With nearly seven decades in show business under his belt, Michael Caine has picked up the odd memento or two along the way. One of the most prized of those possessions was an unusual gold Rolex that Michael Caine owned, which set a new auction of nearly $225,000 last week when it went under the hammer for the first time.
The auction was held by Bonhams in London, featuring a total of 183 lots that included everything from vintage film posters and autographed photos, to desks and silverware. The catalogue was almost an autobiography in objects, offering a window into his refined appetite across all things. However, the lot that had everyone’s attention was one of Caine’s wristwatches, specifically the solid yellow gold Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date ref. 19018/19000 from 1979.
In many ways, it’s a watch that represents Caine’s successful career on the silver screen, as well as his discerning taste in the objects he surrounded himself with. Caine wasn’t interested in any old Rolex, and his selection in picking out this specific model shows his understanding of the intersection between quality, rarity, and culture.
The standard version of the yellow gold Rolex Day-Date is recognised universally as the “I’ve made it,” watch, worn by those who wield power and influence before all else. The Rolex Day-Date earned the nickname the “Rolex Presidential” because it was worn by half a dozen US Presidents, as well as being worn by Tony Soprano, Conor McGregor, Fidel Castro, Warren Buffett, and countless others.
However, rather than picking out a common example of the celebrated gold Rolex, Caine was astute enough to select the Oysterquartz version, boasting accurate quartz technology Rolex had only debuted two years earlier. According to Bonhams, it was the third Rolex watch Caine ever purchased, showing just how quickly he came to understand what Rolex had to offer and what the most interesting models were.
The Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date measures 36mm in diameter and features a solid gold bracelet that integrates into the matching case. Featuring the famous fluted bezel and gold-tone dial, it’s an iconic watch design, with a twist only a passionate enthusiast might identify.
Michael Caine’s unusual gold Rolex smashed its presale estimate of £8,000-12,000 (AU$14,263-$21,394), selling for £125,250 (AU$223,309) and reportedly setting a new record for the model. In context, the Caine factor brought an impressive amount to the price of the timepiece, beating rarer gem-set examples including from Phillips (also this) and Sotheby’s.
If you’re after a closer look at the record-breaking timepiece, Caine confirmed he wore it on screen for several roles, including as Lawrence Jamieson in the 1988 movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. While the Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date in question has a new owner, it will always represent Caine’s refined taste and trailblazing career.