Marlon Brando’s Rolex From ‘Apocalypse Now’ Is Up For Auction
Marlon Brando has donned many titles: Hollywood legend, activist and watch aficionado. One of his most famous timepieces was the Rolex GMT, which featured a missing bezel along with a case engraved with the actor’s signature.
The stainless steel watch shot to Hollywood stardom when Brando wore it in the epic 1979 war film Apocalypse Now, but it hadn’t been seen publicly since—until recently.
Phillips announced that the storied accessory will be part of a thematic auction in New York City called “Game Changers” on December 10. Paul Boutros, the head of watches at Phillips, told the New York Times that the watch is expected to have a starting bid “in the six figures.”
The reason behind its disappearance? It was stored inside a family dresser.
Brando gave the Rolex GMT to his daughter, Petra Brando Fischer, as a university graduation gift in 1995. In an interview with the New York Times, Brando Fischer recalled her father telling her, “This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going. I want you to have it as a reminder of how proud I am of you.”
She then passed it on to her husband, Russel Fischer, as a wedding present in 2003. Her better half didn’t realise the watch’s Hollywood history and kept it stored in their home.
Twelve years later, another Hollywood legend, Paul Newman, posthumously made headlines when his famous Rolex watch was sold at an auction for US$17.8 million. That piqued Brando Fischer’s interest in their family heirloom.
“I just feel like it’s lost in our drawer at home,” she said.
To honour her father’s activism, a portion of the item’s proceeds will fund a foundation that helps underprivileged children.
“He put himself at risk for all his beliefs,” Brando Fischer said. “He hated oppression. He despised racism. I think he was really before his time.”