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The Rolex Submariner 116659SABR: A dazzling piece quietly released by Rolex Blog Banner Image

The Rolex Submariner 116659 SABR: A dazzling piece quietly released by Rolex


The Rolex Submariner 116659SABR lavishly set with 3.90 carats of sapphire and a total of 1.72 carats of diamonds.

The Rolex Submariner 116659 SABR made its hush-hush debut in 2018. Similar to the white gold Submariner ref. 116619 LB “Smurf” with a blue dial and blue Cerachrom ceramic bezel, the ref. 116659 SABR is also crafted in 18k white gold. Inside the sparkly case is the same robust in-house Caliber 3135 automatic movement that powers all current Rolex Submariner watches. However, the 40mm case of the 116659 SABR is set with 92 brilliant-cut diamonds on the lugs and crown guards.

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White gold, Sapphires, Diamonds, and A Great Amount Of Bling

The Rolex Submariner ref.116659 SABR features a gem-set unidirectional rotating bezel with 36 sapphires and 12 diamonds instead of a ceramic bezel graduated to 60 minutes. Cleverly, Rolex selected lighter-colored sapphires for the first nine stones followed by darker ones for the rest to evoke the hash marks of the first 15 minutes on traditional Submariner timing bezels. The 10-minute intervals on the bezel are marked out by diamonds, complete with a triangular-cut diamond at the 0 position. Fun fact, the letters in the reference number are short for the French words “SAphirs, “BRillants” to denote the sapphires and diamonds on the bezel.

The Rolex Submariner is available with two dial options. The first is a rich sunburst blue dial home to the familiar applied white gold lume-filled hour markers of regular-production modern Submariners. The date window is of course there, magnified by the Cyclops lens affixed to the exterior of the crystal. Yet, upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the depth rating normally found on Submariner dials is missing. Whether or not the Submariner is water-resistant to 300 meters like other Submariners, it is perhaps not as important since it is highly unlikely to ever be taken for a serious dive. The other option is a full diamond-paved dial that includes eight sapphire hour indexes to accompany the luminous markers at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock.

Similar to the “Smurf” Submariner, the ref. 116659 SABR is fitted with a white gold Oyster bracelet, equipped with a folding Oysterlock safety clasp. There’s even the Glidelock extension system to expand the bracelet an additional 20mm in length in 2mm increments. For those seeking even more opulence, Rolex also offers the 116659 SABR with the option of a white gold Oyster bracelet with diamond-set center links.

36 sapphires and 12 diamonds on the bezel of the Rolex Submariner 116659SABR

Ultra-rare Rolex model releases at Baselworld

Prior to the cancellation of the event this year, Rolex would always announce its new watch models at Baselworld every spring in Switzerland. The splashy Rolex releases at Baselworld get widely covered by the media and quickly become overnight favorites among watch enthusiasts.

Unbeknownst to some, Rolex also drops models discreetly, without any official announcements to the press or public. Paradoxically, the types of Rolex watches that quietly come out of the factory into select boutiques around the world are those that make the loudest statement on the wrist. These are ultra-rare, lavishly set with precious gems, and very expensive Rolex watches reserved for a select few. Since Rolex does not list these watches on their brand website or even publicize these exceptional jewelry watches, it is up to the boutiques to decide which of their clients will be given access to them.

36 sapphires, 12 diamonds on the bezel, and a rich sunburst blue dial on the Rolex Submariner 116659SABR

Gem-Set Rolex Tool Watches

It is clear that Rolex tool watches decked out in diamonds and other precious gems are not for everyone—and that is the point.

Whether Daytona “SACO” chronographs with orange sapphires, GMT-Master “SARU” pilot watches with sapphires and rubies or Submariner “SABR” divers with sapphires, bejeweled Rolex Oyster Professional watches cater to an audience that enjoys the unconventional take on the tool watch.

This secret catalog of mysterious Rolex watches does not have to rely on heavy marketing or hype. In fact, the mystery that surrounds quietly released Rolex watches combined with very low production numbers makes it even more intriguing when one is spotted out in the wild. The watch nerd’s version of an Easter egg, so to speak.

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