Micah, who makes some of the best custom-made Panerai straps on planet earth, took this photo of his classic Pepsi Rolex GMT Master. You can always find Micah and his amazing Panerai straps at VintageStraps.com.
Phil Mickelson won the 2013 Open Championship on Sunday, and it was his first time doing so. In the photo below we see Phil Mickleson wearing his trademark Rolex Cellini. In case you are not familiar with the Rolex Cellini, it is Rolexes line of dressier watches.
Caroline Kennedy is pictured below with the First Lady, Michelle Obama attending the 50th anniversary of the Whitehouse Historical Association. Caroline Kennedy is wearing a 34mm Ladies Rolex Two-Tone Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee Bracelet.
Caroline Kennedy is pictured below with her father, former U.S. President, John F. Kennedy and her Mother, Jackie Kennedy. Some of Caroline Kennedy's cousins wear Rolex watches, including Maria Shriver and Ted Kennedy Jr. Somebody once told me Bobby Kennedy also wore a Rolex Submariner, but I have never been able to find a photo of him wearing one?
Peter Benchley's 1975 Jaws movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and it was a mega-hit. Jaws prompted a slew of underwater/aquatic adventure movies and TV shows. This include movies like The DEEP, and TV shows like The Man From Atlantis.
Nick Nolte wore a Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner as he costarred with Jacqueline Bisset from the movie "The Deep" from 1977, as seen below. I remember tripping on The DEEP when I was a kid. It was a great diving movie.
The DEEP featured an all-star cast including Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset, as well as Robert Shaw, Louis Gossett Jr, and Eli Wallach. Robert Shaw (pictured below in center) also starred previously in Jaws in 1975. Robert Shaw had previously also starred in From Russia With Love (1963), A Man For All Seasons (1966), The Sting (1973), and Force 10 From Navarone in 1978. Eli Wallach is pictured below on the far right, with his back to the camera.
Peter Benchley wrote Jaws and The DEEP, and he is featured below in the two Rolex Submariner ads from 1975.
Editors Note: Joseph Lavender is a reader of Jake's Rolex World and a big fan of the Rolex Air King. He put together this historical overview of the Rolex Air King for your reference and enjoyment.
Rolex Air-King Photo Appears Courtesy of Hannes from R-L-X.com
The Rolex Air-King has one of the most complex histories of any Rolex model spanning nearly 70 years of continuous production. During the Second World War, Rolex would supply their SpeedKing or other specified model on credit to British POWs. As the war drew to a close, Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, chose to honor the RAF pilots of the Battle of Britain with a series of aviation themed watches. The "Air" series included the Air-Lion, Air-Giant, Air-Tiger, and of course the Air-King. Today, only the Air-King remains. The first true Air-King was introduced in 1945 with the 4925. The 4925 was the follow-on to the 4365 series of "Air" models. For the international market the progression was from the 4925/4365 (sub-seconds), 4499, 6552, 5500, 14000, 14000m, then finally the super cased 114200. In 1958, however, a separate line evolved independently for specific markets. These included the Air-King-Date and the 550X models for the Commonwealth market. At the same time the 5504 Explorer 35mm case was used for the Air-King as well. This reference being the only 35mm Air-King to date. To make matters more complex, the 5500 case was used for both the Air-King and Explorer. This, of course, isn't the end of the Air-King/Explorer connection but for the sake of clarity we will leave that for another discussion. The models preceding the 5500, with the exception of the 6552, used Hunter movements. Rolex continuously issued new reference numbers as they refined the Air-King line. The 6552, introduced in 1953, can be considered a transitional model to the 5500 as they appear very similar.
1963 Rolex Air-King Advertisement Pictured Above
The 5500 was introduced in 1957 and used a caliber 1520 or 1530 movement but due to import laws, the jewels were reduced in the 1520. The 1520 was either 17 (US market) or 26 jewels. The 1530 had 17, 25 or 26 jewel variants. The movement type was denoted on the dial with the text Precision or no text for the 1520 and Super Precision for the 1530. Many dials were used during the long 37 year production run. Today, some are extremely rare, including the double red. This dial was an early production dial with the words Air-King and Super Precision in red. After the 5500s long and mostly unchanged 37 year run, the Air-King line was upgraded to a sapphire crystal and new cal 3000 movement. This new Air-King was rechristened with the reference number 14000. Refreshed versions of the 5500 dials carried on with new 3/6/9 Explorer style dials following shortly after. This reference also marked the introduction of the engine turned bezel , reference 14010. The 14000 series received the cal 3130 movement in 2000 and the change was noted in the reference number with the letter M for Modified.
Rolex Air-King Photo Appears Courtesy of Hannes from R-L-X.com
The 14000 series gave way to the 1142XX in 2007. This reference series was a full face lift for the AirKing. New concentric dials were added, the case became thicker at the lugs, and a brand new machined Oyster bracelet replaced the 78350. The engine turned bezel was retained but dropped only a couple of years later. A white gold fluted bezel became an option for the first time. Also, the 1142XX was the first Air-King to receive COSC certification. These changes took the Air-King line firmly into the modern Rolex range before most of the more famous Rolex cousins such as the Submariner. The photo below shows a modern Rolex Air-King with a 34mm white dial side by side with a standard black dial 36mm Rolex Explorer.
