Saturday, December 28, 2013

1959 National Geographic Mystery Man Identified in a 1976 Luis Marden Rolex Ad

...From the Archives...


1959 National Geographic Rolex Mystery Finally Solved

Several months ago, I saw a photo on the last page inside National Geographic magazine, and I included it below. It was a photo of a hand replacing a light bulb, and I could not help but notice he was wearing a big crown Submariner. The inscription said "A metal-mesh glove protected a photographer’s hand while he changed flashbulbs during a shoot in Mexico’s Yucatan, 1959. PHOTOGRAPH BY LUIS MARDEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC."

1976 Luis Marden Rolex Ad

Of course, I thought this was curious, mysterious and wondered who the photo was of, and what the context was behind the photo, and today, I am proud to announce I figured it out and put together the pieces of the puzzle. The vintage Rolex ad below offers all the answers to the National Geographic mystery photo. So Luis Marden was not only a treasure hunter, but also a famous National Geographic photographer. There is nothing cooler than to see a Rolex photo from the 1950s, seeing the Submariner being used as a Tool watch in the field!!!

The photo below is a self-portrait that explorer Luis Marden took of himself standing in front of the ancient Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico, in 1936.

Another Rolex at Chichen Itza

Sam, who goes by Fremstar on the RolexForums sent in this message with his great image of his GMT in front of the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza:


Hope my email finds you well.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the picture of my 1655 posted on your site.  The recent post of Luis Marden you posted struck a cord with me as I was at Chichen Itza about a year ago and had to snap this pic with my 116718. 

Keep up the great work!

Best Regards,


1956 Luis Marden & Jacques Cousteau

My pal, Eduardo Raffaelli from Argentina is not only a huge fan of Jake's Rolex World, but has also been a great supporter over the years, sent in an email after I published the story above, which added more valuable pieces to this fascinating story. Eduardo wrote:

Hi Jake,

I was just enjoying your work on the identification of Mr. Marden's hand with the Big Crown Submariner, as I recalled I had read the article many years ago, when I started diving.

So I browsed the bookcase of the old National Geographics, to attach some pictures you might like.

The Bones of the Bounty was published in the December 1957 NG. The photo, which was later used in the ad, is not very good.

Then, there is the well known picture of Luis Marden sharing experiences on board the Calypso. This is the February 1956 issue of the NG. The Rolex is clearly visible on Mr.Marden's wrist. In the same article, a picture of Marden is captioned with explanation that he is wearing a special waterproof watch, etc. The issue of imploding flashlight bulbs is also explained.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau & Luis Marden wearing a Rolex Submariner Pictured Above in 1956

Finally, there  is a picture of marden being hoisted out of a cenote in Mexico's Yucatan. Marden was probably the first to dare into these new places. On his wrist, there is the same combo of Rolex + Depthmeter. The article was published in the January 1959 issue. 

Best Wishes for the incoming 2014!

Kind Regards,

Eduardo Raffaelli

I would like to thank Eduardo Raffaelli for sending in the great scans from the 1950s National Geographic Magainze. Notice Eduardo is rockin' his Rolex DEEPSEA in the photo above. Eduardo, like myself is a hardcore Rolex enthusiast, with an immense respect and fascination for all Rolex history as well as the history of diving, and anything Jacques Cousteau. Jacques-Yves Cousteau was the greatest explorer that ever lived!!!