Rolex watches are iconic – no-one would dispute that. From their beautiful designs to meticulously-engineered mechanisms, the Swiss luxury watchmaker has seen its timepieces grace the wrists of some of the most important and influential men who have ever lived.
At the heart of a 2013 campaign by Rolex to discover history’s most famous Rolex wearers, Sir Winston Churchill was revealed to have worn a Rolex Datejust – replete with a personalised coat of arms. With a self-winding chronometer, waterproof case and crafted from 18 karat gold, if it’s good enough for the man who saved the world, it’s good enough for everyone else.
Screen icon Steve McQueen was adored by the Rolex advertising team. An incredible influencer, the actor and amateur racing driver had such an impact on one particular model that the Rolex Explorer II is known, to this day, as the ‘Steve McQueen Explorer’.
Dr Martin Luther King
Rolex themselves call King one of the greatest ‘heroes’ in their history. As with Churchill, the famous civil rights campaigner wore a Rolex Datejust, but King’s yellow gold model was worn with a Jubilee bracelet – one of three bracelets offered by the company (along with the Oyster and the President) and a supple five-piece link bracelet with an elegant concealed clasp.
When the 20th Century’s most famous singer sold out the Houston Aerodrome for six days straight in 1970, he was gifted a very, very rare limited edition Rolex by the organisers. The Rolex King Midas was the most expensive timepiece money could buy at the time. Solid gold and with a striking square design, the watch was one of a 100 piece run – making them almost as individual as the King himself.
John F Kennedy
Despite many Presidents, from Reagan to Johnson, owning and wearing Rolex watches – none are quite so fashionable as JFK. His Rolex Day-Date (known fittingly as the President Rolex) was gifted to the President by Marilyn Monroe in 1962, inscribed with a message saying ‘Jack, with love, as always. Marilyn’.
There is much debate surrounding what Rolex was owned by Che Guevara. However, after the revolutionary’s death following a CIA manhunt, the leading officer said that Guevara had a steel Rolex GMT Master with a red and blue bezel on his wrist. However, other sources claim that the Argentinian wore a Submariner.