Friday, May 24, 2024

The Complete History Of Rolex Mythbusting

The Complete History Of
Rolex Mythbusting

Separating Rolex Fact from Fiction 

"A lie gets halfway around the world before 
the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
—Winston Churchill

I have been publishing Jake's Rolex World continuously for the past 17 years—which genuinely boggles my mind!?!! I just completed a major update on this story, so I thought I would share it with you!

I started Jake's Rolex World because I wanted to try and share all the Rolex watch and history insight I had gained over the past quarter-century. I did so, because I had been madly in love with Rolex ever since I first noticed them when I was a teenager, and I wanted to learn and share even more about the most magnificent brand in the world. In other words, I wanted to learn much more about the history of the company that made the most timeless watches. I was fascinated with learning as much as I could about Rolex's 'Secret Sauce', and what made Rolex tick.

When I began deeply exploring Rolex history, I went after all the clues. I followed-up and researched every Rolex story I had heard, and while many of  them turned out to be true and have a basis in reality, that was not always the case. My original goal when I started Jake's Rolex World was to clarify the truth about Rolex history, which I believe I have done a pretty good job with. When a company exists like Rolex, it deserves nothing less than to have an accurate and precise record of its perpetual innovation and excellence. As the worlds leading Rolex historian I believe having false myths and false associations perpetuated about the brand does not serve Rolex well, and only serves to confuse people unnecessarily.

I have been meaning to write this story for a long, long time, so I am happy to finally separate-the-fact-from-the fiction and lay to rest all these falsely perpetuated Rolex myths. There have been many myths that were falsely perpetuated in the past regarding Rolex, and this story seeks to debunk and bust each and every one of them. The findings here are the result of more than a decade of research. 

If you anybody has any information that refutes any of my findings, please write-in and I will publish your findings in this story. That being said, I would be shocked. Where did these myths come from? How were they perpetuated if they are not true? Where did all this false association and attribution come from? Read on and find out for yourself:

False Myth #1
Eisenhower wore a Rolex Day-Date 

The first known falsely perpetuated Rolex myth I am aware of said the Rolex Day-Date model was named 'The President' because U.S. President Eisenhower wore one. This is not true. President Eisenhower indeed wore a yellow gold Rolex Datejust. this is an undisputed fact as witnessed in the photo below.

The truth is that President Lyndon B. Johnson was the first President Of The United States to wear a Rolex Day-Date. In the past, I explored and figured out where the origins of the term "The Rolex President" watch came from.

To learn much more about this subject, check out my story titled "The Complete History Of The Rolex President: The International Mark Of Success."

False Myth #2
The Steve McQueen Explorer

This false Rolex myth has to do with The King Of Cool, Steve McQueen, and this false myth irks me the most!?!! Specifically, because several auction houses still have the gall and ignorance to keep perpetuating this extremely false myth by referring to the Rolex Explorer II, 'Orange Hand' Reference 1655 as "The Steve McQueen Explorer".  

Every time an Auction house or Rolex vintage dealer uses the term, "The Steve McQueen Explorer", they are complete idiots and should not be trusted, as they have no idea what they are talking about. If they use this term they either lack real Rolex history knowledge or they are deceptive liars— or both. In other words, historically accurate credibility is important, and auction houses who try to auction a Rolex Reference 1655 Orange Hand Explorer and refer to it as a "Steve McQueen Explorer", are incompetent and don't know their Rolex history.

The classic Rolex Explorer II 'Orange Hand' Reference  1655 that has been falsely associated with Steve McQueen is pictured above

So where did this this falsely perpetuated myth come from and why does it still persist to this day? Some people have speculated that an unscrupolus Italian Auction house created this false association between Steve McQueen and the Reference 1655 'Orange Hand' Explorer II, because they wanted to help increase the prices at auction for this model. The logic is that since Paul Newman famously wore a Rolex Daytona, that if they could associate an Explorer II with Steve McQueen, it would make it cooler, thus achieving higher auction prices. Also, if you look at the photo above of Steve McQueen, it is possible that somebody saw this and falsely assumed he was wearing a Rolex Explorer II, which was NOT the case (pun intended ;-) As we see in the photos below, Steve McQueen famously wore a Rolex Submariner. 

False Myth #3
The Jean-Claude Killy Rolex Triple Date

This next myth was likely also created and perpetuated by an unscrupulous Italian auction house, which falsely attributed the Rolex Reference 6236 Triple-Date 'Dato Compax', with Olympic Skiing legend, Jean-Claude Killy

The Rolex Triple-Date Chronograph that is commonly misattributed to Jean-Claud Killy is pictured below. There is NOT one photo of Jean-Claude Killy wearing this watch as he never wore this watch. Many of the early photos of Jean-Claud Killy show him wearing a Rolex Day-Date as pictured above.

