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Rolex. An extraordinary and rare, historically interesting stainless steel, gold and gilt tonneau-shaped self-winding waterproof diver's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and date
Prospective buyers are advised that we cannot arra… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A SWISS LADY THE ROLEX OYSTER NO. 1 DEEP SEA SPECIAL
Rolex. An extraordinary and rare, historically interesting stainless steel, gold and gilt tonneau-shaped self-winding waterproof diver's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and date

SIGNED ROLEX, DEEP SEA SPECIAL NO. 1, MOVEMENT NO. 419251, MANUFACTURED IN 1953

Details
Rolex. An extraordinary and rare, historically interesting stainless steel, gold and gilt tonneau-shaped self-winding waterproof diver's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and date
Signed Rolex, Deep Sea Special No. 1, movement no. 419251, manufactured in 1953
Cal. 1000 nickel-finished lever movement, 21 jewels, the black dial with luminous dot, baton and triangular-shaped numerals, luminous spear hands and luminous arrow sweep centre seconds hand, in massive stainless steel case with deep domed crystal, special screw down winding crown, heavy gauge screw back engraved Rolex Oyster Deep Sea Special No. 1, the gilt metal terminals secured by steel pins, stainless steel steel and gold sprung and riveted Rolex Oyster bracelet with deployant clasp dated 4/53, case, dial and movement signed
43 mm. diam.
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Prospective buyers are advised that we cannot arrange delivery of Corum, Rolex, Piaget or Franck Muller watches to the United States due to import restrictions. For further information please contact our specialists in charge of the sale.

Lot Essay

Accompanied by black and white copies of images depicting a Rolex Deep Sea Special and Piccard's bathyscaph Trieste.

The present watch is from a small series of possibly less than 10 examples of the Deep Sea Special model made in stainless steel and fitted with stainless steel or stainless steel and gold bracelets. Other examples of these extremely rare watches are on permanent exhibit at the world's most prestigious technical and horological museums such as the Deutsche Museum in Munich, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., the Musée International d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds and the Clock & Watch Museum Beyer in Zurich.

According to its owner, the present watch participated at one of Picccard's diving trials with the bathyscaph "Trieste" in the Mediterranean Sea.

Because of the tremendous pressure, the depth a diver can reach without special equipment is very limited; the deepest recorded dive by a skin diver is 127 meters (417 ft). To explore even greater depths, deep-sea explorers are forced to use specially constructed steel chambers to protect them.

In 1934, American oceanographer William Beebe and engineer Otis Barton were lowered to about 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) in a round steel chamber called a bathysphere, which was attached to a ship on the surface by a long cable. During the dive, Beebe looked out of a porthole and reported his observations by telephone to Miss Hollister, a colleague who was on the surface.

In 1948, the renowned Swiss physicist Professor Auguste Piccard began testing his invention called "bathyscaph", a much deeper-diving vessel deriving its name from the Greek words "bathos"- deep and "scaphos" - ship. Two years later, Piccard's son Jacques joined and participated in the construction of improved bathyscaphes including the "Trieste".

Since the early 1920s, Rolex had worked on the development of waterproof watches, the famous Oyster models. To put their watches on a trial on which no other watch had ever been, they contacted Professor Piccard to test watches during his diving experiments. Piccard accepted and Rolex engineers developed a watch fitted with a special case and a domed crystal in order to hold up to extreme pressure.

Its resistance was successfully tested at the ETH in Zurich and on 30 September 1953, the Trieste and the watch fixed to its outside made their first dive to a record depth of 3150 meter. During this dive in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the island of Ponza, both Auguste and Jacques Piccard were on board of the bathyscaph. On 8 October Rolex received Piccard's memorable telegram confirming the success of the experiment with the words "Your watch perfectly resisted to 3150 meters".

In 1958, the Trieste was acquired by the U.S. Navy and equipped with a new cabin to enable it to reach deep ocean trenches; two years later, in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Navy Lieutenant Donald Walsh descended in 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 bathyscaph. The watch hold up to a pressure of 1,150 atm or 1,150 kgs per cm2. The following day Piccard sent another telegram to Rolex in Geneva saying "Am happy to confirm that even at 11,000 meters your watch is as precise as on the surface. Best regards, Jacques Piccard".
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