The present timepiece is a most appealing example of the rare ref. 16610 made for COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise), preserved in very good, original overall condition.
Reference 16610 was launched in 1989, replacing the reference 16800, featuring a depth rating of 300 meters or 1000 feet, sapphire crystal and caliber 3135 movement with quick-set calendar functions.
As of the late 1960s, Rolex supplied different Submariner models featuring the patented gas escape valve to the side to COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise) in Marseille, a professional diving operation for the oil industry.
Watches supplied to Comex include following references:
Ref. 5513 Submariner 660ft=200m: approx. 1971 - 1973
Ref. 5514 Submariner 660ft=200m: approx. 1974 - 1977
Ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller, 200ft=600m: approx. 1977 - 1982
Ref. 1680 Submariner Date, 660ft=200m: approx. 1978 - 1979
Ref. 16600 Sea-Dweller 4000ft=1220m: approx. 2003
Ref. 16610 Submariner Date 1000ft=300m: approx. 1986 - 1997
Ref. 16660 Sea-Dweller 4000ft=1220m: approx. 1980 - 1984
Ref. 16800 Submariner Date 1000ft=300m: approx. 1982 - 1986
Ref. 168000 Submariner Date 1000ft=300 m: approx. 1988 - 1989
Founded in 1961 in Marseille by Henri-Germain Delauze, Comex or Compagnie Maritime d'Expertise pioneered in professional diving in the commercial field, requiring tool watches designed for conducting safe diving operations at greater depths, known as saturation diving. The successful collaboration between Comex and Rolex started in the early 1970s when all divers were progressively equipped with watches especially made for Comex: the improved "Submariner" model meeting the most stringent technical and professional demands of the professional deep-sea diver.