Tuesday, January 31, 2023

I WANT A GOOD WATCH!!! 1961 Rolex Submariner Brochure: Reference 5512

...Rolex Zeitgeist...


Evergreen 1961 Rolex Submariner Brochure

[Reference 5512]

This super-cool, ultra-fascinating 1961 Rolex Submariner brochure perfectly sums up the raw core essence of Rolex and is one of my absolute favorite pieces of vintage Rolex collateral material! I would go so far as to say this quintessential timeless document is as close as Rolex has ever come to writing a constitution...

It was printed a year after the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf passed away—which means it was printed in a Twilight Zone, as Rolex was in the process of metamorphosing from a utilitarian "tool watch" brand into a luxury brand—in the same way daytime transitions into nighttime. In other words, this document was printed in the Rolex dusk. Dusk being the magical moments between sunset and nighttime where without electric light everything becomes essential shadow and all we see is romantic silhouette, contoured outlines and basic primal shapes.

Twilight is fascinating as it is often time otherworldly, as it is neither day nor night, but something in-between. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that this reminds me of Rod Serling's immortal opening words from The Twilight Zone when he said:

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone."

Speaking of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, it is fascinating that it was originally airing when this brochure was made at it ran from 1959 to 1964.

I believe this timeless document best reflects Hans Wilsdorf's brand ethos, essence and zeitgeist...Read it and decide for yourself...I think this pretty much perfectly sums it all up for Rolex!!!!

Notice on the page above it still says "Havana" since Rolex was still in Cuba, and also notice on the bottom of the right page below, it refers to the Rolex Submariner as being "designed for Deep Sea Diving and all Aquatic Activities. This document is a true Rolex Time Machine or Time Capsule—if ever there was one!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Rolex Studio Shot of the Day: Explorer II Jubilee...

...Rolex Studio Shot of the Day...

Explorer II on Jubilee

Hannes from the German R-L-X.de Rolex forum took this great shot of his stainless steel Rolex Explorer II on a Jubilee bracelet. This is a rare, but cool combination.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

SKYGOD: Pan Am Captain Clarence 'Jooj' Warren and the GMT-Master 6542




By Capt. Danny Crivello

Sky-god \ski-god\: a being who reigns supreme while aloft in man-made flying contrivance 2: an aeronautical creature endowed with godlike attributes and worthy (in his or its own estimation) of human worship.


—Robert Gandt, “Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am”

When I reach for the handset to make a Public Address welcoming my passengers onboard the Boeing 767 I fly for Delta, I often think of the Pan Am captains before me. They would welcome their passengers to a Pan American Jet Clipper before crossing the High Seas. They're the giants on whose shoulders I stand. They've flown boat-planes, propeller planes and the first airliner jets which took four pilots to manage. They literally wrote the book on air safety. 

Pan Am epitomized the golden era of aviation mainly because of its cabin service. But for those sitting in the confined cockpits of the jets filled with toggle switches, round dials and navigation equipment pre-dating GPS, flying was anything but routine. Much about air safety and crew resource management would still be improved on through recommendations, incident reports and worse. 

Rolex-wearing Pan Am aviators are occasionally seen in Rolex ads. But their stories are extremely hard to come by, and little is known about them. They were hired during or right after World War II and took the company through the jet age making it, in Pan Am’s famous tagline, "The World’s Most Experienced Airline." These pilots were reverentially called "Skygods" by those who followed them into the cockpits. 

In the Rolex ad above, the six-foot-tall Clarence "Jooj" Warren, Jr., is standing, right, next to a fellow captain. The fuselage of a Pan Am Boeing 707 is seen between them. Warren is wearing the airline’s signature black double-breasted uniform, a symbol of sleek power in the ’50s and ’60s. Under the Pan Am white cap, Warren flashes a smile as he checks the time on his Rolex GMT-Master 6542 mounted on a black leather strap. The watch seems to be sitting comfortably on the skipper's wrist next to the four golden stripes of his black uniform sleeve.

