[: En]“Every Rolex has a story to tell”. This is one of those phrases that immediately generates great expectations, and if you think like us you are not mistaken.
Without fear of being denied, it can be said that the star watch of 2017 was the 1968 Rolex Daytona that belonged to Paul Newman, auctioned by Phillips and sold for a staggering price. The selling price was not only the highest ever for a Rolex, but the highest ever for a wristwatch sold at auction.
Steve McQueen's Submariner, like Paul Newman's Daytona, packs a amazing story to tell which in some ways is intertwined with two of his most important films "La grande fuga"and "Crystall's hello ”(with Paul Newman among the protagonists, ed).
McQueen bought the Rolex 5513 for about $ 250 in the mid-60s, plus a Rolex 5512 "meter first”From 1967 then sold by Antiquorum in 2009 for $ 234K which he personally wore off the set but also in some films such as“ The Hunter ”and“ Crystal Inferno ”.
Il Rolex Submariner 5513 was given by McQueen in the late 70s to his stuntman and friend Loren Janes. The binomial McQueen-Janes began in 1958 with the shooting of the TV series "Wanted Dead or Alive”And then continue for 19 other films - including Bullitt, Gateway and Thomas Crown case - where Janes acted as stunt double for Steve in most of his most famous scenes. Janes was not only Steve McQueen's stunt double, but also one of the few people close to him in show business, so much so that he was one of his best friends and personal 'advisor'.
For decades, the watch donated by McQueen went missing, until July 2016, when a massive fire broke out in Los Angeles County for over two weeks. Among the houses affected by this catastrophe, also the one where Janes and his wife lived for over 20 years.
This is where it comes in Mr Michael Eisenberg, Beverly Hills real estate broker and great collector of memorabilia: just think that even before Paul Newman's Daytona went up for auction, he negotiated the purchase privately with the owner "I really wanted to buy it. I had the availability to do it, but obviously it was nowhere near the price it was sold for". But let's get back to us ..
At the time Eisenberg read an article about how Loren Janes and wife lost all their belongings in that tragic event, including part of those related to Janes career: a knife used by Sylvester Stallone on the Rambo set and the Rolex Submariner given to him by Steve McQueen.
“I begged Erika and her son to go back to the house and sift through the ashes. A few weeks later they called me back and told me they had found it, ”says Michael Eisenberg
Surviving the fire, the Rolex 5513 was sent via a Rolex dealer in Beverly Hills to the Rolex headquarters in New York, which brought the watch back to life, preserving its condition as well as the precious engraved caseback.
Rolex accompanied the watch by addressing a letter to Janes' daughter:
" The story he graciously shared with our official Rolex dealer is an incredible testament to the longevity of a Rolex timepiece. His father, with a devotion to his craft, to his stunt friends, to those he acted as stunt double - including his friend and donor of this watch - Mr. Steve McQueen, and his family, represent the traits of the true Excellence. We are really proud that he chose to wear a Rolex Submariner. "
After the restoration, Eisenberg made an offer - the figure of which was not disclosed - to Janes' family, which he accepted after commissioning several estimates.
The watch will be auctioned by Phillips Bacs & Russo a New York on October 25th of this year.
The starting price will be between $ 300,000 and $ 600,000 but the hype around this Rolex Submariner 'SteveMcQueen' it is likely to exceed one million. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Janes family and to Boys Republic, a charity that McQueen had a lot to heart, having grown up there before he became The King of Cool.
Few stars of the past are able to exude as much glamor as Steve McQueen's. One of a kind character, a legend that grows stronger despite the passage of time. An actor who just had to act with his eyes. A love for the fairer sex, second only to motorbike and car racing. The emblem of that reckless life, inspiration for past, present and future generations.[:]