Case

Case: The 1016 case is a traditional time only watch case with long, slender lugs and no crown guards. Here are some of the notable dimensions:

  • Diameter: 36 mm across without the crown
  • Crown: 6 mm diameter (part number 24-600-0)
  • Lug Width/Spring Bars: 20 mm lug width. Spring bars are part number 23-9293. These have shorter ends than the Submariner (which uses 23-9291) to accommodate the thinner lugs.
  • Lug to Lug Length: 43 mm

Below are pictures of an unpolished 1016 case. Note the brushing on the top of the lugs and the crisp edges.

Picture Credit: Michael Morgan
Picture Credit: Michael Morgan

Model & Serial Engraving Layout: Between the lugs sit the model and serial engravings. The the engraving at the 12 o’clock (top) position has the model number and the 6 o’clock (bottom) position has the serial. There are five variations that occur across the 1016’s model life:

  • SN 5xx,xxx (1959) – 6xx,xxx (1960): On these early examples, the top position has “1016” on the first line and “Registered Design” on the second line. The bottom position has the serial number on the first line and the second line is either blank or has “Stainless Steel”.
  • SN 695,xxx (1960) – 2,5xx,xxx (1970): The earliest case with this “standard 1960’s” engraving (that I’ve seen) is in the 695xxx batch. The top position now has “Registered Design” on the first line and “1016” on the second line. The bottom position has either a blank top line or “Stainless Steel” and the serial number on the second line. So far, there is not a clear pattern to the 1960’s watches having the “Stainless Steel” engraving or a blank space. Both are seen throughout the early and later 1960’s layouts, within the same serial batches, and with both fonts types (see below). I don’t have a good enough sample to determine if these vary by country of delivery, which is another possibility.
  • SN 2,9xx,xxx (1971) – 6,1xx,xxx (1979): the top position has “Registered Design” on the first line and “1016” on the second line. The bottom position always has “Stainless Steel” on the first line and the serial number on the second line.
  • SN ~6,6xx,xxx (1980): the top position is blank as the cases were transitioned to the next iteration, and “1016” is printed on the second line. The bottom position continues to have “Stainless Steel” on the first line and the serial number on the second line.
  • SN 7,0xx,xxx+ (1980-1989): the top position now says “Orig Rolex Design” and “1016” is printed on the second line. The bottom position continues to have “Stainless Steel” on the first line and the serial number on the second line.

Engraving Fonts: There are three engraving fonts used throughout the run of the model line, which Jose P. and Xeramic have studied in detail. They are Typefaces A, B, and C in the collages below, which are surmised to be used from 1953-1976, 1943-1978, and 1970-1992, respectively. Typeface D is from 1992 onward and should not be seen on the 1016. Credit to these scholars for this.

Credit: Xeramic of VRF

One anomalous case type seen is on some (but not all) watches with service dials. The fonts are Typeface B but the layout appears much different: they only have “1016” and the SN engraved, and the case back does not have a date stamp (see below). This leads me to believe that these are recased, though this is just an educated guess at this point. Here is an example (picture credit to HQ Milton):

Case back: Case back marking fonts change over time so please look around to find examples that match the watch you’re looking at. Rolex marks the quarter in roman numerals followed by the last two digits of the year on each case back (hence, the example below is from the fourth quarter of 1967).

Picture Credit: Bob’s Watches

Crown: The 1016 crown is 6 mm in diameter and features a the Rolex coronet with an underline, which signifies that it is a twinlock variant. The part number for the crown is 24-600-0. The twinlock crown system has two rubber gaskets. One gasket is inside the crown and compresses against the threaded tube attached to the watch case. The other rubber gasket is located inside the watch tube and encompasses the winding stem. Together, they prevent water and dust from entering the case. While the gasket in the watch tube can prevent water and dust from entering the movement even while the crown is unscrewed, keeping the crown screwed down prevents the stem from dislodging with any impact to the crown.

Picture Credit: Bob’s Watches

Crystal: The original plexiglass crystal for the 1016 is the Tropic 22, or T22. To distinguish original crystals from service crystals, look at the edge of the crystal. On service crystals there is a tall vertical component to the crystal and a very flat surface; original crystals have a small vertical component and a domed appearance. Below are original and service examples. Looking at the watch from above, the service crystal tends to distort the edge of the dial, which is another reason the originals are preferred.

Original Domed Crystal
(Picture Credit: Fratello Watches)
High Edge Service Crystal
(Picture Credit: Rolex Forums)