It's 1959 and Warren is 42 years old in the picture. Few know this Skygod became a Pan Am captain in 1942 at the unusual age of 25, his logbook filled with more than 16,000 hours of flight time to destinations including Africa, South America and Europe. In an interview with a New Haven, Connecticut, newspaper that same year, Warren told the local reporter he had crossed the Atlantic 100 times, flown over five million miles and "never scratched an airplane." 

Warren is a bit the airline version of Lindbergh. He is the first to have flown the public on a scheduled flight across the Atlantic, a "first" he would repeat on a jet-powered aircraft when Pan Am switched from the turbo-prop DC-6 to the Boeing 707. He was also in command of the first 707 when it set a speed record on the transatlantic trial flight. 

Warren performed a large portion of the acceptance flights for Pan Am which were required before delivery of new aircraft. Appointed Assistant Chief Pilot Technical for the Atlantic Division, he became a liaison between Boeing and the airline. He flew Pan Am's first new 707 from the Boeing plant in Seattle to New York and made history again when he was the first pilot to land a jet airliner at New York's International Airport. 

When the White House needed a pilot to fly the Press Corps non-stop to Moscow to cover Vice President Nixon's visit of the Soviet Union, in 1959, they requested Warren by name. If Rolex executives needed someone to embody the "perpetual pursuit of excellence," the way they do with Roger Federer and tennis, they couldn’t pick better than Captain Warren to represent the GMT-Master. 

As of today, Rolex still shows the vintage "First non-stop to Moscow" ad featuring Warren on its website. The ad can also be seen in Rolex's most recent Rolex Magazine, with the 2022 Air-King on the cover. This week, Rolex posted on its Instagram and Twitter accounts a clip with Warren's ad briefly seen in the background of the new GMT-Master.

"The flight itself was navigated by Rolex," Warren is quoted in the ad. For Warren, though, safe navigation was mostly achieved through the culmination of years of study and experience. He even once said he had "enough studying of technical books at home and in the office to earn several college degrees." Air tragedies, that Pan Am skipper believed, were avoided by experience, skill and the ability to keep cool when trouble arises. 

Warren, who had met President Dwight Eisenhower on several occasions, said he was honored to be chosen for the first non-stop flight to Moscow by the White House. But it "involved a great deal of extra study and work," he once told a reporter. 

Warren shakes hands with Eisenhower during a visit in Hawaii in 1960, when the President was being honored by the University of Hawaii. The Pan Am crew flew the White House press corps to and from Honolulu.

Warren is no longer with us, but his youngest daughter, Barbara, now in her seventies, still remembers her dad poring over flight manuals in their Ridgefield, Connecticut, home. 

"He studied them a lot," she told me. "I remember standing, looking at him, his back would be to me, and I would just shuffle or make sounds on the door because I wanted him to turn around and see that I was there. And he would sometimes turn around, and I would say, 'Hi, Daddy!'" 

Warren studied the weather and wind maps for days ahead of a flight to select a course over the Atlantic which would give him the least headwind. His calculations paid off in 1952, when he brought back from London the NBC film crew which had captured Queen Elizabeth's coronation. The major television networks were competing against each other to be the first to bring pictures of the coronation to the American public. And NBC beat the competition by an hour and a half thanks to Captain Warren’s careful flight planning.

Then he would drive home, where his wife made sure the kids had been informed of his arrival. 

"Typically, I would sit at the dining table and I would pretend I didn't know he was coming home," Barbara told me. "So he'd come in, put his suitcase in the bedroom, and eventually he came in the room I was in. And I would act really surprised he was home, 'OH MY GOD!!' He would give me this big bear hug and lift me up." 

Roger Warren, the oldest of four children, told me his dad was often gone for two weeks at a time. "He would fly to London, for example, and make stops at three or four European capitals and would come back," he said. "Then he'd be home for just one week. Our lives growing up were built around all that. Our dad was gone a lot." 

