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Order a Domino’s Pizza, earn a Rolex
by admin

Of course you shouldn’t take the title of this article literally but it is a fact that Domino’s Pizza (DP) rewarded her managers who had the best results during a four week period with a Rolex Air-King which had the DP logo on the dial. This ‘Rolex Challenge’ took place between the 1970s and 1990s.

rolex dominos pizza logo
A detailed picture of the DP logo on the Air-King dial. The black, circled ‘R’ means that the logo is a registered trademark

Several versions of the Air-Kings with the DP logo have been issued over the years. During the last five to ten years the DP logo was on the bracelet of the watch, at the ’6′ hour position.

RDP dial logo recht
RDP logo gekanteld
RDP logo zw
RDP logo bracelet
RDP logo back

With all respect to Domino’s Pizza, it is still a mystery why Rolex made the deal to produce a special version of the Air-King for a company like this.
For instance, a deal with Mercedes-Benz would make far more sense and it’s no surprise that several jewellers had their name on the dial. What makes the whole case even more interesting is the fact that Rolex even produced the dials with the DP logo. A jeweller like Tiffany & Co had to put their name on the dial by themselves.


The Rolex history is filled with watches with a company logo on the dial. Coca-Cola, Anheuser Busch, Tide and Honda are examples of the variety of companies that have rewarded their staff with Rolex watches.
When keeping in mind what status Rolex has and the whole aura surrounding the brand all these company logos on the dials look odd and make the watch look cheap. Hopefully future company watches will only have an inscription on the back.

coca cola logo dial
honda logo dial rolex awesome
Rolex Anheuser-Busch Logo 16233 datejust
rolex logo dial TIDE

List of Rolex watches with a company logo

Article Rolex with company logos

Jaap Bakker

December 27th


A flight over the road with your Rolex GMT-Master
by admin

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rg:adv pan am ford thunderbird 1970

In 1954 Rolex introduced the GMT-Master ref. 6542. This watch had been developed together with Pan Am Airlines so that their pilots could fix a second time zone on their watch (GMT means Greenwich Mean Time).

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A short product description of the ref. 6542:

Ref. 6542 aka Pussy Galore
Production Period: 1954-1959
Model Name: Rolex GMT Master
Caliber: 1036 (1954-1959), 1065 (1957-1959), 1066 (1957-1959)
Pressure proof to 50m/165ft

This was the first GMT Master.
It was launched 1954. It was developed on the basis of a regular Turn-O-Graph (Ref. 6202). The modifications were a different bezel and a modified movement.

The first version of the Ref. 6542 had a bakelite bezel insert. As this bezel was likely to crack, it got replaced by a metal bezel in 1956.
The bakelite bezel was luminous.

The name Pussy Galore originates from a character in a James Bond movie, wearing this watch.

In 1959 ref. 6542 was replaced by the GMT-Master ref. 1675 which stayed in production until 1980.
A short product description of the ref. 1675:

Production Period: 1959-1980
Model Name: Rolex GMT Master
1565 (1959-1964) 18000A/h
1575 (1965-1980) 19600A/h (hacking introduced 1971)
Pressure proof to 50m/165ft
Bracelet: Oyster 78360, Jubilé 62510
Glass: Acrylic crystal
Indexes: Tritium
Crown guards introduced, pointed crown guards until 1964/65 (with chapter ring dial)..

New inprint on dial: “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified”.

Until late 60s: Small GMT-hand, afterwards large GMT-hand.

Early 1970s: All black version introduced.

The hands are in the following order: GMT/Hour/Minute/Second see this picture.


Caliber 1565
Gloss dial
Thin case

Caliber 1575
Matt dial with white printing.
Other Variants:

Ref. 1675/8 Gold (Leather or Oysterbracelet 7208/8, Jubilébracelet 6311/8).
Ref. 1675/3 Steel/Gold (Oysterbracelet 78363, Jubilébracelet 62523), 14k gold.

Both variants: Early versions with golden crown on dial, late versions just with imprinted crown.


All black lunette geïntroduceerd begin 1970s

All black lunette geïntroduceerd begin 1970s

Kaliber 1575

Kaliber 1575

Variant met de 'root beer' wijzerplaat en 'fat font' op de lunette

Variant met de ‘root beer’ wijzerplaat en ‘fat font’ op de lunette


In the spring of 1968 Henry Ford II made Semon E. ‘Bunkie’ Knudsen CEO of the Ford Motor Company. Although Knudsen was not a designer, he interfered big time with the development of the new Ford Thunderbird that had to be for sale in 1970.

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Knudsen wanted the new Thunderbird to be built on a mid-size chassis (he knew Pontiac was going to do the same with their ill-selling Grand Prix) and not on the current full-size chassis. He also tried to get the for him characterising ‘bold nose front ends’ (the designers called these ‘Bunkie Beaks’) and ‘massive rear quarters on the car.
Although ‘Bunkie’ was fired by Ford in september 1969 after a big clash with Lee Iacocca he had firmly left his autograph on the new Thunderbird. They kept the full-size chassis but his ideas about the front and back of the car had made it to production.

After a long and exhausting intercontinental flight the 1970 Ford Thunderbird was the ideal car for a Pan Am pilot to drive home and only having to read one time zone on his Rolex GMT-Master.

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In 2014 I would like to couple the same Rolex model, now called GMT-Master II (ref. 116719BLRO), to a totally different car than the Thunderbird (which officially doesn’t exist anymore).

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1984 Porsche 911 3.2

1984 Porsche 911 3.2

For many years a familiar sight on the Dutch highways.

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For more than 35 years Dutch police have been driving in the Porsche. In 1960 the first Porsche, type 365 B, was the delivered to the ‘Sectie Bijzondere Verkeerstaken’. The real start of the SBV was January 1st 1962. They had 12 Porsches 365 B. Until the end of 1995 the police have been using Porsches, in total more than 500. In the picture the Pon brothers delivering the first Porsche 365 to the police.

In 2014 Porsche has made a perfect modern interpretation of the 911 Targa from 1965. After the start of the production of the 911 fifty years ago 13% of the cars sold is a Targa. Technical highlight is the electro-hydraulic roof construction which can fold the roof and rear window in 19 seconds.

911 Targa 4 en 4S

911 Targa 4 en 4S

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When the Rolex GMT-Master was introduced in 1955 it had a bezel made of Plexiglas which underside was painted red and blue. Plexiglas was very vulnerable to damages and discolouring by UV light. In 1959 the bezel was replaced by one made of anodised aluminium.
In 2005 Rolex had developed a bezel made of ceramic material, called Cerachrom. Ceramic is a material that is extremely robust and durable: practically scratch resistant, resistant to corrosion and it’s colours are insensible to ultraviolet radiation. Ceramic is high-gloss and offers a razor sharp contrast with the engraved and with a thin layer of gold or platinum covered numbers and signs on it’s surface.
The manufacturing process of the Cerachrom bezel starts with the ceramic which now has a green colour.

