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1988 Rolex Submariner ref. 168000 “Triple 0” with Box and Papers

Most people with even a cursory interest in watches catch the Submariner bug to some degree or another. In fact, the Submariner variant of horology fever is arguably the most dominant strain of all.

A major part of why watch collectors and horology heads find themselves so deeply submerged in the world of Submariners lies in the sheer number of variations, unique references, and twists on the theme of Rolex’s perfect dive watch which have been released over the model’s lengthy lifespan. From the primordial days of the Bond-era “Big Crown” references to military-issued models, to the myriad variations presented by different dial finishing techniques and materials, one could collect Submariners exclusively and still never have a truly complete collection. So it should be unsurprising that in a category of watch with so much variance, a transitional model like the ref. 168000 (or “Triple 0”) Submariner references from the late 1980s is not only a bit of a sleeper amongst Subs, but a watch that’s quickly rising in collectability.

In this installment of our video series What Is On My Wrist, Craft + Tailored CEO and executive barista Cameron Barr takes a good look at what makes the “Triple 0” Sub such an exciting watch in the Submariner category. These watches represent the early days of changes made to the Submariner formula that have remained a part of the recipe today – namely a shift from 316 L to an upgraded 904 L stainless steel. While the “Triple 0” references were only produced for about 7-9 months, these were the first Submariners rendered in the upgraded steel which Rolex still uses today – that is if you can even find a steel Rolex today, but that’s another blog!

Between the “Triple 0’s” scarcity (thanks to its short production run), handsome appointments like a glossy dial with white gold surrounds, and the late ‘80s “neo-vintage” era of Rolex ascending to become an increasingly desirable production period, these watches combine many of our favorite features of both older and contemporary Subs. What’s remarkable is how harmoniously these Subs pull that trick off without looking like a Frankenstein of Submariner traits. The example Cam looks at in this episode was made in 1988 and is in stellar condition and comes with a full set! Check the episode out at the link below and keep your eyes on these models – we can guarantee they’re going to be considered a real prize in the coming years! 

To stay up to date with all of our ‘What Is On My Wrist’ videos and many more make sure to subscribe on YouTube.

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