There’s a watch to suit every style and budget, but if you really want to put something memorable on your wrist, mark your calendar: On December 10, Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, will auction off a Rolex GMT-Master owned by actor Marlon Brando, Forbes reports. Not only that, it’s the same watch he wore on set during the filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 classic Apocalypse Now. How’s that for a piece of history?
The watch is the same one worn by Brando’s character, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, in the film. Brando even engraved the watch himself, inscribing “M. Brando” on the caseback. According to a press release, the watch was long considered lost, but it has actually remained in the actor’s family for decades. Brando gave the watch to his daughter as a graduation gift in 1995, and then she gifted it to her husband on their wedding night in 2003.
“This Rolex GMT-Master is the holy grail of watches owned by Marlon Brando,” said Paul Boutros, Phillips’ Head of Watches, Americas, “and one of the greatest ‘long lost’ watches to finally surface after years of speculation.”
Although it’s famous for appearing in Apocalypse Now, the watch almost didn’t make it into the film. Brando was initially told to remove the watch before filming began, but he protested.
“If they’re looking at my watch,” he said, “then I’m not doing my job as an actor.”
He wore the watch, but removed the bezel—resulting in the unique look seen in the film.
The watch is one of several timepieces up for action by Phillips at the event, titled Game Changers, in December. According to Phillips, all of the watches were owned by “extraordinary people who are considered ‘game changers’ in their fields.”
Brando’s watch is in exceptional condition. The hour markers and hands have aged into a “a gorgeous shade of beige,” the press release states. It’s otherwise undamaged, and comes with a rubber strap—and without the bezel, just how Brando wore it. In a note to his daughter, he wrote about how the timepiece had served him well.
“This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going.”