National Geographic : 2013 Jun
EXPLORING THE DEEPEST PLACE ON EARTH As the National Geographic Society celebrates 125 years, Rolex salutes the visionary explorers who push the boundaries of human achievement. Two dives to Challenger Deep—the deepest part of the ocean floor, in the Mariana Trench—took place more than 50 years apart. These path-breaking expeditions have one tool in common: a Rolex watch, engineered to withstand the colossal pressures in the deepest depths. Swiss oceanographer and National Geographic contributor Jacques Piccard and the then U.S . Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh in 1960, followed by National Geographic Explorer- in-Residence and filmmaker James Cameron in 2012, made historic dives that contributed invaluable knowledge of our underwater world. They also provided the ultimate proving ground for Rolex deep-sea technology. THE ROLEX DEEPSEA TIMEKEEPING UNDER PRESSURE THE TRIESTE A PIONEERING VOYAGE TO THE DEEP DEEPSEA CHALLENGER TECHNOLOGY TO ADVANCE SCIENCE On January 23, 1960 in the Pacific Ocean, the bathyscaphe Trieste crewed by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh made the first dive to Challenger Deep. The Deep Sea Special, an experimental Rolex Oyster watch attached to the exterior of the submersible, accompanied the Trieste to a record depth of 35,800 feet and made history in its own right. Successfully resisting the immense water pressure, the watch returned to the surface in perfect working order. The dive was a landmark in Rolex’s privileged relationship with the underwater world. It’s a history that dates back to 1926 and the invention of the Oyster, the world’s first ever waterproof wristwatch. On March 26, 2012, an experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge was attached to the robotic manipulator arm of James Cameron’s high-tech submersible, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, and descended to Challenger Deep during an expedition in partnership with the National Geographic Society and Rolex. While James Cameron made key observations for scientific research, the watch remained at the bottom for approximately three hours of an unprecedented solo dive that lasted six hours and 40 minutes. It also returned to the surface in perfect condition, working just as precisely as when it had earned its chronometer certificate. Only Rolex has made watches capable of diving to the deepest point in the ocean. The Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea Challenge is an experimental divers’ watch rated waterproof to a depth of 39,370 feet, entirely designed and manufactured by Rolex to withstand the most extreme depths known to mankind. Specially made to accompany James Cameron on his expedition, it is an enhanced version of the commercial Rolex Deepsea divers’ watch, and uses the same Ringlock System case architecture, patented by Rolex. Rolex congratulates the National Geographic Society on its 125th anniversary.