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Deepsea Challenger**

20th March 2012 Update: The new Rolex watch that’s accompanying the Deepsea Challenger has been announced. Watch the video here. At a guess, I’d say it’s 58mm wide and 23mm tall. At least. So I’m assuming it’s going on the *outside* of the Challenger (probably on the manipulator arm), as there’s barely room to swing a cat inside James Cameron’s pilot’s chamber. Hey ho. Just when you think you might see something new, all you get is something bigger. 

It’s hard to comprehend exactly what James Cameron has planned: a journey so extraordinary that it makes space travel look like child’s play. His aim is simple: to go where only two men have ever been before, the hadal zone (named for good reason after the Greek god, Hades, god of the Underworld), and to spend as long as he can, exploring the depths of the ocean.

Illustration courtesy Acheron Project Pty Ltd

“I’ve always dreamed of diving to the deepest place in the oceans. For me it went from a boyhood fantasy to a real quest, like climbing Everest, as I learned more about deep-ocean exploration and became an explorer myself in real life. This quest was not driven by the need to set records, but by the same force that drives all science and exploration … curiosity. So little is known about these deep places that I knew I would see things no human has ever seen. There is currently no submersible on Earth capable of diving to the ‘full ocean depth’ of 36,000 feet. The only way to make my dream a reality was to build a new vehicle unlike any in current existence. Our success during seven prior expeditions building and operating our own deep-ocean vehicles, cameras, and lighting systems gave me confidence that such a vehicle could be built, and not just with the vast resources of government programs, but also with a small entrepreneurial team. It took more than seven years to design and build the vehicle, and it is still a work in progress. Every dive teaches us more, and we are continuing to improve the sub and its systems daily, as we move through our sea trials.” 

Of course, the men who proceed him – Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, the first men to dive the Mariana trench in their bathyscaphe, Trieste, – started in 1960. While the Trieste was not equipped to take pictures or get samples, Cameron and his Deepsea Challenger submersible will be armed with multiple cameras and a mechanical arm. It’s fascinating to compare this to the other planned descent – Virgin Oceanic – as the two approaches are quite different.
The project is being sponsored by National Geographic and Rolex. No word (as yet) about what watch Cameron will be wearing – nor whether Rolex will be strapping one of their Deepsea models to the sub. 
the #watchnerd

**Sorry. Couldn’t bring myself to write this in capitals.

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