Still, Roger added, it was exciting to have a dad who was a pilot. He came back with stories of the people he'd met and the places he'd visited. Then there were the flight benefits which allowed families to fly free. "Our dad had this job that kind of connected us with the world in a way that was sort of unusual for our peers," Roger said. 

The excitement of Warren's life is the stuff of Hollywood movies. The tall and handsome Rolex-wielding Pan Am captain with gold bars on his shoulders and wings on his chest was married to a beauty queen he met in college. And he drove a Porsche to work before taking the controls of a fresh-out-of-the-factory Boeing 707 to destinations like Paris or Rome. 

Like many Skygods, Warren's flying experience didn't start at Pan Am but in the Army Air Corps, where he spent two and a half years with the Army Transport Command flying between the U.S. and Africa and Europe. His dad, Clarence Warren, Sr., was friends with legendary World War I "Ace of Aces" Eddie Rickenbacker, whom Warren credits as an inspiration for wanting to fly. He met his wife Marjory at Butler University, in Indianapolis, where he graduated in 1938. He would join the ranks of Pan Am at 23 and make captain just two years later. 

In this exact DC-7, the Clipper Bostonian, in 1956, Capt. Warren flew the first Miami-to-Paris flight, the longest flight ever scheduled by an airline which took 14 hours and 2 minutes.

How Warren received his Rolex GMT-Master 6542 is unclear, as we know little about the relationship Pan Am had with Rolex. Rolex on its website and in past ads said it was "the official watch of Pan American World Airways" without explaining what it meant. 

Rolex doesn't indicate, for example, whether the pilots of Pan Am were standard-issued the GMT-Master, like a piece of uniform, or they had to pay for the watch. One Rolex ad said the GMT-Master was designed to "the specifications of two world-renowned aviation companies" without mentioning the second one.

1958 Rolex ad: "Rolex designed a totally new chronometer to the specifications of two world-renowned aviation companies."

Pan Am being a defunct airline, it is difficult to gather reliable information about the pilots' watches. I reached out to Rolex in Geneva to find out if Pan Am pilots were given free GMTs by the brand. A spokesperson for Rolex said they didn't know. 

“After combing through the archives, even from Rolex USA, we don’t have a clear answer,” the spokesperson in Geneva said. 

Tom Betti who runs the Pan Am Museum podcast, which specializes in the history of the airline, told me he had spoken to three pilots who had made captain in the late ’60s and ’70s. These captains said they never received watches. 

"Linda Reynolds, a Pan Am flight attendant and trainer, distinctly remembers a discount program through the company to purchase Rolex watches," Betti told me. "But the joke was that even with the discount most employees couldn’t afford one. She said she had a cockpit chat with an older pilot in the 1970s about his Rolex and how he talked about the discount.” 

Until my research into Warren, I had never seen a photo of a Pan Am pilot wearing a GMT-Master on his time off. But the pictures of Warren printed in a 1959 local newspaper show him playing the organ at home and loading golf clubs in a Porsche 356 — all while casually wearing the GMT-Master from the famous ad. And despite his active lifestyle and a job requiring to travel the world, the bakelite bezel of the 6542, known for breaking easily, is perfectly intact. 

The exact Rolex GMT-Master 6542 from the ad today. The pilot's family still owns the watch.

I was happy to learn Captain Warren’s historically significant Rolex GMT-Master remains with his family. The black strap still carries his DNA. The steel case is still thick, the dial patinaed by thousands of flight hours spent in the high altitude's sunlight. The watch looks unrepaired and all-original. This GMT doesn't have a Cyclops lens to magnify the date, an option rather than a standard feature offered until the early 1960s, according to Nick Urul and Martin Skeet who co-authored Vintage Rolex Sports Models. This watch could be equipped with the 1036 or 1065 movement; I didn't ask the family to open the caseback. 

Warren finished his career as Lead Check Pilot. Check pilots are the even-more feared and revered captains who flight-check other pilots — and have the all-mighty power to ground them. Check pilots are carefully selected because they are essentially the quality control of an airline's flight operation, the last line of defense. Pilots have to be inspected on a regular basis to make sure they follow procedures, Federal Aviation Regulations and fly safely within the limitations of their aircraft. 

