Rolex is synonymous with wealth, power, and prestige. It’s no surprise, then, that so many celebrities have worn them in films throughout the years.
Rolex watches showing up in movies goes back a long way. One of the earliest appearances, if not the first, was in They Drive By Night, a Humphrey Bogart film from 1940. In it, Bogart wears a rectangular Rolex Prince, the first mass produced Rolex model that obtained chronometric certification for its accuracy. Since then, Rolex watches have been appearing in films more and more. They really took off in the late 1970s with a plethora of cinematic releases (including Jaws and Rocky II) and today, when a director or producer wants the audience to know a character has arrived, they’ll debut them in a Rolex watch.
Here are a few famous actors and the Rolex timepieces they wore:
Steve McQeen’s Rolexes
The master of 70s cinema, Steve McQueen, frequently sported a Rolex (his preferred brand of watches). The thing is, he never did so in a movie. Directors and producers usually had him wear lesser models to go with his tough-guy persona. In real life, however, he was never without his Rolex Submariner model 5512 (which he practically wore every day) or his Rolex Explorer II (a.k.a., “The McQueen Rolex”), model 1655.
McQueen had good taste, whether it was in the cars he raced, the clothes he wore, or the women he frequented. That same fine taste went into what he put on his wrist. It’s no wonder that he was known as “The King of Cool.”
Jeremy Renner’s Rolex Submariner
With a tough face and a no-nonsense attitude it’s no surprise that modern actor Jeremy Renner has been making waves with his action roles lately. Whether he’s in the new superhero blockbuster, portraying rogue CIA agent Jason Bourne (2012), or making an impact in Academy Award-nominated films, you always know he’ll look stylish.
He was looking just that alongside Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. In that film, Renner can be seen sporting a Submariner as he holds his gun up ready for action (see image above). The watch was a perfect fit for his image as a top government official, many of whom sport the exact same model all over the world.
Kiefer Sutherland’s Submariner
For nearly a decade, Kiefer Sutherland dominated the weekly lineup on Fox with the hit TV series 24, initially aired in 2001. When portraying agent Jack Bauer during the series’ first season, Sutherland often wore his Rolex Submariner (see image below).
Many more watches followed over the years, but it’s that ticking Rolex counting down the minutes and seconds that really got us hooked on the show.
Alec Baldwin’s Rolex Day-Date
Perhaps the most famous cinema Rolex belongs to Alec Baldwin’s motivational salesman character in the 1992 sleeper-hit, Glengarry Glen Ross. In a famous scene, Baldwin chides a group of poorly performing real estate salesman, taunting them with his 18K-gold Rolex Day-Date in an attempt to get them fired up (see image below).
Baldwin, playing Blake in the movie, turns to one of the struggling agents (played by Ed Harris) and says, “You see this watch?…That watch costs more than your car.” It was a clever stunt that made it quite clear who the top dog in the room was, and one that left the glittering, gold Rolex forever branded in Harris’ subconscious.
Nick Nolte’s Rolex Sea Dweller
Jaws wasn’t the only underwater hit movie of the 1970s. The Deep (1977), also written by Peter Benchley, starred Nick Nolte as a tourist seeking lost treasure while on vacation in Bermuda. In the film, he can be seen diving about shipwrecked Spanish galleons with either his Rolex Sea Dweller (see image below) or Submariner.
One has to wonder why he was diving for riches at all when he was already wearing them on his wrist.
Sean Connery’s Rolex Submariner
No Rolex watch list would be complete without Sean Connery’s Rolex Submariner model 6538 during his portrayal of the British Secret Service agent James Bond. The famous Scottish actor was the first to play the renowned 007 on film, with the watch first appearing on his wrist during the initial bond flick, Dr. No in 1962 (see image below).
Due to its debut in the spy film, the 6538 model has been in hot demand ever since and, to this day, fetches top dollar from collectors and Bond enthusiasts.
Connery went on to wear the Submariner in three more 007 films, along with two other Bond actors after him, until The Man With the Golden Gun in 1974 (starring Roger Moore). To this day, the popular dive watch remains strongly connected with the iconic spy character.
This post only provides a minute sample of the prevalence of Rolex watches in movies. Even though celebrities’ taste for luxury and fashion will change over time, few would argue that the marriage between cinematography and the Rolex brand is one that’s not here to stay.
See a wide variety of different Rolex models by clicking here.