Saturday, October 13, 2018

Robert Palmer Bradley DeepStar 4000 Pilot—Single Red SEA-DWELLER

Robert Palmer Bradley

DeepStar 4000 Pilot


Coming To Phillips Auction House

This story represents a significant piece of the Rolex Submariner/SEA-DWELLER puzzle, which I have been aware of for a very long time, but I never wrote about it until today, as I was never really able to contextualize it properly.

A few days ago, Jose from published an AMAZING article about Robert Palmer Bradley's Single Red SEA-DWELLER which is coming to Phillips Auction House in Geneva on November 10-11 2018. This is no ordinary Single Red SEA-DWELLER as it is the very first known manufactured example.

I wrote a super detailed review of Rolex's 50th Anniversary Single Red SEA-DWELLER which is fascinating.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this story, I have been aware of this Single Red SEA-DWELLER for a long time, but never put this puzzle piece together with the rest until today. Jose from and I were discussing parts of this story last year, but when he published his recent story, it kind of woke me up to the significance of this puzzle piece. So let's dive into this amazing piece of Rolex SEA-DWELLER history.

The photo below shows Robert Palmer Bradley in November 1968 during a ceremony at the Kona Kai Club in San Diego, California receiving his Single Red SEA-DWELLER as a gift from Rolex USA and Westinghouse to celebrate the 500th successful dive of the DEEPSTAR 4000 Submersible. If you look closely you will notice Robert Palmer Bradley holding the classic forest green Rolex gift box in his hand that contains the Single Red SEA-DWELLER.

The Westinghouse DeepStar 4000 Submersible is pictured below in San Deigo, California.

In 1968 Rolex had been working closely with Bob Barth of the U.S. Navy SEALAB  to develop the Rolex SEA-DWELLER and Rolex published the following magazine and as a tribute to Robert Palmer Bradley. This 1968 Rolex Submariner features Westinghouse's DEEPSTAR 4000 along with the Submariner. 

Don't forget that the SEA-DWELLER was and remains a Submariner variant. Robert Palmer Bradleys SEA-DWELLER dial is pictured below and notice underneath the red SEA-DWELLER designation is says, "SUBMARINER 500M-1650FT".

Jacques-Yves Cousteau invented the two-man mini Submersible as seen in the photos below, which the Westinghouse DEEPSTAR was based upon.

The following magazine article was published in October of 1962 and features the history of the development of Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Sea Saucer.

The photo below is from the National Archives and it has a caption that reads:

"K-81569 Underwater Vehicle Deepstar 4000. This Westinghouse vehicle is lowered into the water to be used to inspect Sealab III while the habitat is on the ocean floor for experiments. Off San Clemente, California, December 1968."

The video below is a documentary on SEALAB III and it features the DEEPSTAR 4000 that Robert Bradley Palmer was piloting at the time.

As I mentioned, definitely check out Jose's amazing article on Robert Palmer Bradley's Single Red SEA-DWELLER on Also, Jose and I worked tirelessly on developing THE HISTORY OF THE ROLEX SEA-DWELLER Poster seen below. 

To see all the amazing detail in the SEA-DWELLER Timeline poster below right-mouse-click on it to open it in a different browser window. You can also purchase an amazing high res version of the poster in the Timelines section of

Friday, October 12, 2018

PAN AM 1960 Wall Cock Chronometer


50CM 1960 Wall Cock Chronometer

Christie's Lot Notes

A rare find these large size clocks are the ultimate trophy for the collector of Rolex ephemera. Manufactured for Pan Am or Pan American World Airlines by the Hanover Manufacturing, Inc. in Ohio, they were used in the offices of Pan Am, at airport check in desks and perhaps also at Rolex retailers as advertisement for the collaboration between the two firms, resulting in the creation of the celebrated GMT-Master in the mid-1950s.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Prince Andrew Gives Away Princess Eugenie

Prince Andrew 

Gives Away 

Princess Eugenie

Prince Andrew gave away his daughter, Princess Eugenie in here wedding ceremony today at Windsor Castle.

