Rolex pulled off a major coup at the Oscars this year by both sponsoring the event and airing a clever commercial featuring a highlight reel of the major appearances by their watches in movies over the years – but there were some glaring omissions in the latter. Why were certain iconic scenes and timepieces left out? There are most likely two reasons – either Rolex was unable to secure the required rights to air them, or they felt the message was a bit too far off center. Rolex, of course, doesn’t pay for product placements, and though we can’t imagine the (est.) $10 billion company really had any budget constraints for putting the commercial together, they may have balked at paying really ridiculous prices – they are Swiss after all.
Rolex in Movies
The most glaring omission was, of course, the complete absence of James Bond. Rolexes have appeared in a number of Bond films though the two most famous examples can be found below. We assume that either Eon Productions, producer of the Bond films, wanted a truly insane amount of money, or declined to provide footage due to its (extremely lucrative) deal with Omega. The other unconscionable omission was of Steve McQueen, the King of Cool himself, devotee of the brand and the man responsible for much of the modern Rolex’s alluring and highly luxurious timepieces. Of course, 1980’s The Hunter, the only film in which he recognizably sports a Rolex, may have been too violent for the controversy-shy company.
Here are five great movie Rolexes you didn’t see on Oscars night:
Sean Connery, Dr. No
In 1962 when 007 made his big screen debut with Sean Connery in the starring role, he wore the now iconic Ref. 6538 “Big Crown” Submariner.
Roger Moore, Live and Let Die
The second best Bond watch is also the most famous gadget watch that came courtesy of Q branch; a Ref. 5513 equipped with buzzsaw bezel and ability to generate a magnetic field.
Steve McQueen, The Hunter
McQueen was a Submariner fan in real life, and in his role as a bounty hunter in this 1980 flick, his very last, he sports a Ref. 5512.
Michael Caine, Get Carter
This 1971 British flick starring the great Sir Michael has become an iconic film thanks to its hard-boiled dialogue and great style, including a gold Day-Date on an alligator strap.
Image credit: MGM
Mel Gibson, Air America
This film about covert CIA operations in Laos features Gibson sporting a classic GMT-Master with a “Pepsi” dial – the perfect watch for a pilot.
BONUS: Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
Video credit: New Line Cinema
Baldwin plays uber-salesman Blake in David Mamet’s 1992 movie, and of course, he sports the ultimate status symbol, an 18k Day-Date. “Always be closing.”