At their fall auction, to be held on September 30th, at the Hoyt Building in New York, Antiquorum is offering a historic Rolex, one of the earliest known 1665 Sea-Dwellers, that formerly belonged to the famous documentary film maker and oceanographer Philippe Cousteau, the second son of the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is one of the most important diving watches designed in the second half of the 20th century. The collaboration with diving professionals and government agencies guided Rolex to introduce the first-ever use of the helium gas escape valve in a wristwatch. This revolutionary design enabled the watch to have the capability to withstand great underwater pressure while maintaining the functionality and integrity of timekeeping. During its development, the Ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller went through several revisions and iterations in order to perfect the design as the best diving watch, allowing many of the deepest diving missions. As an iconic model, the Sea-Dweller has become highly collectible; the most coveted being the very earliest examples.
The example offered in Antiquorum’s September auction bears one of the earliest serial numbers (1’602’920) of this reference ever recorded. This places the watch in the era of Single Red Sea-Dwellers, of which only six are known to exist.
Born in 1940, Philippe started diving at the tender age of five, with his father’s invention, the aqua-lung. by the age of seven, he was a professional diver. As he grow up, he was traveling the world, learning about different cultures and witnessing the advancements made in the science of diving.
In 1956, Jaques Cousteau is awarded the Palme D’Or at Cannes for drawing attention to the amazing world of underwater life in the movie “The Silent World”.
With an insatiable passion for the sea, Philippe Cousteau became the lead photographer on many of his father’s expeditions on the oceanographic research vessel the Calypso. He also produced numerous important documentaries about underwater life alongside his father in addition to his own television series on environmental issues. Sadly, his life was cut short in 1979 when a tragic plane accident occurred flying a Catalina near Lisbon.
After having worn the watch for 10 years, Philippe gifted it to Thomas Horton who was a close friend and collaborator of the Cousteau family. Andrew Horton, Thomas’ son, vividly recounts his early childhood memories about his father and the Cousteau family which can be read in a letter that accompanies this lot.
This exceptional timepiece is an extremely rare, center seconds stainless steel diver’s chronometer wristwatch with Double-Red Sea-Dweller logo, helium escape valve, date and stainless steel Rolex Oyster Fliplock bracelet. Also accompanying the watch are 8 X 10 photos showing Philippe Cousteau wearing the watch, a book “Diving Companions” by Jacques Cousteau and Philippe Diole, a red “Cousteau Crew” shirt, a 14 X 11 photo of the sailing yacht and a 14 X 11 photo of Philippe Cousteau at sea.
“We are extremely proud to offer what is unarguably one of the most important Sea-Dweller’s ever to appear at auction. This represents a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire a truly historic timepiece with an extraordinary provenance.” Evan Zimmermann, President & CEO of Antiquorum
Estimate: US$ 100,000 – 150,000
Fore more info about the September 30th auction, head over to www.antiquorum.com/auctions/2014/09/new-york-september-30-2014