While this isn’t the first McQueen watch up for auction, this might be the best yet.
After last year’s epic sale of Paul Newman’s Daytona that fired up a Daytona fever after, Phillips announced on 4 June an upcoming sale of yet another icon’s iconic Rolex – the Steve McQueen Rolex Submariner reference 5513.
Bought by McQueen in the 1960s, this reference 5513 Rolex Submariner was gifted to his stuntman and longtime friend, Loren Janes, in the late ’70s.
Since their first work together in 1958, Steve McQueen and Janes went on to collaborate in more than a dozen movies, including Bullitt, The Getaway, and The Thomas Crown Affair.
The caseback of the watch still bears the engraving that captures the precious friendship between the duo: LOREN, THE BEST DAMN STUNTMAN IN THE WORLD. STEVE.
Janes kept the watch by his side, until the Sand Fire wildfire that ripped through parts of Los Angeles in 2016 engulfed Janes’ home. Fortunately, it was recovered from the rubble and restored by Rolex U.S.A. While details of the service work isn’t certain, the case has been refurbished and a replaced period-correct dial.
The Submariner watch will be auctioned off in New York on October 25. It arrives with an additional, period correct reference 5513 dial and hand set, along with 2 letters. The first is a letter signed by Loren Janes attesting to its provenance, a second letter from Rolex, and a copy of Steve McQueen: A Life in Pictures, which includes photos of the watch on the wrist of the legendary actor.
The Steve McQueen Rolex Submariner was purchased from the Janes family by Hollywood memorabilia collector and Beverly Hills Real Estate broker, Michael Eisenberg (whom also participated in the bid for Paul Newman’s Daytona), who has consigned the watch to Phillips for the October auction in New York. The Submariner timepiece is expected to fetch for a price between $300,000 to $600,000.
Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco watches are known for a well to do track record at auctions. However, McQueen has owned dozens of watches in his lifetime, resulting in a constant debate over which timepieces were really worn personally by the star himself. While there are some photographs of McQueen wearing what appears to be a two-line-dial Submariner that’s identifiable with this reference 5513 model, the provenance is not as direct as other celebrity pieces such as Elvis’ Omega. It will be interesting to witness how high the big will go for this timepiece.
Bid now for the Steve McQueen Rolex Submariner on Phillips here.