Rolex on the International Space Station at Christmas
Recently I was doing research in the NASA Archive and I came across this image of Dr. Leroy Chiao taken during Christmas onboard the International Space Station in 2004. Dr. Chiao flew on three Space Shuttle Missions prior to being the Commander of Expedition 10.
I wrote a detailed article that included a fascinating podcast interview with Dr. Chiao which you can see by clicking here. Beyond his incredible career as a NASA astronaut, Dr. Chiao is an amazing man of incredible achievement!!!
Of course Dr. Chiao is sporting his Pepsi GMT Master on the jubilee bracelet. I also think I see an HP iPaq Pocket PC floating around above the IBM Thinkpad in the upper right hand corner of the photo. We sure have come a long way in 4 years from the iPaq to the iPhone.
Dr. Wernher von Braun is pictured below at NASA ground control in 1965 during the testing of a Saturn rocket. Dr. von Braun is wearing a yellow gold Rolex and Dr. Kurt Debus who was the director of the Kennedy Space Center is also wearing his Rolex in this photo. Both men were former German rocket scientists.
Ironically, Dr. von Braun was the principal designer of the German V-2 rocket weapon as well as the Saturn V Moon rocket that put NASA astronauts on the Moon.
Pictured from Left to Right: Dr. Kurt Debus Werhner von Braun
The Rolex board of Directors appointed Finance Director Bruno Meier as the new Chief Executive Officer of The Rolex Group. Bruno Meier will be replacing Patrick Heiniger on the first of January 2009. Mr. Meier has been the CFO of Rolex for 3 years.
Leo (The Idle Swede) is my right hand man on Jake's Rolex Watch Blog. James Dowling is one of the most knowledgeable Rolex experts on earth and co-author of The Best Of Time–Rolex Wristwatches. James Dowling is also a moderator on Timezone's Rolex modern and vintage Rolex forum.
Leo sent in this photo from a GTG of himself and James doing schtick with their name-tags. Leo said this photo reminded him of the photo below this photo of James Dowling with John Mayer because in both, they were pointing at each other.
Leo (The Idle Swede) with James Dowling
Leo told me that he was goofing around with switching his name tag and then James Dowling joined in the fun, which explains why Leo's (pictured on the left) name-tag says "James Dowling" and James' (pictured on the right) says Dave Knoll. Dave Knoll is another Timezone moderator, as is Charles Newgas. GTG's are fun and you never know what to expect next.
Super-leggy-model Elle Mcpherson has been wearing her yellow gold Rolex Daytona with the white dial and gold subdials for many years, so today, I am officially dubbing this watch as "The Elle Daytona."
My pal, Sheldon Smith of www.Minus4Plus6.com is an avid road biker and he sent in what he refers to as the cover of "The Ultimate Bike Geek Magazine."
Sheldon said he likes Lance's GMT Master on Lance better than the Stainless Steel Rolex Daytona Lance Armstrong started wearing about 6 months ago.
In the photo above and below, Lance Armstrong is wearing his stainless steel Rolex Daytona with a white dial. Lance will be back in France in 2009 again to attempt to make his 8th consecutive conquest of the Tour de France.
Prior to Lance Armstrong, the record for the number of wins for the Tour de France was 5 times. That puts Lance in a class all by himself with his record breaking 7 wins.
John Goldberger is a Rolex connoisseur/collector. His passion for excellent, beautiful and rare Rolex watches is both intoxicating and awe-inspiring at the same time.
John is from Italy, and he recently wrote an amazing Rolex book named 100 Superlative Rolex Watches which contains Rolex watches from the top 5 Rolex connoisseur's on earth–including his own magnificent collection. You can read the review and also listen to the detailed podcast interview by clicking here.
Last year, John took this photo of what he refers to as the rarest Rolex, a Reference 4113, split-chronograph. Rolex only made 12 of these watches in 1943 for the Italian Army.
The watch came from the Mondani collection and was originally auctioned by Antiquorum in 2006. John also owns another one of the 12 which you can find in his book on page 62.
Click on image for great detail
John Goldberger took this stunning photograph of his prized possession split-chronometer next to jumbo stone crab claws at Garcia's Restaurant in Miami, Florida. Those claws are really jumbo because the Rolex Reference 4413 split-chronograph is a whopping 44mm.
