Thursday, July 2, 2020

...Rolex Super Coolness... Hugh Downs

...Rolex Super Coolness...

Hugh Downs

Belongs To The Ages


Six Decades with Rolex Keeping the Time Of His Life

Hugh Downs passed away today at age 99. Hugh was a famous talk show host as well as being a pioneering game show host. I met Hugh Downs back in San Francisco when I was a boy in the late 1970s and had a great conversation with him and his wife at a restaurant on Union Street which was named Morty's. I remember the warmth of his gracious personality as well as his genial gentility.

Robert Kennedy with Hugh Downs

He starred on the TV show named Concentration (from 1958 to 1969), 

Hugh Downs 1961

Hugh Downs was a regular on the Today Show from 1962 to 1971. The photo below of Hugh Downs was taken in the early 1960s on the set of the Today Show.

Hugh Downs was also the announcer and sidekick for Jack Paar on Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962. In the photo below, we see Jack Paar, pictured on the far left also wearing a Rolex. On the far right, we see Jose Melis.

The photo above was taken in 1961 on the set of the TV show, Concentration. In this next photo, we see Hugh Downs in 1979 in a publicity photo when he was the Chairman of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, and he hosted a two hour TV special named Celebrate The Children, which was a celebration of hope for children of the world. 

Hugh Downs 1979

Hugh Downs is probably best known for being one of the founding reporters with Barbara Walters on 20/20. Hugh starred on 20/20 from 1978 to 1999!!!

There were many famous correspondents who were part of the 20/20 team including Bob Brown, Tom Jerriel, Sylvia Chase, Giraldo Revera,  and John Stossel who are pictured below in the 1980s. Other famous 20/20 correspondents (not pictured) included Martin Bashir, Katie Couric, Chris Wallace, and Stone Phillips.

In the photo below we see Hugh Downs taken in 1992 wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-

The photo below, taken on September 14, 1998, for the 40th anniversary of 20/20 show famous anchors including from left to right, Charles Gibson, San Donaldson, Diane Sawyers, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs and Connie Chung.

In the next photo below we see Hugh Downs in 1989 celebrating the 50th Anniversary of his career in broadcasting, on the set of 20/20. His career began in May of 1939 as a radio announcer in Ohio.

Hugh Downs 1989

In the more recent photo below from 20/20 we see Hugh Downs sporting his Coke GMT Master. Notice his pose with his Rolex sticking out of his cuff is almost identical.

Hugh Downs 2001

In the two recent photos below, we see Hugh Downs pictured on the right, with NASA Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Notice Hugh Downs is wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date. Basically, as these photos stand testament to, Hugh Downs has been wearing Rolex watches for at least a half-century!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

An Airline Pilot's GMT-Master

An Airline Pilot's 

Root Beer GMT-Master

A Los Angeles-based commercial pilot and First Officer for Delta Air Lines sent in this AMAZING image of his two-tone Rolex Root Beer GMT-Master. This combination looks so good it almost seems like the GMT-Master should be part of the Delta uniform. While Captain Danny, who also happens to fly for Delta, rocks his espresso GMT, this pilot went for Root Beer

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Spy Pilot: Gary Powers' Datejust 1601


"So, how are you doing?" I was on the phone with Gary Powers Jr., the son of the famous U-2 pilot shot down at 70,000 feet over the Soviet Union during the Cold War. We were just a couple of hours before his dad's Rolex was being auctioned in Geneva. "I'm a nervous wreck," he tells me. I laughed, then I told him I'd call back and check on him after the auction.

(Courtesy: Powers Family Collection)

As a Delta pilot, I have flown with a few former U-2 pilots. The Dragon Lady, the nickname for the spy plane, is still in service, one of the few military jets that has been in service for more than half a century. 

My pilot friends tell me about the long missions in the small cockpit, but especially how hard it is to land the U-2. "You have to stall the wings just a few feet above the runway or you'll overshoot the runway," one told me. "You are literally falling out of the skies every time you come back from a mission."

(Courtesy: Powers Family Collection)

Above, U-2 designer Kelly Johnson with Gary Powers. The jet was born under secrecy in what would become Area 51, when Eisenhower was growing nervous over Soviet technological advances. For me, Gary Powers is a true hero. He resigned his commission from the U.S. Air Force to join the CIA program and fly deep into the USSR. He was recently immortalized in the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film, “Bridge of Spies.” He was also portrayed by actor Lee Majors. 

Gary Powers was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the National Defense Service Medal, the CIA's coveted Director's Medal for extreme fidelity and extraordinary courage in the line of duty. He was also awarded the Silver Star medal for "demonstrating exceptional loyalty while enduring harsh interrogation in the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow for almost two years." 

Most of his medals were awarded posthumously, unfortunately. Few know that he accomplished one last heroic act before he died in a helicopter crash in California in 1977, when he worked for a TV station.

When power is lost to an engine, helicopter pilots are trained to autorotate, meaning to use upward flow of air through the rotor to land without crashing the helo. As Gary Powers used aerodynamic forces to slow the fall, he noticed children playing in the area, and he directed the helo elsewhere to avoid landing on them. Experts believe he might have landed safely if not for the last-second deviation, which compromised his autorotative descent.

The world didn't know about his Rolex, pictured above, until his son decided to put it up for auction, exactly 60 years after he was shot down over the Soviet skies. 