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One of the biggest challenges for Rolex in the development of a ‘Pepsi’ bezel for the 2014 GMT-Master II was making the colour red. In general colours are made by adding natural minerals that can withstand the extreme high temperatures in the fabrication process of ceramic. Red is a colour for which there are no stabile mineral pigments to manufacture Cerachrom.
The following is what Rolex tells us about their solutions for the problems there were in the development of the ‘Pepsi’ bezel:

Red and blue Cerachrom
The name “Cerachrom” derives from a contraction of the word “ceramic” juxtaposed with the suffix “chrom” from the ancient Greek word for “colour”. The range of available shades for ceramic is however restricted by its very manufacturing process. Colours are generally created by adding mineral pigments that can withstand the very high temperatures at which the ceramic is fired for its densification and to acquire its characteristic hardness. Red, typically, is a colour for which no stable mineral pigments exist to create a Cerachrom component. Rolex nevertheless managed, in the first instance, to produce a red ceramic according to a secret process. But this innovation represented only half the journey – or, more precisely, took the brand only half way to manufacturing the emblematic red and blue Cerachrom insert.

Rolex’s in-house engineers finally found an answer to the second half of the challenge. The ingenious process consists of introducing an intermediate step in the manufacture of the standard Cerachrom insert. During this innovative bulk-colouring step, half of the red ceramic insert is coloured blue. The colour is achieved by impregnating the part of the insert representing night-time hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., with a controlled quantity of a solution of chemical compounds. The solution is added before sintering at more than 1,600 °C, when the ceramic acquires its mechanical resistance properties as well as its colour. In the course of this firing, the ceramic densifies and the added compounds react with the basic elements of the red Cerachrom insert to conjure up the final blue colour.

Although the idea in itself may appear simple, a number of major technical hurdles had to be overcome before it could be implemented: the formulation of a solution of precursor chemical compounds that would turn red into blue; the homogenous application of an appropriate quantity of this solution; ensuring a sharp, precise and clear demarcation between the two coloured areas, the definition of the precise length of time and temperature for the sintering so as to prevent any distortion of the piece. Every single one of these parameters is crucial for the success of the process and the quality of the final product.

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Seeing the 2014 Rolex GMT-Master II with the ‘Pepsi’ bezel out of the corner of your eye makes blasting in the new Porsche 911 Targa just that little bit more comfortable.

Jaap Bakker

June 9th


Ernest Hemingway: a true Rolex man
by admin


The quintessential Renaissance man, Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel-prize-winning author, war reporter, bullfighter and a sophisticated cocktail connoisseur. He lived (and drank) all over the world, but was oft known for hanging out in bars in Key West and Havana. We’re toasting Hemingway this month, in honor of his birthday (July 21), with a few tidbits and tipples.

The Cocktails:
The original Hemingway Daiquiri was a frozen mixture of white rum, lime and grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur and was reminiscent of a lime-colored Slurpee. Served at the infamous El Floridita in Cuba, it is said Hemingway once consumed more than a dozen in an evening. He remarked that one “felt as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow.” Ordered mostly by Hemingway as a double, the drink also became known as the Papa Dobles. Nowadays, the cocktail is often served straight up, no blender required. Hemingway was also a fan of absinthe and is credited with mixing a potent blend of absinthe and Champagne dubbed Death in the Afternoon after his 1932 book of the same name.

His Drinking Buddies:
In Paris during the “Golden Age” of the 1920s, Hemingway drank with a bevy of famous artists and writers including Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and W. B. Yeats. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris reenacts the conversations and carousing with admirable detail, as does our top tome of the month, The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Hemingway’s first marriage during those party years.

Hemingway Daiquiri

2 ounces white rum
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

Death in the Afternoon

1 1/2 ounces absinthe
4 ounces Brut Champagne

Pour absinthe into a champagne flute and top with chilled Brut Champagne until it clouds over.

The above text reflects in a nutshell the type of man Ernest Hemingway was and what kind of life he lived. However, this is only one side of the story. Hemingway suffered from bipolar disorder and had severe depressions. In 1960 Hemingway was treated with ECT (‘Electro Convulsive Therapy’, “Electroshock”) in the Mayo Clinic, about which he said: “What these shock doctors don’t know is about writers…and what they do to them…What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.” Eventually, in Idaho in 1961, he ended his life by shooting himself in the head; the way in which he committed this act is completely in line with Hemingway’s character.

Hemingway Memorial in Trail Creek, north of Sun Valley, Idaho

Hemingway Memorial in Trail Creek, north of Sun Valley, Idaho

Ernest Miller Hemingway was the second child and first son of Clarence and Grace Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was the second child and first son of Clarence and Grace Hemingway

The Hemingway family in 1905, left to right: Marcelline, Sunny, Clarence, Grace, Ursula and Ernest

The Hemingway family in 1905, left to right: Marcelline, Sunny, Clarence, Grace, Ursula and Ernest

ehe:Rolls Royce

This 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom II Short Coupled Saloon used to belong to Ernest Hemingway. With this car he traversed the USA while writing and publishing ‘A Farewell to Arms’, ‘The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories’, and ‘Death in the Afternoon’. The car is provided with compartments for booze, golf and hunting stores.

Another car owned by Hemingway is the Lancia B10 with which he travelled through Europe in 1954.

ehe:Lancia B10 1954


Ernest Hemingway, who famously wrote standing (“Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu—the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him.”), approaches his craft with equal parts poeticism and pragmatism:

” When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through “.


Hemingway's favourite shoes were loafers, he had racks full of them

Hemingway’s favourite shoes were loafers, he had racks full of them

Ernest_Hemingway recuperating from leg wounds in Milan 1918

Ernest Hemingway recuperating from leg wounds in Milan 1918

In the Winter of 1917 the Red Cross started a campaign for the recruitment of American volunteers who would drive ambulances at the Italian front. Hemingway applied for the job, because the American army refused to take him into service due to a bad eye. On 8 July 1918, only a few weeks after his arrival, he suffered leg injuries inflicted by shell-splinters while distributing chocolate and cigarettes among Italian soldiers along the river Piave. According to Ted Brumback, another ambulance driver, who wrote Hemingway’s father a letter, more than 200 splinters pierced Hemingway’s legs, but he managed nevertheless to get another wounded soldier to the first-aid post. On his way his legs were hit by machine gun bullets on top. Later, for this act of self-sacrifice he was rewarded the Italian Heroism Silver Medal. His right knee was injured so badly that he feared amputation. Recovering from his injuries in a Milan hospital, Hemingway fell in love with Agnes von Kurowsky, a well-educated American nurse who was eight years his senior. Hemingway would incorporate this romance in his novel ‘A Farewell to Arms’.

Ernest Hemingway wrote 'For whom the bell tolls', about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, in 1939 in Cuba, Key West and Sun Valley, Idaho

Ernest Hemingway wrote ‘For whom the bell tolls’, about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, in 1939 in Cuba, Key West and Sun Valley, Idaho

The book tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American explosive expert, who as member of the International Brigades is added to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains during the Spanish Civil War. Jointly they have to blow up a bridge in order to make an attack on Segovia a success. During this mission Jordan falls in love with Maria, a girl who had lost her parents in the war.
The book is partially autobiographic, Hemingway was in Spain during the civil war. The main character may be based on Robert Hale Merriman, an American who was killed in Spain in 1938. Merriman was an acquaintance of Hemingway’s.


In WO II Hemingway was a reporter in war areas in Europe and the below text is about his experiences in Belgium in those days:

On September 11th, 1944, Colonel Charles Trueman Buck Lanham, with a smouldering Lucky Strike permanently dangling from the left corner of his mouth, was looking through a splendid pair of captured German Zeiss field-glasses toward the river that formed the German border less than a hundred yards away.

“ Damn!”

“ What’s the problem, Buck?” asked Hemingway, who was playing a hand of gin rummy with Pelkey.