The Rolex split-chronographs have a Valjoux 55 caliber movement. John mentioned in his email to me that "This caliber was used in other split chronographs like the 24h. Chronograph by Universal (made also for Italian military supplier Cairelli in Rome.)"
The Rolex has a matt silvered dial with pink gold relief Arabic and Baton indexes, with an outer 1/5 seconds division, outer black tachometer scale along with a blue inner telemeter scale. The watch also has pink gold Baton hands and a subsidiary seconds and 30-minute register dial.
In the future we are going to do a detailed story on this watch.
At first, I thought this was a Rolex Explorer, but as Douglas pointed out, it is the new Air King. The way you can tell is that an Air King has a Rolex Crown at 12, and the Rolex Explorer has an upside down triangle like the Submariner, which would glow in the dark.
T. Walker Lloyd was a dynamic Rolex executive for close to a quarter century. I recently completed a 9-part podcast interview series with T. Walker Lloyd that is amazing!!! T. Walker started his quarter-century career with Rolex as an oceanographic consultant and three years later became a full-time Rolex executive in New York with Rolex U.S.A.
T. Walker Lloyd was originally hired by Rene-Paul Jeanneret in Geneva and began working with Rolex in 1965 and retired from Rolex in 1990. During T. Walker Lloyd's executive career he saw Rolex, under the dynamic leadership of André Heiniger, grow from a successful Swiss company to the ultra-successful behemoth it is today.
Today, we released Podcast interview 3 of 9 with T. Walker Lloyd.
In Part 1 you get an overview of the early years of his career where he worked with the U.S. Navy SEALAB program on the development of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER.
You will also learn about how he went on to become a Rolex executive and the goto guy for working with celebrities, actors, athletes and astronauts.
In Part 2 you learn about how the Rolex Day-Date got its name of "The Rolex President" and you also learn about the back story of the NASA Rolex Moon Watches as well as how T. Walker Lloyd provided watches to man movie and TV stars including Tom Selleck for Magnum P.I.
In Part 3, T. Walker shares more fascinating stories about sports figures, supermodels, celebrities, and President Lyndon Johnson.
I believe this is the first time in history anyone has completed a recorded interview with a Rolex executive and this is very exciting. T. Walker is a sportsman and gentleman of amazing achievement and has a fascinating and magnetic personality. His insight into what makes Rolex tick, literally and figuratively is uncanny. I learned so much about Rolex' amazing history from T. Walker, that my head is still spinning!!!
T. Walker Lloyd Podcast Series
To listen to this podcast in your browser click on the play button below. (If you are using Internet Explorer you may need to click the play button twice):
Podcast Part 1 of 9. Running Time 54:20 [Added December 9, 2008]
Podcast Part 2 of 9. Running Time 55:12 [Added December 16, 2008]
Podcast Part 3 of 9. Running Time 54:40 [Added December 21, 2008]
If you want to subscribe or listen to the podcast in iTunes please click the icon below. With this option you can listen to the podcast for free in iTunes or you can download it for free to listen to on your iPod or iPhone:
T. Walker was not only a Rolex executive, but a highly accomplished deep-sea-diver and oceanographic expert. T. Walker Lloyd appeared in the following Rolex advertisement below and also worked with Peter Benchley on the major motion picture, Jaws.
Part 1 of 9
The following images and show notes go with Part 1, and Part 2 show notes and images are directly under Part 1.
T. Walker Lloyd Rolex Advertisement from 1974
Until I published the story of Scott Carpenter and SEALAB, it was commonly believed that Rolex developed the SEA-DWELLER for the French diving company, Comex.
This is partially true, but Rolex being represented by T. Walker Lloyd, worked with SEALAB's Bob Barth & Scott Carpenter on the development of the Gas or Helium Release Valve that was added to the Rolex SEA-DWELLER, thus, as leading Rolex history expert, James Dowling recently pointed out, "The SEA-DWELLER owes more of its genesis to SEALAB than COMEX."
COMEX & Rolex
In Part 1 of the podcast series I speak with T. Walker Lloyd about the development of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER and we discuss COMEX's role. Here is a Comex ad from that timeframe.
This is what led me to the director of SEALAB, Bob Barth, who led me to T. Walker Lloyd.