Prince Andrew is pictured above with his daughter, Princess Eugenie and notice he is wearing his trademark white gold Rolex Day-Date.

Witnessing Prince Andrew giving away his daughter reminds me of his own wedding to Princess Sarah, Duchess of York, also known as "Princess Fergie." As we see in the photo above, Prince Andrew is still wearing the exact same white gold Rolex Day-Date 32 years later.

The photo below shows Prince Andrew holding Sarah Ferguson's hand when they got engaged.

Prince Andrew has been wearing Rolex watches for many years and in the photo below Prince Andrew with Sir Sean Connery in 1986 at the Rolex sponsored Jackie Stewart Celebrity Challenge. Prince Andrew is wearing his Submariner and Sean Connery is wearing his Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What Is Really Going on with Rolex Supply: Part 2

What Is Really 

Going on with Rolex

Supply: Part 2


In last year's podcast with Jake I mentioned how the CIA could learn much from Rolex when it comes to running an operation discreetly. As one who has covered the business beat professionally for daily newsprints and now tweets daily about Rolex, I can tell you that Rolex news is some of the hardest to come by. There are remarkably zero leaks before a product is unveiled, a feat hardly matched by any American company. 

As the Rolex steel-model shortage continues to be felt, any discovery of financial reports from Rolex or one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries is met with trepidation.

Which brings us to Rolex Watch Company Ltd. The small London-based business is 100-percent owned by Rolex S.A. It employs close to 200 people in the UK, and its main job is to sell all Rolex products to authorized dealers that are in the UK and Ireland. It is interesting to note this organization files financial statements as mandated by British laws.

Its latest annual financial report was released last week and provides a looking glass into Rolex' state of business in the UK in 2017, the first year a shortage of Rolex steel models gripped the market. 

On the issue of shortage, it was always the position of Jake's Rolex World that Rolex does not produce fewer watches in an attempt to keep prices up. Jake's position was simply that demand is surging for Rolex products at a pace that is faster than the company can reasonably manage. Jake wrote an article named “What Is Really Going On With Rolex Supply” in which he laid out all the reasons why he thought Rolex demand was radically exceeding supply. 

For the first time, we have some numbers to back it up. In its report, the British arm of Rolex said revenue from watches sold to authorized dealers has gone up. As I look at the past ten years, it has not only gone up, but reached a record high. It would be difficult to argue that Rolex provides fewer watches to its dealers and at the same time manages to generate the highest revenue in the history of Rolex Watch Company, which even had to bolster its staff to cope with the growth, according to the report.

One argument is that the higher revenue is due to the 2016 price increase of 10%. But sales value is up 23% when comparing 2017 to 2016. Besides the 10-percent price hike is merely offsetting the weakened pound following the “Brexit” in 2016. To summarize:

  • Sales value is up 23% when comparing 2017 to 2016.
  • Sales value is up 43% when comparing 2016 to 2015.
  • Sales value is up 76% when comparing 2017 to 2015.

In 2017, Rolex sales to UK & Irish network of authorized dealers have never been higher, topping £329M in 2017. Its operating profit jumped a staggering 86% year over year. 

I contend that the UK is currently one of the cheapest places in Europe to buy a Rolex because of the weak pound; however, that is difficult to account for all that increase, or to argue that there’s a Rolex' imposed restriction to supply. Rolex generated more revenue in 2017 than in 2016. 

While I'd wish I could see figures for the global market, I believe that if Rolex restricted supply it would have been reflected here in the UK figures. To be clear, these numbers don't reflect sales to customers; it reflects what British and Irish authorized dealers are buying from the Rolex' UK branch. 

And they are buying more than ever because their customers are buying, too.

A Word

About Asia

Few realize how much impact the Asian market has on the Swiss watch industry and thus contributed to the shortage of Rolex inventory. For 2017, the value of the Asian market was half of the world.

According to the most recent data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Hong Kong and Mainland China have lead the comeback of the luxury watch market’s largest growth in almost five years. 

穷玩车, 富玩表

“The poor play with luxury cars while the rich play with luxury watches.” Chinese maxim.