It is also important to take into consideration that the Rolex Triple-Date Chronograph was made many years before Jean-Claude began wearing Rolex watches, and Jean-Claude was a cutting-edge modern guy, not a vintage guy. In this next photo, we see Jean-Claude Killy pictured at L-Mans with Steve McQueen.

The SUPREME IRONY, is the Rolex Explorer II watch model that was falsely attributed to Steve McQueen, was in reality a watch model Jean-Claude Killy Rolex attributed to him, as witnessed by the next three vintage Rolex ads from the late 1970s. In other words, Jean-Clause Killy became a Rolex brand Ambassador just after he won the 1968 Olympics, and there would have been zero logic in him wearing a completely discontinued Rolex model.

The image below of what appears to be Jean-Claude Killy's wrist is also ironic as it appears that the Explorer II was superimposed onto his wrist, in a pre-Photochop manner...

False Myth #4
Gianni Agnelli Wore A Rolex Daytona

This is another weird falsely perpetuated Rolex myth, that says billionaire industrialist Gianni Agnelli wore a Rolex Daytona over his cuff. I kept hearing this, but there is zero truth to it. The weird thing this myth has in common with the Steve McQueen Explorer myth is that people have told me on many occasions they saw a photo of him actually wearing the falsely attributed watch. I imagine this speaks to the power of suggestion, but the reality is that there is ZERO truth to this myth. In the photo below we see Gianni Agnelli wearing an Omega Seamaster Proplof over his shirt cut back in the 1970s. Wearing wristwatches on the outside of his shirt cuff was a trademark of Agnelli, but never with a Rolex.

False Myth #5
Rolex Is Owned By The Catholic Church

I first heard this years ago from a source I will not mention by name. They told me they believed Rolex was owned by the Catholic Church, which is not true, and it makes no sense for many reasons. My best guess is that somebody saw Pope John Paul II wearing his two-tone Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet, and somehow falsely attributed this association. It also could have to do with the fact that the Rolex Day-Date, Day dial has been traditionally offered in 26 different languages, and one of them is Latin, which is the official language of the Vatican.

The fact is that Rolex's founder, Hans Wilsdorf setup Rolex as a perpetual Trust in 1944, which is still run and owned by the Wilsdorf Trust. Also, Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex was a Protestant.

False Myth #6
Mt. Everest was conquered by the Rolex Explorer

This next false myth is very interesting. The myth put forth was that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norway were wearing Rolex Explorer watch models when they conquered Mount Everest in 1953. This is NOT true. The Rolex magazine ad below was published in 2003 and shows Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norway on Mount Everest.

The Rolex ad above may have possibly added to the confusion around this myth. The best scholarship to date suggests the reality is Rolex introduced the Rolex Explorer with the now classic 3, 6, 9 black dial as an homage to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's conquering of Mount Everest. One of the main reasons I have successfully been able to bust these falsely perpetuated myths over the years and dispel them is because when I learned of them, and went looking for the photographic evidence and could not find it, I discovered something different—because it did not exist. 

After climbing Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary was considered to be one of the top explorer's on earth. in 1954, Hillary was on another Himalayan expedition, high on a peak neighboring Everest where he broke three of his ribs while rescuing one of his fellow climbers. He then caught pneumonia and had to be removed from the mountain on a stretcher as seen below.

The photo above, shows Sir Edmund Hillary being placed on a stretcher, and the fellow climber taking off Hillary's glasses seems to be wearing a Rolex Explorer with the black 3, 6, 9 dial.

The magazine ad below is from my 8 Part story titled "The Complete History: Rolex Conquered Mount Everest."

Back in 2008, when I was doing research on this story, I genuinely thought I found Sir Edmund Hillary's Rolex he wore when he conquered Everest, which was in the Beyer Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. The photo below was exclusively taken by The Beyer Museum for Jake's Rolex World in 2008. After exhaustive research I cannot find any conclusive evidence that Hillary or fellow summiteer Tenzing Norgay were actually wearing Rolex watches when they conquered the summit of Everest.

One confusing fact is that many of the expeditions that attempted to conquer Mt. Everest on foot were equipped with Rolex Oyster watches including the 1953 British Expedition that actually conquered Everest. In all of Rolex collateral material up until today, they point out that the leader of the 1953 British Expedition, Sir John Hunt and his team were equipped with Rolex Oyster Perpetual models, but NEVER has Rolex EVER claimed that Sir Edmund Hillary, or Tenzing Norgay were wearing Rolex watches when they summited Everest.

