The story of Steve McQueen’s Rolex Submariner – soon up for auction

6 June, 2018 | After Paul Newman’s watch fetched a record $17.8mil, Phillips have announced that they’ll be auctioning a Steve McQueen Rolex Daytona later this year. But it gets better.

Steve McQueen's Rolex goes on sale in October

Image courtesy of Phillips

Phillips are due to auction Steve McQueen’s Rolex Submariner in October of this year, but it wasn’t actually McQueen’s watch for very long. That’s because this particular watch of the legendary man’s man was gifted to McQueen’s stuntman, Loren Janes, back in the 70s. Janes and McQueen met on the set of Wanted: Dead or Alive, and went on to do another 18 films together – that’s out of the total 27 films McQueen ever did.

The watch-  a testament to an obvious bond –  is inscribed, ‘To Loren, the best damn stuntman in the world. Steve’, and has survived at least one major fire.

Steve McQueen's Rolex Submariner

That would be the 2016 wildfire of Los Angeles that killed two, and destroyed Janes’ house, along with his collection of Hollywood memorabilia, including his gift from McQueen.  After it was reported that the Submariner was lost, a wisened collector, Michael Eisenberg, became suspicious – a Rolex would likely have survived a fire. Eisenberg got hold of the Janes family, who sifted through the ruins to find the watch a few days later.

The Submariner is being called ‘the single most important watch associated with Steve McQueen to ever appear publicly’, and is considered one of the few collectible items ever to be rendered more valuable through a fire, as even Phillips seem to suggest, ‘The soot wedged between the Rolex bracelet clasp and on the caseback is indeed still present.’ The watch is expected to fetch between $300 000 and $600 000.

Get more timepiece news in our Watches and Jewellery section.


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