Shackleton & more things

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Ernest Shackleton, the Irish explorer and the heroic age of antarctic exploration are evoked in Apple’s ads for its Apple Watch Ultra – a rival to Casio’s G-Shock Master of G range and the Protrek range, Seiko’s similarly named Prospex range and Citizen’s Promaster range of watches.

The underlying dialogue uses the text to a newspaper advert attributed to Shackleton when he was looking to recruit crew members for his ship the Endeavour. The Endeavour expedition competed with the rival Roald Amundsen’s expedition to reach the South Pole.

The monologue also reaches back to the way Apple did its Think Different brand campaign rather than the kinetic iPhone, iPod and iWatch ads of the past.

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.

The reality is that the ad didn’t become widely known until decades after Shackleton had died. There is no evidence to suggest that he ever wrote the words (stirring though they are in nature), or that the advert was ever published by Shackleton.

Instead of Shackleton, who then wrote the words attributed to him? We’ll probably never know. What we do know is that they were first published in a book published in 1959. The 100 Greatest Advertisements: 1852-1958 written by Julian Lewis Watkins and was first published by first published by Dover Publications, Inc. Whether it was Shackleton who wrote them or not, they went into popular culture and sparked additional interest in the Irish explorer. Shackleton died in 1921 when returned to the Antarctic with the Shackleton–Rowett Expedition, he suffered a fatal heart attack while his ship was moored in South Georgia. We don’t know whether Ernest Shackleton would have appreciated the Apple Watch Ultra as a technical marvel concocted by wondrous boffins, or a pointless exercise in frippery for the serious explorer.

Rolex Deepsea Challenge – a watch even more worthy of Shackleton?

I know a watch is special when my Dad is telling me about it as soon as it’s launched. Rolex has upgraded its Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea to create the Rolex Deepsea Challenge. Out goes the largely useless date window, in comes an an all titanium grade 5 alloy case that’s 50mm across. This means that the watch moves from being waterproof of a depth of 3,900 meters to 11,000 meters (or just over 6.8 miles) with the new Deepsea Challenge.

The Deepsea Challenge watch follows on from the years of experience that Rolex has had making titanium watches under its secondary Tudor brand using a similar (if not the same) grade 5 titanium.

Titanium Grade 5 is the most widely used titanium alloy. It has (relatively) good hot formability and weldability. It is resistant to salt water, marine atmosphere and a variety of corrosive media temperatures below 300 ° C. Grade 5 titanium alloy is most likely to be accepted by the human body – its hypoallergenic and ideal for medical transplant components like hip joints.

It is made up of 88.74-91.0 percent titanium, 5.5-6.75 percent aluminium, 3.5-4.5 percent vanadium and no more than 0.015 percent hydrogen.

There is obviously osmosis between the two brands in terms of innovation, materials, process and technologies. This also explains why Tudor tries to do innovative designs in its range rather than just digging into the rich seam of ‘heritage looking’ watches with the Black Bay, Ranger and Heritage Chrono models.

It is capable of going deeper than any body of water on earth. Rolex may have felt compelled to respond to Omega’s Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep.

The watch community has already started spoofing the watch, which is another sign of it having become an icon. Whether it’s a famous icon, or infamous icon remains to be seen.

35th Tokyo Girl’s Collection

I talked years ago on this blog about the innovative approach to retailing behind the Tokyo Girl’s Collection. I came across their 2022 autumn and winter collection opening stage event, which I am sharing here.


Apple on the EU regulating connectors to standardise on USB-C. The reason why Apple went to detachable cables on chargers is very interesting. Apple are reluctantly complying over USB-C. The discussion around innovation is really interesting, particularly the way in which Apple executives duck the question.