Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Rolex and Cinema: Writing History Side By Side

In perpetual evolution, Rolex continues its commitment to supporting the film infront and behind the camera

Oct 23, 2023 | By Sanjeeva Suresh

Rolex and cinema both share a powerful convergence of imagination and artistic excellence. Onscreen, the Rolex watch enriches the identity of the characters who wear them with its crafted symbolism. When an actor chooses to wear a Rolex watch, its presence on their wrist adds coded information to the plot. The personal effect lends the character a possible history, past and destiny. Rolex goes beyond appearances and cameos on the silver screen, the Swiss manufacturer also encourages the preservation and transmission of the cinematic arts.

Rolex: A Proud Sponsor of the Oscars®

Both Rolex and cinema share a commonality — they are aspirational and inspire ambition. The landscape of cinema is ever-changing and like Rolex, is in perpetual movement. Rolex continues to maintain close ties with the cinematic industry in an effort to support the world of arts and culture. From being adorned by both dynamic and mythical characters in numerous films (including multiple Oscar-winning masterpieces) to supporting the artistic and technical excellence in filmmaking, as seen on cinematic legends Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. Through its partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Rolex promotes excellence and celebrates progress by accompanying living legends as well as budding talents. 

Rolex has had a longstanding history with Hollywood going back to 1926 but in 2017, two major events would cement Rolex’s longstanding association with the film industry. Firstly, director Martin Scorsese joined James Cameron as a Rolex Testimonee. That same year, the brand sealed its partnership with the film industry’s highest authority, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Rolex then became the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences alongside a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures that opened in Los Angeles in September 2021. Rolex is also the Proud Sponsor of the Oscars and Exclusive Sponsor of the Governors Awards which marks the beginning of the Oscars award season. They honour the great names of cinema and are presented in recognition of a lifetime of remarkable achievements.

The Rolex Experience

Rolex is the official host of the Greenroom, at the Oscars’ antechamber. Nominees and presenters gather inside this lounge before and after stepping onto the stage at the Oscars ceremony, some returning with the coveted golden statuette. Each year Rolex develops a unique immersive experience and a new decor for the Oscars’ Greenroom.

Rolex Testimonees: Two Revolutionary Filmmakers

In the Rolex universe, two Academy-Award winning directors are in a league of their own for both their contribution to their chosen medium and by harnessing a passion for innovation to captivate any audience. The work of James Cameron is as masterful as it is ambitious. One of the most daring being 1997’s Titanic which saw Cameron descended alone to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, inside the a submersible of his own design dubbed the “Deepsea Challenger”. With his remarkable dives, he successfully created 3D reconstructions of a rusting luxury ship on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean, pushing it into the minds of audiences across the globe. Cameron once again pushed the boundaries of human, technical and artistic achievement with Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to 2009’s Avatar which in itself was already a technical benchmark.

With 26 feature films multiple award and accolades to his name, Martin Scorsese combines with his capacity to create an atmosphere on-set that gives actors the confidence to improvise. Having explored just about every genre in film from period pieces to thrillers, Noir to musicals and of course, psychological dramas. Both Rolex and Scorsese are steeped in the legacy of the greatest, driven by a perpetual quest for modernity. A Scorsese movie offers a unique vision while sensitively exploring the human condition. He pays tribute to filmmaking’s acclaimed auteurs while maintaining a creative dialogue with younger generations through artistic collaborations and through his involvement with the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

The Rolex Mentor And Protégé Arts Initiative

Spike Lee, mentor in film, with his protégé, Kyle Bell.

Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative was established in 2002 to enable an exchange between different generations of talented creatives, to assist in perpetuating the world’s cultural heritage. Since then nine of the 63 mentor and protégé duos have been in film. Each protégé is a young talent whose work has been scouted widely, including at festivals or from the Oscars’ shortlist. The mentors are all filmmaking greats and include Stephen Frears, Martin Scorsese, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mira Nair, Walter Murch, Zhang Yimou, Alfonso Cuarón, Spike Lee and Jia Zhang-Ke. Between 2020 and 2022, the programme addressed film, theatre, the visual arts and an open category; while mentorships in architecture, film, literature, music and visual arts are taking place from 2023 to 2024.

 A Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum

As a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Rolex reaffirms its commitment to spotlighting talent and fostering excellence by ensuring that knowledge and skills are passed on to future generations. The museum shines a light on the past, present and future of film bringing visitors into the unique world of cinema through original exhibitions, screenings, publications, educational programmes and exceptional collections. Presenting the diverse, international and complex stories of moviemakers, the museum displays a vast selection of objects relating to film production and film technology. These include the sole surviving shark from the filming of Jaws — made from the original mould — and associated-items from Alfred Hitchcock to Bruce Lee.

How a Watch Informs a Character

When a character wears a Rolex watch, this is an artistic choice made by the actors and directors. Thanks to these watches and their screen presence, Rolex is indissociable from the world of film.

Like a Rolex watch, films are ingrained in our memories and aspirations.

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