Friday, May 29, 2015

The Complete History Of Rolex Conquering Mount Everest [Part 1 of 8]

62nd Anniversary Celebration

I wrote this Rolex history story 6 years ago, and am republishing it on this 62nd anniversary of this amazing human achievement. 

The Complete History

Rolex Conquers Mount Everest
[Part 1 0f 8]

Tenzing Norgay & Sir Edmund Hillary Conquer Mount Everest

We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. – T. S. Elliot


I must admit when I set out to write this story, I had no idea how complicated and time consuming it would be. There was so much fascinating detail to capture in this story, and in the months and years to come I am certain I will update and add to the story many times.

As a historian and writer, I wanted to do more than give you a list of dated bullet points with photos. I wanted to actually take you to Nepal and take you up Mount Everest, which I feel I have achieved. I also wanted to let you stand in Tenzing Norgay's shoes and Sir Edmund Hillary's shoes to see things from their unique perspective. Enjoy the trip!!!

On Top of The World

Many of us have seen the classic National Geographic photo below of Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay near the top of Everest.

There are many unanswered questions surrounding their epic conquest of Everest, like whether they were wearing Rolex watches under their jackets in this photo. In this article I will do my best to shed as much light as I can on this amazing story of human ingenuity, achievment and perseverance, as well as two men reaching the highest highs and the lowest lows.

It Was A Very Good Year

Let's go back in time to 1953 and take a look around. The world was starting to bounce back from World War II and Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England at Buckingham Palace as seen in the Life photo below from the coronation.

Ironically, news of the successful conquering of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached Britain on the very day of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

1953 was a glorious year of optimism where anything seemed possible. As the world embarked upon the second half of the twentieth century, a whole new modern world began to emerge. The world entered into a truly modern epoch where everything began to change quickly, and humanity began to freely dream again. The only limitation was imagination.

In 1953 Dwight Eisenhower was the President of The United States and of course he was wearing his beloved yellow gold Rolex that had been given to him as a gift from Rene-Paul Jeanneret who was the director of Rolex. This Rolex was no ordinary Rolex, it was the 150,000th Officially Certified Swiss Chronometer that Rolex made.

1953 was a very interesting and promising year. Elvis Presley was still in high school and the Space age had arrived–and with it, America's love for the automobile culminated in the 1953 Corvette which had beautiful lines like nothing that had ever come before it.

Speaking of beautiful lines, 1953 was the year that Hugh Hefner launched Playboy magazine, which, in its debut issue, featured this stunningly gorgeous photo of the young Marilyn Monroe–The sexual revolution was also underway.