A Rolex GMT-Master worn by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now is set to be auctioned by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo.
The themed auction, called “Game Changers,” takes place in New York City on 10 December. It will feature timepieces owned by celebrities, or as Phillips refers to them: “extraordinary people who are considered game changers in their fields.”
The sale will also include a Rolex Day-Date owned by Jack Nicklaus, as well as collectors’ models that have changed the course of watchmaking and watch collecting. They will be offered “alongside other important timepieces that are outliers in terms of provenance, aesthetics, condition and rarity,” says Phillips.
Marlon Brando Rolex GMT-Master. PHILLIPS
Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675 was manufactured in Y 1972. It has a black strap, and the bezel has been removed.
Mr. Brando wore it in the Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now. Mr. Brando told his daughter that when he wore the watch to the set of the movie, he was told he had to remove it during filming, as it would stand out. He argued that “if they’re looking at my watch, then I’m not doing my job as an actor.”
They let him wear the watch, but he removed the bezel, resulting in the unique-looking timepiece that is so closely association with Colonel Kurtz.
In the movie, released in Y 1979, in which he played the character Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, a former Green Beret who, during the Vietnam War, went rogue running his military unit in Cambodia.
Brando hand-engraved the watch himself, etching “M. Brando” on the caseback. He acquired it in Y 1970 and it remained in his possession until Y 1995, when he gifted it to his daughter, Petra Brando Fischer following her graduation from Brown University, before she went to law school at the University of Southern California.
In a note to her at the time, he wrote: “This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going.”