Vescovo is either The Most Interesting Man in the World – a certified jet pilot who worked in naval intelligence (including a tour of duty on the 7th Fleet’s command ship, USS Blue Ridge) and has summited the highest peaks on all seven continents – or else he’s a Bond villain, conjuring world domination behind that benign smile and “gentleman explorer” persona. I haven’t figured out which, but whatever the case, Omega’s glad he decided to buy a Planet Ocean.
Vescovo is a Dallas-based founder of a private investment firm who happens to moonlight these days as a deep ocean explorer. His self-funded Five Deeps expedition has put him at the deepest point in four out of the world’s five oceans, with only the Arctic Ocean remaining to conquer this August. He partnered with Florida-based Triton Submarines to procure a specially designed submersible, Limiting Factor, for these descents, and set records as the only person to have visited the deepest point on Earth more than once, while also touching down at a new depth record, besting the record set in 1960 by the U.S. Navy’s bathyscaphe Trieste. So why do it? I asked Vescovo last week at a press conference in London, hosted by Omega, three of whose Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional made the descents on the outside of his submersible.
“After having climbed the highest points on all seven continents, I looked around for what was next and discovered that no one had been to the deepest spots in all the oceans,” he said, in a rather casual way, like someone planning their next vacation. To commemorate the adventure, Vescovo decided to buy a watch, and visited a Dallas Omega retailer, walking out with a Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph. After Vescovo’s first sub dive last December, to the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic, Omega, never one to pass up a good marketing opportunity, got in touch. Here was a chance to make history. But they had to hurry.
What would normally be a years-long project for a brand – building a watch capable of surviving a descent to nearly 36,000 feet and 8 tons per square inch of water pressure – Omega pulled off in a little over six months. Besides pursuing precision and innovative complications, water resistance seems to be the watchmaker’s challenge of choice, and there is no greater prize than “Full Ocean Depth,” or FOD as its known in the submersible world. Of course, there is one name that has dominated the bottom of the Earth for decades: Rolex, whose Deep Sea Special was strapped on the Trieste in 1960 on its previous record descent, and its heir apparent, the Deep Sea Challenge that accompanied James Cameron on his trip to the bottom in 2012. Cameron, who has been a supporter of Vescovo, only made one trip to the Marianas Trench due to mechanical issues with his submersible, so was only able to explore a shallower region of the trench, thus not breaking the Trieste’s record.
Credit to: JASON HEATON
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