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  1. R3D9 Jan 10, 2021

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    Hello all,

    I am looking at buying a 16800 Sub from circa ‘83 (8.03 serial) and the insert is pretty rough.

    The seller is a fantastic guy and the watch was his Dad’s daily driver for a couple of decades.

    I’m hoping you can have a look at the attached images (the seller has only provided one image so far and I’m awaiting better ones) to help identify whatever characteristics I should be looking for on a replacement insert to make sure it is period correct.

    I’ve seen plenty of bezels for sale that indicate they’ll fit a 16800 or a 16610 but am having trouble identifying which ones match my the specific watch I’m component.

    Any recommendations as to where best to source a correct insert? My preference would be to find a used one with some light wear to match the rest of the case, rather than a NOS example.

    Finally, can the original pearl be (relatively safely) swapped on to the new insert?

    Cheers and thanks!

    08B6E813-140A-47F1-BBCA-765CA5DFC243.jpeg DF2B4138-E70F-4906-96F6-ECDDEC358505.jpeg EFEBEAD1-AB23-40AC-B152-1B352253CE69.jpeg
     
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  2. ATWG Jan 10, 2021

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    Hi - not the best pics, but looks like a matte dial 16800 which is appropriate for referenced serial above. The insert looks like an MK3 which again is period correct. The pips are relatively easy to source and install. A quick google search with the information provided can provide you with all the necessary material to help source one. There is a lot of good info on variants on TRF.

    MK3’s are pretty common and plentiful on TRF and VRM, they go for any where $1k-$3k depending on condition and font size. As with anything vintage Rolex related, there are a lot of counterfeit floating around, make sure you buy the seller.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
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  3. R3D9 Jan 10, 2021

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    Thank you @ATWG - precisely what I was hoping to learn. As soon as I have some better pics (or even better, the watch in hand) I’ll be sure to revisit this post and share.

    Cheers!
     
  4. Dan S Jan 10, 2021

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    Shouldn't this era 16800 have an insert with the metal surround lume pip? The photos are so poor that I can't tell. If so, a replacement insert will cost only a few hundred IMO.
     
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  5. ATWG Jan 10, 2021

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    I think you’re correct Dan, I couldn’t make out the metal ring from the pics.
     
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  6. R3D9 Jan 10, 2021

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    Apologies about the awful pics, gents. Good news that the replacement will not cost so much.
    Is this kind of pearl swappable from one insert to the other? I do like how it has aged.

    I’m hoping to have a few better ones to share tomorrow. I believe it does. Have a metal surround.
    I’ve noticed from my searches that there are variations in the fonts on these inserts and also tritium vs. non-tritium versions.
     
  7. Dan S Jan 10, 2021

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    Yes, you can swap the pearl. Or maybe you will like the pearl on the insert that you buy. If I recall correctly, you need to be a little careful since the date and no-date sapphire Subs have slightly different size inserts.
     
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  8. Scarecrow Boat 5000 Candles in the Wind Jan 10, 2021

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    This is correct

    The 16800 outside diameter is 37.65mm and inside diameter is 30.3mm.
    The 14060 will not fit as its outside diameter is 36.55mm and inside diameter is 29.7mm .
     
    Edited Jan 10, 2021
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  9. R3D9 Jan 10, 2021

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    That is great to know. Thank you :thumbsup:
     
  10. Tri-national-man Jan 11, 2021

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    .. Should have a “flat four” insert with tritium pip..?
     
  11. R3D9 Jan 11, 2021

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    I have a better picture to share now! I’ve noticed subtle differences between a variety of compatible inserts... the 40 in particular... how long the bottom part of the bisected vertical line of the four seems, in particular, to vary.

    1F738F1A-7D6B-4C9E-82B8-9CD76F4138D1.jpeg
     
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  12. Dan S Jan 11, 2021

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    There are some distinctive features that you can use to identify a particular insert, but others are variable. The stamps that were used to make the printing wore out with use, and bezels made early and late by a particular die vary a bit in appearance. So it's better to use the distinctive shapes of numerals as opposed to thickness etc. TBH, the very subtle differences haven't really been the subject of much study for these 5-digit sub inserts, since they are not so sought after.

    My watchmaker had a bunch of these at some point. If one of them looks right to you, I can ask him if he still has them.

    inserts.jpg
     
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  13. R3D9 Jan 11, 2021

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    Many thanks @Dan S

    The one at the top right looks extremely close to my eyes. And the top centre looks close, too. Interesting to see the variances. As a vintage Seiko collector it makes me feel at home :)

    The deal is pending seller’s acceptance of my offer. If it ends up going through, I would really appreciate you reaching out to your watchmaker. I can send you a DM to let you know once it closes? :thumbsup:
     
  14. Dan S Jan 11, 2021

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    Sure, I can see what he has left, and he can check the sizes. Some of them may be for no-dates.
     
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  15. Nobel Prize Spell Master! Jan 11, 2021

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    Why is the pip on the bezel so degraded compared to the rest of the tritium?
     
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  16. R3D9 Jan 11, 2021

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    From what I’ve seen with other examples, it seems fairly common for these early 80’s pearls to turn much darker than the dial and hands. I’ve seen it on dozens of examples. Just one of those quirks, I guess?
     
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  17. Nobel Prize Spell Master! Jan 11, 2021

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    I guess. I never noticed a trend with such a difference between them. I would expect some level of degradation on the dial plots since the conditions of exposure should be the same. Don’t get me wrong, doesn’t have to be even, but that’s a huge difference.

    Anyway, if it is what it is it is what it is.
     
  18. Togri v. 2.0 Wow! Custom title... cool Jan 12, 2021

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    I agree. I have also seen 16800 with dials showing a much “lighter” patina than the pearl my own included.

    I have no reason to believe that my own dial is a later replacement as the tritium is quite depleted with only very weak lume. 0FE03F14-6C49-4813-BE71-646E828B6319.jpeg 9E32DBB3-73BB-4077-9CD8-9927E2E9C158.jpeg 6BD0BC8F-D92C-4F36-8074-6F101D09B8EB.jpeg

    The lume plots are much lighter in colour than the pearly. Strangely enough the lume plots on my 1985 Sub are not as patinated as the lume blots on my 1993 GMT II ::confused2:: Oh well, I doubt we will ever get a definitive answer
     
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  19. morningtundra Jan 13, 2021

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    The metal surround on the lume pip should pair with the glossy dials which had gold surrounds on hour markets. This bezel doesn’t match the matte dial...
     
  20. Dan S Jan 13, 2021

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    IIRC, transitional 16800 pieces from the early 1980s are the exception to this.