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Rolex and the Bathyscaphe Trieste - The Deepest Dive
The submersible bathyscaphe Trieste's dive to the Mariana Trench, accompanied by Rolex. Discover the Spirit of the Rolex Deepsea

The pioneering dive

January 1960

In 1960 – 52 years before the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition – Rolex made watchmaking history when it joined the bathyscaphe Trieste on an unprecedented dive to the deepest known point in the world’s oceans. Crewed by Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, the Trieste was carrying an experimental Rolex Deep Sea Special wristwatch when it reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean on 23 January 1960, at a record depth of 10,916 metres (35,814 feet).


The pioneering dive

The Trieste and the watch attached to its exterior successfully withstood crushing, deep-sea water pressure that no submersible, let alone timepiece, had confronted before and that no human could ever survive. After the bathyscaphe surfaced from its record dive, a cable was received at Rolex headquarters in Geneva: “Happy to announce your watch as precise at 11,000 metres down as on surface. Best regards Jacques Piccard. “The historic dive of the Rolex Deep Sea Special was the fruit of decades of unrelenting development of the Oyster, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, invented by Rolex in 1926.



The pioneering dive

Ever since Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf named the first waterproof wristwatch the “Oyster” in 1926, Rolex has been studying the tools needed by professionals in extreme conditions. The Deep Sea Special was developed to demonstrate the efficiency of the waterproof Oyster.

Like an Oyster in the sea

The pioneering dive

Rolex has for many decades been associated with exploration of the planet’s most extreme frontiers, in keeping with the spirit instilled by its founder, Hans Wilsdorf. Rolex nurtured a special relationship with the sea after creating the waterproof Oyster wristwatch in 1926. Waterproofness was a fundamental feature that helped make watches reliable and accurate, and is inherent today in every Rolex Oyster Perpetual model. These watches have since proven themselves in real-life conditions during a series of iconic endeavours, including the Trieste’s dive and the expedition by Sir John Hunt, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the top of the world in 1953 – the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. Exploits of this kind have helped build the Rolex Oyster’s reputation of utmost reliability.

Divers’ watches

The pioneering dive

Rolex has sustained and extended its position at the forefront of watchmaking for divers with ground-breaking innovation. During the 1950s, developments in diving technology paved the way for a boom in underwater exploration. The professional divers’ community came to treasure Rolex watches as essential tools of the trade and even helped in their development. The Rolex Deepsea illustrates Rolex’s mastery of waterproofness. Rated waterproof to a depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), it provides a substantial safety margin for those working in open water at great depth. Divers’ watches such as the state-of-the-art Rolex Deepsea are the product of nearly a century of finely tuned know-how and innovation based on real-life experience of the exacting conditions underwater. They attest to the pursuit of perfection and the finest engineering.