Who wears a Rolex? Well, nearly everybody who is somebody wears a Rolex or owns one, at least. Rolex is like the standard for luxury watches and the average Joe, if asked, would say as much.
As at 2018, Rolex was ranked the 71st most valuable brand in the world by Forbes which is saying a lot. Rolex has superior brand recognition that’s unmatched by any other brand in the watchmaking industry. It has also become a symbol of status in the world.
In truth, there are other luxury brands in the watchmaking space besides Rolex, but you’d have to be a watch enthusiast to know of Patek Phillipe or Audemars Piguet. Rolex, on the other hand, is known by the average Joe. In fact, of the ten most expensive watches ever sold in an auction, three were Rolex watches. One of which is the iconic Rolex Daytona used by Paul Newman which sold for more than $17 million.
If you intend to join the rank and file wearing Rolex watches, you must be careful when buying one especially if it’s a vintage piece you intend to buy. Rolex watches are probably the most faked watches in the world.
That said, let’s find out who wears a Rolex but before then, a little bit about the man behind Rolex.
Who Owns Rolex?
The history of Rolex dates back to 1905 where two brothers-in-law, Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, came together and decided to begin importing Swiss movements for jewelers in England.
As time passed and business grew, Rolex became a registered company under the name “Rolex” in 1908 before it changed to “Rolex Watch Co. Ltd” in 1915.
At the end of World War I, the company had to change base to Geneva, to avoid the post-war taxation recovering Britain was heaving on the business. In 1920, Hans Wilsdorf then registered the business as Montres Rolex SA in Geneva. This became the company’s new name before it became Rolex SA later on.
To date, Rolex is owned by a private family trust called the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
Presidents And World Leaders Who Wear/Wore A Rolex
Of all the watch brands, Rolex was the first watch brand to get world leaders wearing its watches. As you know, the watch a president wears ought to be symbolic and romantic. Without further ado, here is a list of presidents and world leaders who have owned a Rolex.
Upon making its 100,000th watch, Rolex offered the then prime minister of England, Winston Churchill, a Rolex Datejust. Following the prime minister’s request, the watch came in rose gold and had his family crest engraved on the back.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
After the gifting of the 100,000th watch to the prime minister, Rolex, again, offered a commemorative wristwatch, but this time, to the then president of America, Eisenhower.
To commemorate its 150,000th watch, Rolex offered Eisenhower a Rolex Datejust in yellow-gold and his signature engraved on the back of the case.
This makes General Eisenhower the first American president to own a Rolex.
President John F. Kennedy
After Eisenhower was John F. Kennedy but his story is a bit complicated.
Rolex had already been strategically “plotting” to have its watches on the wrists of the big boys, and with the prime minister and the General sold, