Want to Own the Most Badass Rolex Dive Watch Ever? Here's Your Chance

The first prototype watch the Crown sent to the bottom fo the ocean is being auctioned in Geneva.

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There are badass dive watches and then there are really badass dive watches. And then, there's a singular badass dive watch like no other: the prototype watch that Rolex made and strapped to the exterior of Auguste Piccard’s bathyscaphe Trieste submersible vessel in 1953 to test it at a depth of 3,150m. It's an absolutely legendary watch and as funky-looking as you'd expect early, experimental dive equipment to be: It's the Rolex Prototype Deep Sea Special N°1, and soon you'll be able place a bid to own it.

This watch will go under the hammer at Christie’s Rare Watches Auction in Geneva on November 8, 2021. This isn't quite the most famous watch that Rolex strapped to a submersible vessel and sent to the bottom of the ocean — that would be the Prototype Deep Sea Special N°3 that went 10,908m into the Mariana Trench in 1960 (and is now housed in a museum). But the N°1 is, of course, the first prototype that took part in this type of adventure (which Rolex has continued), and it marks the beginning of a very cool and interesting series of history-making events. For consumers, of course, this development led to Rolex's most serious dive watch, the Rolex Sea Dweller.

The Deep Sea Special series of prototype watches were experimental and made to develop water resistance technology, so their look isn't quite like that of any other watch you'd expect to wear on your wrist. With its 43mm diameter, it sounds just about wearable for modern tastes, but it's also extremely thick with an unusually bulbous plexiglass crystal — though, not quite as remarkably bulbous as the later N°3 prototype of 1960.

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The Rolex Deep Sea Special N°1 will be up for auction on November 8, 2021. 
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The Rolex Deep Sea Special N°1 was tested to 3,150m underwater in 1953. 
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For these reasons, this watch represents a rare opportunity (to say the least) for collectors, but there are even more "cool factors" that only make it more compelling: How about that massive Rolex crown logo at 12 o'clock and the wordmark at 6 o'clock on the dial? Pretty unusual. Also fascinating is that Rolex chose to make this badass among dive watches in a two-tone mix of steel and gold (in modern Rolex speak, this is called "Rolesor") in the midst of the dressy 1950s. Even two-tone-haters might have to make an exception here.

Though it previously auctioned in 2005 for around $400,000 (CHF 322,400), you'd expect a watch like this to go for even more today. So even if you're not in the bidding yourself, it's worth keeping an eye on the sale in November.

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