Antiquorum, New York, 30 September 2014
Sold for $183,750
Had it not been for the legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau co-inventing the modern day diving regulator back in 1943, the development of scuba gear might have been delayed for decades – and the story of the dive watch might have been very different.
It’s no surprise, then, that Rolex collectors were out in force to bid for this nicely patinated Sea-Dweller that was originally owned by Cousteau’s son, Philippe, himself a highly respected diver and underwater photographer as well as being the producer of many Cousteau documentaries.
An exceptionally early Sea-Dweller, the watch was given to Philippe by Rolex in 1967 while he was working on the U.S. Navy’s SEALAB project. He wore it regularly for 10 years before giving it to a film production manager called Thomas Horton who worked with the Cousteau Society from 1970 to 1977.
Horton, who died in July 2014, passed the watch to his son Andrew, who consigned it for sale. Philippe Cousteau was killed in an aircraft crash in Portugal in 1978.