Today seems to be a “cool Rolexes” kind of day. Thought to be lost to time (so to speak), the Rolex GMT Master ref. 1675 worn by Marlon Brando as Col. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now,” Francis Ford Coppola’s incredible adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” set during the horrors of the Vietnam War, has surfaced and is hitting the auction block on December 10th. Phillips’s “Game Changers” auction “will be a tightly curated thematic auction dedicated to watches owned by extraordinary people who are considered “game changers” in their fields.”
Interestingly, the watch has no bezel, as Brando removed it during filming when someone remarked that the watch seemed too clean to belong to his character. Otherwise, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill (though beautiful) matte-dial reference 1675 Rolex GMT Master, though — and here’s the kicker — this one also happens to be hand-engraved with “M. Brando” on the back, done by the actor himself.
Evidently Brando gifted the watch to his adopted daughter, Petra Brando Fischer, in 1995, after which she in turn have it to her husband in 2003. Following the sale of Paul Newman’s 6239 Daytona, Fischer decided to bring the GMT Master to auction. A portion of the proceeds will go to a foundation set up by the Fischers benefiting children living in hardship due to neglect, poverty or abuse, a cause that Petra says would have been particularly important to her father, who was himself a noted supporter of several charitable causes.
Expect bidding to begin “in the six figures,” according to Phillips.