“ They’ve blown the damned the bridge. That was obviously the explosion we heard a minute ago.”

“ Who the hell are “they”, Buck?”

“ The damned SS. We heard yesterday that a few remnants of the 2nd SS Division might have been left behind to the give the regular German army a chance to get home to father.”

“ A joker don’t count, Archie. What can we do, Buck?”

“ Repair the bridge, I guess.”

Lanham then spotted one of his aides and yelled.

“ Captain!”

“ Sir?”

“ Get a bunch of engineers up here, and fast.”

“ Yes sir, but they’re way back…”

“ I didn’t ask where they were, captain, just get them up here.”

“ Yes, sir!”

The Captain roared off in his Jeep as Hemingway placed his cards on top of the low wall he and Pelkey were using as a card table.

“ Four, five, and six of clubs, oh, and eight, nine, ten, and jack of hearts. My hand I think, Archie? That’s a hundred dollars you owe me.”

“ Shit.”

Hemingway, Pelkey, and their little band, plus Lanham and a forward reconnaissance unit of his 22nd, were in the Belgian town of Houffalize – to the south of Liege, and just north of Bastogne – deep in the valley of the River Ourthe, beneath steep grey granite cliffs, which was, in the words of British historian Charles Whiting, “…the centre of a small road network and a bottle-neck. In three months time it was to be the centre of the great link up between the 1st and 3rd US Armies during the Battle of the Bulge and then it would be wrecked completely.”

For Lanham the bridge across the Ourthe, in the middle of the town, was essential for the eastward progress of the 22nd. But that didn’t bother the inhabitants of the town, who – even though many of their houses had been destroyed as the bridge went up – still heaped gifts of cakes,
eggs, and bottles of wine, upon Hemingway and the rest of the “liberators.”

“ Say, Ernie, if this were Oak Park, and your dear Mother was being liberated, would she offer cakes and wine?” asked Lanham.

“ I don’t ever remember seeing cakes in the house, sure as hell don’t recall eating any. And as for wine Buck, no chance, the Devil’s liqueur. No, any liberating army outside the Bitch’s house would be told in no uncertain terms to please stay off the grass and to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb her afternoon nap. But then, who’d want to liberate Oak Park?”

After frying and devouring the eggs, eating the cakes, and drinking the wine, Lanham got the now assembled bunch of 22nd Infantry Engineers (the captain had found them brewing coffee less than three miles down the road) to gather together as many villagers as they could to start rebuilding the bridge with anything they could lay their hands on.

“ Wish I could get my hands on a Bailey Bridge, Ernie, but the damned Limeys keep them all to themselves, and the few the US have are in Holland.”

“ To hell with the Limeys, Buck.”

“ Yeh, but I still wish I had one of their damned bridges.”

Donald Bailey (later, Sir Donald) a pretty low grade British civil servant – and something of a Meccano fanatic as a boy – invented his so called Bailey Bridge in 1941, and eventually convinced the British military to take up his idea; and like all simple ideas it proved itself to be indispensable.

In essence a Bailey Bridge is a prefabricated metal road bridge that floats on pontoons, with the roadway element made-up of heavy duty timber planks. It can be assembled relatively easily, taking
around six hours to span a river the size of the Thames. The first was erected (under heavy enemy fire) in May 1944, at the battle of Monte Casino in Italy. Hundreds were used in the hours, days, and weeks after D-Day, enabling the Allied armies – especially the heavy armour and supply trucks – to maintain their necessary momentum whenever they came across a destroyed bridge. The Americans soon saw the usefulness of the invention and built hundreds under licence for their own use. As Colonel Lanham mentioned, by September of 1944 virtually all of the Bailey Bridges were being used in Holland as the Allied armoured divisions dashed toward Arnhem to relieve the besieged units of the British Airborne. To get an idea of how a Bailey Bridge was constructed, watch Sir Richard Attenborough’s superb 1977 film, A Bridge Too Far, and enjoy Elliott Gould’s wonderful portrayal of an unconventional, Colonel Lanham style, cigar-chewing American officer kicking ass. Of course Lanham had no chance of getting his hands on a Bailey Bridge, having to make do and mend. Bailey Bridges are still manufactured today.

Hemingway chose not to help re-build the bridge, but instead sat on a fence watching, drinking, and shouting orders on bridge-building techniques. Many of the town’s inhabitants, who genuinely thought Hemingway was in charge, immediately started referring to him as the General. Hemingway told them he was not a general, only a captain, and after being quizzed as to why he held such a lowly rank replied in deliberately broken French:

“Can’t read nor write is why. Never quite got around to it, but hell that don’t hold anyone back in the good old US Army.”

Ernest Hemingway was, as ever, enjoying himself hugely, and Lanham never told the Houffalizeans who was really in charge; why confuse them when they were building such an excellent bridge?

In fact it took less than an hour for the good people of Houffalize to rejoin the two halves of the bridge, and by early evening Lanham’s vehicles were crossing over in numbers – including tanks – to the German side and the inevitable confrontation.

A little further down river – where the Ourthe becomes the Sure – at the village of Stolzemburg, on the Luxembourg side of the river, which forms the border between Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany, a young American Staff Sergeant, Warner H. Holzinger of the US 5th Armoured Division, took a patrol across the river – the bridge there had also been blown by the retreating Germans – and, avoiding the road, scaled the cliffs on the German side. They were the first allied soldiers to enter Germany in wartime since Napoleon’s invasion 150 years before. When they reached a small plateau fifty feet from the top of the cliffs they came across several empty camouflaged bunkers which were being used as a chicken coops by a farmer.

“ Well, if this is the famous West Wall, I don’t think much to it,” Holzinger said to a corporal at his side.

But when his patrol finally reached the cliff top and looked downward toward the heart of Germany they saw hundreds of pillboxes and bunkers of every shape and size. They hit the dirt expecting a barrage of fire, but nothing happened, not a single shot came their way. With night coming on Holzinger didn’t feel like hanging around and ordered his patrol back down the cliff and across the river. He had no desire to see if those other bunkers were empty or not.

When the sergeants report reached General Courtney Hodges, Commander of the US 1st Army, the General issued the following statement:

“ At 1805 hrs on 11th September, a patrol led by Sgt Warner H. Holzinger crossed into Germany near the village of Stolzemburg, a few miles north-east of Vianden, Luxembourg.”

As Warner and his patrol celebrated with a few drinks, and Colonel Clarence Park, Patton’s Inspector General, began to assemble and co-ordinate the paperwork for the interrogation of Ernest Hemingway, the novelist himself went to bed early, after a good dinner, and dreamed of
hunting deer in the forests around Lake Michigan, countryside that was not unlike that around Houffalize.

The morning of Tuesday the 12th September 1944 was clear and sunny, and as Hemingway awoke slowly from a dream where he was hunting deer with his son Patrick in Idaho, and had this most wonderful young stag clear in his sights, and was about to squeeze the trigger and put a .45 shell
cleanly into the back of the animal’s brain, the deer turned his head and looked at Hemingway, and his dark doleful eyes and trusting soft eared head turned into the anguished depressed face of Hemingway’s dead father. Ernest squeezed the trigger anyway.