For example, from January to June of 2018, Hong Kong and Mainland China contributed over $237.6 million in exported sales. That is more than double the entire U.S. market during the same time. This equates to a huge 29.5 percent rise from 2017 in Hong Kong, 13.4 percent in Mainland China.

I contend that these figures are for all Swiss brands, not just Rolex. But Rolex is arguably the most well-known luxury watch brand in China. Rolex’ round face shape is deemed auspiciousness according to Chinese tradition, and its golden crown logo symbolizes status and power. The brand has chosen top Chinese musicians Lang Lang, Li Yundi (featured below) and Yujia Wang as its brand ambassadors. 

The boost is felt like a tsunami in the Rolex market because of a serious slump that followed the Chinese government’s anti-corruption measures, which took effect in 2014. The measures saw harsh punishments to officials and diplomats for engaging in gift-giving.

That anti-corruption campaign led the Swiss watch market’s global export value to tank in 2015 and 2016. According to data by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing, it has certified fewer mechanical Swiss watches in 2016 than in previous past four years. However, in 2017, we observe a jump again, indicating a sudden increase in production to cope with demand. 

China now seems set to lead the recovery of this entire industry, and it’s all due to a large generation of young, affluent consumers who are creating the largest demand for luxury watches in the history of the world.

Follow me on Twitter @RolexMagazine and read more Rolex business news.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

1963 Rolex GMT-Master Ad

...Retro Rolex Coolness...

1963 German Rolex GMT-Master Ad

This is such a cool retro Rolex GMT-Master Ad that features a Reference 1675. It reads:

"Today in London—tomorrow in Paris—and next week in Tokyo! And he always keeps his appointments on time.  

Because the Rolex GMT-Master specifies - after your own choice - the exact time of two different places on earth. 

The Rolex GMT Master is naturally waterproof, automatic and also displays the date. It reminds you of meetings and can also be used as a chronograph.

Do it like the PAA pilots and like this successful businessman: Wear a Rolex!

We are happy to show you the latest models without obligation."


Monday, October 8, 2018

Yellow Gold Hermes Rolex Daytona

...Rolex Studio Shot Of The Day...

Yellow Gold Hermes Rolex Daytona
1968 Reference 6241

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ed Viesturs: A Real Rolex Explorer

Rolex recently published this Every Rolex Tells A Story video on Ed Viesturs so I thought I would add it to this story.

...A Real Rolex Explorer...

Rolex Super Coolness

Ed Viesturs

On Top Of The World

Ed Viesturs is one of the most accomplished high-altitude mountain climbers in history. He not only wears a Rolex Explorer, but is also officially sponsored by Rolex. In many ways, Ed Viesturs is the living is the living embodiment of the Rolex Explorer, both literally and figuratively.

Ed Viesturs is pictured below in a recent Rolex magazine ad for the all-new Rolex Explorer II "Orange Hand" with the Polar white dial.

Below is a National Geographic video that features Ed Viesturs giving a presentation on his climbing career.

Ed is the first American, and 12th person overall to summit all 14 mountains that are taller than 8000 meters, know collectively as the "Eight-Thousanders." He is also the sixth climber to do it without bottled oxygen.

"Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory." –Ed Viesturs

Ed Viesturs is about as hardcore as high-altitude climbers get and he has summitted Mount Everest a total of six times. Talk about taking your breath away!!! (No pun intended).

If you want to learn more about Mount Everest and Rolex, check out my story of Sir Edmund Hillary and Norgay Tenzing's conquest of Everest story by clicking here.

The following Rolex Ad is shows Ed Viesturs on top of Everest.

We see in the first photo in this story as well as in the photo below, Ed's trademark watch is a Rolex Explorer II with the white dial.

Watch Charlie Rose interview Ed Viesturs:

Ed Viesturs on Conversations at KCTS 9

In the close-up version below (of the photo above) we see Ed Viesturs on top of the world and he is wearing a Rolex Submariner.

Ed Viesturs is pictured below with mountain climbing legend Jim Whittaker. Jim Whittaker was the first American to summit Mount Everest.