Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Major Update on The Right Stuff & The First Rolex SEA-DWELLER

Rolex & The Right Stuff–4th Major Update!!!

I just completed a 4th major update to the Scott Carpenter story including a recent podcast interview I did with Scott Carpenter along with many, many new and exciting images including the image below where he is wearing his Rolex Submariner. 

The updated story also includes fascinating new insight that changes Rolex History forever!!!

Click here to go directly to the updated story.

Scott Carpenter pictured above wearing his Rolex Submariner

Chuck Yeager pictured above wearing his Rolex Submariner

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Review: 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger [Part 2 of 4]

Book Review
100 Superlative Rolex Watches
by John Goldberger
[Part 2 of 4]

The Rolex–Panerai Connection

Rolex made all the original Panerai watches pictured below for the Royal Italian Navy from 1936 to 1956.

Page 24 Rolex Oyster in Stainless [Reference 2081] Circa 1928-1930

This watch above is amazing because it seems to be the watch the later Rolex made Panerai watches were based upon. The watch above is smaller at around 30mm than the 47mm Panerai's (as seen below) but the design language is clearly derivative and almost identical.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 6154] Circa 1954

This is the last Panerai Rolex made (pictured above). It was made for the Egyptian Army. This watch has a current value of $120,00 and is the second rarest collectable Panerai. According to the Author, only 30 of this Reference 6154 were ever made. The most collectable and valuable would be the one existing example of the first Panerai Reference 2533 prototype.

The Rolex diving watch pictured in the illustration above is not in the book. The illustration is from a rare 1935 Rolex brochure and the watch was a honking 47mm. This is the Rolex model Panerai used to make its first Rolex made Panerai (as seen below).

The illustration above appears courtesy of John Goldberger and according to John, he has never seen an actual example of the Rolex Reference number 2533 because it is so rare. I imagine since it was 47mm it probably did not sell very well, so maybe Rolex simply swapped out the dials, and movements and sold the resulting watches with no name on the dials to Panerai. This may explain why there are no known examples of the watch that appear in the 1935 Rolex catalog.

I was doing some follow up research to best understand the genesis of this first Panerai model made by Rolex and I found a Timezone.com vintage Rolex thread where James Dowling said "My research on Panerai leads me to think Panerai essentially took an existing Rolex model and had Rolex adapt it to their specific requirements. Amongst them was this reference 2533, which is essentially the Mk1 Panerai. But then, of course, Rolex already had the basis of this watch in their catalogue, in the form of the Rolex Oyster Pocket watch."

So there you have it! Apparently Rolex experimented with putting wire lugs on their 47mm Oyster pocket watch and created the Rolex Reference 2533, and this went on to become the basis of the Panerai diving watch.

After finally figuring out and understanding this design evolution I decided to create the following graphic to illustrate step by step how the 47mm Rolex Oyster pocket-watch evolved into the original 47mm Panerai.

Click on image below to see evolution of Rolex Oyster Pocket-Watch into Panerai Diving Watch:

One of the obvious questions is "how did you attach and remove the leather band on these early wire lug Panerai watches if the wire lugs were soldered to the watch?" You guessed it!!! You had to sew the leather band onto the lugs. Panerai makes a very similar 45mm version of this watch today known as the Panerai Radiomir with the vintage wire lugs but they are no longer soldered on, but can removed with two very small screws in the watch body.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 2533] Circa 1936

This first Rolex Made Panerai, picture above is and Ultra-rare prototype of which there is only 1 known example on earth. Yes, you read that right–there is only one know example and you are looking at it picture above.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 3646] Circa 1936 to 1938

The Rolex made Panerai Reference 3646, pictured above has unusual art deco dial known as the California dial which has Roman numerals on the top and Arabic numerals on the bottom. This new model was different than its predecessor in that it had an onion shaped winding crown.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 3646] Circa 1938

This is the first Rolex made Panerai with the trademark 3,6,9,12 Panerai Radiomor dial. The Radiomor designation on the dial of the watch was used because it used Radium lume to illuminate the hands and dial in the dark. The dial on this watch is a plexiglass Prototype. Radiomir lume was patented in 1915.

