I think it was a good Deal for $6,400USD


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Old 20 January 2018, 07:54 AM   #16
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Attachment 918393 Here is my 168000, serial number 8495141


Yours is certainly beautiful meanwhile very lowkey. Enjoy in health and happiness


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Old 7 February 2018, 08:36 AM   #17
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Hi, I'm looking at a 168000 with R59 as start of serial #, does that sound like a legitimate one? Also, when you are looking at a vintage watch, is there a surefire way to tell if the bezel or lume pearl has been replaced? My first watch, appreciate any help you can give.

Thanks!
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Old 7 March 2022, 04:22 AM   #18
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Hello, this is a reply on your older posting. Guido Mondani quetes the 168000 with Zorro dial as the Mk1 and the other one as Mk2. My 168000 Zorro has a lo R3 serial.
I'm interested: do you have newer insights in the Mk1 ves Mk2?
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Old 5 March 2024, 11:15 AM   #19
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Icon15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tools View Post
Since Rolex doesn't provide production data, it is always cloudy.

They used the new 16610, 904L cases but stamped them 168000 and fitted them with the 16800's 3035 movements.

Visually, you can't tell the difference from a late 16800, a 168000, and an early 16610.
The 168000 cant be the same case as the 16610 because a 3035 movement wonít fit into a 3135 case. The stem height is different. Doesnít line up. Itís off by a mm or so. If you tried to screw the crown down you would prob snap the stem or bind up the movement. You could space it out with dial spacers but then you would have a gap between the dial and datewheel and you would need taller cannon pinions. Definitely not something Rolex would do.
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Old 5 March 2024, 11:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleRedRolex View Post
The 168000 cant be the same case as the 16610 because a 3035 movement wonít fit into a 3135 case. The stem height is different. Doesnít line up. Itís off by a mm or so. If you tried to screw the crown down you would prob snap the stem or bind up the movement. You could space it out with dial spacers but then you would have a gap between the dial and datewheel and you would need taller cannon pinions. Definitely not something Rolex would do.
You did chop up the original comment and context on this several year old post

The point is, they used the 16610 904L stamp blank material and, of course, had to machine them for the earlier, available, 3035 movement since the 3135 was not yet ready to install.

Thank you for adding clarification concerning these two generations of Sub movements.
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Old 5 March 2024, 05:12 PM   #21
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As this has been re-opened, is there any visual differences or nuances between the colour of the cases on the 168000 904l steel and previous 1680/16800 cases?
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Old 6 March 2024, 09:52 AM   #22
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About 1 year if I recall correctly
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