Comex was the shortened title for the company, 'COMPAGNIE MARITIME D'EXPERTISE' formed in 1961 by its President Henri Delauze in Marseille France.
This is without doubt the most famous logo in the history of Commercial diving.
My First Commercial diving logbook
Logbook entries for my first hyperbaric weld qualification test, conducted in the Hydrosphere Comex Marseille. This was for a weld repair in the air diving range on an oil platforms damaged bracing member.
Comex/2w ID card
In 1988 Comex merged with major competitor 2W (Wharton Williams). The partnership was short lived and within a couple of months the Companies demerged. During this marriage 2W and Comex performed the clear up works after the tragic series of events that took place on the Piper Alpha Oil platform on the 6th July 1988. 167 men lost thier lives.It was the biggest disaster to ever hit the Oil industry. Many months were spent in rerouting pipelines and installing subsea safety shut off valves in order getting the oil on line again. The Comex and 2W divers were issued with these ID cards.
All of my watches have been used for the purpose for which they were designed, and have been used as tools of my trade, all of the dials and hands are in magnificent condition. The cases show a few battle scars of life at the sharp end. There are no shiny corporate give away gifts that have spent life in a box at the back of a safe in this collection, only the real diving deal.
Comex Rolex 16600 Sea dweller
Comex Rolex Sea dweller 16600. I left the Navy in March 1984, I had the good fortune to land a position with the legendary French diving company Comex, They were the pioneers of commercial diving.
There are many collectors who have more than one Comex issue in their collection, which is wonderful, but the real thrill of owning one of these rare models has to be in how you acquired it. For me that day came in May 1990, I was doing a welder test qualification for Comex in the hydrosphere in Marseille, my welding partner at the time was my Norwegian diver welder friend Einar Andersen, the test we were doing was a 5g 36inch pipeline weld and was one of the more difficult welds I had ever done. Theo Mavrostomos came into the chamber to help us with some techniques that he had perfected, Theo was a great welder and a few years later he was to become the World record breaking deep diver, an incredible 701M.
We eventually finished and passed the weld test to our relief and as a result we were both asked if we would like a Comex issue Rolex, of course we both said yes. Once we had completed the decompression our other French diving friend Max Ouzenane invited us for lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the Bay of Marseille, it was the most beautiful sunny day. Then a little later, out of a carrier bag Max produced 2 Green cardboard boxes both with a Rolex emblem on the top. Einar and I opened the boxes together and inside were 2 gleaming Rolex 16660 Comex Rolex sea dwellers.It was a great day, receiving the watches made a hard job feel well worthwhile. The sense of pride that I was a member of the greatest diving company in the world was overwhelming and I will never ever forget that day.
I still see Max from time to time, he was also part of the team that helped Theo break the world record dive, Max is still in the diving industry and living in France. Theo i believe has now retired from diving.
Rolex collaborated with Comex to produce the helium escape valve. A number of watches were produced for Comex sporting the Comex logo on the dial, this watch is one of a batch of 100 delivered to Comex in 1992. This Comex 16600 is a heavy and robust watch and the dial and hands are in mint condition.
Rolex Comex issue Sea dweller 16600, with one of my many diving log entries. This dive was at Comex headquarters in Marseilles France where we did experimental diving and Weld qualification tests.
Twin Comex issue Rolex Sea dwellers,Left 16660 with matt dial and right 16600 with gloss dial, pictured here with the log entry of my very first Commercial dive. Bounce dive to 117M on a Blow out preventer ( BOP)in the Buchan field North Sea, Buchan is very close to the famous Forties field. The dive was to check for a leak on the BOP. The dive was on the 6 May 1984 shortly after leaving the Royal Navy, my supervisor was Willy Owen. It was great to start my commercial career off with a supervisor of this quality, Willy is also an ex Royal Navy Clearance Diver and made me feel very welcome as a new member of his Comex diving team. Willy Owen is also a great bar stool Racer! those that know him, will know what i mean. Willy is still working in the North Sea as a Diving Superintendant. This dive was the first of many, and the logbooks have piled up.
Comex issue 1665 Sea dweller
The 1665 Comex sea dweller represents the culmination of the collaboration between Rolex and Comex to develop the helium escape valve. This 1665 Sea dweller has spent the thick end of 30 years in the offshore divng industry, and still playing its part today.
Comex issue 1665 with the diver monitoring system on Technip DSV Wellservicer. Monitoring divers times at depth is crucial. In terms of timing of dives, this photo is old meeting new. Every aspect of divers time, depth, hot water temperature and gas pressures is now all automatic, since the introduction of computers. In years gone by , it was just a reliable watch, or preferably 2 as a backup.
Comex 1665 Sea dweller from 1981
1665 Comex issue sea dweller, this one is a holy grail find, complete with box papers and hang tags. Living proof that these watches really did cost under £200 if you were a Diver working for Comex, included here is the original purchase receipt from Comex for £175
Theo Mavrostomos breaks World deep dive record 701M
Max Ouzenane top left , Theo bottom left