Later Panerai Luminor watches would use Tritium to illuminate the hands and dial and the current generation Panerai watches use Super Luminova lume to light up the dial and hands.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 3646] Circa 1940

This next Rolex made Panerai, pictured above has the classic 2,6,9,12 Radiomor Panerai dial with the onion shaped winding crown.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 6152/1] Circa 1946

With the introduction of the 6152/1 model, Rolex added a new winding crown guard mechanism that allowed the watch to maintain its waterproof seal in deeper water than the conventional crown. Since all the Rolex made Panerai watches were manually wound, the waterproof crown gasket would wear out quickly over time, so Rolex and Panerai came up with this new design enhancement. Rolex made 300 examples of this model.

Page 27 Radiomor Panerai [Reference 6154] Circa 1956

This is the last Panerai model made by Rolex in 1956. It was made for the Egyptian army and they only produced 30 examples. The reason the dial is a light brown or even tan is because the radium based material they used for the markers and hands had a radioactive effect on the black dial and caused it to get much lighter.

Page 31 Panerai [Reference 3646] Circa 1941

Rolex began making Panerai watches for the Italian Royal Navy in 1936 and the watch above is from 1941. It has Roman numerals and Arabic numerals on its dial with no Panerai designation. Its current market value is $80,000, and according to John Goldberger only 600 of the Reference 3646 were ever made.

In this next photo below from the Philipps Collection–which does not appear in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches–we see a vintage cushion shaped Rolex Oyster from 1936 with the soldered wire lugs next to a Rolex made Panerai 3646. The resemblance is unmistakable.

Photo Credit: Philipps Collections

It is fascinating to note that the owner of the Panerai pictured above does not wear the watch very often because it is still radio-active.

The next three photos are of the Panerai Reference 6152 made by Rolex. In this first image you see the Rolex designation on the watch movement as well as on the back of the screw on back.

Remember if you want to see more detail in the photos on this page just click on them. If you are listening to the podcast in your browser and following along with the images on this page just open another page for viewing the images and let the podcast play in the original browser window.

Page 32 Panerai Movement Photo [Reference 6152] Circa 1950

This next image is of the same watch pictured above and below. You can see the Rolex Brevet designation and Rolex crown logo on the winding crown. Brevet means patented in French.

Page 32 Panerai Brevet Winding Crown Side View with Rolex Crown Logo [Reference 6152] Circa 1950

Page 33 Panerai Radiomir [Reference 6152] Circa 1950

This Radiomir Panerai diving watch (pictured above) is 47mm and has a light brown dial. This watch has a current market value of $100,000 and according to John Goldberger only 300 of the Reference 6152 were manufactured.

The watch pictured above has its original leather band that came with the watch. The original leather bands were not only water-proof, but salt-water-proof. The leather was treated with special oils and resins so if you rinsed it after a salt-water dive it would be fine. It is a status symbol of sorts to posses an original Rolex made Panerai with the original and weathered leather band.

I must admit that until reading 100 Superlative Rolex Watches I knew very little about Rolex making all the Panerai watches from 1936 to 1956. When I tried to learn more on the internet, I found much conflicting information. For instance, the Wikipedia article seems to suggest that from 1936 to 1956 Panerai only produced a total of 300 watches.

This did not make sense to me, so I followed up with John Goldberger and he shared with me that this was not true and that they made many more. Here are the numbers John shared with me that he said were from a good Panerai source on the number of Rolex made Panerai watches:

1935 [Reference 2533] 1 Prototype
1938 [Reference 3646] 600 Watches
1943 [Reference 6152] 300 Watches
1954 [Reference 6154] 30 Watches

After 1956, Panerai kept producing their watches but Rolex no longer made them. Apparently Panerai stopped making watches for the Italian Militare in 1993 because it was not longer cost effective, and Panerai decided to focus on producing watches for the general public.

The watches were not very successful. As a matter of fact, between 1993 and 1997, Panerai only produced 1828 watches. Of course, this would all soon change.

Sly And The Family Rolex

Please note the following six images are not from 100 Superlative Rolex Watches. I added them for historical context. In 1995 Sylvester Stallone noticed a Panerai watch in a Roman jewelry store and decided to wear the Panerai during shooting of the film Daylight which hit the big screens in 1996. Stallone was so impressed that he ordered a bunch of watches with his Slytech signature on the verso (case back) and the Slytech Daylight model came was introduced to coincide with the film.

