Friday, May 29, 2020

The Mysterious Case of Dr. Brauer's SINGLE-RED SEA-DWELLER Discovering The Very First Gas Escape Valve Rolex





The Mysterious Case of Dr. Brauer's



SINGLE-RED SEA-DWELLER


Discovering The Very First 

Gas Escape Valve Rolex


I originally began writing this story as an introduction to Jose's incredible new article on how he discovered, using brilliant scientific deduction, the real and true history of the early SEA-DWELLER prototypes. To say I got carried away would be an understatement! Why did I go crazy with this story? Rolex history is and alway has been like a huge puzzle for me. You make one major discovery and it leads to more questions. I was so inspired by Jose's discovery it made me want to put together all his newly discovered puzzle pieces with all the other missing disparate puzzle pieces which is what this story has grown into. I decided to separate this from Jose's story as I did not want it to overshadow his incredible discoveries.

The Rolex SEA-DWELLER is the stuff of legend. The story of Man and the Sea, as well as the story of Man and Machine, have captivated and fascinated the human imagination and psyche since the beginning of recorded history. This story of the exploration of inner-space tells how the science fiction of one century became the science reality of the next century, and how Rolex played a critical role in the history of The Right Stuff as well as mankind's conquest of the ocean. 

This is the captivating story of man returning to live and work underwater in the DEEP-SEA, as depicted in the 1871 illustration seen below from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The SEA. It's Captain Nemo and the Nautilus come to life...This story is about astounding exploration, fueled by The Spirit Of Inquiry...So let's hop in The Rolex Time Machine and set out on a Fantastic Voyage...


French 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Illustration from 1871 depicts two men located in bottom left corner Dwelling under the Sea 


Have you ever wondered what a Rolex 'SEA-DWELLER' is? I mean, what does the term mean and where does it come from? And for that matter, what is the real significance of this watch from a historical perspective? 



The key visual difference between a post Submariner and a post 1971 SEA-DWELLER is that the SEA-DWELLER has a gas escape valve (as pictured above) and a thicker case, but a confusing fact that confounded collectors of early generation SEA-DWELLER models is 'Why did some early SEA-DWELLER prototypes lack a gas escape valve?"

“The vision recurs; the eastern sun has a second rise; history repeats her tale unconsciously, and goes off into a mystic rhyme; ages are prototypes of other ages, and the winding course of time brings us round to the same spot again.”  


—Mystic Rhyme 1845


Rolex re-introduced the Single Red SEA-DWELLER at BaselWorld to great fanfare in 2017 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the first Single Red SEA-DWELLER prototype. The Single Red SEA-DWELLER is one of my absolute favorite Rolex watches today, so much so I kept a super-detailed diary on wearing it. As I worked on this story with Jose it gave me an even deeper appreciation and respect for the current Single-Red SEA-DWELLER which is pictured below.





It is important to understand ALL SEA-DWELLER models made prior to 1971 were PROTOTYPES as we witness below in the Rolex brochure from 1975 that documented the fact Rolex formally introduced the Sea-Dweller in 1971 for sale to the general public. This was five years after Rolex began testing SEA-DWELLER prototypes. Before the advent of this article you are reading now if you tried to make sense of the chronology of the first several years of Rolex SEA-DWELLER models it was like a really confusing mixed-up bowl of potpourri, or like trying to drink water from a fire hose :-0


I just completed my twelfth straight year of publishing Jake's Rolex World, so as I enter my thirteenth year I am excited to publish this amazing story from Jose who is our Horological Forensics Investigator. In a nutshell, in this article, Jose believes he has discovered the very first Rolex SINGLE-RED SEA-DWELLER that featured a gas escape valve. Jose's research findings are completely counterintuitive and radically contradict the previously assumed scholarship narrative on the subject.

When I began Jake's Rolex World in 2008 the world believed COMEX had developed the Rolex SEA-DWELLER with Rolex. This was far from the truth...with a really bizarre twist we will examine later in this article...



Founder Of COMEX, Henri Germain Delauze [1970]


In 2008 I became friends with and interviewed legendary NASA Astronaut, Scott Carpenter who told me of his adventures with the U.S. Navy SEALAB program as an Aquanaut, which served to bring forth the real and true history of the development of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER. 


