The Complete History Of
The Rolex Submariner & SEA-DWELLER
Rolex's Conquest Of The Ocean
Part 18: The Return Of The Rolex DEEP-SEA
This Chapter (18) is the last chapter of my 18 Chapter story named "The Complete History Of The Rolex Submariner and SEA-DWELLER–Rolex Conquest Of The Ocean." Researching and writing this book online has been an absolute pleasure and has provided me with an amazing education of not only Rolex history, but also the history of mankind's conquest of the ocean.
Many people ask me if I plan to publish a book or books about Rolex history, and the answer is yes and no. Yes, because if you have a computer or iPad, you can read it all on Jake's Rolex World for free. No, I have ZERO intention of publishing a physical book. Why? Because I love the flexibility of being able to update one master copy as new information and photos come in.
So far, I have published 17 of the 18 chapters of this story. The only chapter I have not started on is chapter 9, which is named "Chapter 9: The First SEA-DWELLER: Doctor Bond. U.S. Navy Project Genesis and Jacques Cousteau & Project CONSHELF." As time permits, in the future, I intend to publish that chapter and continue to update all chapters of this story.
...Rolex Ultra-Super Coolness...
Rolex Returns to the DEEPEST-SEA
National Geographic Expedition
Returns to The Deepest Point In The Ocean
When I first started publishing Jake's Rolex World back in 2008, it seemed to a large extent as if Rolex's best days were behind them. It seemed as if they were resting on their laurels and were only interested in selling watches. The Rolex CEO at the time, Patrick Heiniger left abruptly and since then, two men have taken the Rolex helm. Rolex seems to be back with a vengeance and newfound passion for their history as well as creating new history!!!!!!
The DEEPSEA Challenge project represents the first time in a really, really long-time that Rolex has collaborated with and supported National Geographic, which is great!!! This opportunity also represents the first time in a very long time since National Geographic has been involved in a serious exploration project. Let's hope this is the beginning of a new era of exploration for Rolex in their relationship with National Geographic.
This is the most exciting story I can possibly imagine!!!!! Rolex is returning to the Challenger DEEP, in the Mariana Trench, which is located approximately 200 miles off the coast of Guam, to the deepest known chasm known to mankind, and Rolex is doing this in conjunction with National Geographic and Academy Award winning director and explorer, James Cameron is spearheading the expedition.
"Rolex is a natural partner in this venture–unique in having reached the Challenger Deep 52 years ago and in its celebrated, century-long history of supporting exploration and helping push the boundaries of human and scientific endeavor." –James Cameron
James Cameron is best known for directing Academy Award winning movies, Titanic and Avatar, but he is also an avid Explorer. His is pictured below on the set of Titanic with actor, Bill Paxton. James Cameron made his mark on the Terminator series of movies, and of course Titanic was a mega-hit.
In 2005, James Cameron began working on the DEEPSEA Challenger so he could fulfill his lifetime dream of going down into exploring the deepest part of the ocean. Avatar was a mega-hit, that put James Cameron over the top, and gave him an unlimited budget to pursue this dream.
He is currently working with Peter Jackson on Avatar 2 in New Zealand, but has recently been focused on his DEEPSEA Challenge project, in which he intends to document the deepest known parts of the ocean for a full-lenghts 3D documentary.
James Cameron is pictured below in the brand new DEEP-SEA Challenger Submersible which he will personally pilot to the deepest know chasm in the ocean on planet earth, which is known as the Mariana Trench, which is located 7 miles below the ocean. James Cameron is scheduled to compete this record setting dive by the end of March, 2012!!!! From what I have heard, he may be diving as early as next weekend.
"Imagination feeds exploration. You have to imagine the possible before you can go and do it." –James Cameron
I almost forgot to mention, Rolex will have a new DEEP-SEA Special attached to the outside of the DEEPSEA Challenger submersible, just like they did with the Bathyscaph Trieste in 1960. I also learned this Rolex sponsorship of this project was formed recently, so it will be interesting to see if they attach a standard DEEP-SEA SEA-DWELLER to the outside, or I wonder if they will be attaching a potentially new prototype, to the outside.
In other words, as I understand it, Rolex did not have much time to prepare for this opportunity as in only came together recently, despite the fact James Cameron has been working on his DEEPSEA Challenger for many years.
"Our affinity with the deep also extends to active and sustained support of renowned marine researchers, supporting excellence and innovation in the advancement of human knowledge. I am convinced that James Cameron is bringing us to the threshold of a long-delayed revival in marine exploration. We are proud to have such a passionate and longstanding admirer of Rolex, and to return to the Challenger Deep on this historic venture to help unravel the secrets of the ocean's deepest places." –Gian Riccardo Marini, CEO of Rolex.
