Friday, February 24, 2017

How Women Began Wearing Men's Rolex Watches

How Women Began

Wearing Men's Rolex Watches

How did women ever end up wearing men's Rolex watches? This is a question I get asked frequently, so I thought I would take this opportunity to answer the question once and for all. Before you read this story, you might want to read my story titled, Rolex Hotness. THE ROLEX WOMAN. The Evolution Of The Female Rolex Archetype. by looking at how Rolex has catered to the female market since its inception. 

If we get in the Rolex Time Machine and go back from Rolex being founded in 1905, and watch Rolex evolve, we find that Rolex made two types of watches. Watches for Men, and watches for women. This all changed about 20 years ago, when Rolex first began offering larger man sized Rolex watches to women. But how did this come about? Did Rolex actually get women to wear Rolex watches, or was it the other way around? In other words, did women wear start wearing men's Rolex watches, and then Rolex caught onto it it, and started marketing to them? This really is a chicken and egg scenario.

Ralph Lauren

Rolex GMT-Master

I believe New York designer, Ralph Lauren actually played a role in women wearing men's sport watches. Ralph Lauren has worn and collected Rolex for many years.

The photo below shows Ralph Lauren with his beautiful wife Ricky on the beach in 1986. Notice they are both wearing Rolex Sport watches. It is fascinating when you think about it, that this photo was taken a 31 years ago. In other words, today it is extremely common to see a woman wearing a man's Rolex sports watch, however, 31 years ago, you almost never saw it.

I started publishing Jake's Rolex World almost ten years ago, because I wanted to create a website where I could share everything I learned about Rolex during the prior three decades. I remember the first question I asked myself, was, "Can I even drive a blog about Rolex, when they really only have maybe five key watches?" Those being the Submariner, GMT-Master, Day-Date, Datejust & Daytona. 

I was hesitant because I naively and counterintuitively thought I would quickly run out of content, and, of course, that ended up being the opposite. I also remember early on, coming up with Tags or Labels for blog posts. One I started using, and still use today, is "Women Wearing Men's Rolex Watches." After the first years of publishing Jake's Rolex World, I was not certain if I should keep using the tags, since it seemed that more than 95% of women were wearing what used to be Rolex men's watches.

To be specific, up until the the eighties very few women wore men's Rolex watches. As a specific example, if you look at the photo above of Charlie's Angels, we see Cheryl Ladd, Farrah Fawcett Majors, and Jaclyn Smith all wearing their dainty 26MM "Women's Rolex" watches.

The Rolex magazine ad that appears above is from the late 1960s and fascinatingly shows Rolex's Worldview at the time about the difference between Men's and Women's Rolex watch models. The Rolex ad below is from 1970 and once again talks about how women are smaller than men.

Elle Macpherson

Super-Leggy Model

I believe it was David Letterman, who coined the term, "Super-Leggy Model" in the 1980s, and I think he was referring to Australian beauty, Elle Macpherson. Elle Macpherson's amazing modeling career began in the early 1980s, and she skyrocketed to fame after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated many time in the late eighties, and of course Elle wore a man's Rolex watch. In the photo below we see Elle wearing a GMT-Master.

Elle Macpherson was an icon of femininity and positive role model for many women in the late 1980s, and I remember noticing her wearing men's Rolex watches.

Elle Macpherson is pictured below, all these decades later,  still wearing her Rolex Daytona.

Cindy Crawford

Super-Leggy Model

Cindy Crawford is good example of a famous model who went form wearing smaller ladies Rolex watches at 25MM to 40MM as seen in the photos below. In the first photo we see Cindy Crawford while she was married to Richard Gere wearing a 26mm ladies Rolex Datejust.

Sharon Stone
Basic Instinct

Sharon Stone is another women who helped perpetuate the permanent trend of women wearing men's Rolex watches. Sharon Stone is perhaps best known for her role as the seductress in the 1992 mega-hit movie titled "Basic Instinct". The photo below of Sharon Stone is one of the most iconic in film history, as Sharon shows off her killer getaway-sticks...

Sharon Stone is a great example as she started her career wearing woman's size Rolex watches. In the photo below we see here wearing her 26MM yellow gold Rolex Lady-Date.

In the next image seen below, we see Sharon Stone wearing three Men's Rolex watches on one wrist, including a 40MM two-tone Submariner and a 36MM two-tone Datejust.

In the next stunning image of Sharon Stone we see her sporting a Submariner.

Elisabeth Hurley
Rolex Dat-Date

I believe it is worth noting that the beautiful English actress, Elisabeth Hurley was also an early wearer of men's Rolex watches.

Adrienne Vittadini
1997 Rolex Explorer Ad

I remember seeing this Adrienne Vittadini Ad 20 years ago, in 1997, and it only took me 9 years to find it in high-resolution?!! This is a fairly major piece of Rolex history, in it is probably the first Rolex advertisement that shows a woman wearing a man's 40mm Rolex.

Jennifer Aniston
Classic Charisma & Timeless Beauty

I believe another iconic Rolex wearer is Jennifer Aniston, who began her career on the mega-hit TV show named, "Friends". She started wearing a Rolex Datejust as seen below, and in recent years, as seen in the second image below, has typically worn a yellow gold Day-Date. 