Bellow is a photo of Sir Edmund Hillary taken in 1953 and shows what might be him wearing his Rolex Oyster Perpetual. A supreme irony is both Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay owned Rolex Oyster models they received on prior expeditions to the 1953 British Everest Expedition.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual magazine ad seen below was published by Rolex in 1957 and shows a beautiful illustration of a white dialed Rolex Oyster.

False Myth #7
Rolex Space Dweller

This next false myth I want to bust put forth the notion The Mercury Seven Astronauts visited and toured Japan in the mid-1960s, and were very popular, and as a result, Rolex came out with the Rolex Space-Dweller for the Japanese marketplace. I don't believe this to be true, and from all my research the only NASA Mercury astronaut to visit Japan was John Glenn who became the first American to orbit earth in 1962, and the next year, in 1963 traveled to Japan. 

In 1963 Glenn was stationed aboard a U.S. Air Force communications ship named, Coastal Sentry, which was located near Kyūshū, Japan. At the time, Glenn was tracking fellow Mercury Astronaut, Gordon Cooper who was aboard the last Mercury mission and got in trouble, as he experienced a complete failure of his automatic re-entry system, and John Glenn was in radio communication with Gordon to help him retrofire his rockets manually to reenter earth atmosphere. After Gordon Cooper landed back on earth, John Glenn traveled to the land of the rising sun to reunite with his family and take a well deserved two week vacation. The Glenn family visited Kansai and Tokai areas before spending 3 days in Tokyo where he was hailed as a hero by and received red-carpet treatment from the government of Japan.

Some people have questioned the validity of the Rolex Space-Dweller watch, to begin with as it remains so enigmatic. It turns out it was a real Rolex made watch model as seen above, and as we see from the 1968 Rolex trademark registration seen below. 

On an interesting side note, it's a fact the same person who coined the name of 'SPACE-DWELLER' for this model, also coined the name 'SEA-DWELLER'.

False Myth #8
Rolex did not go to the moon

Another myth that was falsely perpetuated said that Omega was the official moon watch and that no Rolex watches ever went to the moon, or were worn by U.S. NASA Astronauts on moonwalks. This is not true, as I discovered back in 2008 when I first went digging through the NASA archives. The photo below shows Dr. Edgar Mitchell as he suits up to leave for the moon aboard Apollo 14, and he is putting on two Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master watches—one on each wrist. You can learn much more about Rolex and NASA history by checking out my Rolex X-Files Story.

False Myth #9
COMEX developed the SEA-DWELLER

Another Persistent Falsely Perpetuated Myth I busted said Rolex developed the Rolex SEA-DWELLER with Comex. I discovered this to be a false myth and published my findings many years ago, but many, many sources ignored my findings, up until recently, when "scholarship" they discovered unequivocally refuted this notion and made the truth clear as day. Just to reiterate, COMEX had nothing to do with the development of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER.

Founder Of COMEX, Henri Delauze [1970]

 "The Rolex Submariner & Rolex SEA-DWELLER have a cachet that is unmatched by any other watch. The Rolex brand is the most highly respected in my book. The Rolex Submariner was the preferred diving watch for U.S. NAVY SEALAB Divers." –Scott Carpenter

How did I confirm for certain the fact COMEX had ZERO to do with the development of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER? I interviewed Comex founder, Henri-Germain Delauze many years ago and I asked him. He confirmed Comex had nothing to do with the development of the SEA-DWELLER as Rolex and Comex did not begin collaborating until 1972, which was 5 years after Rolex filed their patent application for the gas release valve for the SEA-DWELLER. I also asked Henri-Germain Delauze if he would pose for some photos that showed him wearing his trademark Rolex COMEX watch, and he obliged with the photo below which is exclusive to Jake's Rolex World.

False Myth #10
Chuck Yeager GMT-Master

The next false myth said that Chuck Yeager was wearing a Rolex GMT-Master when he was the first human to break the speed of sound barrier in 1947. This is not possible, as Rolex Did not introduce the GMT-Master until 1955. In the photo below we see General Yeager indeed wearing a GMT-Master, but he has worn many different Rolex models in his lifetime.

False Myth #11
Rolex watches are made from imported parts

I have heard some bizarre and vicious rumors in the past that suggest Rolex made parts and imported them from outside Switzerland. There is ZERO truth to this. I know because several years ago, I toured all four Rolex manufacturing facilities in Switzerland and saw everything with my own eyes. Rolex watches are made 100% from parts made in Switzerland.

False Myth #12
The Paul Newman Daytona

Another thing that drives me nuts, is how auction houses and vintage dealers refer to Daytona models that Paul Neman never wore as a "Paul Newman Daytona." It is a fact that Paul Newman wore several different Rolex Daytona models, but the only proper 'Paul Newman' is pictured below.

