Prestige (Singapore)


Rolex has played a leading role in some of cinema’s greatest hits, but the Swiss watch manufactur­e’s relationsh­ip with filmmaking is cemented in a greater passion to further creative excellence in this field.


THERE HAVE BEEN many glorious and powerful moments at the 2022 Oscars ceremony: for one, the event was hosted not by just one, but three stellar female performers, namely Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes. Then, there was the tear-jerking speech (even his interprete­r couldn’t keep the emotion from his voice) by Coda’s Troy Kotsur, the first deaf man to ever win an acting award at the ceremony. It was an evening of diversity, a celebratio­n of talents across diverse discipline­s, a visceral appreciati­on for cinematic crafts, and yes, heart and emotion.

This is the beauty of cinema – one that is evocative and emotional, and one that pays tribute to the richness of talent across a plethora of discipline­s. It’s one that has long been celebrated by Swiss watch manufactur­e Rolex. They have a symbiotic and long-standing relationsh­ip, which started rather serendipit­ously in fact. Arming a character in a movie or TV show with a Rolex timepiece served as a plot device to convey subtle cues about the character’s personalit­y.

It must be said that this was not blatant product placement; instead, these watches were chosen by the actors, directors and costume designers for their intangible cinematic value. What does a Rolex on the wrist suggest about the character? In a nutshell, with no words needed, it says that they have style, they are discerning, and they understand the social currency that Rolex affords. It’s a deliberate choice, and it’s no wonder that Rolex has played a starring role in many award-winning movies. Bill Paxton wore an Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date in Titanic, while Tom Cruise tried to pawn off an Oyster Perpetual Day-date in Rain Man.

One of the brand’s most ardent fans was undoubtedl­y Paul Newman, whose name has become synonymous with the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. He wore a Rolex in his personal life, and in his profession­al acting and racing careers as well. Most famously, Rolex featured on his wrist in the Oscar-winning The Colour of Money, for which he clinched the best actor accolade.

Rolex has long been associated with performers of style and substance, but its relationsh­ip with the world of cinema runs a lot deeper. Their histories are entwined, and both entities have played an instrument­al role in being leaders of innovation in their respective industries.

They both embody the values of progress, modernity and quality, with a constant quest to keep improving. At Rolex, this can be seen through its perpetual quest for watchmakin­g excellence. Cinema, too, is always evolving for the better. In fact, history shows that both Rolex and the cinematic industry laid the foundation­s of modern society as we know it today.

In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, released the first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster. A few months later, The Jazz Singer, the first movie with synchronis­ed dialogue, was released. Rolex then pioneered a change-making feature of modern watchmakin­g in 1931 when it invented the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. A true work of art, this ingenious system is at the heart of every modern automatic watch today. At the same time, another wave of change was sweeping through the cinematic industry with the launch of the first colour movie.

Today, Rolex continues to encourage the preservati­on of the cinematic arts, as well as celebrate excellence and progress in the field. It does these by accompanyi­ng living legends and budding talents through its Testimonee­s (Martin Scorsese and James Cameron), its partnershi­p with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the institutio­n, the awards and the Academy Museum in Los Angeles), and the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.


In 2017, Rolex partnered with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the foundation that was establishe­d in 1927 to further cinematic excellence. The partnershi­p extends to the institutio­n itself, the Academy Awards – more popularly known as the Oscars – and the newly opened Academy Museum in Los Angeles.

As a partner to the Academy, Rolex sponsors both The Governors Award and the Oscars. The former kickstarts the awards season and represents the pinnacle of achievemen­t and service towards the industry. Three awards are usually presented during the ceremony, namely the Academy Honorary Award, which celebrates lifetime achievemen­t; the Jean Hersholt Humanitari­an Award, which lauds personalit­ies who have used their platform to further a humanitari­an cause; and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award that honours creative producers. For 2022, actress Liv Ullmann; screenwrit­er, filmmaker and actress Elaine May; and actor Samuel L. Jackson were the recipients of the Honorary Award, while actor Danny Glover bagged the humanitari­an prize.

With these awards, Rolex harkens to its founder Han Wilsdorf’s declaratio­n that it is an “ode to a work done handsomely”. Its ambition is to promote and celebrate talent, and nurture new players in the scene. It also recognises excellence, and uses its leverage to further support the perpetuati­on of knowledge and skills.

Rolex is also the official host of the Oscars Greenroom, the holding room where cinema’s greatest talents gather before and after they present on stage – some with the gold statuettes in hand. Every year, the Swiss watch manufactur­e goes above and beyond to create a space that is evocative of the beauty of watchmakin­g combined with the magic of cinema. For the most recent ceremony, Art Deco-style wall panels saw elements from Rolex watches, arranged into mosaics to reproduce the skyline of cinema’s home, Los Angeles.

Joining these various decorative features were visuals from the latest Rolex campaign in a tribute to cinematic masterpiec­es. The script for The Path, shown during the 94th Oscars ceremony, was displayed inside the Greenroom.

The evocative campaign draws upon the parallels between the two enterprise­s and celebrates more than just technical excellence. Cinema, like a timepiece, is a moment stuck in time, but with the power to go beyond the constraint­s of the hours and minutes. Emotions linger long after the end-credits, questions raised have the ability to change one’s perspectiv­e on life, and many times, characters inspire us to be better versions of ourselves.


Behind every powerful moment lies the genius of a man or woman, whose imaginatio­n remains untethered and whose dreams loom large over our collective consciousn­ess. These are the personalit­ies that Rolex celebrates and supports as its Testimonee­s.

To that end, Rolex has partnered with filmmakers such as James Cameron and Martin Scorsese as a further commitment to its pursuance of cinematic virtuosity. Cameron’s relationsh­ip with the brand goes beyond the big screen. When he embarked on a bold solo expedition to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 10,908 metres, he wore an Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea.

Scorsese, the man behind award-winning movies such as Goodfellas and The Departed, is also part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Establishe­d over 20 years ago, the programme enables young talents to have access to the giants in their respective fields, ensuring that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on to the next generation. In addition, Rolex also supports The Film Foundation, a non-profit organisati­on founded by the auteur to protect and preserve motion picture history. Working in partnershi­p with archival institutio­ns and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 900 films. They are made accessible to the public through programmin­g at festivals, museums and schools around the world.

 ?? ?? Right: The 2022 Oscars Greenroom by Rolex, a Proud Sponsor of the Oscars ceremony since 2017
Opposite: Rolex is a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened in Los Angeles in September 2021
Right: The 2022 Oscars Greenroom by Rolex, a Proud Sponsor of the Oscars ceremony since 2017 Opposite: Rolex is a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened in Los Angeles in September 2021
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Gabriel Bryne in The
Usual Suspects (1995); filmmaker and Rolex Testimonee Martin Scorsese Opposite: Filmmaker, explorer and Rolex Testimonee James Cameron
From top: Actor Gabriel Bryne in The Usual Suspects (1995); filmmaker and Rolex Testimonee Martin Scorsese Opposite: Filmmaker, explorer and Rolex Testimonee James Cameron

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