Stallone gave the Panerai's to friends as a gift, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, and from that point the Panerai brand took off and became very popular.

It is interesting to note that prior to wearing Panerai watches, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger wore Rolex watches. Sly wore a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date and a Rolex Submariner, and Arnold wore a yellow gold Rolex GMT Master with a matching Jubilee bracelet. You can see photos of them wearing their Rolex watches by clicking here for Arnold Schwarzenneger and clicking here for Sylvester Stallone.

Book Review: 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger [Part 4 of 4]

Book Review
100 Superlative Rolex Watches
by John Goldberger
[Part 4 of 4]

Rolex Sports Models

Page 182 Early Explorer II [Reference 1655] Circa 1978

This watch has been popularly dubbed as "The Steve McQueen" despite the fact that Steve McQueen never wore or owned it. Steve McQueen wore a Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner 5512 only. Unlike the current Explorer II which is 40mm, this watch is 36mm and very collectable.

Page 184 Rolex Monometer [Reference 6202] Circa 1953

Rolex came out with their first waterproof watch in 1922 named the Rolex Submarine. Not Submariner, but Submarine. You will see the original Rolex Submarine from 1922 in the last two images of this review.

In 1954 Rolex did not own the rights to the word Submariner so they came up with all kinds of interesting names and this watch was named the Rolex Monometer. It is interesting to note the black bezel has single minute markers like the future Rolex Military Submariner which is popularly nicknamed "the Milsub."

Page 186 Rolex Submariner with Jubilee Bracelet [Reference 5512/5513] Circa 1965

The photo of the 5512/5513 pictured above is the same model that Steve McQueen always wore. Today many people refer to this model as "The Steve McQueen."

Page 186 Rolex Submariner with Jubilee Bracelet [Reference 5513] Circa 1962

This Rolex Submariner was originally sold in South American and has a jubilee bracelet.

Page 193 GMT with United Arab Emeritz Eagle Logo [Reference 1675] Circa 1978

Not the rarest customized Rolex GMT, but the eagle looks really cool on the dial. Bakelite Coke bezel in red and black. Current market value around $20,000.

Page 195 Deep Sea Special [No Reference] Circa 1953

This is a two-tone stainless steel with 9kt yellow gold waterproof Rolex prototype named the Deep Sea Special. It measures 42x62mm. It has a highly domed crystal and screw back with a special screw winding crown.

This watch has a serial number 1, and is believed to be one of 7 prototypes made. The watch pictured above was a personal gift from Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf.

Today, this Rolex Deep Sea Special is in a private collection and the Smithsonian Institute has a different one in its permanent collection.

The Rolex Deep Sea Special was constructed for testing to withstand great water pressure and was tested by Professor August Piccard's on his Bathiscaphhe.

On November 30, 1953 one of the Rolex Deep Sea Special watches attached to the exterior of the Trieste depth craft submarine, which reached a world-record depth of 3150 meters which is 10,245 Feet or 2 miles down. This was achieved off the coast of Ponza island. After surfacing the watch was carefully inspected and was intact and functioning properly.

Page 203 Submariner with Explore 3,6,9 dial [Reference 6538] Circa 1956

This watch was manufactured in the third quarter of 1956. This early Submariner is unusual in many ways including the fact the black bezel does not have the standard 1-15 minute markers and it also has a Rolex Explorer-like 3,6,9 dial with baton indices. The "gilt" (meaning thinly) seconds track, is unusual on the submariner as is the 200/600 printed in red. This watch also has a NATO strap.

Page 205 Royal Marines Submariner [Reference A/6538] Circa 1957

This Military Submariner (Milsub) was custom made for and issued to the Special Boat Squadron of the Royal Marines in England. It is 39mm with a prototype revolving metal bezel calibrated for 60 units. This watch also has the 3,6,9 Rolex Explorer like dial with Baton markers, along with the "Mercedes" hour hand. This watch also has a domed crystal.

Vintage Rolex Stainless Steel Submariners have become extremely collectable over the past couple of years and the one pictured above is worth $300,000.

Page 211 38mm Submariner [Reference 5510] Circa 1958

This watch was made in 1958 and sold in Spain. It has a red upside down pyramid indicator surrounding the zero position on the bezel, as well as the 3,6,9 Explorer markers. This watch is currently worth $200,000.