The fact Warren was not only a Check Pilot but also promoted to Lead Check Pilot is, in my view, a testament to his professionalism, skills and dedication to safety. 

Safety was one of the first things Janice Warren, his oldest daughter, mentioned to me when she recalled her dad. He was nominated Chairman of the Central Air Safety Committee for the pilots at Pan Am, she informed me. 

"I must have been 11. I remember telling my dad, I was scared of flying because I was afraid there would be a plane crash," Janice said. She can still remember her dad's response, a bit stern, but a good illustration of his commitment to safety. 

"He stood for the safety of the airplane," she said. "And he wanted me to be sure to know that airplanes were far safer than driving in a car." That conversation helped her go on the airplane. 

"I felt proud of him being my dad and caring how I felt," Janice said. "It was a very heartwarming conversation for me."

"He was proud of being a pilot, he was proud of the aviation industry," Roger finally told me. "He was in a position of responsibility, and he took it seriously. And that's why he ended up chairing the safety committee." 

I asked Roger about his dad's "perpetual pursuit of excellence," to quote Rolex's tagline. 

"It was a standard that he set for himself," he said. "He was aware of the responsibilities that went along with being a captain, and he took them seriously. That kind of stuck with me as a kid. I picked it up a little bit myself." 

Roger Warren is a retired judge and the President Emeritus of the National Center for State Courts. "If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it well," he said. "And I'm going to hold myself responsible for what I'm doing."

Danny Crivello

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Pierce Brosnan: Another James Bond Actor Wearing Rolex Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust...

...Rolex Coolness...

Pierce Brosnan

Another James Bond Actor Wearing Rolex

Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust

Back in April of 2016 I originally discovered and published this photo of Pierce Brosnan wearing a Rolex Datejust. 

If you are a regular reader of Jake's Rolex World, or a James Bond Rolex fan, you will really get a kick out of this photo of former James Bond Actor, Pierce Brosnan sporting a stainless steel Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee Bracelet. After all, the supreme irony is Pierce Brosnan was the first James Bond to break the mold of James Bond wearing Rolex.

Instead Pierce Brosnan wore an Omega and Daniel Craig followed in his footsteps. Some die-hard Rolex/James Bond believed this move was sacrosanct. Well, the interesting news is that Pierce Brosnan went back to Rolex in 2007 when he posed for this Aquascutum ad. By the way, this photo makes it official, that EVERY ACTOR THAT PLAYED JAMES BOND HAS WORN A ROLEX AT SOME TIME IN THEIR LIFE!!!

Of course you can learn everything about James Bond Rolex History or learn just about Pierce Brosnan as James Bond on Jake's Rolex World. In the future on Jake's Rolex World, I will be publishing much, much, much more fascinating James Bond Rolex History, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Mission Blue Expedition to Galápagos Episode 1-3


Mission Blue

Expedition to Galápagos

Episode 1-3

“Think like an ocean”. Working to protect the iconic Galápagos Islands Marine Reserve, Sylvia Earle and her Mission Blue team led a groundbreaking expedition to assess the health of the ocean after nearly 25 years of protection. What they found could be used as a blueprint of success for the rest of the planet.

Mission Blue has been helping to track animals in the Galápagos Marine Reserve to analyse their well-being around the archipelago. Through this work, legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle and a team of scientists are making incredible insights into the connectivity of the Galápagos with the rest of the planet – including discovering DNA sequences that could be completely new to science.

In the Galápagos Islands, Manuel Yepez used to catch and sell sharks. Today, he is one of two Mission Blue “Champions” in the archipelago; logging, sampling and distributing information about the diverse marine life he comes across. Through combined efforts with local fishermen like him, Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue are fighting to protect the incredible diversity of the Galápagos Islands, passing the torch to the next generation in the process. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Stewart Blacker First Expedition To Fly Over Mount Everest

...Rolex Coolness...

