Rolex has been linked for decades to the history of cinema through the appearance of Rolex watches in countless legendary films.
Rolex and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are united by a pursuit of excellence and a mission to preserve and celebrate the creation of extraordinary works – masterpieces. Whether crafting a groundbreaking timepiece or an Oscar® – winning film, the goal for a watchmaker like Rolex and great filmmakers is to forge an unforgettable work, one that never loses its relevance and stands the test of time. This is the subject of a film that is being shown during this year’s Oscars® ceremony and is an ode to the visionaries and craftspeople in watchmaking and filmmaking that illustrates the parallels between the two disciplines.
The Academy’s annual celebration of the best in cinema, the Academy Awards® – more commonly known as the Oscars® – is a showcase for the supreme talent who make films. These scores of directors, actors, technicians, engineers and people of all descriptions push the boundaries in a seamless blend of art and science like that which constitutes a precision Rolex watch. Each and every one of these individuals plays a crucial part in a complex mechanism to bring a visionary idea to life.
This year the primary venue for the Academy Awards® is the historic Union Station Los Angeles. The magic of the film industry’s night of nights takes place when the nominees walk away with a life-changing Oscar®.
Rolex has been Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Proud Sponsor of the Oscars® since 2017, but its history and synergy with film extend back for decades.
Rolex in iconic films
A Rolex watch makes a strong statement and Rolex has always had an authentic and strong presence in the most iconic Hollywood films. It is inextricably linked with the world of cinema through the symbolism of its game-changing products: When Marlon Brando played Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, he was wearing a Rolex watch. In The Color of Money, Paul Newman sported a Rolex as he reprised his pool hustler character Fast Eddie Felson. And in Titanic, Bill Paxton, as treasure hunter Brock Lovett, was wearing one as he descended to the legendary wreck in a submersible.
The appearance of these watches was not the result of product placement. Rather, the watches were the personal choice of directors to subtly portray fortitude in their characters − a sense of toughness and control, along with a sense of sophistication and style.
Explorer and film director James Cameron
Every Rolex tells a story and Rolex appreciates storytelling in film because it has its own great story to tell, one that encompasses more than a century of innovation. In 1926, Rolex produced the world’s first waterproof watch, the Oyster, which was an undisputed masterpiece that changed the course of history. For the first time, people could go to remote places, such as mountain tops, with a reliable, precise, robust watch. The extraordinary level of innovation that Rolex has achieved – with more than 500 patents – was made possible by a quest for perpetual excellence. This is Rolex’s ethos, instilled by the founder of the company, Hans Wilsdorf; it is the force that drives Rolex whether it is creating the finest timepieces or supporting outstanding achievement in sport and in the arts, including cinema.
Strong links to cinema
In addition to being Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Proud Sponsor of the Oscars® since 2017, Rolex also became sponsor of the Academy’s annual Governors Awards that honour life achievement in film the following year.
Since 2016, the company has designed and hosted the Greenroom, where presenters and special guests mingle before going on stage at the Oscars®. The Greenroom’s theme and decor change annually; this year it is being held at Union Station.
Assisting in the transmission of knowledge
Over the decades, Rolex has also made a unique and lasting contribution to culture by assisting in the transmission of knowledge across generations as part of the company’s legacy.
Rolex is a Founding Supporter of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opening in Los Angeles in 2021. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum and hub for film lovers will have 50,000 square feet (about 4,650 square metres) of exhibition galleries and a 1,000-seat theatre, among other facilities. As the largest institution in the United States devoted to moviemaking, it is destined to be the world’s pre-eminent film museum, helping people understand the arts and the sciences that create movie magic. Rolex will host a gallery retracing the history of film where the brand has played a role. Through the museum, Rolex aspires to assist in the preservation of film history, as well as transmitting knowledge from one generation to the other.
With the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative established in 2002, Rolex supports emerging filmmakers through mentorship, contributing to culture by helping to ensure the world’s artistic heritage is passed on. Martin Scorsese, who along with explorer and film director James Cameron, is currently a Rolex
Testimonee, has mentored a protégée within this programme, which identifies gifted young artists in a variety of disciplines from all over the world and brings them together with artistic masters for a period of creative collaboration. Other mentors in film have included directors Alfonso Cuarón, Stephen Frears, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mira Nair, Zhang Yimou and film editor Walter Murch. Spike Lee is the current film mentor.
ROLEX AND CINEMA
Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2017
Proud Sponsor of the Oscars® since 2017
Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures since 2017
Sponsor of the Academy’s annual Governors Awards since 2018
Host of the Greenroom since 2016
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