While luxury watches are rarely top-of-mind when we think of the world of film, Rolex has had a long-standing relationship with cinema spanning over 60 years. Marlon Brando, who played Colonel Kurtz in the epic 1979 war film, Apocalypse Now, donned a Rolex GMT-Master. In 1986, Paul Newman wore a Rolex Datejust as pool hustler, Fast Eddie Felson, in The Color of Money, while in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, explorer Brock Lovett – played by the late Bill Paxton – led an expedition to the ill-fated ship deep in the Atlantic sporting a Rolex Submariner Date in yellow gold.
It has to be said that Rolex’s watch cameos in countless films were not product placements as one would assume. Rather, they were woven into the film plot or the personal choice of directors ( James Cameron gave the watch to Paxton to wear during the filming of Titanic) to subtly add a tough and courageous edge to their characters, along with a sophisticated sense of style.
In 2017, to further cement its roots in cinema, Rolex became Proud Sponsor of the Oscars, Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures – all of which aim to preserve film history. The latter is a key interest of Rolex, whose values include the importance of nurturing emerging filmmakers through mentorship and contributing to culture by ensuring the transmission of filmmaking knowledge to future generations. Since 2018, Rolex has also been the Sponsor of the Governors Awards that recognise life achievements in film every year. This formal relationship with cinema and support for its creative dynamism underscores the historical nature of the links Rolex has with the art form.
Whether in sports or cinema and the arts, Rolex supports individuals who achieve the highest level in their field. Among its prestigious family of Rolex Testimonees include Academy Award-winning directors Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Alejandro G Iñárritu. All masters of their craft, boasting an impressive 57 Academy Awards between them, each has made a profound and enduring impact on cinema that transcends boundaries, cultures and generations. We learn more about four distinguished filmmakers, their accomplishments and favourite Rolex timepieces.
The first and only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, Bigelow has redefined the landscape of cinema today with her tenacity, command of visual narrative and choice of subjects that have the ability to provoke change. The American director also produces and writes for many of her films. In 1981, she co-wrote and directed her first feature film, The Loveless, and in the late ’80s and ’90s directed a trilogy of action films including Blue Steel (1989), Point Break (1991) and Strange Days (1995). Bigelow solidified her status as a Hollywood heavyweight with political action thrillers such as The Hurt Locker in 2008 – for which she won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director – and Zero Dark Thirty in 2012. Most recently in 2017, she directed and produced Detroit, based on the 1967 Detroit riots, which explored race-related violence in the US. Bigelow’s films provoke an examination of society, which have established the director as a true auteur. Her advice to emerging directors is simple: “Strive, to not compromise, ever.”
KATHRYN BIGELOW’S TIMEPIECE: OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST 36
The classic Datejust has spanned eras with its distinctive aesthetics, and has retained the enduring codes that have made it one of the most recognisable watches today. Bigelow’s elegant Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 in Everose Rolesor features a contemporary dark rhodium dial and Jubilee bracelet. Light reflections on its case sides and lugs accentuate the elegant profile of the feminine timepiece that showcases a diamond-set bezel, which frames 18k gold Roman VI and IX indexes set with 24 diamonds on the dial. Powered by the self-winding manufacture calibre 3235, the watch has a power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
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