Return to Index  

Rolex Deep Sea Special Prototype versus Display Model......

May 6 2012 at 3:06 PM

Philipp  (Login philippstahl)
VRF Contributing Member
from IP address 84.30.37.59

We all know about the exceptional story of the extraordinair Rolex Deep Sea Special, Jacques Piccard & Lt. Don Walsh, Trieste, Challenger Deep, Deepest Dive in 1960 and the latest James Cameron dive to deepest place on earth with a new Rolex DeepSea Challenger attached to his submariner. Today I want to explain the difference between the early, prototype Rolex DeepSea Special Geneva started to develop from 1953 and the later after 1960 by Rolex made a fully engraved Display Version of the DeepSea Special for marketing use by producing a much larger batch and sending it out to their worldwide offices to impress their clients. With their first mayor test on November 30, 1953 a Rolex DSS was attached to the exterior of the Trieste depth craft submariner, which reached a world-record depth of 3150 meters which is 10.245 feet or 2 miles down. This was achieved of the coast of Ponza Island. After surfacing the watch was carefully inspected and was intact and functioning properly. Find below the official Rolex information from their experiences during testing..

[linked image]

In above text we read that Rolex testet ONLY 2 x Proto DSS of which one of the two got handed over to Jacques Piccard for his 1953 deep 3150 meter dive. But until now we known of 3 x original Prototype Rolex DeepSea Specials that are fully intact and survived the extreme tests by Rolex and made between 1953 and 1960 when Piccard & Walsh hit Challenger Deep. Comparing the movement numbers of the exclusive caliber 1000 of both auctioned DSS by Christie's we see they a gap of 92 numbers between No 1 & No 5 Rumor says Rolex had developed 7 examples of the Proto Rolex DSS. The question is how many remained in working condition & does Rolex Geneva have one of these?? Here're 3 known Proto DSS's.



1 - The white dialed DSS ( from Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC ) given directly by Rolex Geneva.

2 - The black dialed DSS with number 01 engraved, caliber 1000 - mov. no. 419.251 sold by Christie's in 2005 for CHF 322,400,-

3 - The black dialed DSS with number 05 engraved, caliber 1000 -mov. no. 419.343 sold by Christie's in 2000 for $ 113,853



1: The Smithsonian Rolex DeepSeaSpecial with unique white dial... Note the different Crown Design then we see with the DSS No 1 as this White DSS doesn't have the extra bigger ring between crown and case, which could point out that it's made before Rolex found all the leaks during testing and adjusted the crown design to withstand the enormous pressure. Also not the different Rolex crown design printed on it's dial, the fingers of the crown are thinner, the mouth is more open, it's less perfect then we see with DSS No 1.

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

Strangely we see the crown design being adjusted to the final design in following picture of Smithsonian Museum, apparently Rolex changed it AFTER they found out where the leaks where to get the perfect construction.

[linked image]

For comparison, the unique White Submariner ref 6205 from around 54 of my great friend Eric Ku ..

[linked image]

And a rare version in white of the a early Rolex Explorer..

[linked image]

2: The black dialed DSS with number 01 engraved on its case back. NOTE: the extra bigger size ring between the crown and its case, the final construction. The deployant clasp is dated 4/53. Originally given by Hans Wilsdorf and finally sold by the widow at Christies. Maybe its me but WHY would Mr. Wilsdorf alias Rolex give away such a important watch!?

[linked image]

3: The black dialed DSS with number 05 engraved on the back, same crown design & bigger ring between case and crown but more patina on the dial

[linked image]

After the successful deepest dive in 1960, we see the Rolex DSS Display Models, specially designed by Rolex ( sometimes having no movement, or were later added ) to market this remarkable achievement. Below we see Lt. Don Walsh and james Cameron together. Walsh is holding the all steel Rolex Display version and Cameron the new 51mm for experimental use only DeepSea Challenger. NOTE: SO Rolex does NOT have or show the REAL DSS, the early prototype as we see above but LATER Display model! Strange, at least to me!!

[linked image]

We see in next picture the Rolex DSS Display with UNDERLINE from the Rolex website. We Rolex Collectors know that the Underline was from 1963-1964, so NOT even 1960 as when the deepest dive was.. Different case design, different crown design ( one unscrews the big crown, then a smaller crown becomes visible to set the time )

[linked image]

Apparently, its the Rolex DSS that is in the London Science Museum (in the Time Measurement gallery) Here a picture made in the museum, also underline. So now we can come to the conclusion that Rolex Geneva has NO Deep Sea Special in their own vaults as why would they at first use a much later version, a DSS Display instead of a DSS Proto and secondly by using the London Underline version for they worldwide marketing, it tells me they dont have one their own, IMHO and that is REALLY strange to believe !?!

[linked image]

Same Underline DSS on tour at a german Rolex dealer having a exhibition. Picture courtesy by Percy & Hannes of RLX.de
[linked image]

Rolex Ad's..
[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

Piccard Exhibition at Museum Du Leman, testing the different material and domed glasses..
[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

The Underline Rolex DSS-Display No. 20

[linked image]

[linked image]

Here the Rolex DSS No. 31 sold for $ 438.000,= at Christies HK in 2009.

[linked image]

[linked image]

with later Rolex caliber

[linked image]

Inspiration of the DSS case design compared to the Panerai Rolex ref 6152/1

[linked image]

Number 32 of the Rolex DSS having a caliber 1570 sold at Antiquorum in 2003 for 124,500 CHF

[linked image]

Number 35 of the Rolex DSS-Display with movement No. 641867 did NOT sell at AQ in 2002

[linked image]

But No 35 got again offered at German auction Crott & Schmelzer, NOTE She was given by Rolex to the present owner at the beginning of the seventies !!
[linked image]

Here the Rolex DSS from the Beyer Museum in Zurich, next to the, by Hans Wilsdorf personally given, Rolex of Sir Edmund Hillary he wore during Mt. Everest ascent.

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

Interesting it is to see this version has a T SWISS T dial, with other words, a Rolex dial made AFTER 1965! That means that Rolex was still producing these DSS-Displays long after the 1960 historical dive.

[linked image]

[linked image]

Sideview of the Display DSS, note the less high domed glass it has compared to the early Prototypes at the beginning of this RPR article.
[linked image]

The Piccard Deep Sea Special, given by Bertrand Piccard at the Museum du Leman in Nyon near Geneva.

[linked image]

We see its NOT having the special ring between case and crown, making it a early Display model

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

Original Sir Edmund Hillary Rolex Bosescks Calcutta & Piccard DeepSea Special Display model

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

ong before Rolex gave us back the name DeepSea on a Rolex watch with their 2008 über Seadweller model, they already made another DeepSea model in mid 50-ies we see here:

[linked image]

James Cameron with the Deep Sea Challenger next to him attached to robot arm.
I believe the new DeepSea Story is not yet over, Rolex will come up with something I feel!wink.gif

[linked image]

[linked image]

regards Philipp



 
 Respond to this message   
Responses

 

 

 

Contact

 

Vintage Rolex Forum and Vintage Rolex Market are not sponsored by, associated with and/or affiliated with Rolex, S.A. or Rolex USA or any respective subsidiaries or affiliates.  

Copyright The VRF, Inc. 2002 - 2014