Page 213 British Navy Submariner [Reference 5517] Circa 1972

This Military issue Submariner (Milsub) is one of my favorites. It was manufactured in the first quarter of 1972 and has a 5513 reference number engraved on the inside of the screw on case which means it was modified. This watch is unusual because it has minute marks for all 60 minutes on the bezel.

This watch has "Maxi Marker" indices and "Sword" hands which lack the typical "Mercedes" symbol on the hour hand. It also has the Tritium "T" in the circle designation.

This watch has a drab green NATO strap and it is currently valued at $150,000.

Page 214 Robert Palmer Sea-Dweller Prototype [Reference 1665] Circa 1967

This is an extremely rare and historical Rolex Sea-Dweller prototype that belonged to famous Canadian diver Robert Palmer. This watch is really unusual in many ways because the case is much thinner than a standard Sea-Dweller and it lacks the typical helium release valve. The photo above shows the sides of the watch pictured below.

Page 215 Robert Palmer Sea-Dweller Prototype [Reference 1665] Circa 1967

The dial bears the single red Sea-Dweller designation and has a depth rating of 500M-1650 FT. The side view of this watch is pictured two photos up the page.

Page 217 Omani Sea-Dweller [Reference 1665] Circa 1973

This watch was a gift to the SAS (Special Air Service Regiment) officers from the Sultan of Oman, for the operations of counterinsurgency in 1972. The watch was sold by Asprey in London, England and it bears the red signature of the Sultan of Oman whose name is Qaboos bin Said Al Said.

Page 219 Omani Sea-Dweller [Reference 1665] Circa 1973

This 40mm Rolex Sea-Dweller was also made for the Omani SAS. It has the custom red emblem of the Sultanate of Oman which is a Khamjar dagger in a sheath over two crossed swords. This watch is currently worth $100,000.

Page 221 Omani Sea-Dweller [Reference 1665] Circa 1977

This 40mm Rolex Sea-Dweller was also made for the Omani SAS. It has the custom gold emblem of the Sultanate of Oman which is a Khamjar dagger in a sheath over two crossed swords.

Page 222 Sea-Dweller [Reference 1665] Circa 1977

This 40mm Rolex Sea-Dweller was made for Comex (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertize) which is a French diving company. The dial bears the Comex logo in place of the world Sea-Dweller. The words Chronometer and Certified are aligned and the maxi markers are closer to the minute track. This watch is currently worth $140,000.

Page 225 Milgaus Anti-Magnetic [Reference 6541] Circa 1958

This is the first Anti-Magnetic watch ever made and it has a number of fascinating design details. The second hand has a "lightning bolt" shape, with dauphin hands and in the 3,6, and 9 indices positions it has steel triangular markers. The watch is 38mm and was manufactured in the fourth quarter of 1958. It has a Anti-magnetic mild iron dust cover to shield the movement.

Page 227 White Dial Explorer [Reference 1016] Circa 1962

This 36mm Explorer is extremely rare because it has an unusual white dial with ivory-colored luminous baton hands. This watch is currently valued at $50,000.

Page 231 Prototype GMT in Yellow Gold with White Dial [Reference 6542] Circa 1958

This ultra-rare 18kt yellow gold prototype GMT has nipple indices and a white dial with "Alpha" hands. It is 38mm in diameter and had a brown acrylic bezel calibrated for 24 hours. The watch was manufactured in 1958 and sold in Italy. It is currently worth $300,000.

Page 232 Pan American International Airlines White Dial GMT Master [Reference 1675] Circa 1960

This watch is extremely rare. Almost all Rolex GMT Master watches have black dials. Rolex originally developed the Rolex GMT at the request of Pan American International Airlines and in Rolex folklore they made black dials for the pilots and white dials for executives. The photo above shows the Pan Am logo engraved in the back of the watch.

Page 233 Pan American International Airlines White Dial GMT Master [Reference 1675] Circa 1960

The bezel was replaced on this watch but everything else is original. This watch has a number of interesting design details beyond the rare white dial. The arrow at the tip of the 24 hour hand is very small and the crown guards have an unusual curved to a point shape. According to John Goldberger, all the 6542 GMT's we have seen with Bakelite bezels are fake.

