Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Geneva, May 14, 2017

LOT 347

ROLEX REF. 1665 SEA-DWELLER DOUBLE RED, JANUS IV WORLD RECORD -501M, PERSONAL WATCH OF MR PHILIPPE JEANTOT - ONE OF SIX MADE Rolex, Oyster Perpetual Date, Sea-Dweller, 2000 ft./610 m., Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified, case No. 4187197, Ref. 1665. Made in 1977. Fine, extremely rare, center seconds, self-winding, water resistant, stainless steel wristwatch with helium escape valve, date and a stainless steel Rolex Oyster Flip-lock bracelet with deployant clasp. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Philippe Jeantot, a Rolex Geneva service estimate.

CHF 40,000 - 60,000

HKD 320,000 - 480,000 / USD 40,000 - 60,000

Sold: CHF 137,000

Three-body, polished and brushed, screw-down case back engraved with "Philippe Jeantot, Janus IV, 501m, 20 Octobre 1977" and crown, helium escape valve at 9, graduated bi- directional revolving black bezel for the decompression times, trip-lock winding crown protected by the crown guard, sapphire crystal. Black with luminous round indexes, aperture for the date, outer minutes/seconds divisions. Luminous steel skeleton hands. Cal. 1570, rhodium-plated, oeil de perdrix decoration, 26 jewels, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to temperatures and 5 positions, shock absorber, self- compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring, microstella regulating screws, hack mechanism.

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Grading System
Case: 3-8


Slightly scratched

Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original


Dial, case and movement signed. DIAM. 40 mm. THICKNESS 17 mm. Approx. overall length 175 mm. Philippe Jeantot Born in 1952 in Madagascar, he started his career working for Comex as a deep diver. He was part of the lucky group of 6 men that were chosen for the Janus IV world record dive. The Seadwellers worn by the team were used during all phases of the training and the actual dives to -460m and finally to -501m. After retiring, his new career guided him to sailing where he participated and won the first BOC challenge which was a solo round the world boat race with stages. Not only did he win all four stages but also broke the previously held record in 159 days and 2 hours. He then went on to organize and create the famed Vendee Globe race which was the non-stop version round the world race. Never having been offered on the market before, and having already sold 2 of the other watches that participated in the experiment (from Jacques Verpeaux and Patrick Raude), this is the 3rd out of the 6 ever made and the only one to have gone down to 501 meters and having completed on his wrist a round the world solo yacht race. Janus IV The Janus IV Operation, organized by Comex, comprised two phases. The experimental phase, took place in December 1976, in Comex's Hyperbare experimental center in Marseille. Comex divers Jacques Verpeaux, Patrick Raude, Louis Schneider, Philippe Jeantot, Vito Lentini, and John Mac Kenna, as well as two divers from the French Marines, Emile Sevellec and Gérard Vial, took part in tests and exercises inside a sphere fi lled with water. The pressures they experienced were equivalent to those at 430 to 480 meters. Patrick Raude remembers that after the first tests, all 6 members of the team were given a watch to test during Phase 2. After successfully completing their task, the watches were returned to Rolex were they were engraved and given back to each of them as a token for their incredible record. The practical phase of the operation was carried out in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Cavalaire in France. The divers were Jacques Verpeaux, Patrick Raude, Louis Schneider, Philippe Jeantot, Emile Sevellec and Gérard Vial. The saturation chambers that they were to live in for the entire operation were slowly pressurized to the pressure experienced at below 430 meters of sea water. Then their vessel, the Petrel, made its way toward the site of the operation. The first diving team was made up of Patrick Raude, Jacques Verpeaux and Gérard Vial. Jacques Verpeaux was the first to dive, going down to 460 meters in the open sea. Gérard Vial followed, then they were brought back up and the second team went down. Over the next three days, several successful dives down to 460 meters were made, during which the divers installed a mechanical and hydraulic subma-rine pipeline, carrying out tests of underwater soldering procedures. On the evening of October 19, 1977, as the divers were resting in their chamber, Mr. Henri Germain Delauze, director of Comex, told them over the loud- speaker how pleased Comex was with the results. He further announced that Comex's scientific committee had decided to attempt a descent to the never-before attained DEPTH of 500 meters. He asked the six divers if they agreed to try, and all volunteered to do so. Jacques Verpeaux made his dive, and the registers on the surface indicated he had reached a DEPTH of -501 meters, an exploit never before accomplished. A record had been beaten, and all the sirens of the Petrel and the accompanying boats went off in celebration. Verpeaux smiled for the cameras, then took up a plastic slate and wrote "Janus IV, 500 meters, 1647 feet". Ten days later, the divers were acclaimed by an overjoyed crowd. The Janus IV Operation was the last diving test made in the open seas using Trimix Helium, which was principally made up of helium, with oxygen and a tiny percentage of nitrogen. It helped determine the limits of human intervention in diving technology.