In 1960, two gentlemen undertook one of the greatest adventures of all Mankind, even as we were aspiring to the stars and land on the Moon. Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard were going in the reverse, heading towards the deepest point in the sea, the Mariana Trench. Their success would remain unchallenged for five decades, until James Cameron ventured into the same location last year.
So this month, Rolex, a partner of the first bathyscape Trieste adventure and a partner of James Cameron's Deepsea project, invited Captain Don Walsh to Singapore to speak to special guests about his experience then, and his collaboration with James Cameron on the Deepsea Challenge. It also presented the new Rolex Deepsea Challenge, water-proof to 12,000 metres and specially created for Cameron's expedition.
Rolex was the first watchmaker to ever create a water-proof timepiece, housed in the Oyster case; it has since then earned the renown of being a preferred choice of adventurers over the years. At a private dinner tonight, Don Walsh spoke on his experience 53 years ago:
"Back in 1960, we didn't have the kind of equipment we have today. The submarines we had were from the war, and they could dive down to a depth of 150-180 feet. So what we were doing was highly experimental... the deepest point in the ocean was not too far from the island of Guam, and there was also a US Navy base there, so it was a convenient point for us to practice and prepare ourselves. We didn't know what would happen, so we had to do dives that were incrementally deeper, and study the effects of the pressure. At one point, we had a glass pop out, and we didn't know what to do with it. The only thing that was holding the glass in place was the water pressure on both sides... It took over nine hours to complete the dive, about five hours to go down, half an hour on the ocean bed, and another three hours or so to return. All in all it wasn't such a long dive."
Walsh spoke more thoroughly about the experience, and you can read about it more extensively in the upcoming issue of the magazine. However, Rolex also took the opportunity to present the original Deepsea Special, which followed Walsh and Piccard down in the bathyscape and survived intact and still ticking well. It also had the Deepsea Challenge designed for Cameron on display. At the same time, it will also be exhibiting the watches and the history of the Deepsea from today till 18th Jan 2013.
Check out the exhibition at Tong Building, 302 Orchard Road.