• Important Watches  auction at Christies

    Sale 2212

    Important Watches

    15 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 340

    ROLEX. A RARE AND UNUSUAL STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH CENTER SECONDS, ORIGINAL BOX AND GUARANTEE

    SIGNED ROLEX, OYSTER PERPETUAL, SUBMARINER, 200M=660FT, CASE NO. 1233861, REF. NO. 5512, CIRCA 1965

    Price Realised  

    ROLEX. A RARE AND UNUSUAL STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH CENTER SECONDS, ORIGINAL BOX AND GUARANTEE
    SIGNED ROLEX, OYSTER PERPETUAL, SUBMARINER, 200M=660FT, CASE NO. 1233861, REF. NO. 5512, CIRCA 1965
    Cal. 1560 nickel-finished lever movement, 26 jewels, mono-metallic balance, black gloss dial, applied luminescent dagger, baton and disc numerals, luminescent Mercedes-style hands, center seconds, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, bidirectional black bezel calibrated to 60 units, screw down crown, engraved SeaLab II screw back, case, dial and movement signed, stainless steel Rolex Oyster link bracelet and deployant clasp
    37mm diam.


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    Accompanied by an undated Rolex Warranty and green presentation box.

    Rolex watches have long been synonymous with deep sea exploration and even model names like Sea Dweller and Submariner invoke images of the ocean. The present watch continues the tradition with its Sea Lab II association, the 1965 US Navy experiment in undersea living.

    On August 26, 1965, the US Navy lowered Sea Lab II 62 meters to the ocean floor of the La Jolla Canyon off the coast of California. Over a 45 day period, three separate teams of aquanauts spent 15 days each studying the physiological and psychological effects of deep sea living. The primary objective of the research was to study long term effects of saturation diving in which divers breathe a helium/oxygen mixture at a pressure equal to the surrounding sea water. Human tissue becomes saturated with the gas allowing the diver to work at depth for longer periods of time. By having access to a dry warm living environment and food and water divers could essential remain under the ocean for an indefinite period of time. During the experiment the aquanauts tested and evaluated new underwater tools and salvage methods which had both industrial and military applications. Additionally, they studied the sea bed fauna and ocean physics.

    The best known of the aquanauts was Commander (USN Retired) Scott Carpenter. He spent a total of 28 days on Sea Lab II. Carpenter a former astronaut was the second man to orbit the earth and the fourth man in space.

    According to our research this is the first Sea Lab II Wristwatch to appear at public auction.