Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Laver Cup 2021: Stefanos Tsitsipas


Boston, Massachusetts 


The Laver Cup is underway this weekend, from Sept. 24th through the 26th. The tennis tournament was created in 2016 by Roger Federer who approached Rolex to sponsor the championship. It was named after Australian tennis legend Rod Laver who is also a Rolex brand ambassador.

The Laver Cup is like nothing else: it pits Europe against the rest of the world and includes other tennis legends like Björn Borg, the team captain for Europe, and John McEnroe, the World Team captain. It is fun to see so many tennis stars on one stage… like Stefanos Tsitsipas.


A new generation of tennis players have carried on the perpetual torch of Rolex. Rod Laver, Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Roger Federer—all have kept the time of their lives with a Rolex on their wrists. Now the next generation is here, including 23-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is the highest ranked Greek tennis player in history.

Tsitsipas is the second youngest player ranked in the ATP top 10, and currently has a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world, making him the highest-ranked Greek player in history. Tsitsipas was the champion at the 2019 ATP Finals, becoming the youngest winner of the year-end championships in eighteen years. He has won seven ATP singles titles.

He arrived in Boston this week to get ready for the Laver Cup... by throwing a football on the Harvard University campus, a Rolex Cellini moonphase on his wrist, an unusual sight as he is always spotted with a white-dial, ceramic Daytona.

At 6-foot-4 (1.93m), Tsitsipas is often nicknamed the Greek God by his fans, especially female fans, because of his striking features. His father is Greek and his mother is Russian of partial Greek descent. Both of his parents are experienced tennis players. His mother was a world No. 1 junior who had a career-high professional ranking inside the top 200 and represented the Soviet Union in the Federation Cup.

His parents had been working as tennis instructors at the Astir Palace resort hotel in Vouliagmeni at the time of Stefanos' birth. They originally met at a WTA tournament in Athens where his mother was competing and his father was a line judge.

He will play at the Laver Cup this weekend as part of Team Europe, being captained by über-Rolex Testimonee Roger Federer. But his long-time pal Djokovic will be absent from the team. 

...Rolex Super-Coolness...


Australian Tennis Legend

Yellow Gold Datejust

Special Burled Madrone Wood Dial

36mm Reference 16018

Rolex has published a Rod Laver profile on the "Every Rolex Tells A Story" gallery on Rolex.com. Being a tennis player and huge professional tennis fan, over the past decade I have written many stories about Rolex and tennis, and I have been meaning to write a piece about Rod Laver, so here it is:

Rod Laver is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players in history with an unmatched record he holds to date of having won 200 singles titles. Laver was a dynamic player that excelled on all court surfaces including hard, grass, clay, carpet and wood/parquet.

He began his amateur tennis career being ranked at Number 1 from 1961 to 1962.  From 1964 to 1970, he was ranked as the number one tennis player in the world, which spanned four years prior and three years after the beginning of the Open Era in 1968. 

I have to admit, I am totally fascinated with Rod Laver's yellow gold Rolex Datejust he is wearing in these official Rolex photos. As far as I know, Rolex no longer makes burled wood dials, which is a big mistake in my opinion. In the 1970s through the 1990s Rolex made these wood-based dials with applied yellow gold indexes, that were magnificent. Each wood dial is unique and has a very warm vintage look. 

In 1981, Rod Laver purchased his yellow gold Datejust which was the same year he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. What a cool guy, and what a cool Rolex!!!!

The 1979 Rolex ad seen below is from my Vintage Rolex Christmas Story and shows a yellow gold Day-Date with a similar dial. Rolex refers to this wood as being from a Madrone tree which is an evergreen tree belonging to the genus Arbutus, which grows in North America and Canada, as well as in Europe, and are known for their pale reddish-brown wood.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Ellen Rocking Her Paul Newman Daytona...

Ellen Rocking Her Paul Newman Daytona

Interviewing Ringo

In this video we get a look at Ellen rocking her beautiful white exotic dial Daytona as she interviews Ringo Starr, who is rocking his Jumbo Patek Aquanaut. All the Beatles are amazingly charismatic, but for some reason I have always had a special appreciation for Ringo, who is one cool dude...

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Patrick Swayze: Kept the time of his life with Rolex

...Rolex Coolness...

Patrick Swayze 

Rolex Kept The Time Of His Life


I first discovered and documented Patrick Swayze wearing a Rolex Daytona back in 2008 no so long after I stared Jake's Rolex World. In the superb photo above taken by Javan Schaller which was published on the cover of Arabian Horse World Magazine we see Patrick on his horse named Tammen and he is wearing his Rolex Submariner.

Over the decades I have noticed many images of Patrick Swayze rocking Rolex watches, including the one below which Nick Gould discovered.