Ladies White Gold Rolex Beach Daytona

[40MM Reference 116519]

The first time I ever really saw Rolex make a man's size watch that was targeted toward the female market was back about twenty years ago when they came out with the pastel mother of pearl dial Rolex Daytona Watches in white gold. Rolex offered this model that was later nicknamed The Rolex Daytona Beach Special Edition in blue, pink, yellow and green dial mother of pearl dials. The model also came exclusively with matching lizard straps with matching white gold deployant buckles.

Pussy Galore Rolex
James Bond Goldfinger

To the best of my knowledge, the very first time a woman wore a man's Rolex on film, was when Honor Blackman stared in the 1964 James Bond move Goldfinger, opposite Sean Connery. 

Sean Connery famously wore a Rolex Submariner in Goldfinger, which you can see him looking at in the beginning of the movie. 

In Goldfinger, Sean Connery as James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner [Reference 6538] as pictured below, on a Regimental belt strap. Many people say Sean Connery wore his 6538 Submariner on a NATO strap. This is not true. There has NEVER been a James Bond movie in which James wears a NATO. 

Note that the strap that Sean Connery wears has 9 stripes total consisting of Dark Navy Blue, Dark Olive Olive and fine burgundy stripes. 

The strap Sean Connery is wearing is a Royal Scots government strap, and its formal color names are: Peony Red, Gosling Green and Oxford Blue. The Royal Scots, also know as "The Royal Regiment" is the oldest British Army Regiment. It was founded in 1633 by Sir John Hepburn by a Royal Warrant from King Charles I, who recruited 1200 men in Scotland. On March 28, 2006, the Royal Scots merged with other Scottish Infantry Regiments to become The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Pussy & The James Bond

The female character, Pussy Galore who played Goldfinger's Pilot that James Bond converted from a Lesbian wore a men's Rolex GMT as seen in the photo below. 

Today women wearing men's 40mm sport Rolex watches is common, but Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore was the first female to do so on screen. Many Rolex collecting enthusiasts refer to the models of Rolex worn in Goldfinger as The James [Rolex Submariner, Reference 6538] and The Pussy [Rolex GMT, Reference 6542].

The two watches below show what the 6538 and 6542 look like close up.

Of course, Honor Blackman was gorgeous, but at the time it was unusual for a women to wear a big mans watch.

Pussy Galore is pictured above and in the shots below you see James finally converted her successfully. Of course in these three photos, Pussy Galore is wearing her Rolex GMT 6542 Coke.


Sheila Scott

It is interesting to note that Pussy Galore's character was actually based on Sheila Scott, who broke over 100 aviation records in her lifetime of flying airplanes. She was the first person to fly over the North Pole in a small aircraft. Sheila began was a British Actress who learned became an airplane pilot. This 1960 Rolex GMT-MASTER magazine ad is probably how Rolex adroitly first got women to wear men's Rolex watches.

In 1966 Sheila Scott set an world aviation record when she set a new record for her solo flight around the world in a light aircraft. She took off from Heathrow Airport in London, England and flew eastward to become the very first person to circumvent the globe in a solo flight. Sheila had some unusual habits when she flew. For instance she primarily flew barefoot, which she said helped her feel the airplane vibrations. 

Sheila Scott is pictured in the Rolex ad two images above, and in the photo above, we see her sporting her Rolex GMT-Master. I think it is very likely that Sheila Scott was the archetype for the Pussy Galore character in the 1964 James Bond movie, Goldfinger. The image below is a screen grab taken from the end of Goldfinger and is shows Honor Blackman, who plays Pussy Galore, sporting a Coke GMT-Master.

Vanessa Redgrave
1966 Rolex Submariner

The next women to wear a men's Rolex in a movie was Vanessa Redgrave, when she starred in the 1966 film titled, Blow UP. Vanessa wore a Rolex Submariner on strap as seen below.

Today Vanessa Redgrave is a social activist for human rights and she was made a Commander of the British Empire just one year after this photo was taken. In 1995 she became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. On a side note, I also want to point out something interesting. Pictured below we see Italian business magnate, Giani Agnelli sporting his Patek Philippe World Time Reference 1415HU being worn on over his shirt cuff, which was a trademark of his. This is the same style that  Vanessa Redgrave is sporting in the photo above.

Rolex Sells Women ON Men

In the late 1990s, Rolex came out with the first fashion watch for women that was based upon, what up until then, was considered a men's watch.

Jamie Lynn Sigler, who played Meadow Soprano wore a pink version of this model on The Sopranos, in Episode 2 from Season 4. As you can see, she is wearing a white gold Rolex Daytona with a pink mother of pearl dial with a matching pink lizard strap.

The Rolex ad below featured supermodel Kari-Anne Liverud sporting the green version of the white gold Rolex Daytona.

Rolex offered this watch in white gold, with a pink mother-of-pearl dial with a matching pink band. They also offered it in green, yellow and blue. I always thought this was a really sexy watch (for girls ;-)

The Rolex colors and design language remind me of the Apple Colors ad, which is seen below.

One More Thang
Rolex Leopard Daytona
[Reference 116598 SACO]

Rolex did make one other very interesting Men's Daytona, back in the Patrick Heiniger era. This Highly bejeweled Rolex Daytona was completely over the top, and was called the Leopard Daytona.


Today, it is very common to see women wearing what used to be called Men's Rolex Watches, as seen in the photos below.