Rolex made many different variations of the "exotic" dial as seen above and below. In particular, they made different color combinations, as well as yellow gold versions, but Paul Newman never wore any of those watches, so people need to stop the false attribution and false association to Paul Newman. In other words, if a vintage Rolex does not look EXACTLY like Paul Newman's Own Rolex Daytona, which is pictured below, with all the colors just like this, it is not a Paul Newman Daytona.

False Myth #13
Paul Newman Winning

There is a second myth associated with Paul Newman that says he wore a Rolex Daytona in his 1969 racing movie, which is not true. Paul Newman did NOT wear a Rolex Daytona in the movie, Winning.

When you see photos like the two below you see how some people thought Paul Newman was wearing a Rolex Daytona Chronograph in the Movie Winning.

The screen grab I took for the movie 'Winning' is seen below, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Paul Newman is NOT wearing a Rolex, at least the bracelet is NOT a kind of Rolex bracelet I have ever seen. 

False Myth #14
Paul Newman Submariner

There is a third myth associated with Paul Newman that says he wore a Rolex Submariner in the photo below. 

It turns out Paul Neman is NOT wearing a Rolex in the photo at the top of this storyNick Gould from wrote an article that proved this watch is NOT a Rolex Submariner, titled, "A Follow Up: Paul Newman's Waltham/Blancpain Bathyscaphe Diver." In this brilliantly researched article, Nick successfully separated the fact from the fiction and positively IDs this watch. The photos below are from Nick's superb article that shows Paul Newman wearing what appears to be, but is not a Rolex Submariner 6538.

Nick Gould from made a Positive ID on Paul Newman's watch pictured above and said it is a vintage Waltham/Blancpain-Bathyscaphe Diver, which is very similar to the one pictured below.

False Myth #15
Communist Leaders Didn't wear Rolex

Before I got started with Jake's Rolex World a decade ago, there were people who said no Communist leaders wore Rolex watches. This is far from the truth. The reality is just about every major Communist leader wore a Rolex as seen below.

Both Cuban Communist revolutionary leaders Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara wore Rolex GMT-Master models. Speaking of Mythbusting, there remains a persistent myth where people believe Che Guevara wore a Rolex Submariner which traces its origin back to the FAKE Rolex Magazine advertisement that somebody put together many years ago. 

The supreme irony is that Che Guevara NEVER wore or owned a Rolex Submariner but was actually wearing a GMT-Master in the photo that appears above in the fake Rolex Magazine Ad, which was a Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master [Reference 1680] with pointed crown guards.


Next up we see Chinese Communist, Chairman Mao Zedong, who wore two different Rolex Datejust models, which can be seen below his photo.

Next, we see Leonid Brezhnev, who was the General Secretary of The Communist Party of The Soviet Union, ironically wearing the same yellow gold Rolex Datejust Chairman Moa wore, as seen in the photo above. Leonid Brezhnev was the first to propose "Perestroika", which was a policy or practice of restructuring and reforming the economic and political system. Perestroika was originally referred to as an increased automation of labor efficiency. In the final analysis, Perestroika became know as a method of creating greater awareness of economic markets, and the end of centralized planning.

In the next photo below we see Soviet Communist leader, Leonid Brezhnev kissing East German President, Erich Honecker during a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic in 1979. Notice East German Communist leader, Erich Honecker is also wearing a yellow gold Rolex Datejust. It is an ironic fact the Communists tried to keep capitalism outside by erecting a wall, yet they all wore Rolex watches, which were the ultimate Capitalist business tool watch!?!!

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian leader who reformed and dismantled the former Soviet Union is pictured below rocking his Rolex Datejust. 

In the photo above we see Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 pointing to his stainless steel and gold Rolex Datejust during a visit to London, England. I believe it was Nick Gould who first discovered Gorbachev rocking a Rolex...

Lastly, we see the first President of Russia, former Communist leader, Boris Yeltsin wearing his Rolex Datejust.

False Myth #16
Rolex Watches Don't Work In Space

When I started  Jake's Rolex World a decade ago, there was a myth that said Rolex watches don't work in space, and in particular, they automatic Rolex Perpetual motor does not work in space, so it can't wind the watch due to the zero gravity nature of space. I confirmed this myth was NOT true with NASA Astronaut, Dr. Leroy Chiao, who I did a podcast interview with back in 2008

If anybody would know, it would be Dr. Chiao, as he flew on four Space Shuttle Missions, and was the Commander of Expedition 10 on the International Space Station. Dr. Chiao is pictured below on the International Space Station, working out, and he is wearing his Pepsi Rolex GMT Master.