U.S. NASA Astronaut & SEALAB Aquanaut, Scott Carpenter (right) with Jacques-Yves Cousteau


Since 2008 I have published and put together my 20 Part Series titled, "The Complete History of the Rolex Submariner & SEA-DWELLER: Rolex's Conquest of the Ocean." Scott Carpenter introduced me to diving legend and former Rolex U.S.A. Executive, T. Walker Lloyd as well as legendary U.S. Navy SEALAB Aquanaut, Bob Barth. I spent many hours interviewing these legendary aquanauts who have since passed away.


U.S. NAVY SEALAB founders Dr. George Bond (top) and Captain Walt Mazzone in the ocean off of La Jolla, California in 1965 as they prepare to visit the 10 SEALAB Aquanauts living and working at 205 feet below the ocean surface aboard SEALAB2


Over the past dozen years I have interviewed many, many other people related to this history, including SEALAB cofounder and director, Walt Mazzone (pictured above). Walt passed away at age 96 and he was a Submarine Captain during World War II. He told me a fascinating story—I will never forget—about how he was the torpedo and gunnery officer in 1944 aboard the U.S.S. Crevalle Submarine which was on a mission out in the Pacific to track down and torpedo a Japanese convoy when a Japanese depth-charger attack hit his submarine and knocked out one of his engines so they could not escape. Mazzone brilliantly kept his Submarine from becoming buoyant by quietly sitting still in the ocean for more than 24 hours, while his men worked on fixing the engines so they could slip away. Captain Walt Mazzone was a true Rolex Submariner.

I also interviewed COMEX founder, Henri-Germain Delauze—in great detail which contributed significantly to assisting Jose and myself in completing this most amazing Rolex history puzzle.

As Jose and I have worked together to discover more missing pieces of this amazing history, we stumbled into many other pieces we never imagined could have existed, and each of these new puzzle pieces have significantly changed and enhanced our scholarship on this subject. Jose's story below my synopsis makes a significant contribution to furthering our understanding of so many aspects of this amazing previously undiscovered and undocumented meaningful Rolex history.




Synopsis

The mysterious Single Red SEA-DWELLER, hereinafter referred to by its acronym of SRSD models are super cool and until today have confused collectors to no end—that is, until Jose put together all the hyper-complex pieces of the early SRSD puzzle in his brilliant story.





Man-in-Sea 1 & 2

Inventor Edwin A. Link was a deep sea diving pioneer who designed the first Aquanaut Habitat and on September 6, 1962 the first aquanaut, Robert Stenuit spent 24 hours and 15 minutes at a depth of 61 Meters (200Feet) in a steel cylinder that measured 11 feet by 37 inches in diameter while conducting several excursions. Two years later, in 1964 Stenuit and Jon Lindbergh (Son of legendary aviator, Charles Lindbergh) were lowered down to a depth of 126 Meters (413) feet as part of the Man-in-SEA II project. Below we see the cover of the July 1963 Popular Science which tells the fascinating story about Ed Link's Man-in-Sea Habitat.




A little later on in this article I will offer my opinion on the bottom section above that mentions Jacques-Yves Cousteau's fascinating prediction on the future of men dwelling in the sea.





The Man-in-Sea was habitat an SPID which is the acronym for Submerged Portable Inflatable Dwelling and the aquanauts experimented with breathing a mixture of helium and oxygen that had been pioneered by the U.S. Navy Dr. George Bond. This experiment was designed to discover the effects and physiology of breathing gases on the human body while diving underwater. The magazine pages above and below appeared in the July 1963 Popular Science and shows the primitive Man-in-Sea Habitat.



The fascinating Man Under the Sea depth comparison chart below was published in the July 1963 Popular Science and offers a superb compression guide. 


Keep in mind Ed Link's Man-in-SEA project began before Jacques Cousteau's Conshelf Habitat as well as the U.S. Navy SEALAB Habitat. Ed Link also worked closely with Rolex. 








Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Rolex developed the Submariner diving watch in 1953 (as seen below in prototype form on Jacques-Yves Cousteau's wrist) and brought it to market in 1954 as the ultimate diving watch which was so versatile it could also be worn with a wetsuit, jeans, a suit or even with a black tie tuxedo. 




This first Rolex Submariner model could only dive down to 100 Meters which was more than enough for most divers at the time.



 Jacques-Yves Cousteau's diving team tested the prototype Submariner models for Rolex in Cannes, France in 1953 as we see from the document below from the Institute of Submarine Research.







