COMEX Divers Open Letters.
I sometimes have had the honor to exchange some emails with ex or current COMEX divers. I have found some of their stories to be extremely interesting and worth sharing as they provide an insiders view of the company and more importantly a glimpse about the actual divers that wore the watches that we collect and enjoy today. I share these stories with their permission and encourage others to join the ranks and email me your COMEX story to share on this page.
__________(Printed with Permission)
"I've a little bit of history I hope you might find interesting Ed.
The Orelia has been working in the North Sea and at numerous world-wide
locations for over 25 years.
Built for John Houlder after he designed the vessel on the back of a
cigerette packet in a London pub!
Comex operated the ship until 1993 when she was bought by Stena
Offshore. The vessel is now owned by the French company 'Technip'
I left the ship yesterday in Newcastle where she is now undergoing a 103
I worked on the Orelia in the early days for Comex and have been part of
the regular crew for Technip for the last 3 years.
I am employed in the Saturation control room as a.. Supervisor,
responsible for looking after as many as 18 divers within the chamber
complex for up to 28 days at a time.
Ed, I hope this insight into the everyday operation of a North Sea
Saturation diving vessel, you'll find interesting."
from Mike (ex-COMEX diver), see scan below of the Orelia.
Emails from Ex-COMEX Divers..
"I have owned my 5514 for a great many years (I was a professional diver). In the business we were led to believe these models were in some way inferior to "proper" Rolex's and I have seen these watches up to the mid 80's change hands in bars around the world for as little as $100 because of this perception.
My 5514 has never had the COMEX decal on the dial, it has all the other features and has been serviced by Rolex so it is authentic......This is not unusual as you already know I have seen at least 30-40 of these models (without COMEX on the dial) over time...
......I have taken good care of mine ....... of course you must bear in mind it was a working watch, it has experienced greater depths than the one on the dial and has been on the wrist everyday for 25+ years (although I do think I should now salt it away). believe it or not most of the guys would not wear their watches in the water, this led to them being cynically renamed in the biz as "cabin dwellers" (put that on your website, tee hee !!)."
by Tom (ex-COMEX diver)
"I read your article about COMEX Rolex with interest and can confirm your statement concerning the lack of COMEX on the dial. I am an ex-Comex diver and received my COMEX 5513 in 1974 or 1975, direct from John XXXX at Comex Aberdeen. The back of the case is engraved COMEX, a helium valve is fitted but there is no white Comex insignia on the face. On the back it also had the number 2xx lightly engraved, but this has now worn off due to excessive buffing by Rolex during various service operations, coupled to normal contact wear from my wrist over 32+ years. Rolex have maintained my watch superbly due to supporting various diving expeditions. Any worn parts have been replaced at different times and the model number has changed in the letters I have from Rolex from 5513 to 5514 as at one time the case centre leaked. As the watch is in pristine condition I no longer dive with it as I want to preserve its condition, but it is worn every day. Many of these watches were supplied without presentation boxes and documentation and the explanation I was given at the time was that they entered the UK in the floor of a decompression chamber to avoid possible customs fees! "
By Richard (ex-COMEX Diver)