For decades, Rolex has been linked to the world of cinema. The brand’s watches made appearances in iconic films. For example, when Marlon Brando played his legendary role as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, he was wearing a Rolex watch.
In The Color Of Money, Paul Newman sported one as he manipulated a pool cue as Fast Eddie Felson. Bill Paxton, as treasure hunter Brock Lovett for Titanic, was wearing a Rolex as he descended to the famous wreck in a submersible.
The appearance of these watches is apparently not the result of product placement.
According to the brand, it has never involved itself in this kind of marketing – but those “cameos” happened as a personal choice of directors to enrich storytelling.
That said, Rolex maintains a privileged relationship with some of the world’s greatest filmmakers. Directors like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron have appeared in inspiring campaigns.
Scorsese has also passed on his wisdom as a mentor through the Rolex Mentor And Protege Arts Initiative, which pairs young artists with masters in their discipline for a period of creative collaboration.
The initiative embodies the brand’s commitment to transmitting knowledge, a key element of Rolex’s Perpetual spirit, which is based on humankind’s infinite potential, the determination to push back the frontiers and to make constant progress.
Other mentoring directors have included Alfonso Cuaron and Spike Lee, both of whom were invited to share their craft and who bring their own Oscar-winning work closer to the public.
More recently, Rolex became a founding supporter of the Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures. This is the first and largest institution in the US devoted to the history, science and cultural influences of filmmaking.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, it has 50,000 sq ft (about 4,650 sq m) of galleries, two theatres, including a 1,000-seat auditorium, an education studio and beautiful public spaces.
By illuminating the past, present and future of motion pictures, it aims to advance people’s understanding of cinema through exhibitions, screenings, programmes and collections.
The Rolex Gallery, a permanent, multi-room experience on the museum’s third floor, features Stories Of Cinema, with special installations that reveal the many aspects of moviemaking – technology, artists, history and social impact – through a variety of diverse and engaging voices that convey the magic of this art form.
The legendary Cosmograph Daytona, owned by Newman, is also on display in the museum.
Rolex’s close relationship with the film industry was first formalised in 2017 when the brand signed a partnership agreement with the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (AMPAS).
It thereby became the academy’s exclusive watch and proud sponsor of the Oscars ceremony, for which it also designs and hosts the Greenroom, an elegant space where presenters and guests mingle before going on stage.
In 2018, Rolex became a sponsor of the academy’s annual Governors Awards honouring lifetime achievement.
Its support of the Academy Museum is thus part of this broadening relationship. The two organisations are united by a commitment to excellence, a sense of history and a mission to preserve and celebrate the creation of extraordinary works – masterpieces.