A chronological journey

To the deepest place on earth

1926

The world’s first truly waterproof wristwatch, the Rolex Oyster, is created in Geneva.

1948

Barton reaches a depth of 1370m with a type of bathysphere called a Benthoscope. At the same time the renowned Swiss physicist Professor Auguste Piccard begins testing his own invention, the bathyscaphe, a much deeper diving vessel.

1934

William Beebe, an American zoologist, and engineer Otis Barton achieve a sensational exploit by descending 906m into the sea using a submarine they designed, called the ‘Bathysphere’ — a sphere of 1.45m in diameter that submerges using its own weight whilst attached by a cable to a surface boat.

..Two decades later, August and Jacques Piccard successfully test their improved submarine design, Trieste, in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

1950

Auguste Piccard’s son Jacques joins in the construction of improved bathyscaphes including the Trieste.

The first prototype of the Rolex Deep Sea Special — a watch technically identical to the original Rolex Oyster 1926 but with larger features and resistance to intense pressure found at great depths — is successfully depth-tested by expert divers.

1953

The first of the great dives takes place, with the bathyscaphe Trieste in the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean off the western coast of Italy.

The Deep Sea Special 1953 — even more solid and robust than the first 1950 prototype — is strapped to the outside of the bathyscaphe and successfully tested at 1,080m of the Gulf of Naples, it is submerged to 3,150m later the same year.

1956

The same Rolex Deep Sea Special reaches a depth of 3,700m during a new dive of the Trieste.

1960

A third version of the Rolex Deep Sea Special is fixed to the outside of Trieste and travels to a depth of 10,911m (35,797 ft) into the Mariana Trench — the deepest place on Earth — and returns in perfect working order.

2014

Rolex releases a special version of the Rolex Deep Sea with a D-blue dial, to commemorate James Cameron’s historic solo dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

2012

James Cameron completes a solo dive in his personal submarine to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, some 11,000 metres deep.

2021
Christie’s offers the 1953 Rolex Deep Sea Special at auction.

A chance to own an extraordinary and rare, historically important wristwatch. It is understood this watch participated in one of Piccard’s diving trials with the bathyscaphe Trietste in the Mediterranean Sea.