Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Story of NASA Astronaut Leroy Chiao & His Rolex GMT Master II [Part 1 of 2]

The Story Of NASA Astronaut Leroy Chiao
and His Pepsi Rolex GMT Master In Space
[Part 1 of 2]

The Podcast

This is the story of NASA Astronaut, Doctor Leroy Chiao PH.D, who is one of the most decorated and experienced Astronauts in history. I very, very highly recommend you listen to the podcast interview I did with Dr. Chiao. Dr Chiao is an incredible human being and absolute gentleman. (Running Time 1:19:31)

To listen to the podcast click on the play button. (If you are using Internet Explorer you may need to click the play button twice):

To listen to the amazing Podcast interview in another window, click here.

If you want to subscribe or listen to the podcast in iTunes please click the icon below:

Jake Ehrlich - Jake's Rolex Watch Blog - Jake's Rolex Watch Blog

Rolex In Space

Dr. Leroy Chiao is one of the most experienced and accomplished NASA Astronauts alive today. He flew on three Space Shuttles as the Science Officer, and was the Commander of The International Space Station on-board Expedition 10.

Leroy Chiao was on-board Space Shuttle STS-65 Columbia (July8-July 23, 1994) which was launched from and landed back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which set a new flight duration record.

Leroy also flew on-board Space Shuttle STS-72 Endeavor (January 11-January 20, 1996) which flew a nine day mission to retrieve the Space Flyer Unit launched from Japan ten months earlier. Chiao executed two spacewalks designed to experiment procedures for the assembly of the International Space Station.

Next Leroy Chiao, flew on Space Shuttle STS-92 Discovery (October 11-October 24, 2000) which launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Leroy Chiao was the Commander of Expedition 10 on the International Space Station (ISS) which launched October 9, 2004 and returned April 24, 2005.

Rolex On The Space Shuttle

Dr. Chiao is pictured above in his official NASA photo.

Dr. Chiao was on-board the Space Shuttle pictured below.

The photo below is of the Space Shuttle landing with Dr. Chiao on-board.

Dr. Chiao is pictured standing up on the far left of the photo below with his fellow members on board the Space Shuttle.

Dr. Chiao is pictured below preparing to take off on a Space Shuttle Mission.

Dr. Chiao is picture below in a training class.

Dr. Chiao is pictured below during wilderness training at NASA.

Rolex on The International Space Station

Dr. Chiao was the Commader of the International Space Station on-board Expedition 10 and is pictured below with his Russian crewmember as they arrive to begin preparations to launch.

Dr. Leroy Chiao is pictured training for launch below.

Dr. Chiao is pictured on the far right posing for an official crew photo for Expedition 10.

Commander Chiao is pictured below as he prepares for take-off on the Russian Soyuz Rocket to go the International Space Station.

Of course, Commander Chiao is sporting his Rolex GMT Master II with the Pepsi bezel and the Jubilee Bracelet in Stainless Steel. You can see it peeking out of launch suit in the photo below.

Dr. Leroy Chiao was the Commander of Expedition 10 and is pictured below welcoming new members on board the International Space Station.

In the photo below the crewmembers of the International Space Station of Expedition 10 pose to have their picture taken in the Destiny laboratory.

From the left (front row) are astronaut Leroy Chiao, Expedition 10 commander and NASA Space Station science officer; and cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, Expedition 10 flight engineer representing Russia's Federal Space Agency. From the left (back row) are European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy; cosmonaut Dirgei Krikalev, Expedition 11 commander representing Russia's Federal Space Agency; and astronaut John Phillips, Expedition 11 NASA Space Station science officer and flight engineer.

The photo below is of Dr. Chaio floating in the zero-gravity environment as he works on preparing some diagnostics.

The photo below is of Commander Chiao during EVA (Extra Vehicle Activity) on a Spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Those are solar panels between him and Earth.

Commander Chiao is working out on the International Space Station as pictured below.

Another close-up shot wrist shot of Commander Chiao's GMT Pepsi in Stainless Steel with the Jubilee Bracelet. A very cool watch indeed!!! Dr. Chiao has owned and depended on his GMT for almost 20 years now. He wore his beautiful and trusted GMT on 3 Space Shuttle missions and on the International Space Station.

Commander Chiao is pictured below floating around in the zero-gravity environment of the International Space Station.

Another cool wrist shot of Commander Chiao's Rolex GMT Pepsi as he is conducting scientific research on board the International Space Station.

Commander Chiao took the photo of himself in his fellow Astronauts mirrored face mask with clouds from earth behind him. What a cool shot!!!

Dr. Chiao is holding up the Fairview Falcons Flag in Space.

The photo below is of the official Expedition 10 Mission poster for the International Space Station. Commander Leroy Chiao is pictured on the left with his Russian Science officer Salizhan Sharipov.

Doctor Chiao is pictured below in the Oval Office with President Bush.

In the photo below Dr. Chiao is playing with huge drops of water that are floating in the zero gravity environment.

Above Earth

In the podcast, Dr. Chiao promised he would share some of his favorite photos he took from the International Space Station, and he delivered on that promise!!! The images are breathtaking!!!

Tip: You must click on these images to see the amazing detail!!!

This first image seen below is taken above Egypt.

The crazy-beautiful image below is taken over the tip of Florida

The image below is the International Space Station with Earth below it

That is New York pictured below

The photo below was taken over the Salamat Basin in Chad

The Moon and Earth's atmosphere

The Himalayan Mountains are pictured below

The Northernmost parts of Cape Cod National Seashore pictured below

The Algerian Desert pictured below

The Great Wall of China and Inner Mongolia pictured below

The large City of Beijing (Peking) below

Dr. Leroy Chai was the First Raborn Distinguished Chair of the Max Faget Mechanical Engineering Professor at Louisiana State University and his faculty photo is pictured below.