False Myth #17
Rolex Watches Are Expensive

This is not really a myth per se, so much as it's a misconception. Expensive is a relative term. Yes, indeed, Rolex watches are not inexpensive to purchase, but they typically hold their value so well, that if you own one for say, twenty years, if you go to sell it, typically you will be able to sell it for more than you paid. This is particularly true of the sports models, like the Submariner and GMT-Master models. 

Think about it, how many things in your life that you have purchased, have appreciated in value over time as you use them? Not very many. Most Rolex watches hit their maximum acceleration on the depreciation curve just after they are purchased, and more typically than not, they begin to appreciate over time. It can also be argued that Rolex watches are a kind of international currency, in and of themselves—kind of like the dollar.

It has been very common over the years for people to ask me for investment advice on which Rolex watches to purchase. I typically advise people not to purchase a Rolex as an investment, but instead, I advise them to only buy a Rolex watch if they love it.

There are many well-documented examples of a vintage Rolex that sold for around $120 a half-century or so ago to sell now for more than $50,000. As I just mentioned, I typically don't offer investment advice, but I have never owned a Rolex that I did not end-up selling for more than I paid for it. In other words, one way I look at it, is that every Rolex I have ever owned, I got paid to wear ;-) Below is an example of a story that illustrates this point well:

Antiques Roadshow
1960 Rolex GMT Master
[Reference 6542]

"The Best Watch Ever Made!!!"
Bought 55 Years Ago for $120
Today is worth $70,000

This is a heartwarming story about a man who bought a Rolex in Germany in 1960 when he was stationed in the U.S. Army. He paid $120 for it, and freaked out when Antiques Roadshow advised him that his Rolex is worth between $65,000 and $75,000 today!!! That means it increased in value by 625 times in 55 years. That's a 6000% return on his initial investment. I highly recommend watching this video. 

An obvious question is how many more of these valuable watches are sitting around in drawers, slowly collecting dust, and the answer is many, many, many!!!! Most people see these old watches, and if they can't get the watch to work, they think its broken and worthless...What a World!!?!

If you are aware of a Rolex myth that is not listed in this story, please feel free to write in and share it with me. If is seems bonafide, I will investigate and publish my findings in this story.

False Myth #18
Robert De Niro Daytona

It has been said Robert De Niro wore a Rolex Daytona in the 2001 movie named "15 Minutes.", but after careful evaluation, I realized it is NOT a Rolex. It sure looks like a vintage Daytona, but it is not. If you look closely, you can see the watch is lacking chronograph pusher buttons. Of course, Robert De Niro has worn many different Rolex watches through his lifetime, and you can see them in my story on his amazing career achievements.

False Myth #19
"The California Dial" Nomenclature

There is an art-deco style of Rolex dial that is now commonly referred to as "The California Dial", which is pictured below in the vintage Rolex ad from the 1940s. The myth perpetuated suggested that Rolex was somehow inspired by California when they came out with this dial style, which is not true.

"Error-Proof" Irony: If you closely examine the poster above you might notice the irony of the misspelling of RADIUM as RADUIM as seen on the second line of text. 

Rodrigo Monterey from Boston, Massachusetts wrote in and said: 

Hi, Jake.
I'm a fan of your Rolex Magazine website.
I noticed the bizarre typo and thought—wait, is this error on purpose? It seems like a joke to have a spelling mistake, since it's an ad about being error-proof!

For years, people have referred to these unusual dials as "California dials" and people ask me all the time why the California Dial is called, "The California Dial." In other words, what does it have to do with California? The photo below was taken by Harsam of his 1943 Rolex Bubbleback, which has an original Art Deco "California" dial.

Rolex Patent Application

June 15, 1942

Rolex applied for a patent for this dial on May 30, 1941, and the patent was granted on June 15, 1942, as seen in the patent application below. So where did the name, "California Dial" come from? It is likely that during the Bubble-back craze that occurred in the 1980s, there was a dial refinisher in California named Kirk Rich, that specialized in refinishing these dials, and that stores on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles that resold these watches, may explain where the "California Dial" nickname came from. You can learn much more about the history of these dials by reading "The Complete History Of The 'California Dial'—Rolex Myth Buster.

The patent application pictured above, when translated from French to English says:

The object of the present invention is a timepiece dial. This dial is characterized in that it comprises hourly signs constituted by Roman numerals and others by Arabic numerals. 

The accompanying drawing shows, by way of example, four embodiments of the object of the present invention. 

FIG. 1 is a plane of the first embodiment. Figs. 2, 3 and 4 are small-scale planes, the second, respectively the third and fourth embodiments. 

The dial of FIG. 1 is a round dial with an hour circle with twelve signs, one for each hour. The signs for hours 10 and 11 and 1 and 2 are Roman numerals, those for hours 4 and 5 and 7 and 8 by Arabic numerals and those corresponding to noon6 o'clock3 o'clock and 9 o'clock, By simple geometrical elements, namely a triangle and three horizontal sticks.