Conshelf 1, 2 & 3

From Submariner to SEA-DWELLER

In September 1962, Jacques Cousteau immersed his Calypso crew into their most ambitious adventure to date known as the Conshelf Project. The Conshelf project was the brainchild of a U.S. Navy Medical Corps., Captain named Dr. George Bond. Dr. Bond conceived a new method of diving known as the "saturation method" which later became know as "saturation diving."


The photo below was taken in 1968, and it shows U.S. Navy Doctor George Bond being interviewed with his close associate, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. In the interview, they were discussing U.S. Navy SEALAB III.

"What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what's going on." 

–Jacques-Yves Cousteau 




Saturation diving created the opportunity for an underwater habitat where divers could live in an underwater house/structure/habitat so they could work on the sea floor, without having to decompress by coming up to the ocean's surface after each dive.

Dr. Bond submitted his plan to build this underwater habitat for saturated divers to the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Navy initially rejected the idea–so Dr. Bond submitted his idea to Jacques Cousteau and his Calypso diving team–and after careful evaluation Cousteau decided to undertake the project.




Conshelf 1

Conshelf I [September 1962] Location: Frioul Island, Marseille, France


Conshelf I got underway in September of 1962, and according to Jacques Cousteau, the objective was "Two men living for one week in a small building at a depth of 37 feet and working several hours a day at 65 feet." The Conshelf I structure was essentially a huge drum about the size of an industrial shipping container that was ballasted with an open hatch for the divers to enter and exit the underwater house.

In the photo below we see Conshelf I's barrel shaped habitat being tested for leakage before being submerged for the experiment. I may be wrong, but I think I recognize fellow DEEP-SEA Submariner, Jacques Piccard up on the top deck, leaning back, in the white shirt with dark slacks filming with a camera in his hand. Jean-Michel Cousteau who is Jacques-Yves son mentioned he was close friends with Jacques Piccard.



Jacques-Yves Coustea previously worked with Jacques Piccard on the Bathyscaphe Project, and would work with Piccard again in 1964 on a new floating laboratory nicknamed "Mysterious Island" and again in 1965 from April 13 to May 10 on a geophysical and acoustical mission along the south coast of France. 

It is kind of shocking we have never seen a photo of the two Jacques together, but this may be the first one. Cousteau, of course, is located in the bottom right hand corner of the photo seen above on the deck of the Calypso.

Albert Falco and Claude Wesly of the Calypso diving team (pictured below wearing red caps) swam into history when they became the first "Oceanauts [French]" or "Aquanauts [American]" or "SEA-DWELLERS [ROLEX]" to really live or "DWELL" under the SEA. 



In the photo above we see Jacques Cousteau visiting with Falco and Wesly inside the Conshelf I habitat. When I interviewed Jacques-Yves Cousteau's son, Jean-Michel Cousteau recently  article, he mentioned he also visited Falco and Wesly. I think it is likely Jean-Michel took the photo above.






Conshelf 2

The Conshelf I project was extremely successful and Cousteau went directly on to the much more ambitious Conshelf II Project. Conshelf II explored the effects of a much longer duration stay living under the sea–for a month. Conshelf II also explored the effects of a week-long stay at 82 feet in a habitat filled with an oxygen-helium mixture with the inhabitant divers leaving the habitat to do daily work below 160 feet. 



Conshelf II [June 1963] Location: Shab Rumi, Sudan, Red Sea


The photo below is of "The Starfish House" floating in the water on the right side of the photo, which was the primary structure of Conshelf II complex. The big circular structure on the left is the garage for the diving saucer which is being assembled for submersion. (Notice in the water color illustration above that the diving saucer located in the bottom right hand side of the image has left the garage and is headed for much deeper water). The Calypso diving team that lived aboard Conshelf II really were dwelling in the sea or SEA-DWELLERS.


Shab Rumi, located in the Red Sea, off the coast of Sudan was intentionally chosen since it was so far away from the location of Conshelf I. This was proof of concept that a huge industrial undertaking like this could be executed in a far-away, remote area. In the photo below, a Calypso Cousteau diver looks in a window on the Conshelf II Starfish house.


In the photo below, two of the Cousteau Conshelf II divers relax over a game of chess in the Starfish house and enjoy a cigarette.



Let's take a look at the three high-res screen grabs below from the recent PBS SEALAB documentary which show footage from Jacques-Yves Cousteau's 1966 Academy Award winning Documentary named "World Without Sun." The first thing we see is that Jacques-Yves is wearing what has all the telltale signs of being a Rolex Submariner 5512 or 5513 as seen in the three pictures below.


