Rolex and cinema: a movement perpetually reinvented

Cinema is a perpetual movement. It has the power to bring history to life and to explore every possible future, both collective and individual. Like a Rolex watch, cinema is ingrained with our memories and aspirations. It is witness to our ambitions and to our determination to overcome any obstacle we may find along our way. More than simply 24 frames per second, or 24 hours within a day, it embodies the very essence of our emotions.

Rolex has always maintained close ties with the world of cinema. Its watches have played their own role on the wrists of legendary characters in numerous films, including multiple Oscar-winning masterpieces. And today, by its support of artistic and technical excellence in filmmaking, Rolex itself has become an acting participant in its own right.

Rolex encourages the preservation and transmission of the cinematic arts, promotes excellence and celebrates progress by accompanying living legends as well as budding talents through its Testimonees (Martin Scorsese and James Cameron), its partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the institution, the awards and the museum in Los Angeles) and the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

Rolex and cinema, writing History side by side

In 1926, the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, invented a revolutionary watertight wristwatch which made headlines, the Oyster. Just months later, audiences marvelled at The Jazz Singer, the first ever talkie. These two moments in time signaled the arrival of both modern filmmaking and modern watchmaking.

In 1931, Rolex introduced another visionary breakthrough in the Oyster Perpetual. The first waterproof, automatic-winding wristwatch, equipped with a Perpetual rotor. Meanwhile, cinema saw colour make its big-screen debut.

From then on, Rolex and cinema would always resonate with the times. To this day, they continue to share a quest for excellence, innovation and progress, which encourages the greatest aspirations.

Rolex on and off the Screen

Decade after decade, a growing cast of celebrities would wear a Rolex onscreen. As their watch of choice, the greatest actors and directors would, in turn, reflect on the watch and bestow it with their own charisma and flair. But after being a guest star on their wrist, both in front and behind the camera, Rolex would soon take on a starring role.

What do the different Rolex watches tell us about the characters who wear them?

A watch, a character

Rolex watches enrich the identity of the characters who wear them with their powerful symbolism. That they should appear in so many films is no coincidence. When a character wears a Rolex watch, this is an artistic choice made by the actors and directors. Thanks to these watches and their screen presence, Rolex is indissociable from the world of film.

A Rolex is a story in itself

When an actor chooses to wear a Rolex watch, its presence on their wrist adds information to the plot. The personal effect lends the character a possible history, past and destiny. It reveals something of the temperament, taste, values, aspirations and mindset of the person who wears it.

Network (1976), Faye Dunaway; Warner Brothers/MGM

The Fugitive Kind (1960), Marlon Brando and Joanne Woodward; MGM

Apollo 13 (1995), Unidentifiable extras; Universal

The Usual Suspects (1995), Gabriel Byrne; Paramount/MGM

Frantic (1988), Harrison Ford and Betty Buckley; Warner Brothers

Rolex fosters the promotion and celebration of excellence, the perpetuation of knowledge, the conservation of the art and the rise of new talent.

Rolex and Hollywood

In 2017, two major events would cement the longstanding association between Rolex and the film industry. Firstly, director Martin Scorsese joined James Cameron as a Rolex Testimonee. And the same year, the brand sealed its partnership with the film industry’s highest authority, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s missions are to promote excellence in film and preserve its legacy for future generations, to spark the imagination and to celebrate cinema’s universal values. This long-term partnership celebrates the convergence of the values shared by Rolex and the motion picture arts.

Rolex became the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Proud Sponsor of the Oscars®, and Exclusive Sponsor of the Governors Awards. Rolex is also a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures which opened in Los Angeles in September 2021.

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