Rolex Air-King Photo Appears Courtesy of Hannes from R-L-X.com
List Of All Rolex Air-King Models
34mm Standard Air-King 4925 Introduced in 1945 Cal 10.5' 4365 Introduced in 1945 Cal 10.5' 4499 Introduced in 1946 Cal 10.5' 6552 Introduced in 1953 Cal 1030 5500 Introduced in 1957 Cal 1520/1530 14000 Introduced in 1989 Cal 3000 14010 Introduced in 1989 Cal 3000 (Engine Turned Bezel) 14000M Introduced in 2000 Cal 3130 14010M Introduced in 2000 Cal 3130 (Engine Turned Bezel) 114200 Introduced in 2007 Cal 3130 (Smooth Bezel, COSC) 114210 Introduced in 2007 Cal 3130 (Engine Turned Bezel, COSC, Discontinued) 114234 Introduced in 2007 Cal 3130 (White Gold Fluted Bezel, COSC) 550X for the US, UK, and Commonwealth Markets 5520 Introduced in 1974 until 1986 34mm Gold Filled Case, Steel Case Back Cal 1520 5504 Introduced in 1958 Cal 1530 (35mm) 5501 Introduced Appx 1958 Cal 1530 (Two-Tone Fluted Bezel 14k) 5502 Introduced Appx 1958 Cal 1530 (Gold Plated 40 Microns) 5506 Introduced Appx 1958 Cal 1530 (Gold Plated 40 Microns) Air-King-Date Commonwealth Markets (Production lasting into the 1980s) 5700 Introduced in 1958 Cal 1525/1535 5701 Introduced in 1958 Cal 1525/1535 (Two-Tone)
I found this fascinating image in the NASA Archives a long time ago. The photo was taken August 14, 1967 during Apollo desert survival training. Apollo 13 Astronaut Jack Swigert is pictured on the far right and he is wearing his Rolex GMT that he wore when he flew to the moon.
Pictured from left to right: Charles M Duke Jr., Thomas K Mattingly, Col. Chester Hohart, and John (Jack) L. Swigert.
No. These guys are not wearing Halloween costumes, and yes they are Sheiks of sorts. In the photo above, the three astronauts are in Washington state during desert survival training. During desert training the astronauts have to simulate what would happen if they land by mistake way off-course in the desert and have to do without human help for several weeks.
So how and why does this make them Sheik's? Arab Sheiks wear cotton scarfs to protect their heads, known as Keffiyeh and robes to stay cool in the extreme heat of the desert. Arab Sheiks also always wear sunglasses, often times indoors because the sun is extremely bright in the desert. The difference between the NASA Astronaut's headpiece and robes is that they are had crafted by the Astronauts from parachutes.
The photo below is of a close up of Jack Swigert's trademark Pepsi Rolex GMT Master. If you look closely it appears that Col. Hobart is also wearing a GMT but on a Jubilee bracelet. Also, digg those chic white Jack Taylor Converse Canvass high-tops Swigert is wearing. I had a pair of those when I was little kid.
Jack Swigert is pictured below in his NASA space suit wearing his Rolex GMT Pepsi.
When Jack Swigert returned from the Apollo 13 Moon Mission, Rolex traded-in his Pepsi GMT Master for a yellow gold Mocha GMT on a Jubilee bracelet as seen below. Jack Swigert's Pepsi GMT Master which traveled to the Moon and back is in Rolex's private collection in Geneva, Switzerland. If you want to learn much more about all of the Rolex Moon watches, you should check out my series aptly named "The Rolex Moon Watch Conquest & Beyond"which covers the entire gamut of Rolex in space.
Charlton Heston Academy Award Winner For Best Actory
There is a really fascinating story behind this Charlton Heston Rolex ad. I originally learned about this Charlton Heston Rolex advertisement from T. Walker Lloyd who was a world renowned DEEP-SEA diver that ended up becoming a Rolex executive for 25 years.
In one of my podcast interviews with T. Walker, he told the story behind this Rolex ad, and I was surprised that I was not familiar with it and had never come across it. You can learn more about T. Walker Lloyd and check out the podcasts by clicking here.
I received an email a few days ago, I would like to share with you: Good day Jake My name is Charl van der Merwe from South Africa. I have just read your article on Henri-Germain. What a interesting read. Thanks for posting it. I am a saturation diver myself (and a watch fanatic). Started diving when I was still a youngster with my dad, went to the South African Navy after school to become a Navy diver. After that I started my carrier in diving offshore. I since have been doing diving courses all around the world as well as working worldwide. I did my saturation course in Marseille France where I visited the Comex centre. While I'm reading your article, I realize that my line of work, my profession would not have been possible if it was not for the likes of these men. I always say a timepiece will choose you, not the other way around. One day I will wear my Sea Dweller with pride. I am currently on a saturation diving project off the west coast of Africa in Gabon and reading your article I can really relate to what these men achieved. I had the honer of meeting diving legend Claud Wesly during my saturation course in Marseille. He was telling us about project "pre continent 1" (1962) where himself and Albert Falco were living in a underwater habitat for a week, making history and becoming the first "saturation" divers. The project was overseen by Jacques Cousteau who was his close friend. More expeditions followed going deeper and deeper. It was great meeting him. Kind Regards Charl van der Merwe South Africa Henri-Germain Delauze was not only the founder of Comex, but also a man of amazing achievement. I became friends with him late in his life and completed a detailed podcast interview with him years ago, back in 2009. I just listened to part of it, and I will edit it and post it as soon as I can. In the mean-tine if you have some time, check out the detailed story I wrote aboutHenri-Germain Delauze.
Historically Rolex has always been extremely secretive and discreet, and no journalists in the past have ever been invited "INSIDE ROLEX" to explore and report on all four Rolex Manufacturing faclities in Switzerland.
In November 2013, this changed when Rolex invited Jake to take an unprecdented journey into the heart of Rolex to learn and report on everything he witnessed and learned.
This Super-Detailed 3 Part Story is a "MUST READ" story for anybody who wants to really understand what really makes Rolex tick.
The Hans Wilsdorf Story: Founder Of Rolex
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.
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