Cousteau wearing this Submariner is something I first documented two decades ago in 2009, but with these new images we can see more detail, which is great.


I would not call this evidence unequivocal, but I would say there is a 99%+ chance it is a 5512 or 5513.







Conshelf III

In 1965 Calypso undertook its most ambitious and last Conshelf project named Conshelf III which was a spherical structure designed to house six Cousteau team divers including Jacques Cousteau's son Philippe.

Conshelf III [1965] Location: Cape Ferrat, Off the coast of Villefranche

The photo below shows three of Cousteau's Conshelf III divers checking in their equipment after a daily work dive at close to 400 feet.


The movie poster below is from the Academy Award Winning Jacques-Yves Cousteau Documentary titled, "World Without Sun". Notice it refers to the SEA-DWELLERS as "Oceanauts", as apposed to "Aquanauts".




So not only was Jacques-Yves Cousteau the inspiration for the original Rolex Submariner, but he was also the inspiration for the Rolex SEA-DWELLER as well. 


In the photo below taken later in Jacques-Yves Cousteau's life we seen him wearing a Rolex SEA-DWELLER. In my opinion, Jacques-Yves Cousteau was and remains the living personification and embodiment of both the Rolex Submariner and SEA-DWELLER.

''I loved touching water. Physically. Sensually. Water fascinated me.'' 

—Jacques-Yves Cousteau







1964 Rolex Cities Under The Sea

In the mid-to-late 1960s it was apparent to everybody, including Rolex, that Rolex owned the world of Aquatic Watches. Rolex was eager to share this rich heritage with the world as we see in the 1964 ad seen below. It is also worth nothing that this ad serves as serious clue in the puzzle of the SEA-DWELLER. 



If we carefully read the conclusion above it number 4, it says:

"A Rolex takes a long, hard time to create...but it will still serve your son as he keeps appointments in cities under the sea." 

BINGO!!!! 

You see, back in 1964 the world was a lot bigger and slower. There was no internet or cable TV. People back then were easily fascinated with non-sensical aquatic science-fiction, like The Creature From The Black Lagoon, or The Man From Atlantis, or Aquaman, or even The Bermuda Triangle. The movie Jaws and Star Wars was still more than a decade away. The idea that man might build and occupy underwater colonies seemed very real, and with underwater habitat programs like Man-in-Sea, or, Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Operation Conshelf, or the U.S. Navy SEALAB, it all seemed real. Even Rolex bought into it, and that is where the name "SEA-DWELLER" comes from, and means!

Rolex was so inspired by Conshelf and SEALAB they named their deeper diving capable Submariner variant, The SEA-DWELLER. Yes. Even Rolex at the time thought it was likely men would live in the sea. Ultimately Rolex SEA-DWELLER models would become popular tool watches for saturation divers from underwater construction firms like COMEX whose divers would work deep underwater building things like oil rigs. So if you have ever wondered how the Rolex SEA-DWELLER got its name, now you know. 



Philippe Cousteau

In the photo below we see Jacques-Yves Cousteau's son, Philippe Cousteau wearing his Rolex SEA-DWELLER.



In the photo below we see Philippe Cousteau's Double Red SEA-DWELLER which sold in 2014 at Antiquorum Auction Hose for $183,759. Ironically Philippe's watch began it's life as a Single Red SEA-DWELLER, but likely due to water damage had its dial replaced with a later double red dial.




Philippe Cousteau is pictured below wearing his Single Red SEA-DWELLER. 




Philippe Cousteau was Jacques-Yves Cousteau's younger son, and in the photo below we see Philippe suiting up for a dive during SEALAB III. It is important to note that Philippe Cousteau and his father, Jacques Cousteau were always in close contact with the members of SEALAB, as Operation Conshelf and SEALAB ran concurrently. Philippe Cousteau was invited by the U.S. Navy to be an adviser and cinematographer for SEALAB III.




The letter below is from Jacques-Yves Cousteau to William Culpepper regarding the design of the SEALAB II habitat with recommendations from J.Y.C.




The drawing below shows Jaques-Yves Cousteau's recommendation for the layout of the SEALAB II habitat. Special thanks to my right hand man, Jose from Perezcope.com for providing these historically significant images which he got when he traveled to Panama City in Florida to the SEALAB Museum.