Hemingway was awake now and looking up from his bed at his ageing face in the cracked oval mirror that hung above the large pine dressing table that stood against the wall in front of the bed of the first floor bedroom of the hunting lodge he, Pelkey, and the others were sharing. Hemingway then looked at his watch, six am, and not a sound except some distant snoring, and the sound of a million animals and birds stretching their wings and limbs amongst the trees and undergrowth
of this part of the dense Ardennes Forest. Funny, Hemingway thought, how, in the midst of war, nature continued to do what nature does, which is preen and sing, and scratch, and burrow, and eat, and fornicate and kill, and be killed. Not so different really to what the rest of the world was doing on this beautiful September morning.

Ernest Hemingway wanted to get up but decided against it for the minute and luxuriated a little longer in the warmth and softness of the feather mattress and fell asleep again, and dreamed, and dreamed of seeing James Joyce…

Ernest Hemingway with a Rolex, probably a Bubbleback from the 1940s

Ernest Hemingway with a Rolex, probably a Bubbleback from the 1940s

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The picture of the Bubbleback was made in the Ralph Lauren dressing room on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida.

Ernest Hemingway in the cabin of his boat El Pilar. Around his wrist probably an 18c golden, leather band Rolex Oyster from the 1950s

Ernest Hemingway in the cabin of his boat El Pilar. Around his wrist probably an 18c golden, leather band Rolex Oyster from the 1950s

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Seeking help about the Rolex watches owned by Hemingway at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston unfortunately gave no new information about these specific watches. They didn’t find any Rolex watch in their Ernest Hemingway Archieve. The only three watches listed by them are the following:

1. Jewelry. Pocket Watch. Gold, metal, glass. Gold pocket watch with second hand dial. Glass face plate is broken. MO 2002.29
2.Jewelry. Pocket Watch. Silver. Silver pocket watch with viello on reverse and “Willoughby A. Hemingway, Dec. 25, 02″ inscribed on interior backing. Face plate is missing. MO 2002.29.3
3. Jewelry. Watch. Metal, plastic. 1 ½ in. Swiss wrist watch with plastic cover. Wrist strap is missing. MO 2002.23.2

Another interesting watch owned by Hemingway, also not a Rolex, is the 1906 Hamilton pocket watch that actress Ava Gardner gave Hemingway for his 55th birthday in 1954. The following article tells the whole story:
Hemingway “Birthday” Pocket Watch

Ernest Hemingway in Cabo Blanco in May 1956

Ernest Hemingway in Cabo Blanco (Peru) in May 1956, fishing for black marlin


In Cuba in 1951 Hemingway wrote one of his best-known novels ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Published in 1952, it was Hemingway’s final important fictive work to be published during his life. The story is about Santiago, an old fisherman, who did not catch any fish in 84 days. The parents of his pupil Manolin do no longer allow the boy to accompany him, he must join more successful fishermen, but the boy does not stop looking after the old man. In the evening he will bring Santiago food and they will talk endlessly about the famous American baseball player Joe DiMaggio.
That night Santiago tells the boy that the next day he will sail on his own as far as the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba in the Straits of Florida, and his ‘salao’ (the greatest misfortune) will be over. On day 85 at noon Santiago has a bite, a big fish and he strongly believes the fish to be a marline.
A struggle develops which will last three days and when the fish has finally been attached to his boat, Santiago is exhausted and almost delirious. While he is figuring up how much money this marline will bring him in, the first sharks appear, attracted by the trail of blood behind the boat. Santiago succeeds in beating off the first five sharks, but they continue returning. Eventually, he returns to the port with only the huge skeleton of the fish. When worried Manolin visits him that night, Santiago is asleep, dreaming about his childhood, lions on an African beach.

In 1953 ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the book contributed largely to the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Ernest Hemingway in 1954.


Ernest Hemingway’s portrait was taken by the photographer Yousuf Karsh in 1957. Around his wrist he wears a steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual from the 1950s. The words that accompany the photo are the following:
‘He did not like to talk about his work. Once he had written a book, he said, it went out of his mind completely and no longer interested him. “I must forget what I have written in the past, before I can project myself into a new work.”
What did he think, I asked, about the large tribe of writers who imitate his style? The trouble with imitators, he said, was that they were able to pick out only the obvious faults in his work; they invariably missed his real purpose’.

Hemingway photographed by Yousuf Karsh in 1957

Hemingway gefotografeerd door Yousuf Karsh in 1957

Karsh’s comments on the photo:
‘I expected to meet in the author a composite of the heroes of his novels. Instead, in 1957, at his home Finca Vigía, near Havana, I found a man of peculiar gentleness, the shyest man I ever photographed – a man cruelly battered by life, but seemingly invincible. He was still suffering from the effects of a plane accident that occurred during his fourth safari to Africa. I had gone the evening before to La Floridita, Hemingway’s favourite bar, to do my “homework” and sample his favorite concoction, the daiquiri. But one can be overprepared! When, at nine the next morning, Hemingway called from the kitchen, “What will you have to drink?” my reply was, I thought, letter-perfect: “Daiquiri, sir.” “Good God, Karsh,” Hemingway remonstrated, “at this hour of the day!”’.


In the book titled ‘Across the river and Into the Trees’ (1950) Hemingway writes the following about a Rolex Oyster (p 117-118):
‘ “It’s just a muscle,” the Colonel said. “Only it is the main muscle. It works as perfectly as a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The trouble is you cannot send it to the Rolex representative when it goes wrong. When it stops, you just do not know the time. You’re dead.”‘.

Jaap Bakker

January 29th



4,000 metres below sea level: Rolex or Hublot?
by admin

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

Hublot Oceanographic 4000 m Carbon

Hublot Oceanographic 4000 m Carbon

The pictures above show that Rolex and Hublot both have a totally different approach to the phenomenon of dive watches. The Rolex is a more modest watch from which it’s exceptionality, being able to withstand water pressure at a depth of nearly 4.000 m, is not directly visible. The Hublot is a very prominent watch which radiates the fact that it must be something special.
Let’s take a closer look at both watches.

Hublot Musee Oceanographic de Monaco

Hublot Musee Oceanographic de Monaco

Nowadays every self-respecting watch brand has a dive watch in it’s collection. Before the arrival of Jean-Claude Biver, the current CEO of Hublot, Hublot already had dive watches in it’s collection. The line of models called Big Bang King contained several watches in radiant colours, with a turning diver’s bezel and waterproof to 300 m.
However the Oceanographic 4000 m was to be the first serious dive watch that Hublot was going to make. The most important question was ‘how are we going to make this dive watch a real Hublot?
Not inhibited by any kind of modesty the watch had to be big and striking. In addition Biver’s ‘fusion’ philosophy offered the possibility of using exotic materials in the production of the watch. Most obvious and also actually used is carbon.

Initially the watch was known as the 4000 m Diver but Biver likes to associate partnerships to a certain type of Hublot watch and in this case with the Musee Oceanographic de Monaco (watch case in titanium).
The King Power style case has a diameter of 48 mm and sapphire glass with a thickness of 6.5 mm. Of course, there is a helium valve.


In case anyone seriously wants to use the Hublot for diving he should definitely take the titanium version because the version in carbon is badly readable is at great depths. However, if one remains at the beach then the Hublot in carbon is an interesting option; the material is tough, has all kinds of applications in Motorsport and aviation, and can absorb shocks well.
The large crown at 2 hours is used for setting the hands and the one at 4 hours for turning the inner diving bezel. The lever over the crown at 2 hours has no direct function and must above all be seen as an expression of design.
Interesting and clever is the triangle between the lugs. This allows different straps to be easily exchanged. One has the choice between a rubber band for the ‘ work ‘ and a rubber/nylon band for ‘private’.