Dr. Chaio is pictured below on Devon Island with Sapphire Lake pictured behind him.

Dr. Leroy Chaio is pictured below with CNN's Miles O'brien at the launching of the Space Shuttle Endevour on August 11, 2007.

Fantastic Voyage

Dr. Leroy Chaio bought his Rolex two decades ago, before he was an Astronaut. He wore his trused Rolex GMT on 3 NASA Space Shuttle missions and as the Commander of Space Station. Dr. Chaio is one of the most experienced and decorated astronauts in the history of space exploration.

Dr. Chaio left NASA because he had achieved everything he could at NASA, so what does a space pioneer do for an encore? He Joined the Excalibur Almaz Space Company as the Chief of Spacecraft Operations which is working on a program for civilian space tourism and exploration.

Doctor Chiao is pictured above in a fascinating article about him that appeared recently in USA Today's Weedend Magazine which you can read by clicking here

As crazy as it may sound, I believe long-term Rolex ownership propels and inspires people to achieve all kinds of great things. There is something about the Rolex GMT, Submariner, and Daytona Sports models as well as all the other Rolex models that make the wearer feel like they can achieve anything. In my mind, Leroy Chiao is the living epitome of a Rolex high achiever and pioneer.

Rolex thought the same thing and after Dr. Chiao retired from NASA they engraved the back of Leroy Chaio's GMT Master II with all four of his NASA Mission numbers. 

The photo above and below is of the back of Dr. Chaio's trusted Rolex that accompanied him on three Space Shuttle Missions and to the International Space Station. I wonder what fascinating future missions he will wear his beloved Rolex GMT on!?!

Dr. Chiao's Wikipedia page click here.

Dr. Chiao's blog click here.

Dr. Chiao's website click here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Story of Elvis Presley's Rolex King Midas...


This is the story of a King and his Rolex Crown

Elvis Presley was not only the King of Rock and Roll, but a major trendsetter and fashion maven–and Elvis wore a very special Limited Edition Rolex King Midas. 

In this fascinating 4 part series, we will explore never before seen photos from Elvis Presley's home in Memphis, Tennessee know as Graceland.  

You will also see photos of Elvis Presley's favorite Rolex watch and for the first time in History you will get to see the inscription on the back of Elivis Presley's Rolex. You will also get to see some of the King's favorite personal possessions from the Graceland Collection.


Jake Ehrlich

Part 1: The King's King

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Story of Elvis Presley's Rolex King Midas [Part 2 of 4]

The Midas Touch

The Limited Edition Rolex King Midas is unlike any other Rolex, as was its packaging. In Rolex history, they only made three watches that were limited in edition and the King Midas was one of them.

The Limited Edition King Midas was first made available in 1964 and was based upon the mythological Greek King Midas, who had the golden touch. As legend has it, King Midas had the golden touch and everything he touched turned to gold.

The Midas Touch metaphor is suggestive of great success in a magical, mythological way, and when Rolex designed the outside box, they went with the Ancient Greek theme. As you can see the box has the Greek Key trim going around the bottom of it, which almost makes it look like a modern day Versace gift box, but Rolex did this when Versace, the Italian desiger, was a child.

Another unique design characteristic of the King Midas is that inside the outer box the watch was protected by a Greek Inspired Urn shaped wood box. This urn shaped watch box narrowed toward the bottom. The lid that sat on top of the urn had a graphic of King Midas sitting on his thrown with the Rolex Crown above it.

The urn tapered toward the base and the side walls had graphics of a Greek Chariot being pulled by Greek horses as well as Greek Warriors with swords and shields.

When you removed the decorative lid, the Limited Edition Rolex King Midas Watch appeared sitting upright in the box. The inside was lined with rich orange velvet.

If you remove the urn lid and look at the back of it, it reads MIDAS, BY ROLEX OF GENEVA.

When Rolex introduced the Limited Edition King Midas Rolex in 1964 it was the heaviest gold watch money could buy.

The King Midas has the words KING and MIDAS etched on either side of the sun shaped winding crown.

The band has an invisible double lock clasp and is a manual wind watch.

The King And I

Later in Rolex history, they made a Cellini model named the King Midas, but the original limited edition watch had no Cellini designation. The Original King Midas is considered a dress watch so it is not a waterproof Oyster.

The King Midas has great lines and was considered to be extremely modern when it was originally brought to market in 1964.

The Verso (back) of the original Limited Edition King Midas Rolex had a model number of 9630 which was etched on the back of the bracelet as seen below. The watch below which is number 504 belongs to my pal, Leo (The Idle Swede). When I first saw the King Midas, I thought it looked strange because it did not look like a traditional Rolex, and I must admit it has really grown on me over time.

Rolex payed a tremendous amount of attention to detail on the watch and beautifully etched, as seen below, the KING MIDAS BY ROLEX OF GENEVA designation on the back of the clasp.

The dial as pictured below was ultra simple and only had the Rolex Crown at 12 o'clock, two simple hands and the MIDAS designation written in Greek letters.

The King Midas is an eternal classic and the most famous person to wear a Limited Edition Rolex King Midas, as seen in Part 1 above, was Elvis Presley, also know as the King of Rock & Roll.

The side profile of the King Midas is particularly interesting. In the close-up macro shot below you really see how cool the pointed, sun-shaped winding crown looks, along withe the KING MIDAS designation.

In the next shot below you see how clean and streamlined the links are as they jut out of the body. The KING MIDAS was also the first Rolex that I know of that had a very flat back.

In the photo below, if you click on it for a bigger view, you will see how cool and beautiful the band integration design is.

In Part 3 which is named "The King's President," we will have some fun and take a look at The King with The President.