Jean-Michel Cousteau

Jean-Michel Cousteau is Jacques-Yves Cousteau's oldest son and is pictured below in 1989 in Papua, New Guinea with his father, Jacques-Yves Cousteau aboard the Calypso, and notice he is wearing his Rolex SEA-DWELLER. Last year when I interviewed Jean-Michel Cousteau, I asked what his first recollection was of wearing a Rolex Submariner and he told me it was when he was stationed in Madagascar in 1958 while serving in the French Navy.






James Bond

Sean Connery made a huge splash in his debut role as James Bond in the landmark 1962 movie titled "Dr. No", and his Rolex Submariner prominently displayed on his wrist.




Sean Connery returned in Goldfinger in 1964 still sporting his big crown Submariner as seen in the photos below.




In the 1964 movie Goldfinger, Sean Connery as James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538] as pictured below, on a Regimental belt strap. 



In Goldfinger Sean Connery is in an early action scene were he is wearing his Submariner over his SCUBA suit as seen below.




In 1965 Rolex came out with the superb Rolex Submariner ad which appears below.



Below we see a 1966 Rolex Submariner magazine advertisement that talks about how Rolex came up with the Submariner and how it was designed for seagoing men.





Below we see a 1967 Rolex Submariner magazine ad which was published during the U.S. Navy SEALAB program. This is the closest vintage magazine ad I am aware of Rolex advertising the Submariner in relation to a Submarine Captain. Notice the text in the ad reads:

"You're looking at the Rolex Submariner. For many years, it's been standard gear for SUBMARINERS, frogmen and all who make their living on the seas."




The next Rolex ad seen below is from 1968 and illustrates how focused Rolex was on undersea exploration.




SEA-DWELLER

In the early 1950s mankind had just began untethered SCUBA diving and exploring the ocean in a meaningful way. Legendary French underwater explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau was quoted in a Popular Science article published in July 1963 as saying he believed by 2013 men would evolve into 'homo aquaticus/water man' which would live underwater without any air supply, as they would develop 'artificial gills'. This excerpt seems to offer more insight on his vision for SEA-DWELLERs.




Jacques-Yves Cousteau had developed his own underwater habitat which he dubbed as Conshelf. According to the same Popular Science article cited above:

"Many of the technical details of Cousteau's underwater houses had been worked out by Link and Capt. George F. Bond of the U.S. Navy."

A decade after the Rolex Submariner came out, divers kept exploring deeper and deeper into the seas down to the continental shelf which was began at an average depth of 600 feet and went down to around 1,500 feet, so in 1967 Rolex decided to make a special DEEP-SEA Submariner, which they dubbed SEA-DWELLER as we see pictured below.





The SEA-DWELLER model incorporated a digital date aperture window complication and notice on the dial pictured above there is a single red line of text that says: "SEA-DWELLER", but notice on the second line in white text it reads "SUBMARINER 500M-1650FT. The standard Submariner at the time was only certified by Rolex to dive to 200 Meters which was 657 feet, but Rolex rounded up to 670 feet. Essentially the first SEA-DWELLER was a much deeper Submariner variant, which it remains to this day.

Rolex completed its first batch of 40 or so prototype Single Red SEA-DWELLER models between April & June of 1967 (II.67). At the time the SRSD prototypes were originally manufactured in 1967 NONE of them had gas release valves or 'Patent Pending' engravings on their case-backs. 





1967 Helium Release Valve

The three pages below are a copy of Rolex's Patent Application for the Helium Release Valve. Notice it was originally filed on November 6, 1967.














SEALAB


The dream of having cities in the sea did not seem that far fetched at the time, although it would never become reality. Below is an early conceptual artists concept for the U.S. Navy SEALAB program.





Rolex tested Submariner models during SEALAB II in 1965 at a depth of 62 Meters which is 200 feet, but the planned SEALAB 3 Habitat was planning to be placed much deeper, thus Rolex decided it needed a Submariner that could go much deeper. 



Rolex made the first SEA-DWELLER models as Jose calls them as a "Uber Submariner", meaning a Submariner that could be worn in the Deep Sea. Rolex planned to test these first prototypes with the U.S. Navy SEALAB program which was originally scheduled to take place in late 1967, but was postponed until early 1969. So basically, Rolex had the Single Red SEA-DWELLER models in the United States ready to test in mid 1967.




Then Rolex discovered through deep sea diving legend T. Walker Lloyd and U.S. Navy SEALAB Aquanaut, Bob Barth there was a potential issue with the crystals popping off the Submariner watches when the diver would come up during decompression where helium would build-up in the case and cause the crystal to explode off the watch.