The following are the technical specifications provided by Hublot:

Reference 731.NX.1190.RX, 731.QX.1140.RX

Series Limited to 1000 pieces for the titanium version
Numbered 01/1000 to 1000/1000

Limited to 500 pieces for the All Black version in black carbon fiber
Numbered 01/500 to 500/500

Case: “King Power” — 48 mm diameter
Micorblasted satin-finished titanium or matte carbon fiber
Bezel Microblasted satin-finished titanium or matte carbon fiber
6 black PVD H-shaped titanium screws
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective treatment
Lug: bezel Black composite resin
Lateral inserts Black composite resin
Case back: microblasted satin-finished titanium, or microblasted satin-finished titanium with black PVD
Crown: Titanium with black rubber insert or black PVD titanium with black rubber insert
Screws: Black PVD titanium

Water resistance: Certified to 400 ATM or 4,000 meters
Tested to 5,000 meters according to the NIHS standards

Dial: Matte black
Satin-finished appliques with green or black SuperLuminova
Hands Microblasted satin-finished with green or black SuperLuminova
Movement: Mechanical with automatic winding HUB1401
No. of components: 180
Jewels: 23
Bridges: Satin-finished, beveled & polished
Screws: Black PVD
Barrel: With reinforced spring
Escapement: Glucydur hairspring
Power Reserve: Approximately 42 hours

Straps: Available with two straps — black rubber and rubber and nylon
Closing system Tongue and buckle in titanium or black DVD titanium

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Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

The difference between the 2 watches is like day and night. Where the Hublot is expressive and flamboyant, the Rolex watch is a subdued watch but with an expression of force and robustness.
Since no one can describe the Deepsea better than Rolex itself, we will first see what they have to say about it:

Rolex Deepsea

The Deepsea already has a history of 53 years. On 23 January 1960 the Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh manned the Bathyscaphe Trieste on descending to the lowest point below sea level (feet/35.814 10,916 m). On the outside of the Trieste was an experimental Rolex Deep Sea Special (read article Jacques Piccard: 36,000 feet into the Mariana Trough). When the Trieste had resurfaced after the record dive, a telegram with the following text was sent to the Head Office of Rolex: “HAPPY ANNOUNCE TO YOU YOUR WATCH AS PRECISE AT 11,000 METRES AS ON SURFACE. BEST REGARDS JACQUES PICCARD”.

During the 1940s and 1950s the developments in the diving technology caused a real explosion in the exploration of the seas and oceans. The professional diving world began to rely on the Rolex watches as an essential part of the equipment and they also contributed to the further development of the Rolex dive watches.
A brief chronology of the different Rolex watches for divers:
-the iconic Oyster Perpetual Submariner, introduced in 1953, is now waterproof to a depth of 1,000 feet/300 m
-The 1967 Sea-Dweller increased the depth of the Rolex watch to 2,000 feet/610 m and from 1978 to 4,000 feet/1,220 m
-the ultimate model is the Deepsea, introduced in 2008, able to go to a depth of 12,800 feet/3,900 m. The most important factor of this model is that it offers a substantial margin of safety to divers who work in open water at great depths. Each produced Rolex Deepsea is individually tested in a specially built stainless steel hyperbaric tank in Geneva


There is no disputing about tastes. The Hublot Oceanographic 4000 m is created for a different audience than the Rolex Deepsea.
The only thing that can be said is that the Rolex watch is much more an all round watch than the Hublot. The Rolex is more subdued, can be worn for all types of occasions and clothing and has also proven to be an indispensable part of the equipment of professional divers; Hublot have yet to see to prove that professionals are going to wear this watch.
The Hublot’s strong points are it’s flamboyant appearance, the easiness with which the straps can be changed and in the case of the carbon model the use of exotic material.
The choice is yours!

Jaap Bakker

December 26th


Non-Rolex watches

Rolex during WOII: the POW watch
by admin

Swiss watch sales received a severe blow thanks to the outbreak of WOII and things only got worse when Germany occupied Vichy in France in November 1942 and neutral Switzerland was completely surrendered by hostile troops. Watchmakers were closed off from their best clients, the British and the Americans.

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Pic.: In the right side of the picture Clive Nutting with his ‘Brothers in Arms’ in Stalag III

Rolex noticed that large numbers of British and American troops were literally on the doorstep to Switzerland, being held prisoner in the German POW camps. In camp Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany (now Poland) there were about 10,000 allied aviators who had been shot down over occupied Europe. In the whole German Empire thousands of officers were being held at several Oflag (officers POW camps).

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The genius of Hans Wilsdorf at that was that he, spring 1943, took a bet that the allies would win the war (significant because Wilsdorf himself was a German). He offered the thousands of POWs that they could get a Rolex now and that they didn’t have to pay for it until the war was over.
In a letter to Clive Nutting (more about him later) Wilsdorf wrote the following line: “…but you must not even think of settlement during the war”.
Wilsdorf was convinced that his illustration of faith would have a positive influence on the state of mind of the prisoners. Besides this, having a watch was of great importance to this group of prisoners, mainly aviators; if they saw a chance to escape the only way to reach the border was by train and for this they needed exact time.
The chronograph Rolex gave the prisoners the opportunity to exactly time the rounds of the ‘goons’ (camp guards) which lead to the ‘Great Escape’ on March 24-25 1944 when 76 men escaped through tunnel ‘Harry’ (in 1963 a movie was made called ‘The Great Escape’).

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Although most POWs choose the cheaper and smaller Speed King Clive Nutting (prisoner nr. 738 in Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany) became, on August 4 1943, the proud wearer of a new Rolex Oyster Chronograaf ref. 3525 (nr. 122, case nr. 185983).

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The following is a short description of this watch:

Two-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back, concave lugs. D. Matte black with luminous gilt-edged Arabic numerals, outer gilt minute/seconds track, subsidiary seconds and 30-minute register dials, outermost gilt tachometer and telemeter scales. Luminous gilt “baton” hands. M. 13”’, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance, self-compensating Breguet balance-spring, index regulator.

Dial, case and movement signed.

Diam. 35 mm. Thickness 14 mm.

In the beginning of the 1940s the steel version cost 350 and the 18k gold 935 Swiss Francs.

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Clive Nutting (on the right) was a professional shoemaker and therefore he was of great value to both the Germans as to the other prisoners. The Germans paid him well for this so he could sent money to his family at home and lent money to other prisoners. Even in these circumstances he was somebody who could afford a beautiful watch.

What makes Nutting’s watch so special is that is completely documented, at least until 2007.
Directly after the war, when he came home in Acton, London in August 1945, he wrote to Hans Wilsdorf that his watch, although it had withstood the cold circumstances during evacuation from the camp well, it was now an hour fast. Where can I have it repaired? Can I get the final bill for the watch?
Because of English rate restrictions Nutting receives the invoice for 15 Pounds 12s 6d not before 1948. He kept the watch until he died in 2001 in Australia, 90 years old.
In 2003, dated March 28, there is an invoice for 2,356 Australian Dollar (1,400 Euros) from a watchmaker in Sydney for Nutting’s watch.

pow:CN>restorereceipt 2003

In 2007 the Rolex of Nutting was offered for sale by auction house Antiquorum Geneva. The estimated price was 80,000-100,000 but the watch wasn’t sold. The current owner of this historical watch is unknown.