It will be seen that this layout gives a clear and simple turn of the hours, easy to realize with luminous material and allowing an easy reading of the time especially for wristwatch boxes whose dials are relatively small. In fact, the fact that the Roman numerals occupy half the dial and the Arabic numerals the other clearly distinguishes these two halves. In addition, the Roman numerals chosen are those which are the simplest to perform and the easiest to read.

In the other three embodiments, the hourly sign corresponding to time 5 is constituted by the corresponding Roman numeral and the hourly sign corresponding to 6 hours is constituted by a very short vertical line. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the sign corresponding to noon, is indicated by a vertical line, in that of fig. 3, by two vertical lines and, in that of FIG. 4, by a short stroke surmounted by a half-circumference. Of course, the aforementioned provisions could be applied to dials of a shape other than round and other arrangements would still be possible


Dial of timepiece, characterized in that it comprises hourly signs co-located by roman numerals and others by arabic numerals. 


1. Dial according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises: In addition, time symbols constituted by triangular geometrical elements.
2. The dial as claimed in claim 1, wherein the symbols corresponding to the hours 10 and 11 and 1 and 2 are constituted by Roman numerals.
3. Dial according to claim 4, characterized in that the signs corresponding to Hours 4, 7 and 8 are Arabic signs.
4. Dial according to claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the corresponding 5-hour sign is the corresponding Roman numeral.
5. Dial according to claim 1, characterized in that the remaining digits are constituted by geometrical elements.
6. Dial according to claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the sign corresponding to 5 hours is constituted by the corresponding Arabic numeral.
7. Dial according to claim 6, characterized in that the remaining signs are constituted by the geometric elements.

MONTRES ROLEX S. A. Mandataire A. BUGNION, Genève.

False Myth #20
Rolex copied Blancpain's rotating bezel

Rolex developed the Submariner and began experimenting with prototypes in early 1953. The photo below appears courtesy of Eric Ku and is a Rolex Submariner Reference 6204, with a serial number of 949,143. To the best of my knowledge, this is the earliest known Submariner watch and it was made in the second quarter of 1953. Also, notice it has an unusual honeycomb dial, which is very rare.

In that same year, a company named Blancpain introduced a watch named "50 Fathoms", which was also a dive watch that featured a black spinning bezel similar to the one on the Submariner, and it is pictured below.

Over the years there have been many arguments about who invented the spinning bezel, and some people have suggested that Rolex copied Blancpain. wrote a detailed article named "HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES: A Historical Look At The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms + Live Photos Of Some Early Classics", in which Hodinkee wrote: 

"The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is the archetypal diving watch, we've told you that before.  The Fifty Fathoms was conceived before even the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster, and its story even more dramatic."

I do not believe this to be true, as Rolex made Oyster Chronograph models in the early 1940s that featured a spinning bezel as seen on the Rolex Zerograph model pictured below [Rolex Reference 3346: Circa 1941]. Also, in contrast to Hodinkee's statement, according to the Omega Museum, the SEAMASTER was "launched in 1948 to coincide with the brand's 100th anniversary."

Just to clarify, I think Hodinkee is specifically referring to the SEAMASTER 300 [Reference CK 2913], which was was the first Omega SEAMASTER to feature a rotating bezel, and was introduced in 1957—four years after the Rolex Submariner. Prior to the SEAMASTER 300 Omega made a SEAMASTER that was a super simple watch with an unmarked, stationary bezel. If I understand it correctly, the first SEAMASTER from 1948 [Omega Reference CK 2518] was designed for people who lived and worked around boats, like a ship captain, or dockworker, but was not designed for diving.

In October 1953 Rolex set the all-time depth record for a watch when the original Rolex DEEP-SEA Special (Pictured below) successfully dove to a depth of 10,350 Feet/3150 Meters attached to the outside of Professor August Piccard's Bathyscaphe Trieste. Professor Picard named his Bathyscaphe after the town of Trieste in Italy.

The reason I am sharing this in-depth information with you, is I highly doubt Rolex randomly developed this watch in the first few months of 1953. Instead, I believe it was the result of many years of R&D. Thus I don't believe the Blancpain 50 fathoms was 'conceived before the Submariner', and further, I don't believe Rolex copied Blancpain's spinning bezel design when Rolex had been making watches with spinning bezels for decades before the mid-1950s. As a matter of fact, it was Captain Philip Van Horn Seems who was a U.S. Navy Officer, inventor, archeologist and famous author who designed, engineered and applied for a patent back in 1929, for his "Second-Setting Watch", which was granted in 1935. This spinning/lockable bezel was used in pilots watches that were made by many brands including Zenith, Movado, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, and Longines.  Also, it is worth noting Rolex invented and patented the waterproof watch in 1926 under Swiss Patent CH120848—not Blancpain.

