Cinema set

Rolex and cinema

Through its Perpetual Arts Initiative, Rolex celebrates excellence in film and encourages the transmission of the cinematic arts to new generations. It promotes progress by accompanying living legends as well as young talents through its Testimonees (Martin Scorsese and James Cameron), its partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the institution, the awards and the Academy Museum in Los Angeles), Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation and the Rolex mentoring programme.

AMPAS logo

Writing History side by side

In 1926, the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, invented a revolutionary waterproof wristwatch that made headlines – the Oyster. Just months later, audiences marvelled at The Jazz Singer, the first ever talkie. These two moments in time signaled the arrival of both modern filmmaking and modern watchmaking.

In 1931, Rolex introduced another visionary breakthrough to the Oyster: a self-winding mechanism with a free rotor, named the Perpetual rotor.

Meanwhile, cinema saw colour make its big-screen debut.

From then on, Rolex and cinema would always resonate with the times. To this day, they continue to share a quest for excellence, innovation and progress, which encourages the greatest aspirations.

First Oyster Perpetual

Rolex on and off the screen

Decade after decade, a growing cast of celebrities would wear a Rolex onscreen. As their watch of choice, the greatest actors and directors would, in turn, reflect on the watch and bestow it with their own charisma and flair. But after being a guest star on their wrist, both in front and behind the camera, Rolex would soon take on a starring role.

What do the different Rolex watches tell us about the characters who wear them?

A watch, a character

Rolex watches enrich the identity of the characters who wear them with their powerful symbolism. That they should appear in so many films is no coincidence. When a character wears a Rolex watch, this is an artistic choice made by the actors and directors. Thanks to these watches and their screen presence, Rolex is indissociable from the world of film.

A Rolex is a story in itself

When an actor chooses to wear a Rolex watch, its presence on their wrist adds information to the plot. The personal effect lends the character a possible history, past and destiny. It reveals something of the temperament, taste, values, aspirations and mindset of the person who wears it.


Network (1976), Faye Dunaway; Warner Brothers/MGM

The Fugitive kind

The Fugitive Kind (1960), Marlon Brando and Joanne Woodward; MGM

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 (1995), Unidentifiable extras; Universal

The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects (1995), Gabriel Byrne; Paramount/MGM


Frantic (1988), Harrison Ford and Betty Buckley; Warner Brothers

Rolex fosters the promotion and celebration of excellence, the perpetuation of knowledge, the conservation of the art and the rise of new talent.

Rolex and Hollywood

In 2017, two major events would cement the longstanding association between Rolex and the film industry. Firstly, director Martin Scorsese joined James Cameron as a Rolex Testimonee. And the same year, the brand sealed its partnership with the film industry’s highest authority, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rolex became the Exclusive Watch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Proud Sponsor of the Oscars®, and Exclusive Sponsor of the Governors Awards. The brand is also a Founding Supporter and Official Watch of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures that opened in Los Angeles in September 2021.

Rolex accordingly promotes excellence, the perpetuation of knowledge, the conservation of the art and rise of new talent. The Academy’s mission is to celebrate all aspects of the film industry, preserve its legacy for future generations, spark inspiration, and connect global audiences through their passion for cinema. Hence, it is the convergence of values between Rolex and the Academy which is underscored through this long-term partnership.