Jaap Bakker

December 2nd



Serpico y Laino: Rolex in Caracas, Venezuela
by admin

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Pic.: Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex

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Pic.: personal words from Wilsdorf to Serpico y Laino


Pic.: Rivello, Vicente Laino’s place of birth

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Pic.: a portrait of Vicente Laino at an older age

Born in Rivello in the Basilicata region, Vicente Laino was a young goldsmith and one among the many Italians who sought their fortune in Venezuela at the beginning of the previous century. During the long boat trip over the ocean Laino had fantasies about the still unknown country that was to become his second home land. He dreamt about raising his children and grandchildren in Venezuela and proudly and full of hope he had visions of the work he was going to find.
On his arrival in Venezuela he had nothing but hopes for a good life. Almost immediately he became acquainted with a compatriot, Leopoldo Serpico, with whom a special friendship would develop. There was a large Italian community in Caracas and everybody helped everybody.en iedereen hielp elkaar.
When Laino and Leopoldo Serpico first met, the latter had a small jeweller’s shop where he sold and repaired jewellery. It was this shop, ‘JOYERIA SERPICO’, that provided the basis for the history of Rolex in Caracas. The shop, known as ‘Serpico y Laino’ from 1925 till 1966, was situated in the Bolsa a Mercaderes in Caracas.
Serpico soon invited him to assist in the shop, as Laino was a goldsmith, but there was one problem: Laino was penniless. However, Serpico realised that Laino was well-educated, both intellectually and in business, and suggested that he became ‘SOCIO INDUSTRIAL’. With Serpico’s money and Laino’s intellectual capital the ‘Serpico y Laino’ branch was established.
In order to promote their sales to a higher level in the early 30s, Laino suggested travelling to Europe to find a watch brand that had not been sold in Venezuela so far. He travelled to Geneva and decided to choose Rolex. Laino’s instinct turned out to be good, for Rolex had been selling many watches to Venezuelan customers already.
Serpico and Laino decided that Laino should return to Geneva for negotiations with Rolex to obtain the exclusive right on the ‘Serpico y Laino’ branch. The talks with Hans Wilsdorf went off favourably and Laino went back to Caracas with the exclusive right to sell Rolex.
The Rolex deal was a big success for ‘Serpico y Laino’ and the company managed to obtain the exclusive rights on other watch brands as well.


Pic.: a Rolex Oyster from 1935 (ref 5050) sold by Serpico y Laino

The friendship between Serpico en Laino became even stronger by lot. Laino met the sister of Serpico’s wife and fell in love with her. In the middle of their wedding preparations Laino received a letter from the Italian government saying that he should present himself in his homeland as soon as possible in order to fight in WO II. He left behind everyone and everything he cared for and returned to Italy.
The biggest tragedy, however, was that Serpico lost his life in 1944.
After the war Laino was left to his own devices. He travelled to Europe increasingly often and stayed there for a couple of months to purchase for the company. For this purpose he visited Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and France. He forwarded all purchased goods directly to Venezuela by waterway, except precious stones which he kept.
After his travels throughout Europe Laino used to spend a week or so in Rivello, his place of birth, to rest himself for a while in order to take fresh heart to continue his business.
Unfortunately, while his business was doing well, Laino’s wife fell ill and died, so he was left with two children. From that moment Laino was only occupied with the company, his total dedication resulting in lots of work and success for ‘Serpico y Laino’. An important element was that in the shop the best European watches could be bought directly whereas orders in Europe were not forthcoming because they had to be forwarded by boat. During Laino’s travels to Europe the following individuals were responsible for the shop:

- Fernando Ponce de Leon, the husband of Serpico’s daughter; most of the guarantee forms were signed by him – Agustin Laino, Laino’s eldest son
- Efrain Serpico, Serpico’s son
- Domingo Laino, Laino’s brother; was no partner in the company, but he worked as a representative
- Andreas Gambardella Laino, Laino’s nephew

In 1959 Vicente Laino passed away, so the brains behind ‘Serpico y Laino’ ceased to exist.
In spite of this heavy loss the shop continued on a favourable trend for a few more years until the circumstances in Venezuela changed drastically. The investment climate, which used to be decent, turned into an atmosphere of crime, murder, theft and kidnapping. Members of both families became involved in kidnapping attempts, but a bomb attack in the ‘Joyeria Sucursal del Este’ in 1966 brought an end to ‘Serpico y Laino’.
It was decided to return the remains of the goods to the manufacturers and to start completely different business with no partnership between both families.
Andreas Gambardella re-opened the shop, but he was forced to use a different name, ‘Serla’, because he was not granted the right to use the original name initially. Once he had been given consent, some years later, he no longer had the exclusive right to sell Rolex.
In the early 70s Andreas Gambardella died and his widow appointed a shop manager. She went to Italy, taking her four sons with her. ‘Serpico y Laino’ never regained its old reputation. In the year 2013 there is a shop in the Eurobuilding Hotel in Caracas called ‘Serpico y Laino’, but it has nothing to do with the wonderful company that Leopoldo Serpico and Vicente Laino had established almost a century ago.

Below you will find an overview of a number of the beautiful Rolex watches sold by ‘Serpico y Laino’ over the years.

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Pic.: ref 6062, ref 6034 and ref 6036 ‘Jean Claude Killy’


Pic.: ref 5512, ref 5508 ‘small crown’ and ref 5512 ‘underline’


Pic.: ref 6542 GMT Master

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Pic.: ref 1675 GMT Master, transition model around ’63-’64 with ‘underline’ (new tritium generation) dial


Pic.: ref 6542 GMT Master

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Pic.: ref 5512 from 1963 with ‘pointed crownguards’ and ‘underline’

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Pic.: yellow gold Rolex Bombay with 3-6-9-12 dial and ref 5512


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Pic.: ref 6309 Thunderbird with 50m = 165ft on dial


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Pic.: ref 6350 Explorer from II-1953, exactly the moment when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were climbing Mount Everest (see article:’Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay: Trial of Strength with Mount Everest’)

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Pic.: marking of ‘Serpico y Laino’ (S&L) on the inside of the case (acero = steel)

Until 1960 the beautiful city of Caracas was a nice place to be. But it was far more important for ‘Serpico y Laino’ to be able to do business in a fair and agreeable fashion until that time.

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Finally, a Rolex with a Dutch touch sold by 'Serpico y Laino'.


Pic: Rolex Bombay (in this version the top-side watchcase legs are spherical in contrast to the straight ones of the standard Oyster). What makes this watch really special is the honeycomb dial, a model which was produced only for a short period of time.



Pic.: this picture clearly shows the honeycomb dial

However, the most remarkable thing about this watch is the inscription on the back of the watch cover, saying ‘G G’ in capitals and ‘Gervegeria Heineken 1954′ around the back side. This watch was offered as a farewell gift to someone who had established the Heineken brewery in Caracas between 1951 and 1954. What golden handshake!


Jaap Bakker

November 27th


The Rolex Milsub 5513/5517
by admin


Pic.: Rolex Milsub 5517

In the seventies Rolex produced two types of Submariners for the Royal Navy, ref 5513 and ref 5517. The general assumption is that approximately 1200 samples of these types were produced in total. Between 180 and a few hundred samples are estimated to be still around. Besides, the question is whether they are in an original state and if so, how many (for instance, the hands were occasionally replaced by Omega ones).
Below you will find an overview of some specific modifications required by the Royal Navy to be made by Rolex:

+ Dial: the dial itself is a standard 5513 sample, the encircled big ‘T’ over the depth indications at 6 hr being the most noticeable modification. The ‘T’ indicated tritium-labelling.


