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Luxury brands and celebrity wrists.

Luxury brands have always paid particular attention to their publicity campaigns by choosing the best suited celebrities to be the face of their new products.

However, it has happened that celebrities have created even greater publicity of a certain brand just by wearing one of their watches in public.

For this reason, we would like to discuss the celebrities best known for wearing such brands and the occasions on which they wore them during the ?60s, ?70s and ?80s.


The Rolex Submariner is firmly tied to the character of James Bond, MI6 agent on "Her Majesty's Secret Service".

Ian Fleming, 007's creator, owned a Rolex himself and it is quite possible that this influenced his choice of timekeeper for his legendary character.

In the first Bond film, Dr. No, Sean Connery in the main role can be clearly seen wearing a magnificent shoulderless Rolex Submariner in several scenes.

The oversized crown and the non-graduated bezel insert suggest that the watch in question is a Submariner reference 6538, ruling out other models with an 8mm Brevet + crown: the previous Submariner ref. 6200 was in fact produced in explorer face configuration, whilst the rare reference 5510 has always had a bezel insert graduated for the minutes from .00 to .15. So neither of the two appears to have the characteristics of the watch on Connery's wrist.

It is interesting to note that the Scottish actor never wears his own Rolex watch with a steel Oyster bracelet. He prefers a crocodile strap or a more casual blue and grey striped military style strap.

The next important appearance is in the film Goldfinger; the camera zooms in on Bond's Rolex Submariner whilst he removes his wetsuit to reveal an impeccable tuxedo.

Sean Connery's charisma and position as a style icon only help to add to the appeal of the Rolex Submariner, making it a true and real cult object for 007 enthusiasts.

However, the most famous watch of the Bond films can be found on Roger Moore's wrist and it plays a major role in Live and Let Die. A Rolex reference 5513 is modified by Q and by the magic of cinema is equipped with a powerful electromagnet operated by the crown and capable of changing the trajectory of a bullet. The watch's rotatable bezel even acts as a circular saw, allowing the secret agent to easily cut the cords he is tied by, escape and rescue Solitaire.

This particular model, clearly with the added extras non-functioning, was sold at Christie's auction house in 2001, knocked down at about 26,500.

 The famous actor Steve McQueen has always been associated with the Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 which is often named after him by enthusiasts. Strangely enough the actor has never been photographed wearing this model.

The only film in which Steve McQueen wears a Rolex is The Hunter, filmed in 1980, his last before his untimely death.

In certain scenes he can be seen wearing a Rolex Submariner on his right wrist but without close ups it is difficult to identify the exact model. From what we can make out from the few frames available, the watch seems to be a no-date model, presumably a ref. 5512 or 5513.

In light of this, the only possible explanation for Steve McQueen's association with the Explorer II is that this model was one of his favourites in his personal life; although of course of this there is no proof.

 Even Ernesto "Che" Guevara was often photographed wearing a Rolex, a GMT-Master to be exact. The most famous of these images is a photo of the revolutionary lighting a cigar. Taking into account the period in history and after examining the few available photos, we can presume that "El Che" wore a steel GMT-Master, probably a ref. 1675 with an Oyster bracelet.

Some sources maintain that the watch was a gift from Fidel Castro, but these claims cannot be proved.

 Certainly the most famous name associated with Rolex is that of Paul Newman, linked to the Cosmograph Daytona model. It all began in 1969 with the film about racecars and their drivers, Winning. In Italy, the film was promoted under its Italian name (Indianapolis, pista infernale) with a poster of the actor wearing a Rolex reference 6239 with an exotic dial, which was shortly thereafter renamed the "Paul Newman" by enthusiasts.

Although in the film the images of the watch are not of high enough quality for it to be able to positively identified, it appears to be a silver dialled timepiece with counters of the same colour, presumably a Rolex Chronograph ref. 6238 "Pre-Daytona".

Paul Newman was however often photographed off set sporting a Cosmograph Daytona ref. 6239 exotic configuration, adding to collectors' enthusiasm all around the world.

The American actor's face is surely one that has contributed, albeit inadvertently, to the increase in prestige of the Rolex Daytona model on an international scale. However we must not forget a similar event which took place several years later.

In 1958 "l'Avvocato" Agnelli was pictured on the cover of a well-known Italian magazine wearing a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with screw-dials. The image immediately caused a sensation, generating great interest in the watch.

Part of the merit must be attributed to the considerable personality that is the "Avvocato". He was often the father of new trends of unmistakable style, such as his famous habit of wearing his watch over the cuff of his shirt.

Speculation surrounds a gold Rolex Day-Date, commonly known as the Rolex President, which is alleged to have been a gift from Marylin Monroe to then president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. The watch was sold at auction in 2005 for $120,000 and bears the inscription: "Jack, with love as always from Marilyn, May 29th 1962". The serial number of the watch is appropriate for the 1960s however there is no one still alive who is able or willing to verify these claims.

What we do know for certain is that John F. Kennedy wore a gold Cartier watch. It was a present from his wife Jackie on their fourth wedding anniversary and he was wearing it the day he died.

Omega's Speedmaster ref. 3570.50.00 has an even greater claim to fame. Dubbed the "Moonwatch", it was chosen by NASA to be the watch of choice for the astronauts on in the Apollo programme. The Speedmaster was the first watch worn on the moon; by Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong left his inside the lunar module on his famous first moonwalk.

We can thus conclude with certainty that luxury watch brands have greatly benefited in terms of popularity from the tastes of celebrities, acquiring a tremendous medium of promotion free of charge which has only served to increase the prestige of these brands.

In more recent times other celebrities such as the musician Eric Clapton have been spotted wearing a Rolex watch, without, however, generating the same, unique enthusiasm of the past.

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