Rolex Celebrates The Opening Of The Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures

Rolex Celebrates The Opening Of The Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures

Rolex is a founding supporter of the museum, a mecca for movie lovers that opened September 30th in Los Angeles. And one of its most illustrious timepieces is a part of the action.

By Victoria Gomelsky

On September 30th, when the Renzo Piano-designed, $484 million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures officially opened its doors on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, Rolex lovers went on notice. Not only is the brand a founding supporter of the decade-in-the-making museum, but it also sponsored the celebrity-studded gala dinner on September 25th, honoring the museum’s long-awaited opening.

Rolex kicked off the festivities with an intimate cocktail event at The Maybourne Beverly Hills, where its current film mentor, Spike Lee, told a small group of hosted guests — this writer included — about why he chose to mentor the Native American filmmaker Kyle Bell in the 2020−2022 Rolex Arts Initiative.

Later, during another cocktail hour on the museum’s open-air Wilshire Terrace, Oscar-winning actress Laura Dern, a member of the museum’s board of trustees, thanked Rolex for “helping us bring this night together.”

It was not the only time the brand was name-checked that evening. In his introductory remarks about the inaugural Visionary Award, presented to “an artist whose extensive body of work has advanced the art of cinema,” Netflix co-CEO, and museum board chair, Ted Sarandos, noted that the award, which went to Sophia Loren (accepting in person!), was “generously supported by our friends at Rolex.”

Cinema Darling

Most people know about Rolex’s connection to the world of sports, including such prestigious events as the U.S. Open, the Ryder Cup, and Formula One. Lesser known is the watchmaker’s deep, almost century-long involvement with the world of cinema.

Let’s be clear: Rolex is, and has long been, the choice of Tinseltown’s most memorable characters, including (but not limited to) James Bond as played by Sean Connery in Dr. No (1962), Colonel Kurtz as played by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now (1979), Fast Eddie Felson as played by Paul Newman in The Color of Money (1986), and Brock Lovett as played by Bill Paxton in Titanic (1997).

But it wasn’t until 2016 when Rolex designed and hosted its first Greenroom at the Oscars, that it deepened its ties to the business of Hollywood. In 2017, the brand doubled down on that commitment when it embarked on a formal relationship with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — arguably Hollywood’s most important institution — and became a Proud Sponsor of the Oscars.

Display the Favorite

The museum’s Stories of Cinema in the Spielberg Family Gallery is now home to one of the brand’s — and the world’s — most illustrious timepieces. A clear sign that Rolex has a place of honor at Hollywood’s shiny new temple to moviemaking.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6239 owned by Paul Newman, aka Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman”, aka the most expensive wristwatch ever sold outside of a charity auction, is on public display for the first time since an anonymous phone bidder paid $17.8 million for it at an October 2017 sale in New York, organized by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo.

The timepiece, apparently on loan from the owner, is part of a gallery devoted to Oscar-winning films. Beside its glass display case, a placard explains that the watch was gifted to Newman by his wife, Joanne Woodward, “who had it inscribed with the message ‘DRIVE CAREFULLY ME’ — a reference to the actor’s passion for auto racing.”

The placard goes on to say, “Newman wore this watch for years, from the racetrack to red-carpet events including the 1983 Academy Awards, which he attended as a nominee for Best Actor, for The Verdict.”

In spite of the major role Rolex has played in the development of the museum, and the industry it honors, the brand is more recently known for its scarcity. Overheard at the gala event’s cocktail hour: “We went to the Rolex room. There was nothing there.” (Cue the laughter!)

(Images by Rolex, other sources mentioned)

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