Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fidel Castro Belongs To The Ages...

...Rolex Revolutionary...

Fidel Castro

Belongs To The Ages


It had to happen sooner or later. Fidel Castro passed away in Cuba recently, which marks a turning-point in Cuba's future. It has always been amazing to me how polarized people are on their love or hate of the man. Below are some photo of Fidel Castro wearing some of his Rolex watches.

Fidel Castro took control during his Cuban revolution, while wearing a Rolex watch and went on to wear many different Rolex watch models during his reign as head the Prime Minister/President/Dictator of Cuba. In the photo above, we see Castro in 1964 wearing an early Coke Rolex GMT-Master with no crown guards [Reference 6542]. Castro is smiling, and perhaps for good reason. After all, he made JFK stand-down during the Cuban missile crisis, and he was on a role.

In the next photo below we see him years later wearing a GMT-Master with Crown Guards.

In the photo below, we have visual confirmation that Fidel Castro's second GMT-Master was a Pepsi, v. the one above which is a Coke!

The Fidel Castro photo below is a trip if you thing about it!?!! He is driving around with his Rolex GMT-Master Coke on his wrist, which is a reference 6452, and he has a Soviet Kalashnikov AK-47 just behind him in the storage bin, and he is giving an interview!!! What a crazy life being a revolutionary must have been for him.

Rolex El Presidente

Fidel Castro is pictured below in 1959 wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, which has an unmistakably iconic Rolex President bracelet—easily recognizable from across a room. The irony in this photo that the Rolex Day-Date had just been introduced to the market place several years before this photo was taken.

Castro Rockin' Rolexes in The Kremlin

Years ago, I noticed the fact Fidel Castro was regularly wearing two Rolex watches on his left wrist, I wondered why he would do such a thing?  I think it was symbolic, because he wanted everybody to know he was keeping local Cuban time as well as the time at the Kremlin, in Moscow. In the photos below, we see Castro meeting with Nikita Khruschev at the Kremlin. 

By the way, that is Karl Marx's portrait hanging on the wall, who was also a bearded fellow...It's kind of ironic Castro is smoking a Cuban Cigar and wearing two Rolex watches in the Kremlin while he chats with Khruschev, in front of a Karl Marx picture :-)

The non-verbal body language in this photo is absolutely fascinating! Notice everybody in the room is staring at Castro's cigar, and everybody sitting is smiling with their hands folded in front of them on the table, and the three guys standing below the portrait of Marx, have their arms behind their backs.

Che Guevara

Che Guevara was Fidel Castro's right-hand-man, and we see him pictured below holding a magazine with Fidel Castro pictured on the front. Che Guevara also wore a Rolex GMT-Master, as did Castro, and we see it on his wrist in the photos below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chris Evert World #1 Professional Tennis Player

...Rolex Hotness...

Chris Evert
World #1 Professional Female Tennis Player

Chris Evert is one of the greatest tennis players in history. She won 18 Grand Slam Singles Champions and three Doubles Titles in her amazing career. She was ranked the Number 1 singles player in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981.

Chris Evert was featured in many Rolex ads over the years and below we see several that share a fascinating story of achievement.




Monday, November 28, 2016

I Dream Of Rolex Larry Hagman & Barbara Eden

I Dream Of Rolex

Larry Hagman & Barbara Eden

Rolex Lady Date & Day-Date

What does I Dream Of Jeannie have in common with Rolex? They are both Timeless Classics! I Dream Of Jeannie is one of the most iconic TV shows in history, right up there with I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show. I Dream Of Jeannie originally aired on TV from 1965 to 1970, which covered 5 seasons and 139 episodes. The premise of the show was that a NASA Astronaut was in a rocket that was launched and went off-course and landed on a desert island, where he finds a beautiful genie in a bottle he opens, who calls him 'Master'. Probably every man's dream :-0

Larry Hagman recently passed away, but in the photo below, we see Barbara Eden who played Jeannie, and Larry Hagman who played Major Nelson on I Dream Of Jeannie, hanging out together, and notice both of them are still wearing their yellow gold Rolex watches!!!

So let's go back in The Rolex Time Machine and take a closer look at their Rolex watches. 

First we see Barbara Eden wearing her yellow gold Rolex Lady-Date model on Jubilee Bracelet.

Next we see Larry Hagman who went on from playing Major Nelson on I Dream Of Jeannie, to playing J.R. Ewing on the TV Show Dallas. Dallas ran from 1978 to 1991, and was ultra successful. Larry Hagman is pictured below wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date on Dallas.

In later episodes of Dallas, Larry Hagman's character started sporting his yellow gold Rolex "President" on a special special custom-made gold and leather strap with his J.R. initials on it, as seen below.

Larry Hagman reprised his role as J.R. Ewing on Dallas when it came back to TV in 2012, and in the photos below we see Larry Hagman wearing his Rolex Day-Date on his special JR Gold Band.