National Geographic Photo by Mark Thiessen of DEEPSEA CHALLENGER testing off Papua New Guinea in March 2012
In order to best understand this AMAZING Rolex Adventure, we must go back in time, 52 years ago, and explore the history of the original Rolex DEEP-SEA Special. The best way to understand this history is to check out Part 8 of my series named "The Complete History Of The Rolex Submariner & SEA-DWELLER" which is named "Part 8: The Birth Of The Rolex DEEP-SEA."
The Original Rolex DEEP-SEA Challenges
Before we go any further, let's take a quick trip back to 1960 to understand the amazing Rolex achievement. Jacques Piccard is pictured below, wearing his Rolex GMT Master. He and his father designed and built the Bathysacphe Trieste Submersible which he and U.S. Navy Donald Walsh Piloted to the deepest know chasm on earth.
Jacquest Piccard is pictured below with his father, August Piccard in 1953 posing in front of the Bathyscaphe Trieste, which was launched on the 26th of August in 1953. On the 30th of October in 1953, off the west coast of Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, just off the island of Ponza the Bathyscaphe Trieste set a world record by descending 10,350 feet (3350 Meters).
The Piccard's were Swiss and they were close friends with Rene-Paul Jeanneret, who was the Director of Rolex at the time. Rene-Paul Jeanneret was responsible for developing the original tool sport watch models for Rolex including the Rolex GMT and Rolex Submariner.
Rene-Paul Jeanneret put together a deal with the Piccard's in 1953 to attach a prototype Rolex Submariner named the Rolex DEEP-SEA SPECIAL to the outside of the Bathyscaphe Trieste when it dove down to 10,350 feet. The Rolex as they say "Took a licking, and kept on ticking. On October 12th, 1953 the Piccard's sent Rolex a telegram which read "Your watch perfectly resisted to 3150 Meters."
The following Rolex add recounts this event which was profound since Rolex watches conquered the highest peak on earth (Mount Everest) as well as setting the all-time depth record–all in 1953.
Here is a copy of the very first Rolex Mount Everest Ad which was published 3 days after Mount Everest was conquered. You can learn much more about Rolex conquering Mount Everest in 1953 by exploring my article named "Rolex Conquers Mount Everest–The Complete History."
The Bathyescaphe Trieste is pictured below as it is being lowered into the water from dry-dock. The U.S. Navy purchased the Bathyscaphe Trieste from the Piccard's in 1958 for $250,000. Jacques Piccard stayed on-board as and advisor since he was so familiar with the Bathyscaphe Trieste.
Jacques Piccard is pictured on the Bathyscaphe Trieste submersible in 1960 just before it descended into history in 1960.
U.S. Navy Captian Donald Walsh co-piloted the Bathyscaphe in 1960 with Jacques Piccard, and Captain Walsh is pictured below in 1960 (right side without hat). Donald Walsh was always one of James Cameron's heroes and Donald Walsh has been consulting James Cameron throughout the DEEPSEA Challenger project.
I completed a podcast with Captain Donald Walsh a few years ago, but I have yet to publish it. I plan to publish it in as soon as I get a chance. As I write this, Donald Walsh is on location near Guam, with the DEEPSEA Challenge team as they prepare for the record setting dive. The Bathyscaph Trieste is pictured below in 1960 with the U.S. Navy team headquartered in Guam.
Jacques Piccard attached the Rolex DEEP-SEA Special, pictured below to the outside of the Bathyscaph Trieste just before it dove down on the record setting mission. When the Bathyscaph Trieste returned safely from its 7 mile descent, the Rolex DEEP-SEA Special was still functioning properly.
U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh is pictured below on the left next to his co-pilot, Jacques Piccard, as they began their descent down into the ocean abyss.
This next image provides the exact details of the dive location.
This next image illustrates just how deep the Challenger Deep is.
This next photo was taken just after the Bathyscaph Trieste touched down on the ocean floor.
As I mentioned earlier, Jaques Piccard had attached a Rolex DEEP-SEA Special to the outside of the Trieste, and you see his telegram in French to Rolex on the 25th of January 1960. Translated into English from French it says
"Happy to inform your watch as precise at eleven thousand meters down as on the surface. Best Regards, Jacques Piccard."
Rolex was obviously very excited and showcased this amazing achievement in the following vintage Rolex ad:
Here is a Rolex video that sums up what occurred:
The Return Of The Rolex DEEP-SEA
Several years ago, Rolex updated the classic Rolex SEA-DWELLER with a model named the Rolex DEEP-SEA SEA-DWELLER and it is pictured below. This model is crazy over-engineered, and nobody could ever figure out why Rolex would make such a watch. It turns out that a Rolex DEEP-SEA will be descending down on this new Rolex mission to the Mariana Trench on the outside of James Cameron's DEEP-SEA Challenger submersible.