It's hard to believe Patrick Swayze has been gone for twelve years now. Actor Patrick Swayze starred in many 'chick-flicks' including "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" and died when he was only 57, so if you have any dreams you have put off, now is the time to live them since we are all on the same conveyer belt of life. So, have the time of your life!!!!

I Had The Time Of My Life!!!

Patrick Swayze is pictured above wearing a stainless steel Rolex Submariner and is pictured below wearing his yellow gold Rolex Daytona which illustrates that Rolex kept the time of his life and that Swayze lived-it-up. As Saroyan so articulately put it "In the time of your life–live!!!"

Below we see a cool image of Patrick with Brook Shields who is wearing here Rolex Lady Date.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Rolex and Equestrianism


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Rare Two-tone Deep Sea Special Appears on the Market

A Rare Two-tone Deep Sea Special

Appears on the Market

Unlike its steel counterpart, the Deep Sea Special in two-tone never descended into the Mariana Trench. It was to commemorate the achievement of the original watch's survival, in 1960, that Rolex made a rare few in two-tone steel and yellow gold for special partners, Beyer among them. 

In a Hodinkee episode of Talking Watches, René Beyer said: "I was told that Rolex offered to very special partners the version in stainless steel and gold which is of course understandable. It was exactly produced the same way [as the steel one]."

This November, Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo will offer a Rolex Deep Sea Special from 1965 as a lot in its Geneva watch auction—an auction that could fetch over $2 million. One of just 35 examples ever made, the watch’s numbered caseback features the date of the record-setting dive it commemorates (Jan. 23, 1960) and its water-resistance rating (10,908 meters/35,789 feet). Just to be clear, the watch below is a replica/facsimile of the real watch which Rolex made as an homage to display on exhibition as the actual Rolex watch that set the record had been donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

So rare is this timepiece it joins the extremely exclusive club (of which five of its kind have been sold in the public sphere) with other publicly known examples owned and displayed by institutions. It has been over a decade since the last example has appeared on the market. Considering the majority of examples are in institutions, there is no telling when another will grace the market.

The two-tone piece commemorates the Jan. 23, 1960, event, when legendary oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh shattered the all-time depth record by descending down into the Challenger Deep to the deepest known point on Earth's seabed into the Mariana Trench. Piccard's submersible had a Rolex Deep Sea Special in steel attached to the outside of the Bathyscaphe Trieste that traveled all the way down 7 miles and returned topside fully functional.

This was not the first time Jacques Piccard set an all-time depth record with a Rolex Deep Sea Special attached to the outside of this Bathyscaphe Trieste: He set an all-time depth record with the Deep Sea Special prototype #1 in 1953 when he and his father Auguste Piccard dove down 10,350 Feet (3150 Meters).

The photo below shows then-U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Professor Jacques Piccard which was taken after they had surfaced from their record setting dive, along with the Rolex Deep Sea Special, all of which were in perfect working condition.

After they returned from their record-shattering dive, Jacques Piccard sent Rolex of Geneva a historic telegram that simply said: "Happy to announce that your watch works as well at 11,000 meters as it does on the surface.

The photo below shows the Bathyscaphe Trieste flying the American flag, since it was owned by the U.S. Navy, along with the Swiss Flag, since Piccard was Swiss as well as the Italian Flag, since it was originally constructed in Trieste, Italy.

Oceanographer & Professor 

Jacques Piccard

Oceanographer Jacques Piccard began his teaching career as a professor of Economics at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Jacques Piccard would ultimately leave his career as an Economics Professor at the University of Geneva to assist his father, August Piccard, to build world-class submersibles. Auguste and Jacques Piccard are pictured below.

Jacques Piccard is pictured below during testing of the Bathyscaphe Trieste in 1959 near Guam.

Oceanographer & U.S. Navy Captain

Don Walsh, Ph.D

Captain Don Walsh is pictured below on the right side with his Operation Nekton team member U.S. Navy Lieutenant Larry Shumaker who is wearing his hat. Lieutenant Larry Shumaker had previously served with Captain Don Walsh on the U.S. Navy submarine named U.S.S. Rasher. Don and Larry were great friends and Larry served as Captain Walsh's assistant, and they were classmates at the Annapolis Naval Academy.

U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh had an amazing career in the U.S. Navy. In 1958 he was a submarine Lieutenant serving on the staff of Submarine Flotilla One in San Diego, Calif., as part of the U.S. Submarine Force. Submarine Flotilla One commanded 24 submarines along with four support ships which gave it a large theater of operations as part of the Pacific Fleet.