On I Dream Of Jeannie, Larry Hagman played the role of Air Force/ NASA Major Anthony Nelson. The show aired from 1965 to 1970 and in many ways it mirrored the times. Specifically, between 1965 and 1970, NASA went from Project Mercury to Gemini to Apollo. Project Mercury put the first American in space to orbit the Earth, and Apollo was the first to put a man on the moon. At the time, the NASA Astronauts were like the new cowboys. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

100 Superlative Rolex Watches Part II by John Goldberger

...Rolex Super Coolness...

Catching Up With John Goldberger

John Goldberger is an old friend of mine, and he is one of the top vintage Rolex experts on earth. For years, he has been one of my few goto guy when I get stuck on a puzzle piece of Rolex History. I first interviewed John Goldberger eight years ago, when he released his famous 100 SUPERLATIVE ROLEX WATCHES Book. John and I recorded an amazing podcast interview that lasted more than 3 hours, where he shared his amazing insight on Rolex with my readers.

100 Superlative Rolex Watches

Part II
John Goldberger

So what has John been up to lately? A lot!!! To start with, I have fantastic news to share with you, and that is John Goldberger has written a follow-up Book, named 100 SUPERLATIVE ROLEX WATCHES PART II, which will be available in September of 2017.

Also, John Goldberger has recently been curating the latest Phillips Rolex Milestones Auction which will be taking place tomorrow in Hong Kong. This super exciting auction features '38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History.' You can visit the online catalog by visiting the Phllips Auction House microsite, which is loaded with amazing vintage Rolex watches. 

Rolex Triple-Date Moonphase
1952 36MM Reference 6062

My favorite watch in the auction is the Rolex Triple Date Moonphase seen below from lot 816, which is made out of 18k yellow gold. This magnificent beauty comes on a matching yellow gold Rolex Jubilee bracelet. The nickname for this watch is Stelline, which means 'small star' in Italian.

Phillips provides the following Catalog Essay for this beauty:

Reference 6062 is one of two Rolex models to feature a triple calendar complication paired with a moon phase indication. While reference 6062 features a screw down Oyster case back, reference 8171 features a snap-on case back.

Launched at the Basel fair in 1950, reference 6062 was the first automatic wristwatch with date and moon phase housed in a waterproof case. Cased in stainless steel, yellow gold and pink gold, the model was fitted with a number of dial variants. The most exclusive and desirable version is, without a doubt, one fitted with eight faceted stars in lieu of hour numerals. Such is the desirability, and popularity of the watch, that collectors have dubbed it ‘Stelline’, meaning 'starlet' in Italian.

This example of a reference 6062 is furthermore completely fresh to the market, having surfaced to the public just recently. We are incredibly honored to present this watch. It is an opportunity to satiate even the most demanding of collectors and watch scholars.

John Goldberger's Opinion

The present 'Stelline', preserved in incredible condition, is one if the most beautiful examples of the reference.

The dial condition can only be described as incredible – most examples are spotted throughout, due to aging and exposure to environmental elements. This dial is free of imperfections. The numerals on the outer track are inky blue, and the day and date apertures are sharp and angular, demonstrating the originality of the dial.

The outer track has furthermore aged slightly faster than the center, enhancing the dial's two-tone appearance. The luminous stars, the most important aspect of the dial, are untouched. Each luminous within is perfectly rounded, placed precisely within each star. The “Officially Certified Chronometer” designation within the moon phase subsidiary dial is a particularly nice touch.

The yellow gold case, preserved in excellent condition, displays a sharp hallmark to the bottom of the lug. There is light tarnishing in the form of patina, which really gives this watch so much character and history, furthermore attesting to its untouched condition. The Super Oyster crown is original, as is the Jubilee bracelet, stamped for the third quarter of 1952.

My Personal Opinion

I agree with John's opinion, but I want to point out another magnificently beautiful example of a Rolex Reference 6062, which ironically comes from John Golberger's book, 100 SUPERLATIVE ROLEX WATCHES, which is pictured below. This watch is the same as the one above, but it has a black dial, along with black ground moon phase. This watch is ultra-rare, and last year Phillips auction one very similar to it for almost $1Million!!!

Rolex Submariner
1955 37.5MM Reference 6536/6538

Next up we see this incredible Rolex Submariner which has a

Phillips provides the following Catalog Essay for this watch:

Reference 6536 is amongst the rarest and earliest of all Submariners. Produced for one year only in 1955, it most notably features no crown guards, a ‘small crown’, rotating bezel and gilt black lacquer ‘Swiss’ dial.

This watch is a double reference 6536/6538, which is clearly a transitional example, as the case back displays the number 6536, along with 6538 crossed out by Rolex.

John Goldberger's Opinion 

This watch displays all the original characteristics of a reference 6536/6538. The dial is, of course, the most splendid aspect of the watch. Still retaining its black lacquer finish with grainy patina, the radium plots have aged with warm orange patina, which match the gilt hands and seconds lollipop wonderfully. The ‘Swiss’ dial furthermore features a gilt chapter ring, which is correct for the reference. The radium index at 6 o’clock is brighter in tone, which is also correct.