Rolex just announced at BaselWorld 2012 in Switzerland that Academy Award winning director, James Cameron would be spearheading an exploration to return back to the Mariana Trench with a Rolex DEEP-SEA attached to the outside of his DEEP-SEA Challenger submersible!!!!
James Cameron is picture above sporting his trademark Rolex Submariner. James Cameron recently wrote about the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE he will be spearheading and he said:
“I’ve always dreamed of diving to the deepest place in the oceans. For me it went from a boyhood fantasy to a real quest, like climbing Everest, as I learned more about deep-ocean exploration and became an explorer myself in real life. This quest was not driven by the need to set records, but by the same force that drives all science and exploration … curiosity.
So little is known about these deep places that I knew I would see things no human has ever seen. There is currently no submersible on Earth capable of diving to the ‘full ocean depth’ of 36,000 feet. The only way to make my dream a reality was to build a new vehicle unlike any in current existence. Our success during seven prior expeditions building and operating our own deep-ocean vehicles, cameras, and lighting systems gave me confidence that such a vehicle could be built, and not just with the vast resources of government programs, but also with a small entrepreneurial team.
It took more than seven years to design and build the vehicle, and it is still a work in progress. Every dive teaches us more, and we are continuing to improve the sub and its systems daily, as we move through our sea trials.” —James Cameron
Return to The DEEPEST SEA
James Cameron is pictured below consulting with U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh about his future dive to return to the DEEPEST-SEA in his DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. Captain Don Walsh was one of the two original co-pilots of the Bathyscaphe Trieste which set the all-time depth record for humanity. James Cameron will be personally attempting to achieve the same record by himself.
National Geographic is cosponsoring the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE with Rolex, and they summed up the experience recently by saying:
"More than 50 years ago, two men climbed into a massive, blimp-like submersible, descended about 35,800 feet (10,912 meters) to the deepest point in the ocean, and became the first people to observe the dark underworld of one of Earth’s most extreme environments. No one has been back since. But that’s about to change.
James Cameron, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, plans to dive to this point, known as the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, in a custom-built submersible that he co-designed. Although best known for directing films such as Titanic and Avatar, Cameron is an avid explorer with 72 submersible dives to his credit—51 of which were in Russian Mir submersibles to depths of up to 16,000 feet (4,877 meters), including 33 to Titanic.
For this expedition, Cameron will squeeze into a pilot sphere so small he won’t be able to extend his arms. He will be the sole occupant in a complex, 24-foot-long (7.3-meter-long) craft made primarily of highly specialized glass foam. As he maneuvers on the ocean floor amid unexplored terrain and strange new animals, Cameron will be filming a feature-length documentary and collecting samples for historic research. Why? To promote exploration and scientific discovery.
The dive is part of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition, a partnership with National Geographic that will take Cameron, along with fellow pilot Ron Allum and a team of engineers, scientists, educators, and journalists, to the greatest depths of the ocean—places where sunlight doesn’t penetrate and pressure can be a thousand times what we experience on land.
After years of preparation, the team will head to the Mariana Trench, a 1,500-mile-long (2,400-kilometer-long) scar at the bottom of the western Pacific Ocean. There, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Guam, Cameron will continue the work that Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, the first men to dive the trench in the bathyscaphe Trieste, started in 1960.
While the Trieste was not equipped to take pictures or get samples, Cameron and his DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible will be armed with multiple cameras and a mechanical arm for scooping up rocks and animals. These samples could enable groundbreaking discoveries: Studying the forces that shape these trenches could help us to better understand the earthquakes that cause devastating tsunamis; studying the fauna that survives there could lead to breakthroughs in biotechnology and our understanding of how life began.
For Cameron, who explored the Titanic wreck during his production of the Academy Award-winning film, reaching the deepest point on Earth has been a long-term goal. “Imagination feeds exploration,” he says. “You have to imagine the possible before you can go and do it.”
This is going to be absolutely fascinating to experience the Return of the DEEP-SEA!!!!
The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER Exploration Submersible
The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER Exploration Submersible is a state of the art DEEP-SEA Submersible, that James Cameron has been working on for over 10 years, and it is pictured below.
Dr. Joe MacInnis
Dr. Joe MacInnis is no stranger to Rolex history. He is one of the worlds leading DEEP-SEA explorers as well as being a physician-scientist. James Cameron grew up in Canada, where Dr. Joe MacInnis was one of his idles. Essentially, Dr. Joe MacInnis was like the Canadian Jacques Cousteau.
Dr. Joe MacInnis is the back-up medical doctor on the DEEPSEA Challenge, and he is keeping a daily log or the events of the DEEPSEA Challenge.
Dr. Joe MacInnis has been featured in vintage Rolex ads, and here are a few examples: