05 June, 2018

Steve McQueen's Submariner up for Auction

The rivalry continues! Paul Newman and Steve McQueen were some of the biggest actors in Hollywood during the 60s and 70s.

Their feud reached its peak when both actors met to discuss the possibility of starring in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. McQueen wanted to be the top-billed star but this came at a time where his level of fame was not the same as Newman. McQueen eventually left the project.

Memorabilia for these two actors have been escalating for some time with a Tag Heuer Monaco he wore in the 1971 film 'Le Mans' sold for almost $800,000. However, he is more well-known for wearing a 1964 Rolex Submariner which is heading into an auction in October later this year.

Last year, Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona completely smashed auction records when it sold for £13.5m ($17.8m). You can read more about it in our article 'The Most Expensive Watches Sold in Auction - 2017'  read here.

Trivia - A 1967 Submariner he owned had sold for $234,000 at auction in 2009.

Steve McQueen's Submariner

McQueen gave the Submariner to his long-term stunt double, Loren Janes. During the 70s, McQueen gave the Rolex to Janes who he had been working with since 1958. Together, they worked on the TV series, Wanted and also 19 films where Janes performed some of the most famous stunts in cinema. 

Trivia - Steve McQueen bought the watch in the mid-60s for $250.

McQueen had the back engraved 'Loren, The Best Damn Stuntman in The World'. The watch went missing for a few decades and was victim to the sand fire which ravaged Los Angeles and destroyed 18 homes including Jane's. 

After rummaging through the ashes, they found the watch and had it serviced by the HQ of Rolex in New York who performed a miraculous restoration of the watch and also kept the inscription and restored the watch. Rolex praised McQueen, Janes and their families for choosing Rolex and also illustrating the values instilled in their timepieces.

Trivia - The fire was thought to have destroyed valuable memories and memorabilia from actors such as Sylvester Stallone, John Wayne and Steve McQueen.

Here is a clip of that famous car chase scene in Bullit. Source - Henrypapermill

The King of Cool - Steve McQueen

The King of Cool is a big hit with auctions because items related to him can sell for many times their normal amount.

Just last year, the Porsche 917k which appeared in the 1970 Le Mans film had sold for over $14m in an auction. You can read more about it in our article The 5 Most Expensive Cars Sold at Auction in 2017 here.  

The estimate for the Steve McQueen Submariner in between $300,000 and $600,000 but there is no doubt that the watch can exceed its estimate thanks to the factory restoration, engraving and letter of praise from Rolex themselves.

Trivia - The pre-sale estimate for Paul Newman's Daytona was $1m and went 17x over its estimate. 

Final Words

There's no doubt that the story of this Submariner is up there with the extraordinary but how it is going to perform in the auction? Is it too early to think of potentially a new world record for a watch sold in auction? 

October's auction will be one-year after Newman's surprise result and even though we never got to the see the naturally-gifted McQueen or the methodical Newman share the same grid, we do look forward to writing about how their watches perform in the auction.

Want to see the Rolex Submariner watches we have in auction, click this link.

Steve McQueen's Submariner up for Auction
Steve McQueen's Submariner up for Auction
Steve McQueen's Submariner up for Auction
Steve McQueen's Submariner up for Auction