In Sync with a Cinema

Images courtesy of Rolex

For decades, Rolex has been linked to the world of cinema: from its watches appearing in iconic films to the brand’s support for young filmmakers through its mentoring programme. More recently, Rolex has entered a partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and counts Academy Award winners Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Martin Scorsese among its family of Testimonees.

James Cameron

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 sophisticated sense of style.

Rolex appreciates storytelling in film because it has its own great story to tell. The company’s history is marked by more than a century of innovation. In 1926, Rolex produced the world’s first waterproof watch, the Oyster, which, in its own way, changed the course of history. For the first time, people could go to remote places, like the tops of mountains, 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 and is the force that drives Rolex whether it is creating the finest timepieces or supporting outstanding achievement in sport and in the arts.

Rolex has been Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Proud Sponsor of the Oscars. since 2017, as well as Sponsor of the Annual Governors Awards that recognizes life achievement in film since 2018.

Through these ties, the company supports excellence in filmmaking. For Rolex, the Academy is the perfect partner, given its mission is to inspire imagination and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures. In addition, since 2016, Rolex 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, and this year’s space depicted an icy polar landscape in all its ethereal beauty and fragility, which ties in with the brand’s Perpetual Planet initiative through which the company is joining forces with key individuals and organisations to promote exploration and conservation that will preserve the planet.

Naturally, time was also a fundamental concept of the design, with the display of the Rolex Explorer II central to the decor that demonstrated the vital function that the watch plays during extreme expeditions.

Further representing the atmosphere of an expedition, slanted mirrors helped deepen the sense of distance, while also enticing guests to view the polar horizon line depicted through the Greenroom’s windows. Overall, the effect was one that allowed an appreciation of both the beauty and vulnerability of extreme

regions of the Earth.

“The design of this year’s Greenroom was a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the environment that Rolex is seeking to protect through our support of pioneering individuals and organisations finding solutions to safeguard the planet for future generations,” said Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex Director of

Communication and Image.

Rolex is also a Founding Supporter of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures that is scheduled to open in Los Angeles this year. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum and hub for film lovers will have 50,000 square feet (4,650 square metres) of exhibition galleries and a 1,000-seat theatre, among other facilities.


The building, which will be the world’s pre-eminent film museum, will help people understand the arts and the sciences that create movie magic. Rolex will host a gallery retracing the history of film in which the brand has played a role. Through the museum, Rolex aspires to assist in the preservation of film history and the

transmission of filmmaking knowledge to future generations.

In the world of cinema, Rolex counts among its Testimonees preeminent Directors Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Alejandro G. I..rritu and Martin Scorsese, who have collectively won 57 Academy Awards.. They personify excellence in their craft and are committed to passing on their wisdom to young filmmakers. As directors, they recognise the importance of capturing moments in time, with their works serving as an artistic interpretation of the world around us. These four filmmakers strive for excellence that is perpetual and they inspire the next generation to pursue ideas with the uncompromising passion that characterises their own work.

For decades, these pioneers have considered Rolex watches as veritable tools in their efforts to push back physical and mental boundaries and attested to their reliability in the planet’s most challenging environments.

Adam Scott


The first and only woman to win an Academy Award. for Best

Director, Kathryn Bigelow’s command of visual narrative, her

tenacity and her choice of subjects that have the ability to provoke

change, have redefined the landscape of cinema today. The American director also produces and writes for many of her films.


Bigelow co-wrote and directed her first feature film, The Loveless, in 1981, and in the late 1980s and 1990s directed a trilogy of action films; with Blue Steel (1989), Point Break (1991) and Strange Days (1995), she challenged the conventions of that genre. Her status as a Hollywood heavyweight was confirmed with the political action- thrillers The Hurt Locker in 2008 and Zero Dark Thirty in 2012.


For The Hurt Locker, Bigelow won Academy Awards. for Best Picture and Best Director. With her most recent production, Detroit (2017), Bigelow directed and produced a film based on the 1967 Detroit riots, exploring race-related violence in the United States. Her films provoke an examination of society and have established the director as a true auteur.

“If you think about those people that have really shaped you, they never leave you,” says Bigelow. “You can never unlearn what you learn, you can never unknow what you know.” She also tells emerging filmmakers to “strive, to not compromise, ever”.


James Cameron is an acclaimed filmmaker and explorer. As director, writer and producer, he is responsible for some of the most memorable films of the past three decades: The Terminator (1984),  Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991),

True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009).


Cameron’s films have blazed a trail for their artistic realisation and

for advanced visual effects, setting numerous performance records

in the United States and internationally. Titanic held the record for

the highest grossing film in history for 12 years, only surpassed by

Avatar, which maintained that record for another decade.


The Director’s films have also earned numerous nominations and awards. Most notably, Titanic received 14 Academy Award nominations and won 11 Oscars., both records, including three Oscars  for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing.

The Award-winning Canadian filmmaker delights in precision; attention to detail in films, he believes, helps to transport viewers

into the world that a movie presents.

Cameron has worn a Rolex for several decades and the brand's

watches appear organically in his films, including in Titanic, for

which he gave the late actor Bill Paxton a Rolex Submariner to

wear during filming.

“We build on the shoulders of the people who came before us.

We see the example, it excites us and we say ‘I want to do that, or

my version of that’,” notes Cameron. “Then we have to pass on

what we know to a new generation.”


The winner of two consecutive Oscars. for Best Director (Birdman in 2015 and The Revenant in 2016), Alejandro G. Iñárritu is known for his exploration of the human condition, coupled with his visual style, which have established him as a force to be reckoned with. His debut feature film, the 2000 drama Amores Perros, was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar., and his two Best Director Oscars. have earned the Mexican filmmaker a place in movie history next to Hollywood legends John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Among his latest work, CARNE y ARENA (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible), is a conceptual virtual reality installation based on true accounts that allows the viewer to experience a fragment of the personal journeys undertaken by refugees. First presented at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, it was awarded a special Oscar at the 9th Annual Governors Awards, Iñárritu's fifth Academy Award. The Academy stated it was presenting the award to recognise a “visionary and powerful experience in storytelling”. Iñárritu describes a mentor as “someone who helps you see something within yourself, something that you had not seen and who gives you the confidence to carry it out. I would like to be there for someone else, in much the same way as [my mentors] were there for me.”


Martin Scorsese is a towering figure in the history of cinema, a director, producer and screenwriter whose career spans 50 years and as many films, many of which are considered some of the greatest ever made. He is a passionate film lover who has raised our consciousness of film preservation.


Scorsese grew up in New York’s Little Italy and made his first

films in the late 1960s. He redefined our ideas of what was possible

in movies with such classics as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). His unique combination of artistry, charisma and generosity continue to inspire filmmakers and audiences all over the world. Details play a crucial role in telling a story on screen and in many of his most iconic films, Scorsese has chosen to feature Rolex watches, with a preference for the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date.


Scorsese credits one of his university lecturers in New York with

setting him on the path to greatness: “He set a fire in our hearts...

If you were crazy enough to think you have got to make a movie,

he was the one who inspired you.”


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