facebook pixel
  • Watch Certification Services of America100% Certified Authentic


    The Trusted Name in Authenticated Luxury Timepieces

    Every watch on our site is 100% certified authentic. Certificates are issued by WatchCSA, the industry's leading independent authority on watch authentication.




The Rolex Watches of Che Guevara

June 3, 2016

BY Paul Altieri

Vintage Rolex Explorer

A Vintage Rolex Explorer.

Precision Timekeeping in a High-End Tool Watch

Although Rolex watches are an international symbol of wealth, success and personal accomplishment, they can often be found on the wrists of the most unexpected individuals. Rolex has always produced precision timekeeping devices; however they were historically viewed as high-end tool watches, rather than luxury items. As a result, some of the most interesting and unexpected figures throughout history have chosen to wear a Rolex.

stainless steel Submariner Date

The Stainless Steel Submariner Date is a great watch.

As a communist revolutionary leader, Ernesto “Che” Guevara did not affix a great deal of value to many material possessions. Despite a general disdain for wealth, excess, and inequality, Che Guevara actually owned several different Rolex collections throughout his lifetime.

1962 rolex submariner 5512 dial

Close up of the 1962 Rolex Submariner-5512 Dial

Rolex watches have never been considered inexpensive; however, they previously occupied a much more accessible price range. As a point of reference, a stainless steel Submariner Date retailed for $180 in 1957. Adjusting for inflation, that would still only be equal to roughly $1,600 today. To add some additional perspective, a brand-new, stainless steel Submariner Date now costs $8,550.

vintage submariner 5512 1962

A vintage submariner 5512 from 1962 is a watch that collectors should add to their watch box.

It is very likely that Che Guevara wore an early reference Submariner during the first part of his revolutionary career; however the watch that most frequently makes an appearance in pictures with him, is his GMT-Master, reference 1675 – a gift from fellow communist leader, Fidel Castro.

Wrist Shot Rolex GMT 1675

A Wrist Shot a vintage Rolex GMT 1675.

Castro was a huge fan of Rolex watches; many photographs exist of him simultaneously wearing two different Rolex on the same wrist. One was set to local time in Havana; the other displayed the time in Moscow. Castro liked the brand so much that he frequently gave out Rolex watches to his high-level commanders and associates.

gmt master 1675 rolex tropical dial

GMT Master 1675 with Tropical Dial actually increases the price of a watch.

It is confirmed that Che Guevara received at least two different Rolex watches from Castro during the late 1950’s and 1960’s. Precision timepieces were a necessary item of equipment for field commanders, especially in the pre-quartz watch era. An accurate watch was crucial for coordinating and synchronizing military operations, and the reliability and precision of Rolex watches made them an obvious choice.

The first Rolex Guevara received was in 1958 when Castro promoted him to the position of Comandante; however, less than a year later, Che gave that very same watch to his father. In 1966, Castro gave Guevara a second Rolex – right before he left Cuba for Bolivia.

Vintage Rolex Submariner-Black Dial-Patina Markers-1977

Vintage Rolex Submariner-Black Dial-Patina Markers-1967

When Che Guevara was killed on October 9th, 1967, CIA operative Félix Rodríguez removed Guevara’s Rolex GMT-Master from the wrist of his corpse; the watch remains in his possession to this day. A unique quality about Rolex is the brand’s ability to fit in among different income levels and lifestyles. From movie stars to soldiers, U.S. presidents to communist revolutionaries, it appears as though everyone can appreciate the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Rolex watches.

Vintage Rolex Submariner Wrist Shot-Stainless Steel-1967

Vintage Rolex Submariner Wrist Shot-Stainless Steel-1967



2 Responses to “The Rolex Watches of Che Guevara”

  1. Jorge "Coco" Ledezma says:

    The information about the whereabouts of Che’s Rolex is inaccurate. According to the book of the Bolivian military commander who fought Che’s guerrilla Gary Prado Salmón. He was the one that got to keep the watch. Later he gave the watch to a Cuban diplomat to be given to Che’s relatives.
    Later he (Prado Salmon) revived another Rolex from Fidel Castro as a token of gratitude.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Che Guevara definitely owned more than two Rolexes throughout his lifetime. I’ve seen a few photos of him wearing his Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner and those photos were taken in 1963. So there is no doubt that he had a Rolex watch during his years in Cuba.

Leave a Reply

  • This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

    Error: API requests are being delayed. New posts will not be retrieved.

    There may be an issue with the Instagram access token that you are using. Your server might also be unable to connect to Instagram at this time.

    Error: API requests are being delayed for this account. New posts will not be retrieved.

    There may be an issue with the Instagram access token that you are using. Your server might also be unable to connect to Instagram at this time.

  • Get The Best Deals - Buy A Rolex
    Sell A Rolex

    "The most trusted place to buy or sell a used luxury timepiece" – WSJ

    • AWCI
    • Jewelers Board of Trade
    • IWJG
    • TrustLock
    • Spirit of Enterprise
    • PayPal Verified
    • Inc 500
    • FedEx
    • UPS
    • The Hartford

    Bob's Watches is an independent watch dealer and is not sponsored by, associated with and/or affiliated with Rolex S.A., Rolex USA, or any other brand listed on its website. Bob's Watches only sells pre-owned watches and provides its own warranties on the watches it sells. The brand names and associated model names for Rolex, OMEGA and other manufacturers are the trademarks of their respective owners.