An ultra rare Rolex Deep Sea Special will be up for grabs at the Geneva watch action from November 5 to 7.

Experts are guessing the watch will bring anywhere from $1.3 to 2.6 million.

Rolex deep sea special
image via Phillips

What’s so special about this particular watch?

  • only 35 models were ever produced
  • no models were ever originally available for private purchase
  • the series was part of a record breaking dive by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh

What is the Rolex Deep Sea Special?

Let’s look at what makes this vintage watch so valuable:

Very Limited Edition

Rolex deep sea special
image via Phillips

The Rolex Deep Sea Special (DSS) is a powerful, rugged dive watch made to withstand unimaginable ocean depths.

Only 35 models were ever produced, and this model is #35, which is seen engraved on the case back. It dates back to 1965 after the record breaking dive by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh took place.

In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh (along with Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard) became the first person to descend to the deepest part of the ocean, also known as “the Challenger Deep” in the Mariana Trench.

A DSS was strapped to the hull of the Bathyscaphe Trieste during the record breaking research dive. The record was set when the Bathyscaphe Trieste reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 35,789ft below sea level.

To compare, a Rolex Sea Dweller is waterproof to around 4,000 ft.

Never Offered for Sale to the Public

The 35 DSS models were never offered for sale at production time. Instead, they were reserved for only the most distinguished science, technology, or watch museums. They were also available to “longstanding retailers and high profile partners and executives who contributed to the development of the model.”

The #3 Rolex Deep Sea Special (the model that was actually attached to the Bathyscaphe Trieste) is currently on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Other models are located in the Beyer Museum, the London Science Museum and the Piccard Museum in Nyon, Switzerland.

In recent decades, the model has come up for sale five times, with the latest being 12 years ago at an auction.

Rolex Deep Sea Special Features

The DSS has several defining features that make this model particularity unique:

image via Phillips

Band: combination of stainless steel and gold

Case: features #35 and the date of the record-setting dive (January 23, 1960)

Water Resistance: 10,908 meters/35,789 feet

Dial: back with gold markers

Crystal: large, pronounced dome

Final Thoughts

Without this innovative and near indestructible model, we wouldn’t have the Submariner or the Sea-Dweller. In summary, the DSS series were created in the early 1960’s as part of the record breaking 37,000+ feet research dive by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh.

A limited edition Rolex Deep Sea Special at auction has only come around a few times, and we have no doubt it will bring a hefty price.

If you are interested in purchasing your own Rolex Explorer, give us a call. Check out our Facebook page for box openings and watch reviews by our in-house watch expert Sergio Nuncio!

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