+ Hands: the hands are unique for this model and are often called ‘sword’ hands (they strongly resemble the hands of the Omega Seamaster). Rolex no longer produces these hands and neither are they in stock any more. Due to their larger surface and the use of tritium the hands are susceptible to flaking or oxidation.
+ Frame and insertions: The frame is a standard one, but the insertions in many watches are specifically manufactured with minute markers on every side. This is unique for the military subs.
+ Watchcase: the case is a standard 5513, but the spring bars for attaching the watchband are replaced by metal bars for the NATO band.
+ Caseback: the caseback always contains a MOD part number starting with 0552 or W10, a triangle with a hat on top and an issue number and year below.

The various configurations of the milsub are the following:
+ 5513: the hands were either of the ‘sword’ type or the ‘mercedes’ type.
+ 5513: the frame contained either 60-minute insertions or 15-minute insertions.
+ 5517: only produced with the ‘sword’ hands and the 60-minute insertion frame.


Pic.: the two versions of 5513


The grey NATO band milsub was part of the standard Royal Navy equipment for clearance divers. The band was attached to the case by solid bars, because the normal system entailed a risk of a pin snapping. The NATO band was also used for attaching oneself to the diver’s swimming board, a square board containing a depth gauge and a compass. The Navy diver used the board to navigate when approaching hostile vessels to lay limpet mines for instance. Another important factor is the presence of less metal during diving which involves the risk of magnetically-controlled mines.
The Rolex milsubs were used by the British Special Forces, the SAS (Special Air Service) commandos and the SBS (Special Boat Service). The SAS/SBS are still considered the best trained forces in the world (read ‘Bravo Two Zero’ by Andy McNab for example). This means that these watches were taken on the most secret and dangerous missions in Northern-Ireland, the Falklands and Asia. And again Rolex proved to be capable of producing the most reliable watches that will never let bearers down.

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Pic.: 5517 with the solid bars

Below you will find some unique data of the milsubs and the Navy divers:


Clearance divers



Pic.: a signed receipt of a Royal Navy milsub

Jaap Bakker

October 18th


A new area: the Rolex Oysterquartz
by admin


Pic.: Rolex Oysterquartz ref. 7065

Although Rolex has always had their full focus on mechanical watches it would be wrong to think that quartz watches would have been an afterthought for Rolex.
As early as the 1950s Rolex was busy with research about electronic timekeeping and in 1952 they received their first patent for a design of an electro-mechanic watch. An interesting fact is that of the 50 patents Rolex issued between 1960 and 1990 21 were for electronic watches. The most extreme were the patents of Rolex in the seventies for digital (LED) watches. They even built one prototype with ref. 7065.


Pic.: Rolex Quartz 5100

The first quartz watch that Rolex brought to the market was the Quartz Date 5100 in 1970. The watch had a Beta 21 movement which was also used by Omega and Enicar. Total production was only 1.000 watches because Rolex wanted to produce their own movement as soon as possible. After 5 years of designing, developing and testing the first completely in-house made movements were presented in 1977, the 5035 and the 5055. These were housed in the ref. 5035 Datejust and the ref. 5055 Day-Date.
The 5035 and 5055 quartz modules made by Rolex were not only technologically the best one could get but also in terms of design and finish. The movements with 11 rubies used the latest CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) coupling system, a 32 khz oscillator and analog thermocompensation. The standard of quality for the Oysterquartz that Rolex used was even higher than the standards for their mechanical watches. Also esthetically the quartz movement that Rolex made is at the very top of the market and it is even said that it is the most beautiful quartz movement ever made.

According to the estimates their are just short of 25,000 Oysterquartz watches produced by Rolex. The final model was the ref. 17000 in steel in the year 2001 (although after 2001 not in the catalogue anymore you could buy them up to 2003). Variations were the ref. 17014 with a white gold bezel, the ref. 17013 in steel/gold and the ref. 17018, a Day-Date in gold.

For further information about the Rolex Oysterquartz the following link is useful:

- Oysterquartz.net

The following are some beautiful pictures of the Oysterquartz:

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Jaap Bakker

October 16th


Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay: contest with Mount Everest
by admin


Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland (NZ) on 20 July 1919. His parents were Gertrude Hillary, born Clark, and Percival Augustus Hillary. In school Edmund was smaller than his peer group and he was a very shy boy taking refuge in his books and daydreaming about an adventurous life. He started boxing thanks to which he gained more confidence and he started growing. At the age of sixteen his interest in mounteneering was aroused during a school outing to Mount Ruapehu. Although 1.95 m and all lanky and leggy he discovered that he was physically stronger and had more stamina than his fellow climbers. Edmund studied maths and science at the University of Auckland and in 1939 he completed his first real climb when he reached the top of Mount Ollivier (in the Southern Alps). Together with his brother Rex he became a bee-keeper, a summer activity which allowed him to climb in winter. In the build-up to the climbing of the Mount Everest in 1953, Edmund participated in a number of other expeditions. In 1948 he reached the southern ridge of Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest peak of New-Zealand, together with Harry Ayres, Mick Sullivan and Ruth Adams. In 1951 Edmund took part in a British exploration of Everest led by Eric Shipton. In a team, also led by Shipton, Edmund and George Lowe tried to conquer Cho Oyu. When it became clear that it was impossible to do so from the Nepalese side, Edmund and Lowe crossed the Nup La to Tibet and reached the old Camp II, on the northern side where all of the pre-war expeditions had been.

220px-Edmund_Hillary,_c._1953,_autograph_removed EH:ME

In 1952 Edmund and his friend George Lowe were invited by the Joint Himalayan Committee to join a British team and climb the Mount Everest the following year. Eric Shipton was the initial leader of the expedition, but he was replaced by Hunt. He composed 2 teams that were to reach the top. Team 1 included Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, team 2 Edmund and the sherpa Tenzing Norgay. It was extremely important to Edmund and Tenzing to create a good-working friendship.


Pic.: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, circa 1971

The Hunt expedition consisted of over 400 people including bearers and 20 Sherpa guides. The luggage weighed approximately 10.000 lbs. Lowe supervised the preparations for climbing the Lhotse Face, a large and steep ice wall and Edmund thought of a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. An indispensable part of Edmund’s equipment was the Rolex Oyster Explorer he was wearing around his wrist. In Edmund’s company, this watch reached the top of Mount Everest without a whimper.



The base camp was pitched in March, 1953. Slowly they climbed further towards the final camp on South Col at a height of 7,890 m. On 26 May, Bourdillon and Evans tried to reach the top, but they were forced to return, because Evans’ oxygen system failed. Eventually, the couple had reached the South Summit, being only 91 m below the top. Subsequently, it was Edmund’s and Tenzing’s turn to try to reach the top.


Severe snow storms and wind caused the duo to be stuck on the South Col for two days. On 28 May, they set off supported by the Lowe, Alfred Gregory and Ang Nyima trio. That same day Edmund and Tenzing pitched their tents at a height of 8,500 m while the supporting team descended. The next morning Edmund learned that his boots outside the tent were entirely frozen. It took him 2 full hours to defrost them, but then he and Tenzing were able to start their final climb to the top. They were packed up with 40 kilo weighted rucksacks. The crucial climbing phase was the conquering of a 12 meter high cliff (later called the Hillary Step). Stuck between the cliff and surrounding ice Edmund managed to work his way up through this crack, followed by Tenzing. From there it was relatively simple to reach the top. In the story he wrote later, ‘The Dream Comes True’ Tenzing argues that Edmund was the first to reach the top, but according to Edmund they jointly did so. They conquered the top of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth (8,848 m), at 11.30 a.m. As Hillary said: ‘A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on top’. They stayed on top for only some fifteen minutes. There Edmund took the famous picture of Tenzing carrying his ice axe, but because Tenzing never took pictures, there are none of Edmund on top.


