Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces
LOT 346
Rolex - Ref. 6542 - GMT-MasTeR - WoRn by CapT. Don Walsh, U. s. navy Rolex, "Oyster Perpetual, GMT-Master, Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified," case No. 537575, Ref. 6542. Made in 1958. Very fine and rare, two time zone, center seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless steel wristwatch with date, special 24-hour bezel and hand and a stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet. Accompanied by the original 1960 letter to Don Walsh from Rolex Geneva and subsequent Rolex New York complimentary invoice describing the GMT Master wristwatch; a copy of the book "Seven Miles Down: The story of the bathyscaph Trieste" by Jacques Piccard; an original 1960 copy of Life magazine featuring the Trieste on the cover; an August 1960 National Geographic magazine with an article on the Trieste dive by Jacques Piccard (in pristine condition); a copy of Don Walsh's award citation from President Eisenhower, 1960; a copy of Walsh's award citation from the secretary of the Navy, 1960; a copy of the Rolex booklet celebrating the 25th anniversary of the deep dive, 1985; and a souvenir photograph of Dan Walsh, Jacques Piccard, and the Trieste (all documents signed by Don Walsh).
C. Three-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back and crown, red and blue graduated bidirectional revolving bezel for the second time zone in 24 hours, crystal with cyclops lens. D. Black with luminous round, triangular and baton indexes, outer minute track, aperture for the date. Luminous steel skeleton hands. M. Cal. 1030, rhodium-plated, 25 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to temperatures and 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating Breguet balance spring. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 39 mm. Thickness 13 mm. Approx. overall length 200 mm.
Estimate: 20,000 USD - 30,000 USD
Estimate: 20,000 CHF - 30,000 CHF
Estimate: 15,000 EUR - 22,000 EUR
Grading system

C 3 D 2-54-02 M 3* AAA
See high definition image
Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard with President Eisenhower at an awards ceremony in 1960; Captain Walsh received the Legion of Merit, the Navy's second highest non-combat medal.
On January 20, 1961, the US Navy Bathyscaph Trieste is paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue as part of the JFK Inauguration day parade.
Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the Trieste on the ocean floor, at 36,000 ft.
On January 23, 1960, the Bathyscaph Trieste prepares to dive to the deepest known part of the earths ocean with USS Lewis in the distance. The Rolex Deep-Sea Special was attached to the ladder.
Captain Don Walsh USN (Ret) PhD, world-known explorer, oceanographer and marine policy expert. In 1960, Walsh was commander of the U.S. Navys Bathyscaph Trieste when he and Jacques Piccard dove it to the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest place in the ocean, with a depth of 36,000 feet or almost 7 miles. Then Lieutenant Walsh's firstperson account of this dive was the cover story of Life Magazine's 15 February 1960 issue. After the dive Walsh and Piccard were invited to the White House, where President Eisenhower awarded Walsh the Legion of Merit. The Navy designated him as USN Deep Submersible Pilot #1. In these pioneering days in the history of deep ocean exploration, there was only one other manned submersible in the world in addition to the Trieste, the French Navys bathyscaph FNRS-3. In 1962, after 3 1/2 years in command of the Trieste, Walsh returned to sea duty with the Submarine Service; he eventually commanded one in the Pacific Fleet from 1968-69. Walsh received his bachelors degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954 and a Master of Science and PhD in physical oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1968. His research work was with NASA, learning to do ocean research from aircraft and spacecraft. He was one of first half dozen oceanographers in the U.S. to work with the new techniques. Walsh served on the NASA Space Applications Advisory Committee from 1983 through 1986. In 1968 Walsh completed an MA in political science at San Diego State University with research work on law of the sea issues. This led to his appointment to the State Departments Law of the Sea Advisory Committee where he helped advise the US delegation to the United Nations Third Law of the Sea Conference. In addition to deep sea exploration, Walsh has worked in over 112 nations, visited both poles, completed expeditions to the Arctic 27 times, and the Antarctic 28 times. In 1972 a ridge in the Antarctic was named the Walsh Spur for his contributions to U.S. programs there. His most significant Antarctic expedition was a 74-day circumnavigation of the continent in 2002-03, only the 11th such voyage since that of Captain James Cook in 1773-74. Walsh's writing credits include over 200 articles in marine industry and popular literature. For 5 years he was Editor of the Marine Technology Society Journal. He organized 3 international conferences on ocean space uses, and served as consultant and technical advisor for television and movies. Walsh has given over 1700 lectures and has been featured on dozens of radio shows and television programs in 64 nations. After Navy retirement in 1975, Dr. Walsh founded the Institute for Marine and Coastal Studies at the University of Southern California, where he was professor of ocean engineering, and dean. He then organized a consulting practice, International Maritime Inc. From 1979-1985 Walsh was appointed by Presidents Carter and Reagan to the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere. From 1986-1995 he served on the California Maritime Academy's Board of Governors, appointed by Governors Deukmejian and Wilson. Walshs many honors include two Legion of Merit awards; the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award; the Theodore Roosevelt Association's Distinguished Service Medal (youngest recipient since Lindbergh); Membership in the National Academy of Engineering; the prestigious Etoile Polaire medal celebrating the Greatest Explorations of the 20th Century; inclusion in Life Magazines The Greatest Adventures of All Time; and the US Navys highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. In 2010 he received the National Geographic Societys highest award, the Hubbard Medal. Currently Honorary President of the Explorers Club (a position previously held by Sir Edmund Hillary), he has received their highest distinction, the Explorers Medal and their Lowell Thomas Award for ocean exploration. Captain Walsh resides in Oregon with his wife Joan. When not traveling on consulting or speaking engagements, he enjoys flying his experimental biplane.
Captain Walsh & Rolex Captain Walshs half-century relationship with Rolex began in early 1960 when Rolex supplied the Trieste with a special diving watch called the Deep Sea Special. The 57 mm-thick prototype diving watch was strapped to the outside of the bathyscaph when Walsh piloted the Trieste to the previously unimaginable depth of 36,000 feet. Both the watch and Walsh survived the dive unscathed. On returning to land after the historic Trieste dive, Walsh was gifted a Rolex GMT Master Chronometer, Reference 6542, at the request of then Rolex director Ren P. Jeanneret. He wore this wristwatch while piloting the Trieste on additional dives off the coast of Guam and San Diego, California. He also wore it on five trips to the North Pole, at meetings with U.S. Presidents, and on hundreds of dives during his ensuing 13 years in the Submarine Force, including service in the Vietnam War. Walsh also wore the present lot on dives to the wrecks of the RMS Titanic and famed WWII German Battleship Bismarck. In 1985, while attending a Rolex-sponsored 25th anniversary of the successful and record-breaking Trieste dive in Lucerne, Switzerland, Don Walsh was approached by Andre Heiniger (Rolex Managing Director 1960-1992) and asked why he wasnt wearing his GMT Master wristwatch. Walsh replied that after 25 years without a service, it no longer kept good time. When asked where the watch was, Don removed it from his pocket and Andre promptly took possession of it, vowing to return it in full working condition. A few weeks later Walsh received the freshly serviced watch, and has found it to be a reliable partner ever since. In late 2009 through November 2010, Walsh was again under contract with Rolex to help educate a new generation about the companys involvement with the historic Trieste dive, a feat never reproduced, and which remains one of the most important events in global exploration. Upon completion of their successful dive Jacques Piccard sent Rolex, Geneva a telegram with the following historic comment regarding the Rolex Deep-Sea Special attached to the Trieste: "Happy to announce that your watch works as well at 11,000 meters as it does on the surface." Jacques Piccard
Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces
Sold including buyer's premium:
30,000 USD