Stewart Blacker

First Expedition To Fly Over Mount Everest

Flying 6 Miles High In The Himalayas In 1933
Wearing Standard Rolex Oyster Snowite Watches

Most Rolex aficionados know Rolex was the first to conquer Mount Everest when Sir Edmund Hillary and his loyal Sherpa, Tenzing Norway were the first members of the Mount Everest climbing team in 1953 to each the summit of Everest. That being said, most people are not aware of how the first expedition to really conquer Mount Everest did so, twenty years earlier in 1933 when they were the first humans to fly over Mount Everest in airplanes.

Stewart Blacker was member of the expedition that first conquered Mount Everest and he and his expedition member did so wearing Rolex watches that looked very similar to the one pictured below.

Stewart Blacker wrote the letter that appears in the Rolex ad below from July 12, 1933 after flying at over 33,000 feet of altitude.

Stewart Blacker took the photo below in 1933, which Rolex incorporated into the Rolex ad seen above, as an illustration. 

It is important to add some context to this story. Rolex was the very first company to patent and bring to market, the worlds first water-proof watch, and it was called the Rolex Oyster. That being said, Rolex first started offering Rolex Oyster watches in 1927, and this expedition that was equipped with Oyster models achieved this great feat only 5 years later!!! Below is a copy of the original letter Stewart wrote to Rolex on June 12, 1933.

This story kind of reminds me of another recent story I published about Stan Barrett, who was the first man to drive on land past the speed of sound—In the sense that in both stories men pushed the envelope of what was possible, with machines they navigated, while wearing Rolex watches on their wrists. Rolex History really is the story of Man and his machines.

Wings Over Everest
1935 Academy Award Winning Documentary

The video documentary seen below, titled 'Wings Over Everest' was made in 1933 and covers all the details of the amazing event. It goes into great detail and offers a first hand perspective of how everything unfolded. It was released to the public in 1934, and in 1935 won the Academy Award for 'Best Novelty Short Subject'. IN the documentary at 14:15 you can see team members wearing their Rolex Oyster watches.

On April 3, 1933, the Royal Air Force Squadron was the first to fly over Mount Everest. Pictured below is Flight Lieutenant David McIntyre, who, which his squadron members, including Stewart Blacker, flew into the history as the first men to fly over Mount Everest—with their trusted Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches keeping their time.

Contextualizing 1933

Let's get in the Rolex Time Machine and travel back to 1933 to better understand the time.

One of the greatest events in the history of cinematography took place in 1933, and that was the release of the original King Kong movie. King Kong literally created the action-adventure category of movies, and in the final scenes of the movie, features King Kong fighting with airplanes that are attaching him. Ironically, this was the most state-of-the-art science fiction at the time. Ironically, while this movie was playing in theaters, the English Mount Everest expedition team was flying airplanes to conquer the highest mountain on earth—while relying on their then technologically amazing Rolex Oyster wrist watches!!!

1927 Rolex Oyster Introduction Advertorial

On an interesting side note, we know that Mercedes Gleitze was the first Rolex Brand Ambassador, and appeared in the Rolex ad seen below on November 24, 1927, which was in the same year Rolex introduced the Rolex Oyster to the marketplace. So basically, this Mercedes Gleitze Rolex ad pre-dates the Everest by six years. In other words, this ad was the very first where Rolex published an advertorial featuring a person who achieved an amazing feat while wearing a Rolex.

1930 Sir Malcolm Campbell Advertorial

The Rolex Magazine ad pictured below, which features Sir Malcolm Campbell, was the next major Rolex ad published on June 18, 1930, which was less than three years earlier than the first flight over Mount Everest ad.  

1935 Sir Malcolm Campbell Advertorial

The next Rolex ad, seen below which again features Sir Malcolm Campbell, was published two years AFTER the conquest of Everest Ad. This is fascinating, as it gives us a first-hand perspective on how excited Rolex Founder, Hans Wilsdorf must have been at the time—to see one person after another pushing the envelope of what was previously thought to be impossible.