U.S. Navy SEAL Submariner
SEAL Team One: Vietnam War 1968
Seek and Destroy Operation in the Mekong Delta Jungle Swamp
Rolex Submariner: Reference 5512 or 5513
Jessy Chan is from Hong Kong and he is a big fan of Jake's Rolex World and he wrote in to say he though it was "Super and Informative."
Jessy also sent in a link to to a Vietnam War website that has this photo of an U.S. Navy SEAL from SEAL Team One, which was taken in 1968. Jessy pointed out it looks like the Navy SEAL is wearing either a Rolex Submariner Reference 5512 or 5513. Of course, he could also be wearing a Reference 1680 Submariner, which had the date, or, since the photo was taken in 1968, he could also be wearing an early Rolex SEA-DWELLER.
My younger brother is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and I remember him talking about how many of the Navy SEALs watch of choice was always a Rolex Submariner, so it fascinating to see this photo. If you are not familiar with the U.S. Navy SEALs, they are arguable the best trained special forces in the world. Navy SEAL is the acronym for Sea, Air and Land.
Navy Seal's specialize more than anything in amphibious operations which include underwater demolition, as well as other aquatic operations. The U.S. Navy SEALs represent the U.S. Navy's principal special force, and they are a part of the NSWC (Naval Special Warfare Command). The SEAL program is also considered the maritime component of USSOCOM (The United States Special Operations Command).
Since Navy SEALs specialize in underwater operations, which includes ocean and fresh-water, they are typically perceived as the best trained, most effective, amphibious units in the world, yet the are often deployed on all kinds of other special missions which include hostage rescue, special reconnaissance operations, foreign internal defense, as well as direct action.
It stands to reason the U.S. Navy SEALs would have been the ultimate target market for wearing the Rolex Submariner and SEA-DWELLER models as actual tool watches. After all, Rolex co-developed the Rolex SEA-DWELLER with the U.S. Navy SEA-LAB for their DEEP-SEA Divers.
I have yet to write the detailed chapters on the U.S. Navy SEA-LAB and how they co-developed the Rolex SEA-DWELLER, but at some point in the future, as time permits, I will publish this absolutely fascinating piece of history, which includes many podcast interviews I have recorded as well as many amazing, never-before-published historical photos. In the meantime, you can learn much more about the Complete History of the Rolex Submariner, SEA-DWELLER and DEEP-SEA by reading the chapters I have already published.
When exploring the U.S. Naval history in the context of Rolex history, it is also important to note the special Rolex DEEP-SEA prototype was attached to the outside of the U.S. Navy Bathyscaphe Trieste submersible, when it set its all-time depth record in 1960.
If you are interested in learning more about the absolutely fascinating origins of the U.S. Navy SEAL program, Wikipedia offers an amazing overview. I reversed the image on the horizontal axis, since the way it is was published is likely backwards.