Also, in October of 1953 the Institute Of Submarine Research had COMPLETED its testing of Rolex SUBMARINER watches, which included "132 (dives) in 5 months", which means the original Submariner watches had to be delivered at the latest in May of 1953, which would correlate with being manufactured in Q2 of 1953.

In addition, Rolex began making the Rolex 2533 model, which the Rolex made Panerai watches were based upon in 1935. The Rolex made Panerai model below which features the "California Dial" was made in 1944. Rolex exclusively made the Panerai dive watches for the Italian Royal Navy to be used as diving watches.

Jose from put together this AMAZING Timeline poster that covers Rolex's conquest of the Ocean from the original Oyster to the Panerai dive watches, through the Submariner and SEA-DWELLER, as well as all the DEEP-SEA models.

False Myth #21

Christopher Lee wore a Rolex in

The James Bond Movie
The Man With The Golden Gun

There are many, many people who have claimed Christopher Lee wore a Rolex Cellini in the 1974 James Bond movie titled, "The Man With The Golden Gun." From all my research on this subject, I believe it to be a false myth, as you can read below from my excerpt from Chapter 7 of my story named, "The James Bond Rolex Story. The Complete History of James Bond Watches."

Christopher Lee
The Man With The Golden Gun

Christopher Lee played the villain named Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun. For years I heard many people say he wore a yellow gold King Midas Rolex Cellini, as seen in the photos below. On Jake's Rolex World I have always specialized in separating fact from fiction, and busting false myths. So the obvious question, is Christopher Lee wearing a Rolex King Midas?

The video scene below shows Christopher Lee's character with his Golden Gun, which he is able to build on-demand from his cigaret lighter, cigarette case, and his pen. 

To date, I have never been able to make a positive ID match by finding an exact Rolex model that matches Christopher Lee's watch. The reality is that Rolex made a zillion variations of the yellow gold Rolex Cellini King Midas, with brown wood dials, which look similar to the watch Christopher Lee is wearing.

My best guess is that Christopher Lee is NOT wearing a Rolex, but a Piaget model similar to the one pictured below. In the future, I will continue to explore this issue until I can make a positive ID.

False Myth #22

U.S. Marines Rolex Prototype

This article was originally published on Jake's Rolex world on October 10, 2008. Soon after publishing the pictures below multiple highly knowledgeable Rolex collectors communicated to me that the watches were fake and that the cases were made in Asia by a factory that specialized in making fantasy/homage watches.

While the watches are interesting, there are many things about them that are incorrect. For instance, it is highly unlikely that Rolex would EVER make a model with a U.S. special military designation on it. 

Secondly, the dials embarrassingly read "U.S. Marine", which is singular. The U.S. Marines a.k.a., The Marine Corps, NEVER have used this spelling, but always use the plural of U.S. Marines. The U.S. Marines would likely never commission a company like Rolex to make expensive customized watches for soldiers. 

Also, it has been put forth that the reason these models have the larger solid end links was to protect a soldiers wrist from getting shot, which is ludicrous. Why? First of all the likelihood of a soldier getting shot in the wrist is very low, and secondly, there would not be enough steel to deflect a bullet.

Rolex has denied having ever made these watches, and certainly, they were never produced by Rolex.

The watch below features a jumbo body with a 12-hour graduated revolving stainless steel bezel. In the photo above the bezel looks black but it is steel. This watch has a Triplock winding-crown in the 4 o'clock position which is protected by a massive crown-guard. It features a domed crystal with elongated lugs with detachable hoods. This watch is 44mm in circumference and 58mm from lug end to lug end.

The two photos above were taken by Hannes who is a co-owner of the German forum and the photo below was from an Antiquorum Auction and the dials are completely different. Also, the one on top has a Cyclops lens and the one below does not. The one above has a red number on the bezel and the one below has black. The one below has a riveted Oyster bracelet and the one below does not.

The Antiquorum describes the watch below: 

"This is the first watch known to be sold at auction, with dial marked "U.S.Marine". The case of this watch is perfectly engineered for heavy military use. Its large size ensures that the wrist will be completely covered, thereby preventing the injuries sometimes caused by violent impacts to smaller watches, the winding crown positioned at 4 o’clock, with its sloping crown guard, affords better protection than the standard configuration of crown and guard at 3. The rounded hoods covering the lugs reduce the possibility of the watch’s becoming caught in equipment and also act as locks for the bezel. The steel rotating 12-hour bezel effectively gives an hour and minute recorder which is invaluable in military exercises. Overall, this watch was designed for only one purpose, to tell time in some of the harshest environments and under the most extreme conditions, the types of activity that are synonymous with the U.S. Marine Corps. According to unofficial information from Rolex, two similar prototypes by Tudor were offered to the U.S. Navy. One of these Tudor prototypes was sold by Antiquorum NY in May 1998, lot 36. The present watch will be illustrated in the upcoming book on Rolex, soon to be published by Guido Mondani."

