Watch & Jewellery
THE KING OF COOL: The Story of Steve McQueen's Rolex Submariner
Text by Justin Ng | Photos courtesy of Rolex
21.06.2018
McQueen's Rolex Submariner
McQueen's Rolex Submariner
McQueen's Rolex Submariner
McQueen's Rolex Submariner
McQueen's Rolex Submariner
McQueen's Rolex Submariner with McQueen Jumpsuit
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The King of Cool”, they called him. Whether it was flying airplanes, racing cars as a teenager or joining the Marines, Steve McQueen had become cool personified in the eyes of many. A rebel, a loner and a fighter in part due to his turbulent upbringing, McQueen brought a tenacity and ferocity to his work that quickly established him as one of the most popular actors in Hollywood history. In many ways, both on –screen and off-screen, he had become the prototypical American male at a time when counterculture was at the height of its prowess during the 1960s. He was the anti-hero, the one who went against the odds and whom actively sought to do things his way. Quite perfectly, the tale of his Rolex Submariner, which he had gifted to his personal stuntman Loren Janes, shares a similar story of endurance and perseverance. Close friends for life having worked together in over 19 major motion pictures, Janes and McQueen maintained direct contact until McQueen’s final trip to Mexico for medical treatment. With McQueen being known to gift watches to friends and colleagues that acquitted themselves particularly well, it was obvious that Janes would also be the receiver of such a watch. The Rolex Submariner was also the perfect gift for a man who had risked his life for McQueen on many occasions, a, sturdy and resilient invention that reflected his character. What makes Janes’ watch unique, compared to other Rolex Submariners belonging to McQueen that have gone public, is its level of personalization. The watch was gifted to Loren Janes in the mid-tolate 1970s, according to surviving members of the Janes' family, yet the watch itself was the earliest McQueen-owned Submariner known, is the earliest McQueen-owned Submariner known, a reference 5513 dating to 1964. In addition, it is the only known Steve McQueen watch to include his name engraved on the caseback. Inscribed on it reads, “TO LOREN, THE BEST DAMN STUNTMAN IN THE WORLD, STEVE”, a resounding affirmation to Janes signified by the endearing and personalized engraving that no other McQueen-owned timepiece features. Belonging to an incredible stuntman who hardly got injured throughout his career, the Submariner had a stunt of its own to pull. In 2016, just outside the Los Angeles area, a wildfire (known as the Sand Fire) that lasted for nearly two weeks resulted in over 40,000 acres of land being destroyed. Of the eighteen buildings that were brought down, one of them was unfortunately the home of Loren Janes and his wife. Almost all of their personal belongings had been destroyed by the fire, and Loren Janes believed he had lost everything valuable. However, recognising the durability of the Rolex Submariners, a consignor who had heard about the tragic news and the Loren family encouraged them to search for the missing Submariner. Astoundingly, after a few days of non-stop shovelling, they were eventually able to recover the Submariner, with its priceless caseback still perfectly intact. Examined and restored by Rolex U.S.A, they will tell you that there is still soot wedged between the Rolex bracelet clasp and on the caseback, as a constant reminder of its incredible story and enduring struggle. Gifted by Steve McQueen to his stuntman Loren Janes, the Submariner signifies a bond that is forever present and a tribute to two figures who persevered and fought to be different. This Rolex Submariner, even with its chances of survival being zero to none, was able to defy the odds. With its auction impending in New York, it is without doubt the single most important watch associated with the King of Cool.

 

rolex.com

 



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