Marlon Brando's multi-million dollar custom Rolex watch
Sometimes all a watch needs to skyrocket its value is a name associated with it – we’re looking at you Paul Newman. Sometimes though, a watch can have both a name and be totally one of a kind, behold Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master.
The late Marlon Brando customised his Rolex that featured in Apocalypse Now is going under the hammer and it’s safe to say it’ll go for a pretty penny.
Sometimes the watch world archaeologists really strike gold and find a long lost watch that everyone instantly knows will be big news. Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master as worn by his character Colonel Kurtz in 1979’s Apocalypse Now, is an example of such a big news watch.
Missing for years, the watch itself was one of the mysteries of the vintage Rolex world, now though, thanks to Brando’s daughter, the watch is back.
In 1995, Brando gave the watch to Petra Brando Fischer, daughter of his assistant Caroline Barrett, whom he had adopted. Fischer recalls to The New York Times that Brando said to her “This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going. I want you to have it as a reminder of how proud I am of you.”
The watch was then given to Fischer’s husband and sat in a drawer collecting dust for years. It wasn’t until Paul Newman’s Daytona going for almost $18 million dollars, that Fischer realised she knew about a watch that was truly important to the industry.
Paul Boutros, the head of watches for Phillips’ American division says that the watch would be worth around $20,000 without its link to Mr Brando, but it is likely to be auctioned with a six-figure reserve price.
It isn’t just Brando’s name that hikes up the price, though that should be worth a lot, the watch is also totally one of a kind.
To feature in the gritty Apocalypse Now film, Brando felt the Rolex was a bit too pristine and shiny, so he decided to rip off the bezel of the watch. Disclaimer, unless you’re Marlon Brando, this will ‘NOT’ increase the value of your beloved Rolex.
The ref. 1675 GMT-Master also has ‘M. Brando’ engraved rather crudely on the case back by Brando himself using an engraving pen. The watch is also fitted with a black strap, rather than your usual Rolex Oyster straps.
It’s only a few alternations, but it’s enough to make it one of the most rugged and unique GMT-Masters ever seen. The six figure guess then seems pretty fitting.
The watch will be auctioned on December 10th at Phillips’ ‘GAME CHANGERS’ NYC auction, an auction dedicated to luxury timepieces. The auction is centred around selling off watches owned by ‘game changers’ in their respective industry, making the Brando Rolex a welcome addition indeed.