ROLEX. A FAMED AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC DUAL-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH DATE, THE CASEBACK HAND-ENGRAVED ‘M. BRANDO’ BY MARLON BRANDO HIMSELF
ROLEX. A FAMED AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC DUAL-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH DATE, THE CASEBACK HAND-ENGRAVED ‘M. BRANDO’ BY MARLON BRANDO HIMSELF
ROLEX. A FAMED AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC DUAL-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH DATE, THE CASEBACK HAND-ENGRAVED ‘M. BRANDO’ BY MARLON BRANDO HIMSELF
5 More
ROLEX. A FAMED AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC DUAL-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH DATE, THE CASEBACK HAND-ENGRAVED ‘M. BRANDO’ BY MARLON BRANDO HIMSELF
8 More
ROLEXMARLON BRANDO’S LEGENDARY REF. 1675 GMT-MASTERWORN IN FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S ICONIC MOVIE ‘APOCALYPSE NOW’
ROLEX. A FAMED AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC DUAL-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH DATE, THE CASEBACK HAND-ENGRAVED ‘M. BRANDO’ BY MARLON BRANDO HIMSELF

SIGNED ROLEX, GMT-MASTER MODEL, REF.1675, CASE NO. 3’245’836, CIRCA 1972

Details
ROLEX. A FAMED AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC DUAL-TIME WRISTWATCH WITH DATE, THE CASEBACK HAND-ENGRAVED ‘M. BRANDO’ BY MARLON BRANDO HIMSELF
SIGNED ROLEX, GMT-MASTER MODEL, REF.1675, CASE NO. 3’245’836, CIRCA 1972
Movement: Automatic
Dial: Black
Case: 39 mm. diam., back hand engraved by Marlon Brando ‘M. Brando’
With: Two signed provenance letters from Petra Brando Fischer and Caroline Barrett and two additional custom 'M B' straps designed by Attila Aszodi
Provenance
Marlon Brando (1924-2004), worn during the filming of the 1979 movie ‘Apocalypse Now’.
1995 – gifted to his daughter, Petra Brando Fischer.
Sold Phillips New York, 10 December 2019, lot 30
Further details
SHOULD YOU WISH TO BID ON THIS LOT, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A HIGH VALUE PADDLE
Sale room notice
The lot is offered with two signed provenance letters from Petra Brando Fischer and Caroline Barrett and two additional custom 'M B' straps designed by Attila Aszodi

Please note that the estimate for this lot has now changed.
Please note that this lot is now subject to a minimum price guarantee, which has been financed through a third party and who may be receiving a fee.
Please see the Conditions of Sale for further information.

Brought to you by

Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Watches, Europe and Americas

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Lot Essay

This world-famous Rolex GMT-Master was worn by one of the great actors of the 20th century and Academy Award® winner, Marlon Brando, during the filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic 1979 movie ‘Apocalypse Now’ in his role as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Unique with its highly distinctive aesthetic, this Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675 has been seen by millions of movie goers over the last 44 years. Thought to have been lost until sold by Brando’s daughter, Petra Brando Fischer at auction in 2019 when it was acquired by the present owner, this remarkable movie-worn Rolex is perhaps the ultimate piece of Brando memorabilia and one of the most important historic Rolex wristwatches in private hands.

Most fascinatingly, Marlon Brando customized this reference 1675 GMT-Master so that it became uniquely his own and it is indeed unmistakable for any other watch. The bezel was removed at Brando’s request for the filming of ‘Apocalypse Now’. Petra Brando Fischer told the story of the bezel’s removal as follows: “….he wore the watch to the set of Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, and was told that he had to remove it during filming, as it would stand out. Brando said that he argued, “If they’re looking at my watch, then I’m not doing my job as an actor.” He said that the filmmakers let him wear the watch, but he removed the bezel.

Moreover, in addition to removing the bezel, Brando himself hand-engraved the caseback “M. Brando”, a wonderful and personal touch that forever leaves his indelible imprint and preserves it for all time in this superb Rolex.

Also an extremely well-preserved example of the reference, this 1972 Rolex GMT-Master is offered here in the same condition and with the same rubber strap that it was received by Petra Brando Fischer in 1995, it has since been equally cared for and preserved by its present owner. The case has evidently never been polished and retains full proportions with the bevels, curves and sharp edges remaining after more than fifty years. The Mark IV dial is equally impressive, the luminous hour markers and hands have aged beautifully to the parchment tone so appreciated by collectors of Vintage Rolex sports watches.

Christie’s is delighted to have the opportunity to present to an international audience, this world-class object and legendary Rolex timepiece, formerly the very personal possession of an undoubted 20th century icon of the big screen.

The Provenance of Marlon Brando’s Rolex Ref. 1675
Owned by Marlon Brando since the early 1970s, the watch was given by Brando to his adopted daughter, Petra Brando Fischer. Her mother, Caroline Barrett, was Brando’s assistant and later partner. The story of the present watch was recounted in 2019 as follows:

“Almost 20 years after the filming of Apocalypse Now, in 1995, Brando gifted the watch to Petra following her graduation from Brown University in 1994. According to Petra, the present watch had a special place in his heart and he treasured it, rather than wearing it continuously. Brando gave Petra a hand-written letter, addressed to “Petra (dream girl)” in which he wrote that he was proud of her accomplishments, then gave her this GMT-Master and said, “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.” In 2003, Petra gifted the watch to her husband, Russel, on their wedding night. He appreciated its significance and has cherished it ever since, having chosen to never wear it.”

Apocalypse Now
The 1979 American epic war film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The screenplay, co-written by Coppola, John Millius and Michael Herr, is loosely based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, with the setting changed from late 19th century Congo to the Vietnam War. The film follows a river journey from South Vietnam into Cambodia undertaken by Captain Willard, played by Martin Sheen, to assassinate Colonel Kurz, played by Marlon Brando, a renegade Special Forces officer who is accused of murder and presumed insane.

Apocalypse Now was honored with the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered unfinished. When it was finally released on August 15, 1979, by United Artists, it performed well at the box office, grossing $40 million domestically and eventually over $100 million worldwide. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Coppola), and Best Supporting Actor, it went on to win Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
Apocalypse Now is today considered one of the greatest films ever made; for instance, it ranked 14th and 19th in Sight & Sound’s greatest films poll in 2012 and 2022. In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

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