While these attributes are very rare, one more detail propels this watch to the next level: the red depth rating. Only the very earliest examples carried a red depth rating above 6 o’clock as Rolex tested some watches during the period with a red ‘100/330’ designation. Approximately 10 examples with these particular characteristics have appeared on the market today.

The watch features a really crisp case, which still displays bevels and boasts a robust 37.5 mm. case diameter. The bezel insert is correct, and the bracelet is original, stamped for the third quarter of 1954.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

John F. Kennedy Jr. Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner

...Rolex Super Coolness...

John F. Kennedy Jr.

Rolex Submariner
@ Studio 54 in New York

Story Update: It took me years and years to find, but I just finally found a photo of JFK Jr., wearing his Rolex Submariner. I knew he wore one as I had discovered a photo years ago that showed him wearing what was clearly a Rolex Oyster Bracelet with a flip-lock clasp. Today, when I was doing some research for an upcoming story on Rolex @ STUDIO 54 in New York, I discovered this photo of JFK Jr. wearing his Submariner, where you can see it from the front, so we finally have a true positive ID.

The AP photo seen above and below was taken in front of Studio 54 on December 13, 1979, and shows John F. Kennedy Jr, as he attempts to evade the paparazzi photographers. I think he is wearing a K-Swiss Rugby shirt in the photo.

Prior to publishing the photo above of JFK Jr. in a New York Taxicab in front of Studio 54, sporting his Rolex Submariner, a close friend of JFK Jr., read this article and contacted me to share the supposed story behind the photo above.

JFK Jr.'s friend told me that the watch was a Paul Newman Exotic Dial Daytona, which Aristotle Onassis gave JFK Jr., when he married his mother, Jackie Kennedy. 

He told me that JFK Jr. wore a Paul Newman Daytona with an Exotic white dial...He took the Rolex Daytona for servicing to Rolex in New York, and they replaced the riveted bracelet with a new Rolex Oyster bracelet with the flip-lock clasp, as seen above. Of course the photo at the top of this story refutes this fact, unless JFK Jr., had and wore two Rolex sport watches?

In the photos below, we see young JFK Jr, with his mother Jackie, and his stepfather, Aristotle Onassis.

JFK Jr's pal went to high school with him is named David, and as the story goes (As David shared with me in an interview), David had a really cool Canon telephoto lens on his 35MM camera. JFK Jr., really liked the lens and offered to trade him his Rolex Daytona for the lens, which at the time was worth about the same amount of money. 

David accepted, and was the one who had the bracelet replaced by Rolex in New York. One day, JFK Jr's mother, Jackie-O, asked JFK Jr., where his Rolex watch was that Aristotle Onassis gave him, and he told her he traded it to David for a Camera lens. Jackie freaked out, and made her son trade it back. She said, "That was a gift from your step-father. You are not to trade it or give it away." 

David was able to ID the watch as a Paul Newman Daytona because he owned it and wore it for close to a year. He said it had an engraving on the back that said "To John from Aristotle." What a crazy story? It turns out that reality is stranger than fiction. By the way, Aristotle Onasiss's granddaughter Athina Onassis also wears a Rolex, which I did a story on last year.

Note: In the photo above of The First Family, JFK with Jackie, Caroline and JFK Jr., pose on August 4, 1962 at Hyannis Port. 

JFK Jr, and Caroline Kennedy in 1976 @ Andover Boarding School in New England 

In the past, I published photos of other Kennedy relatives wearing Rolex watches, including JFK Jr's sister Caroline Kennedy (also pictured above and below wearing her Rolex Datejust) as well as his cousin Maria Shriver

I also heard that President Kennedy's brother Bobby Kennedy wore a Rolex Submariner, but I have not yet been able to find a photo of him wearing a Rolex. JFK Jr's cousin, Ted Kennedy Jr. wears a Rolex SEA-DWELLER as seen below.

Ted Kennedy Jr.'s father, Ted Kennedy, who was JFK's youngest brother is pictured below at the White House in Washington D.C., with their brother Bobby Kennedy.

The next three images of JFK Sr., and JFK Jr., appear courtesy of the estate of Stanley Tretick. Stanley Tretick was a Look Magazine photographer.

JFK Jr. is pictured below with his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and if you think about it, JFK Jr., is the closest thing The United States ever had to having a prince. I remember once watching a Charlie Rose interview with author Pete Hamill who was talking about JFK and JFK Jr, and how much as a society we idolized them, and how unfortunate that both father and son left this world long before their full potential could be realized.

Peter Hamill quoted Irish Poet, William Butler Yeats 1919 poem named "In Memory of Major Robert Gregory", which he argued was on-point for JFK and JFK Jr, with the last line in the 11th stanza which read:

"What made us dream that he could comb grey hair?" –William Butler Yeats (1919)

Charlie Rose interviewed Peter Hamill on July 22, 1999 and Pete Hamill, as I mentioned above, talked about the passing of JFK Jr. I remember watching this when it originally aired in 1999. Pete Hamill got super-deep in the interview and he cited the famous William Saroyan line from 1939, which was from "The Time Of Your Life" which said:

"In the time of your life, live–so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it."

– William Saroyan (1939)