The Four Guys

Lieutenant Don Walsh was chosen by the Navy to spearhead the Bathyscaphe Trieste effort. Captain Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard first met in 1958. In this next photo, from left to right, we see Lieutenant Larry Shumaker; Lieutenant Don Walsh; Dr. Andreas Rechnitzer, Ph.D; Oceanographer and consultant Jacques Piccard.

The Bathyscaphe Trieste is pictured below during the test phase in 1959 which would prepare it for its final record-setting dive.

The Rolex Deep Sea Special Prototype

Attached Outside the Bathyscaphe Trieste

The photo below is of the actual Rolex Deep Sea Special prototype (DEEP SEA SPECIAL #3) that Jacques Piccard attached to the outside of the Bathyscaphe Trieste before it made its record setting dive down into the Mariana Trench and into the Challenger Deep in 1960. The Rolex Deep Sea Special was essentially a Rolex Submariner with a special prototype case and crystal designed to withstand tremendous pressure. The historically significant Rolex DEEP SEA SPECIAL #3 pictured below is currently located in the Smithsonian Institute's permanent collection in Washington D.C. This magnificent watch features a white dial and a case diameter of 42.7 MM, with a Radium dial and a Rolex Caliber 1000 movement.

The special domed crystal essentially worked on the same principle as a geodesic dome, or egg, in the sense it was extremely strong and utilized the laws of physics to withstand more than 8,000 tons of pressure per cubic inch. This is the exact same physics principle the domed sphere shape gondola utilized on the Bathyscaphe Trieste itself. After the successful 1960 successful dive in 1965 Rolex made multiple replica models to showcase their technology which we see in the image below.

One Of Mankind's Greatest Achievements

The U.S. Navy Bathyscaphe Trieste 

Dives Deeply Into History

Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench
200 Nautical Miles South-West of Guam
Morning of January 23, 1960

Walsh and Piccard had a challenging time getting into the Trieste because despite having clear skies, the Bathyscaphe Trieste was sloshing around in huge waves. This made it difficult to get from the USS Wandank (ATA-204) and USS Lewis (DE-540) headquarter-ship into the Trieste.

The photo below was taken of the Bathyscaphe Trieste as she prepares to dive to the deepest known part of earth's ocean on the morning of Jan. 23, 1960, with the USS Lewis (DE-540) behind her.

Into The Mystic

The photo below was taken during the descent when Walsh and Piccard were close to reaching the bottom of the Challenger Deep. In an interview, I once asked Captain Walsh if he was ever scared or nervous on the descent, and he said he never was. This came as a bit of a surprise since during their early descent, at 9,000 feet, one of the outside plexiglass windows cracked and made a huge noise, shaking the Trieste.

The Bathyscaphe Trieste submersible took 4 hours and 48 minutes to descended to the ocean floor.

At the Top of the Bottom of the World

The illustration below is an artist's rendition of what the Bathyscaphe looked like when it touched down on the ocean floor in the Challenger Deep. Despite having cameras on board, they were not able to take photos at the bottom because when they landed, a tremendous amount of sediment started swirling around the Bathyscape which Captain Walsh said was like "being in a bowl of milk."

Inner-Space Conquered

This next photo was taken of the Bathyscaphe Trieste gondola during the 20 minute stay on the ocean floor in the Challenger Deep. U.S. Navy Captain Don Walsh is holding the American flag, and both Piccard and Walsh have put on sweaters since the temperature has dropped significantly from the balmy tropical seas of Guam down to a cool 7°C (45°F).

It is profound to consider that at the moment this photo was taken, there was a Rolex Deep Sea Special attached to the outside of the Bathyscaphe Trieste and it was holding its own, against the more than 16,000 pounds of pressure per cubic inch!!!

Just before they landed on the sea floor Piccard and Walsh were shocked that they were seeing animals swimming around. It was previously believed that no form of vertebrae life could exist under that kind of water pressure.

The ascent back up to the surface took 3 hours and 15 minutes.

After they returned from their record-shattering dive, Jacques Piccard sent Rolex of Geneva a historic telegram that simply said: "Happy to announce that your watch works as well at 11,000 meters as it does on the surface.

A Presidential Welcome & Congratulations

White House, Washington, D.C.

Upon their triumphant achievement of conquering inner-space, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard went to the White House where they were given awards by President Dwight Eisenhower where they received medals.

Captain Don Walsh was one of only three members of the armed forces to receive a military medal from President Eisenhower at the White House during his eight-year term as President of the United States.

A Hero's Welcome

In the next photo we see the Bathyscaphe Trieste being proudly paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 1961, as part of the JFK Inauguration Day Parade.

Into the History Books

The United States, under the Eisenhower administration had finally conquered inner-space with its new heroes, Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, and the new administration under President Kennedy would continue to explore the magnificent ocean while ambitiously directing significant resources toward conquering outer-space with the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.