The watch below pictured below was successfully auctioned by Antiquorum on April 24, 2004, for 124,500 Swiss Francs which today equals $103,000 U.S.

These U.S. Military Rolex Prototypes are very unusual and interesting looking watches.

False Myth #23

FBI Director
J.Edgar Hoover 
Wore A Submariner

This article was originally published on Jake's Rolex world on October 10, 2008. S

The First Rolex FBI Director

J. Edgar Hoover

The Most Powerful Man In America

Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner

There was a myth that was perpetrated on the web that said that J. Edgar Hoover wore a Rolex Submariner that was given to him as a gift. It turns out it was not true and instead was a false myth perpetuated by a man who was trying to make a quick buck. 

J. Edgar Hoover was an interesting man nonetheless who somehow managed to turn the United States into his personal fiefdom. J. Edgar Hoover, pictured below, began his career as a clerk in the United States Justice Department, and over time worked his way up the ladder into the Bureau of Investigation. In 1924 he became the director of the Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau of Investigation was the precursor to the FBI, and it specialized in fighting white-collar crime.

In the early days of the FBI, it was comprised of many lawyers and accountants. In the early 1930s, there was a great deal of gangster activity occurring, and J. Edgar Hoover took it upon himself to reinvent the FBI to cope with the interstate crime sprees that were happening in the midwest of the United States. 

J. Edgar Hoover and his G-Men, as they were called, systematically went after all the gangsters, beginning with John Dillinger, who was known as Public Enemy Number one, and eradicated slowly and methodically wiped them out. This list of Public Enemies included Bonnie & Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly, and Pretty Boy Floyd.   

As a result of the massive effort it took to wipe out all the gangsters, J. Edgar Hoover's power became immense. He was extremely methodical in keeping notes about people which would later aid him in staying in power as the Director of The FBI for 48 years, whereupon he served under 8 U.S. Presidents. But that kind of depends on who you talk to. Some would say it was the other way around, and that the Presidents of the United States served his wishes.

Despite not being very physically attractive, J. Edgar Hoover had a powerful aura about him, and in many ways, he was an elegant man. In the photo below I am fairly certain we see J. Edgar Hoover wearing a Cartier Tank Cintrée.

Clyde Tolson
Deputy Of the FBI

J. Edgar Hoover was unusual in many ways. He lived with his mother until he was 40 years old. Clyde Tolson was J. Edgar Hoover's right-hand man from 1928-1972 and was appointed Assistant Director of the FBI in 1930 by Hoover. 

J. Edgar Hoover once described Clyde Tolson as his alter ego. Hoover and Tolson rode to and from work together, ate lunch together every day, and vacationed together. They regularly traveled together on official FBI business.

Many people have put forth the idea that J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson were lovers. I don't know this to be a fact, but there is a great deal of evidence to support this. One thing is for certain, and that is they were inseparable and loved and respected each other deeply.

In J. Edgar Hoover's will, he left everything he owned to Clyde Tolson, including his home, which Tolsen moved into until he passed away. The photo below shows Clyde Tolsen attending J. Edgar Hoover's funeral.

This is where the false Rolex Submariner myth comes into play. A man using the name Walter Cohen published a story with photos on the internet along with the story quoted below:

 "In April 1975, a frail elderly man walked into Milton Schlosser's jewelry shop in Washington DC to have a link removed from his Rolex (Submariner) watch. The polite elderly gentleman left the watch with the shop owner and never returned.  Unbeknownst to Milton Schlosser, the elderly man had died the next day.

It wasn't until 1983, when two FBI agents showed up at his door to inquire about the watch did Schlosser realize who Clyde Tolson was."

The photos above and below were purported to be of J. Edgar Hoover's supposed Rolex Submariner Reference 5513, which has an engraving on the back.

The photo below of the Submariner case back engraving appears to read, "JEH 46 GREAT YEARS AND COUNTING. MAY 1, 1970. CLYDE". 

When I investigated this story, there were a bunch of fishy clues. For instance, the engraving on the back of the Rolex Submariner says 46 great years. The challenge is that J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolsen didn't meet until around 43 years before the date on the watch. The issue is the criminal who perpetuated this fallacy didn't even do his homework to learn when and how they actually met.