Saturday, October 13, 2018

Robert Palmer Bradley DeepStar 4000 Pilot—Single Red SEA-DWELLER

Robert Palmer Bradley

DeepStar 4000 Pilot


Coming To Phillips Auction House

This story represents a significant piece of the Rolex Submariner/SEA-DWELLER puzzle, which I have been aware of for a very long time, but I never wrote about it until today, as I was never really able to contextualize it properly.

A few days ago, Jose from published an AMAZING article about Robert Palmer Bradley's Single Red SEA-DWELLER which is coming to Phillips Auction House in Geneva on November 10-11 2018. This is no ordinary Single Red SEA-DWELLER as it is the very first known manufactured example.

I wrote a super detailed review of Rolex's 50th Anniversary Single Red SEA-DWELLER which is fascinating.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this story, I have been aware of this Single Red SEA-DWELLER for a long time, but never put this puzzle piece together with the rest until today. Jose from and I were discussing parts of this story last year, but when he published his recent story, it kind of woke me up to the significance of this puzzle piece. So let's dive into this amazing piece of Rolex SEA-DWELLER history.

The photo below shows Robert Palmer Bradley in November 1968 during a ceremony at the Kona Kai Club in San Diego, California receiving his Single Red SEA-DWELLER as a gift from Rolex USA and Westinghouse to celebrate the 500th successful dive of the DEEPSTAR 4000 Submersible. If you look closely you will notice Robert Palmer Bradley holding the classic forest green Rolex gift box in his hand that contains the Single Red SEA-DWELLER.

The Westinghouse DeepStar 4000 Submersible is pictured below in San Deigo, California. I believe there is a very high likelihood the man standing next to the side of the DeepStar submersible in the photo below is Robert Palmer Bradley.

In 1968 Rolex had been working closely with Bob Barth of the U.S. Navy SEALAB  to develop the Rolex SEA-DWELLER and Rolex published the following magazine and as a tribute to Robert Palmer Bradley. This 1968 Rolex Submariner features Westinghouse's DEEPSTAR 4000 along with the Submariner. 

Don't forget that the SEA-DWELLER was and remains a Submariner variant. Robert Palmer Bradleys SEA-DWELLER dial is pictured below and notice underneath the red SEA-DWELLER designation is says, "SUBMARINER 500M-1650FT".

Jacques-Yves Cousteau invented the two-man mini Submersible as seen in the photos below, which the Westinghouse DEEPSTAR was based upon.

The following magazine article was published in October of 1962 and features the history of the development of Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Sea Saucer.

The photo below is from the National Archives and it has a caption that reads:

"K-81569 Underwater Vehicle Deepstar 4000. This Westinghouse vehicle is lowered into the water to be used to inspect Sealab III while the habitat is on the ocean floor for experiments. Off San Clemente, California, December 1968."

The video below is a documentary on SEALAB III and it features the DEEPSTAR 4000 that Robert Bradley Palmer was piloting at the time.

As I mentioned, definitely check out Jose's amazing article on Robert Palmer Bradley's Single Red SEA-DWELLER on Also, Jose and I worked tirelessly on developing THE HISTORY OF THE ROLEX SEA-DWELLER Poster seen below. 

To see all the amazing detail in the SEA-DWELLER Timeline poster below right-mouse-click on it to open it in a different browser window. You can also purchase an amazing high res version of the poster in the Timelines section of