A Rolex Testimonee since 1994, David Doubilet is a pioneer and one of the best-known underwater photographers in the world. After publishing his first article in National Geographic in 1971, he swiftly gained recognition as one of the magazine’s top photographers. David Doubilet’s lens has captured all the waters of the planet. These exceptional images contribute to public fascination for the ocean and its creatures, while at the same time encouraging their preservation.
Accompanying him for over 50 years of adventure is a Rolex watch, one which has witnessed around 27,000 hours underwater and experiences that are one of a kind.
“When I started diving, every dive was a voyage of discovery. Now, we are documenting a time and a place and an ocean that is rapidly changing. This is where photography comes in: to open people’s eyes to the beauty of the ocean, and the fact that the ocean is the engine of our planet.Working for National Geographic is the single best window into the world, and after 70 stories, I’ve seen an enormous part of our underwater world, and that has given me a perspective on life that is priceless.”, says Doubilet.
He added, “The most important tools for taking underwater photos are curiosity, insatiable curiosity, and, of course, light. Then equipment, which is not just the underwater housing, but the watch itself, the Rolex.”
Doubilet bought his first Rolex when he was 16 and a Rolex has been with him for an entire career at National Geographic. He often claims that he remembers Captain Jacques Cousteau wearing a Rolex and Luis Marden, his hero at National Geographic, wearing a Rolex. When he bought his first Rolex it was a time and a place that marked his life. He was a diver working at a marine lab and he needed a watch. Rolex was the underwater watch he got in 1962.
Doubilet recollects, “I couldn’t afford to buy the watch and the band, and I asked, “Can I just buy the watch?” And they said, “Yes!” They sold me the watch, and they sold me a rubber band. And two years later, I could afford the bracelet. The Rolex has been on my wrist now for 56 years.”
The Rolex he wears today is a Deepsea and it’s as important to him now as that very first Rolex. It’s a watch that has all sorts of history within it. He claims that he would never dive without his Rolex. Time underwater is very precious, sometimes more precious than light, sometimes as precious as air. It’s an entire day condensed.
“This watch is completely full of indelible memories. We’ve seen destruction and change, and we’ve seen hope. I think the idea of taking a Rolex, an extraordinary piece of mechanical technology, into the real world, the toughest world: the deepest of seas, the coldest of seas, the highest of mountains, is a tradition and a commitment that Rolex has always had. For me, swimming with Rolex in the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean or the warm tropical seas of Papua New Guinea, these are the places that time needs to go to − and Rolex is there,” says Doubilet.