However, in Tenzing’s autobiography ‘Man of Everest’ he says that he offered to take pictures of Edmund, but the latter would not allow him (‘I motioned to Hillary that I would now take his picture. But for some reason he shook his head; he did not want it’). Tenzing left chocolats in the snow as some sacrifice and Edmund placed a cross he had received from John Hunt. Additional pictures were made to produce conclusive evidence that they had actually reached the top of Mount Everest.
The descent was rather tough because the snow had covered their tracks, so it was difficult for them to discover their earlier footsteps. The first person to congratulate Edmund and Tenzing was Lowe who had climbed up carrying hot soup to welcome them.
‘Well, George, we knocked the bastard off’ – Edmund Hillary’s first words to lifelong friend George Lowe on returning from Everest’s summit
The news about the successful expedition reached Engeland on Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation day and the press called this a coronation gift. By way of thanks for this 37 people of the team were awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II coronation medal, MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION being engraved on the rim. Edmund and Hunt were knighted by the young queen and Tenzing was awarded by the British Empire as well.



Below you will find a few more ads in connection with Edmund’s Oyster Explorer:





Pic.: The Rolex Oyster Explorer ref 6084 which was given to Edmund after he reached the top of Mount Everest

Jaap Bakker

October 10th



The 2013 Rolex Daytona Platinum: a future classic
by admin

At Baselworld 2013 Rolex introduced the Daytona ref. 116506 to celebrate 50 years of Daytona’s. Unfortunately for the many hoping that Rolex would come with a version in steel (some were talking about a re-edition of the Paul Newman Daytona) that would be affordable for most people Rolex took a different path.
The new Daytona is made of platinum, for the Daytona a first time, and therefore an instant, if expensive, ‘Vintage Rolex’ that will be interesting for collectors. Price wise (est. price: 60,650 euro) it is directly at the level of some of the very collectable Daytona’s from the past.




Besides the use of 950 Platinum there are two things of the Daytona that draw direct attention.
The dial is in ‘ice blue’, a colour that until now was only used for the Day-Date II in Platinum.
Also remarkable is the bezel in ‘chestnut brown’. The bezel is made of Cerachrom, a bezel in one piece. The problem with a common bezel is that it can get scratches or loose it’s beautiful radiance because of chlorine water in a pool, sunlight or salt water. A bezel made from Cerachrom doesn’t have these problems because it’s made from extremely hard ceramic material. Because of this it’s almost impossible to scratch and not sensitive to UV radiation.
The numbers and the scale on the bezel are engraved into the ceramic material before it gets it’s final extremely hard composure by heating it to a temperature of 1,500 grades Celsius. The next step is an illustration of true craftmanship, the bezel, atom by atom, is covered by Platinum or gold and finally it’s polished in order to remove all metal that is not inside the numbers and the scale on the bezel. It causes no surprise that it takes 40 hours to fabricate this bezel for eternity.
Putting the Platinum Rolex on your wrist you directly feel that this is something special, the weight of the watch being 183 gram.



The history of Platinum


Pic.: Platinum crystals


Pic.: Platinum nugget

Platinum is a chemical element with the symbol Pt and atom number 78. The name comes from the Spanish term ‘platina’ which means ‘little silver’. It is a compact, forgable, extendable, precious grey-white transitional metal. It is one of the rarest elements in the layers of the earth and it’s average density is 5 mu grams/kg. South-Africa is responsable for 80% of the world production.


Pic.: Antonio de Ulloa is seen as the discoverer of Platinum in 1735

Platinum was used by the pre-Colombian Americans in the area of today’s Esmeraldas, Ecuador to produce artefacts of a white gold-platinum alloy. The first European reference to Platinum dates from 1557 in the writings of Italian Humanist Julius Caesar Scaliger describing an unknown precious metal found between Darien and Mexico, “which no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy”.

In 1741 Charles Wood, a British metallurgist, found different samples of Colombian Platinum in Jamaica which he sent to William Brownrigg for further research.
Antonio de Ulloa returned to Spain in 1746 after being away for eight years on the French geodetic mission. In his report of the mission he described Platinum as non dividable and non calculable. He also predicted the discovery of the Platinum mines.
In 1750 Brownrigg presented a detailed report of his findings with Wood’s Platinum to the Royal Society. It was the first time that Platinum was mentioned in official papers and he also mentioned the extreme high melting point of the metal.
In 1786 Charles III of Spain gave Pierre-Francois Chabaneau a laboratory and a library to be able to do further research of Platinum. Chabaneau managed to remove several impurities from the ore, like gold, mercury, lead, copper and iron. After months of testing Chabaneau managed to produce 23 kilos of pure, forgable Platinum by using hammer and pressure when the metal was white-hot.
Chabaneau realised that the properties of Platinum would give value to objects made from it and together with Joaquin Cabezas he started a business that produced Platinum blocks and kitchen apparel. This was the beginning of what is known as the ‘Platinum Age’ in Spain.


Pic.: 1,000 cubic centimeters of 99,9% pure Platinum which, at the 14th of July 2012, had a worth of appr. $970,600

Platinum, together with the rest of the Platinum metals, is a commercial byproduct of nickel and copper mining. When copper is put under electricity precious metals like silver, gold and the Platinum metals sink to the bottom of the cell where they form an ‘anode sediment’. From the sediment the extraction of the Platinum metals takes place.
When one finds pure Platinum in the ore there are different methods to remove the impurities.
Because of the high density of Platinum lighter impurities in the fluid can be separated and because Platinum is non-magnetic nickel and iron can be removed. The high melting point of Platinum gives the opportunity to remove other metals using heat. Platinum is resistant to hydrochloric and sulfate acids so this can also be used to remove impurities.
A fitting method to purify raw Platinum, existing of Platinum, gold and other Platinum metals, is to work it with ‘aqua regia’ in which palladium, gold and Platinum are solved while osmium, iridium, ruthenium and rhodium do not react. Gold is bound to Fe3-chloride and is filtered after which ammonium-chloroplatinate is formed. By heating this one gets pure Platinum.

In 2010 245 tons of platinum was sold of which 113 (46%) for emission control devices in cars and 76 (31%) for jewellery. The rest, 35.5 tons, was used for investments, electrodes, cancer medication, oxygen sensors, spark plugs and turbine engines.

During periods of economical stability and growth the Platinum price is about twice as high as the gold price but during periods of uncertainty lowers under the gold price; this effect is caused by a declined industrial demand for Platinum. All in all gold is considered a safer investment because it doesn’t depend on industrial factors.
In the 18th century King Louis XV of France declared Platinum to be the only metal fit for a King because of it’s rareness.
The attractiveness of Platinum in jewels, usually a 90-95% alloy, is caused by it’s inertia and radiance. Publications in the jeweller’s business advise jewellers to commend highly of small superficial scratches (‘patine’) as an attractive phenomenon.

Jaap Bakker

September 28th