Bob Barth (pictured above being interviewed by CBS news legend, Walter Cronkite in front of the SEALAB Habitat in dry dock at San Francisco's Hunters Point) came up with the idea of putting a helium release valve on the Rolex Submariner watches and T. Walker Lloyd sent the idea to Rolex in Geneva for consideration. 

Rolex took immediate action and in early/mid 1968 Rolex made the first Single Red SEA-DWELLER prototype (pictured below) with a gas release valve, and it featured a 'Patent Pending' case-back engraving. 




Dr. Brauer's Single Red SEA-DWELLER pictured above


It the bizarre twist of fate I mentioned earlier, Rolex gave this Single SEA-DWELLER prototype watch to Dr. Ralph Brauer to test in the COMEX Hydra project in Europe. The reason this is ironic is that at the time COMEX was under contract to Omega, so the false-narrative myth that said Rolex developed the SEA-DWELLER and Gas Release Valve with COMEX has has a shred a truth to it!

Once the gas release valve had been proven effective during the COMEX Physalie 2 & 3 missions which took place on June 11, and June 28, 1968, Rolex retrofitted the fist batch of 1967 prototypes by replacing their plain case-backs with 'Patent Pending' case-backs, and modified the models that were destined for the SEALAB 3 Habitat mission with gas release valves, while leaving the ones for the DEEPSTAR 4000 mission and Tektite missions without gas escape valves as they were not necessary for their respective missions. 

In effect this gave Rolex time to retrofit the first batch of Single Red SEA-DWELLER models to match Dr. Brauer's later 1968 SRSD prototype with the valve and etched case-back which explains why a SRSD made in 1968 had a gas release valve before the 1967 SRSD prototypes did!





DEEPSTAR 4000

In the photo below we see Robert-Palmer Bradley standing next to the DEEPSTAR 4000 Submersible which was designed by the famous Rolex Submariner Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Notice the "NEL" logo on the Submersible which stood for the U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory. Today NEL has been renamed to "NUC" which stands for Naval Undersea Center.



In the photo below, taken in December of 1968 we see the DEEPSTAR 4000 Submersible as she prepares to inspect the SEALAB 3 Habitat off the southern California coast in the waters off San Clemente Island.








In the photo below we see DEEPSTAR 4000 pilot, Robert 'Bob' Palmer Bradley wearing a Submariner or Single Red SEA-DWELLER as he is tracking the DEEPSTAR 4000 from the ocean surface. The SRSD models given by Rolex to the DEEPSTAR 4000 project did not require gas release valves as the submersible used normal air inside.




Bob Bradley's Single Red SEA-DWELLER is pictured below.




The Rolex magazine Submariner advertisement below from 1968 celebrates the achievements of the DEEPSTAR 4000 Submersible two man support crew and pilots.




In the photo below we see Robert Palmer Bradley with Jacques-Yves Cousteau who designed the DEEPSTAR 4000 Submarine.








Operation Tektite




As the U.S. Navy begun winding down Operation SEALAB, Rolex continued to test SEA-DWELLER Prototypes with The U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research Operation Tektite, which had an underwater habitat in Great Lameshur Bay, in The Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands which you can see in the background below as the team of Tektite Aquanauts swim away from her. 


The Tektite habitat was built by the Space Division at General Electric at the Valley Forge Space Technology Center located in King Of Prussia, in Pennsylvania as we see pictured below. 



Tektite I was a mission with four aquanauts, and it began on February 15, 1969 and ran until April 15, 1969. The two photos below show Tektite I Aquanaut, Ian Koblick wearing his Single Red SEA-DWELLER which lacks a gas escape valve. 




The Tektite Aquanauts didn't require gas escape valves on their Single Red Rolex SEA-DWELLER models. This was due to the fact the Tektite Habitat was saturated with Nitrox, which was a combination of Nitrogen & Oxygen not to mention the Tektite Habitat was in relatively shallow water at less than 50 feet.



In the two photos below which were taken by Philippe Stahl we see Ian Koblick's Single Red SEA-DWELLER.






This is an amazing story I was able to share with you as it came together as a result of Jose's amazing new findings in his new story that separated the fact from the fiction on the early history of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER. I would like to thank Jose for sharing his incredible research finding with my readers, and I have some more AMAZING previously undocumented Single-Red SEA-DWELLER history coming up in the future, so stay tuned ;-)




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