5. Lights, Camera, Action
It’s probably safe to say that Rolex watches have appeared in more than 100 movies. Here is a list of 50 non-Bond films in which Rolex made an appearance:
Absolute Power, Air Force One, All the President’s Men, Apocalypse Now, Apollo 13, Argo, Body of Lies, The Bourne Legacy, The Color of Money, Courage Under Fire, The Deep, The Deer Hunter, Die Hard and Die Hard 2, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Easy Rider, The Enforcer, Eyes Wide Shut, Frantic, Glengarry Glen Ross, Goodfellas, Good Morning Vietnam, The Great Escape, Impact, In the Line of Fire, Inception, Jaws, Killer Elite, L.A. Confidential, Leaving Las Vegas, Lord of War, Lost in Translation, Marathon Man, The Mechanic (1972), Midnight Run, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, National Treasure, The Negotiator, Ocean’s Thirteen, Outbreak, Rain Man, Rising Sun, Rocky II, Safe House, Schindler’s List, Speed, Sphere, Titanic, Towering Inferno, Under Siege, and The Usual Suspects
6. Philanthropic Programs
Rolex is well known for its philanthropic and charity efforts, which include two global programs: The Rolex Awards for Enterprise, and The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.
Launched in 1976, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise provide financial support to individuals working in the areas of science and medicine, technology and innovation, exploration and discovery, the environment, and cultural heritage. In 2009 the Rolex Awards introduced the Young Laureates Program, designed to “foster innovation in the next generation.” Judges select enterprising young individuals and provide with them with funding and resources to pursue their projects.
Since their creation, 110 Rolex Awards have been presented to recipients in more than 60 countries. Examples of recognized projects include a system to carry our mass health screening in newborns, developing faster laboratory tests to detect so-called “superbugs”, developing braille smartphones, and a public awareness campaign designed to lower child mortality rates.
Created in 2002, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative pairs gifted young artists with internationally recognized masters, sponsoring them to spend a year in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Since its inception, 234 people, from more than 40 countries, have participated.
7. Top Auction Results
When it comes to collectability, two brands stand head and shoulders above the rest: Patek Philippe and Rolex. With its galaxy of complicated timepieces, in precious metal cases, produced in small numbers, Patek dominates any listing of the most expensive watches sold at auction. While large numbers of Pateks have crossed the auction block at prices above $1 million, until a few years ago, no Rolex could claim that distinction. That changed in May, 2011 when a Rolex ref. 4113 split-seconds chronograph brought 1,035,000 CHF, or $1,163,746 at a Christie’s sale in Geneva. Manufactured in 1942, this watch was unusually large for its day, measuring 44mm in diameter, and the stainless steel case did not hold it back. Indeed when it comes to collectible Rolexes, steel usually trumps gold at sale time.
Since the sale mentioned above, several other Rolexes have broken the $1 million benchmark at auction, most of them sold by Christie’s. Here’s a quick rundown:
In May, 2013, another Rolex ref. 4113 chronograph sold for 1,107,750 CHF, or $1,161,436, in Geneva.
In November 2013 at its “Lesson One” sale in Geneva, Christie’s sold a Rolex ref. 6263 Cosmograph Daytona with an “RCO Paul Newman” dial for 989,000 CHF, or $1,089,186. The “RCO” is a reference to the text on the dial at 12 o’clock, which reads “Rolex Cosmograph Oyster”, rather than the usual “Rolex Oyster Cosmograph.”
The following month in New York, a Rolex ref. 8171 in steel with triple calendar, moon phases and diamond-set dial sold for $1,145,000. In the catalog, Christie’s noted that Italian collectors nicknamed this watch “Padellone”, or “Big Frying Pan”, because at 38 mm, it was so large for its time, circa 1953.
In May of 2014, Christie’s sold an 18k gold Rolex with star hour markers on a cloisonné enamel dial. Produced in 1949, this piece brought the equivalent of $1,242,040, placing a precious metal case for a time at the top of the Rolex sales records.
Finally, in 2017, a Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona actually owned by Paul Newman sold for $15.5 million at Phillips’ “Winning Icons” auction in New York, becoming not just the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction, but the most expensive wristwatch as well.