Sir Michael Caine whips out his personal Rolex watch
It’s hard to believe that Sir Michael Caine is almost 90 years old. The legendary actor has been a paragon of British cool since the Swinging Sixties: his signature Cockney accent, unflappable charm and suave dress sense, as well as his signature roles in films such as Get Carter, Italian work and The black Knight trilogy.
Caine continues to dominate at the box office and on the big screen – notably appearing in Christopher Nolan’s latest mind-blowing Principle – but now, in 2022, he’s finally decided to slow down a bit. Although he hasn’t retired from acting, he announced last year that he didn’t want to do any more movies. Fair enough, too.
He has also decided to sell off some of his most prized possessions as he heads into his fall years. On Sunday, famed London auction house Bonhams unveiled the sale as Sir Michael Caine: The Personal Collection, describing it as “a wonderful selection of items reflecting the breadth of Sir Michael’s career”… Including, notably, Caine’s own Rolex.
Specifically, it’s his 18k yellow gold Rolex Day-Date Oysterquartz (Ref. 19018), which he’s worn on and off since the ’80s, and even in movies like the one in 1988. Dirty rotten villains.
As the name suggests, this is a quartz watch: something out of the ordinary for Rolex, which typically markets automatic mechanical watches. A reaction to the quartz crisis of the 70s, the Oysterquartz is not only atypical in its movement, it also features a unique integrated bracelet design that Rolex has not revisited since.
Generally, quartz watches are less sought after than mechanical watches, but the Oysterquartz has a unique cult following thanks to its relative rarity. Rolex discontinued the Oysterquartz range in the early 2000s, so these watches remain a novelty; curious historical note. Of course, this one is particularly desirable thanks to its excellent condition, as well as its celebrity connection.
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It appears Bonhams has removed the lot from their website – possibly due to unprecedented demand or pre-auction bidding – but there remains a preview on their website which gives an estimate of the bid. from £8,000 to £12,000 (US$11,000 – US$16,000). / AU$15,000 – AU$23,000). That sounds remarkably conservative, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s worth much, much more.
Caine is actually a bit of a watch connoisseur, having amassed a rather respectable collection over the years. Besides his Oysterquartz, he also owns a similar-looking mechanical Rolex Day-Date “President” as well as pieces from brands as diverse as Accurist, Breitling, Certina, IWC Schaffhausen and Timex.
It’s not just his Rolex that’s up for auction. Other highlights include a pair of his signature hexagonal glasses (pictured above) as well as a director’s chair from the set of Get Carter and a framed set of autographs from the 1970 Tony Awards ceremony featuring Julie Andrews, Mia Farrow, Barbra Streisand, James Stewart, Maggie Smith and of course, the great man himself.
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“It’s going to be hard enough to let go of so many precious parts of my life and career, but it’s a good time to move on. I hope these memories give their new owners as much pleasure as they gave us,” says Caine.
Everything is ready to go under the hammer in London on 3rd of March. Few people know that.
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