The Rolex Deep Sea Special was specially designed to resist the most extreme pressure when diving. A staggering depth of 35,789 feet, a depth not easily achievable can be obtained due the watches deep domed crystal, special screw down winding crown and heavy gauge screw back. Less than 10 examples of the Deep Sea Special are known to exist fitted with either a stainless steel or stainless steel and gold bracelet.
In 1948, the renowned Swiss physicist Professor Auguste Piccard began testing this invention called "bathyscape", a much deeper-diving vessel deriving its name from the Greek words "bathos"-deep and "scaphos"-ship. Two years later, Piccards son Jacques joined and participated in the construction of improved bathscaphes including the "Trieste".
Rolex contacted Professor Piccard to test watches during his diving experiments. Piccard accepted and Rolex developed a watch fitted with a special case and domed crystal in order to hold up to tremendous pressure.
The Deep Sea Special was successfully tested at the ETH in Zurich on 30th September 1953, the Trieste and the watch fixed to its outside made their first dive to a record depth of 3150 meters. Following this dive on October 8th, Rolex received Piccard's memorable telegram confirming the success of the experiment with the words "Your watch perfectly resisted to 3150 meters".
In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Nay Lieutenant Donald Walsh descended on the Trieste to the deepest known point on Earth - The Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. The two men made the deepest dive in history, 10,915 meters (35,810 ft) again with a Deep Sea Special fixed to the outside of the bathscaph.