To best understand Scott Carpenter's involvement in the development of the Rolex SEA-DWELLER we have to go back to the NASA Mercury program. The photo below is of The Original 7 Mercury astronauts. Scott Carpenter is pictured in the bottom right hand corner of the photo.
Scott Carpenter is pictured below at the Cape during the Mercury program in the early 1960s
Scott Carpenter is pictured below with his fellow Mercury astronaut John Glenn. John Glenn was the first American astronaut to leave Earth's atmosphere and he orbited around the earth three times before he landed. In later episodes of the T. Walker podcast interview we will learn about how John Glenn not only wore a Rolex but also about his involvement as a conduit between NASA and Rolex.
From NASA Astronaut to U.S. NAVY Aquanaut
Scott Carpenter was the second American to leave Earth's orbit and he also orbited around the globe three times. Scott began his career as a U.S. Navy test pilot and was featured in Tome Wolfe's book, The Right Stuff.
Carpenter then he went on to become a part of the U.S. Navy's SEALAB program. In the photo below you can see Scott Carpenter wearing his Rolex Submariner on a leather strap.
Scott Carpenter learned about the NAVY SEALAB program from his pal, Jacques Cousteau. Scott Carpenter was so inspired by what Jacques Cousteau was doing that he asked the U.S. Navy if he could work with Jacques Coustea. Jacques Cousteau was really the first SEA-DWELLER with his Conshelf program that he developed with the French Navy in the early 1960s.
Jacques Cousteau with Scott Carpenter
SEALAB was really the U.S. Navy's version of the French Conshelf. The SEALAB habitat is pictured below hovering in dry-dock.
Scott Carpenter was the head of the dive team for SEALAB and is pictured below.
The First Rolex SEA-DWELLER
As T. Walker Lloyd mentioned in his podcast interview, the SEALAB saturation divers were experiencing a challenge with their crystals exploding off their Rolex Submariner watches when they would come-up during decompression. So Bob Barth, the director of SEALAB worked with Rolex on the development of the helium gas escape valve with T. Walker Lloyd.
T. Walker Lloyd came up with the idea that even though the gas escape valve on the SEA-DWELLER was only for emitting helium that it should not be named "The Helium Escape Valve." He argued it should be named "The Gas Escape Valve" because he said that in the future saturation divers might likely use other gases. To this day, Rolex calls it the "The Gas Escape Valve," which is displayed prominently on the new DEEP-SEA SEA-DWELLER inner ring.
Scott Carpenter is pictured below while living under the ocean on SEALAB 2 for 28 days, which set a record for living in an underwater habitat. Notice the Rolex Submariner on his wrist.
The next four recent photos were taken exclusively for Jake's Rolex Watch Blog and feature one of Scott Carpenter's early "Patent Pending" Rolex SEA-DWELLERS which he still owns.
Notice the Patent Pending designation on the caseback.
The Kojak President
In T. Walker Lloyd's part 1 podcast interview, he tells a story about the Rolex "Hands" advertising campaign he worked on, where he worked with Telly Savalas, who played "Kojak" on TV. Here is the Rolex magazine advertisement from the Telly Savalas "Hands" campaign.
Robert Redford in The Candidate
T. Walker mentioned Robert Redford wearing a Rolex in The Candidate and The Electric Horseman.
Charlton Heston & Son
T. Walker told the story about Charlton Heston and his son who are pictured below. According to T. Walker, Charlton Heston appeared in a Rolex advertisement for Rolex that I have never seen. Charlton's son is pictured with him in this photo and he is wearing a two-tone Rolex Datejust.
Sean Connery in Thunderball
T. Walker mentioned he was on the set of Thunderball and that Rolex provided the Rolex Submariner for Sean Connery to wear. I think T. Walker misunderstood my question when I asked him what James Bond movie came first and he answered "Thunderball." I think he meant that Thunderball was the first James Bond movie that he was on the set of as a Rolex representative. Of course, Dr. No was the first James Bond movie and Sean Connery wore his now famous Rolex Submariner. The photo below is of Sean Connery from Thunderball.
T. Walker Lloyd mentioned he gave Clint Eastwood his Rolex Root Beer GMT Master which you can see Clint wearing below.
T. Walker Lloyd mentioned that actor James Brolin introduced him to Clint Eastwood. James Brolin is pictured below with his wife, Barbra Streisand, and James is wearing a yellow Gold Rolex Daytona.