After two years in prison camp in the Soviet Union, Gary Powers, who had been sentenced for 10 years, is traded on a foggy morning on a bridge in Germany. A few months after he comes back to the U.S., in 1962, he uses the money the CIA paid him and buys himself a Rolex Datejust. Powers had found a new appreciation for life and freedom. 

"He owned other watches but the Rolex is the one he preferred and wore as daily use," Gary Powers Jr. tells me. 

(Courtesy: Powers Family Collection)

(Courtesy: Powers Family Collection)

The Datejust is a reference 1601, 14-kt gold in 36mm, with jubilee bracelet. "My wrist is a little bit bigger than my dad's, so it was too tight," he said. "So for me, it was an easy decision to let it go after all these years." The Rolex comes with original box and papers.

Gary Powers Jr. co-founded in 1996 the Cold War Museum in Warrenton, Virginia, which spans the end of World War II to the disbandment of the Soviet Union, including the time his dad was taking photos of military installations from the sky. The Americans believed that the U-2 was nearly invincible against the Soviets, since it traveled at high altitudes. What they didn’t know is that the USSR had developed a new surface-to-air missile capable of reaching the U-2's heights. 

Above, Aurel Bacs of Phillips is about to award Powers' Rolex to a British bidder on Saturday, June 27, 2020. When I call Gary back, after the auction, he said he is happy for the person who will own the watch. "It's been sitting in a closet for the last 40 years, gathering dust," he tells me. "I was very comfortable putting it up for auctions and letting the new owner enjoy it."

The auction closed at 38,000 CHF, or $40,000—not bad for a 36-mm Datejust. When I finally asked Gary Powers Jr. if he owned a Rolex, he responded no. He has owned some pilot watches, he said. But only Russian ones.

Friday, June 26, 2020

SKY-DWELLER: Rolex Macro Shot of the Day....

...Rolex Macro Shot of the Day... 


42MM Stainless Steel

These close-up macro images from Rolex's Official Instagram page of the released stainless steel and white gold 42MM Sky-Dweller. If you ever wondered what makes a Rolex a Rolex, just look at the amazing precision and design detail in this stunning images!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Glenn Campbell: Legendary Country Music Musician

...Rolex Super Coolness...

Glen Campbell

Legendary Country Music Musician


Summer is finally here in the United States, which conjures up images of beach fun, barbecue and some good old-fashioned country music, so I thought it would be fun to take a look back at Glen Campbell who passed away a few years ago in 2017. Legendary Country musician and former Beach Boy, Glenn Campbell passed away at age 81 in Nashville, Tennessee. Glenn had an amazing career that lasted more than a half century, and he wore a Rolex Day-Date to keep the time of his life. Glenn Campbell unfortunately developed Alzheimers toward the end of his life...

Glen Campbell is pictured below in 1969 wearing a Rolex Big Crown Submariner.

Glen Campbell is pictured below on the cover of his 1984 album titled, "Letter To Home".

On the album cover below for Glen Campbell's album titled Arkansas, which was released in 1975, we see him proudly sporting his Rolex Day-Date with a champagne dial.

Glenn Campbell's daughter, Ashley Campbell posted the photo below on her Facebook page just after her father passed away and said:

"Heartbroken. I owe him everything I am, and everything I ever will be. He will be remembered so well and with so much love." —Ashley Campbell

It appears in the photo above that Glenn Campbell's daughter, Ashley Campbell is wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date.

Below we see a video of Ashley Campbell and her father Glen Campbell in 2012 playing Dueling Banjos, with Glen on guitar.

In the video below we see Glen Campbell and Roy Clark playing 'Ghost Riders In The Sky'. Glen Campbell and Roy Clark were to of the best country guitar players in history.

Beach Boys


Glen Campbell (pictured below on the left) toured with the Beach Boys in 1964 and replaced Brian Wilson. 

Glen Campbell was a session guitarist for the Beach Boys, and he played on hits such as Fun, Fun, Fun, and Dance, Dance, Dance. He also played on Pet Sounds. Glenn Campbell is pictured below with Carl Wilson.

Glenn Campbell is pictured below on the far right with The Beach Boys. 

Beach boys lead singer, Mike Love, who is pictured below (second from the left) wrote on his Facebook page and said, "I've never met a more talented person in all the years we have been in the music business and never had a better time on tour than the time spent with Glen."

Glenn Campbell was good friends with Elvis Presley, and is pictured below with Elvis and Pricilla Presley.

In the video below which originally aired on May 25, 1981, we see Glen Campbell performing one of his biggest hits, "Rhinestone Cowboy", and he is wearing his trademark Rolex Day-Date.

In the video below recorded live in Dublin on May 1, 1981 Glen Campbell covers David Loggins song "Please Come To Boston" which is an amazing song.

In the photo below, we see Glen Campbell on State with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, during performance by the Highwaymen.

I was talking to my good pal, Stan Barrett and he mentioned he read this Glen Campbell story and enjoyed it very much. He said he thought it was very thorough and comprehensive. Then he said, "But I think you left out a key video". I asked Stan which video that was, and he mentioned that it was the last song Glen Campbell recorded and it was called "I'm Not Gonna Miss You". Then Stan warned my and said, "If you watch the video it will probably make you cry." It did :-( 

Stan Barrett also mentioned he once met Glen Campbell back in June of 1964, which was just before Glen joined the Beach Boys. He recalled that Glen Campbell was a really nice guy and mentioned that he recalled that Glen really began his career doing demos for songs.