Page 238 Cosmograph Daytona in Yellow Gold [Reference 6239] Circa 1968

This watch is a real beauty and it is 38mm. Strikingly simple and complicated looking at the same time. It also has a riveted Oyster bracelet.

Page 238 Hermes Cosmograph Daytona [Reference 6241] Circa 1969

This watch was retailed by Hermes of France and is the John Goldberger's favorite Rolex watch.

Page 245 Rolex Cosmograph [Reference 6241] Circa 1964

This watch is 37mm in diameter and has an Oyster bracelet with a deployment clasp.

Page 249 Albino Daytona [Reference 6239] Circa 1967

The "Albino" Daytona is an ultra-rare and highly collectable Rolex Cosmograph and it is valued at over $500,000. This watch was originally sold in Great Britain. The Daytona designation is a semicircle printed in red.

Page 250 Rolex Cosmograph with Pulsations Scale [Reference 6239] Circa 1968

The photo above shows off how beautiful the Valjoux movement is in the watch pictured below.

Page 251 Rolex Cosmograph with Pulsations Scale [Reference 6239] Circa 1968

This Cosmograph is unusual in the sense that it has two scales on the face. The typical tachymeter scale calibrated at 200 units per hour on the bezel and an additional Pulsation scale running around the edge of the matte silvered dial.

Page 252 Rolex Daytona [Reference 6241] Circa 1968

The base Valjoux movement pictured above belongs to the Daytona pictured below.

Page 253 Rolex Daytona [Reference 6241] Circa 1968

This is my favorite Rolex Daytona. It has a nickname of "The Panda." It is 37mm and it has push button pushers for the chronograph functions apposed to the screw-down type on the current Daytona. I think the watch looks so clean and cool. I love the red, white and black color combo.

Page 256 Pulsation Scale Cosmograph [Reference 6262] Circa 1970

The photo of the movement above is from the watch pictured below.

Page 257 Pulsation Scale Cosmograph [Reference 6262] Circa 1970

This Rolex Cosmograph has a Jubilee bracelet and it has two scales on it. First it the tachymeter scale on the steel bezel which is calibrated at 200 units per hour. The second is the pulsation scale around the edge of the dial.

Page 264 King Midas [Reference 9630] circa 1964

This is the same Rolex that Elvis Presley wore. It was a limited edition Rolex only made 1000 pieces of. The one above belongs to John Goldberger and Leo (The Idle Swede) also owns one.

The Rolex Submarine

The image above and below are of the first Rolex waterproof watch ever made. This watch was originally sold in 1922 and it had the name of Rolex Submarine. Not Submariner, but Submarine.

I mistakenly thought the Rolex Oyster was the first waterproof Rolex, but I learned from John Goldberger that it was the Rolex Submarine.

The way this watch worked, was that when you wear it on your arm it look as it does below, but if you wanted to change the time or wind it, you had to screw off the front bezel as pictured above.

I hope you enjoyed reading and viewing the images in this article as much as I enjoyed putting them together. I learned so much about Rolex history and really enjoyed the great photos of all the rare Rolex watches.

I very, very, very highly recommend investing in a copy of 100 Superlative Rolex Watches for your collection. The book has 700 stunning images and the book is a beautiful work of art. It is a proud possession you will enjoy and treasure for the rest of your life, and as I mentioned the book contains more than $20 Million worth of rare and interesting Rolex watches.

This is the kind of book you want to sit in front of the fire in the wintertime with your favorite warm drink and enjoy.

You can purchase John Goldberger's amazing Rolex book named 100 Superlative Rolex Watches below. By purchasing his Rolex book here you save $74 off the regular price of $200.



John Goldberger also wrote the following books on Omega Watches, Omega Sport Watches and Longines Watches:

I would like to thank John Goldberger for sharing his superb photos and taking the time to record the excellent podcast.

I would also like to thank Damiani Publishing for creating such a beautifully printed and luxuriously bound book. Damiano Publishing specialize in art and photographic printing as well as volumes characterized by handmade quality and innovative technology. 100 Superlative Rolex Watches is the fourth book in their watch collection–adding to the previous titles of Omega, Omega Sportswatches and Longines.