Bill Cosby and Robert Culp are pictured below wearing their Rolex GMT watches that T. Walker Lloyd gave them to wear on their TV show named I Spy.
Burt Reynolds & Clint Eastwood
T. Walker Lloyd mentioned giving Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood Rolex watches.
Paul Newman Wearing His Trademark Rolex Daytona.
Farrah Fawcett Majors
T. Walker mentioned hanging out with Farrah. Farrah was by far and away the most successful TV star and model in the mid 1970s.
Philippe Cousteau & Jacques Cousteau
T. Walker Lloyd was very close friends with Philippe Coustea who unfortunately crashed his seaplane and died.
The Rolex Moon Watches
Another one of the profound insights we gain from the T. Walker Lloyd podcast interview is how so many of the NASA Apollo Astronauts ended up wearing Rolex watches to the Moon. If you listen to the podcast T. Walker shares much of the back-story.
The following 3 photos are of NASA Apollo astronaut Jack Swigert who flew on Apollo 13 to the Moon. The photo below was taken at the pre-launch, steak and eggs breakfast and Swigert is wearing his Rolex GMT Pepsi.
When Jack Swigert got back to earth he gave his stainless Rolex GMT to the number two man at Rolex, Rene-Paul Jeanneret.
In Return for Jack Swigert's Pepsi GMT that flew to the Moon, Rolex gave Jack a yellow gold Rootbeer GMT on a Jubilee bracelet as seen below.
Rolex on Apollo 14
All 3 NASA Apollo 14 Moon Mission astronauts wore Rolex GMT Pepsi watches. In the first two photos below you can see Alan Shepard sporting his GMT on a black strap. Alan Shepard was also one of the Original 7 Mercury Mission NASA Astronauts and he was the first American Astronaut to leave the Earth's atmosphere in a rocket.
In the next image we see Apollo 14 Mission team member Dr. Edgar Mitchell preparing his two Rolex GMT Master's just before he prepares to board the Saturn Rocket to go to the Moon. Dr. Edgar Mitchell confirmed that he wore his Rolex GMT on the longest moonwalk in history.
In the photo below you see Dr. Edgar Mitchell on the left side in quarantine after he got back to Earth. He is clearly wearing his Rolex GMT Master. This directly confirms that he wore his Rolex GMT Pepsi to the moon and back.
T. Walker mentioned his friendship with the famous actor, Lloyd Bridges and he told the story about how he gave Lloyd Bridges the yellow gold Rolex Submariner pictured below.
T. Walker Lloyd with Peter Benchley
T. Walker Lloyd is pictured below with Peter Benchley, the creator of Jaws. T. Walker is pictured on the far right standing up and Peter Benchley is pictured in the front row on the right side. T. Walker and Peter Benchley remained close friends until Peter died.
This photo was taken several months before the major motion picture, Jaws became a blockbuster hit in 1975. In 1975 there was an TV program named American Sportsman that had an episode shot on the Great Barrier Reef and in South Australia that featured Benchley swimming with sharks. T. Walker Lloyd was Benchley's safety diver.
The JAWS Submariner
I remember, when I was a child, the movie JAWS was a mega-hit. I mean Huge Hit!!!! People went crazy over Jaws, which was directed by the then young Steven Spielberg.
JAWS was Steven Speilberg's first real movie hit which put him on the map. JAWS won an Academy Award that year for Best Picture. JAWS was all the rage!!! That made Peter Benchley, the author of JAWS a huge superstar.
The Rolex President
One of the most profound things we learn in the T. Walker Lloyd podcast interview is how the Rolex Day-Date got nick-named or dubbed The Rolex President. According to T. Walker Lloyd, President Lyndon Johnson named the watch The President's Watch, which turned into The President.
T. Walker Lloyd mentioned that he gave Tom Selleck his Rolex Watch he wore on the blockbuster TV hit Magnum P.I.
Update: I plan to publish more podcasts from the T. Walker Lloyd interviews in the future as time permits. I don't have an exact schedule because I have so many other podcasts to edit and publish.
Rolex is one of the most recognizable brands on earth, but very little has been known about its real history. If you really, really want to understand what makes Rolex tick, I very highly recommend you read the fascinating story of Rolex's amazing founder–Hans Wilsdorf.
Support Jake's Rolex World
Jake's Rolex World is supported by viewers like you. Please donate: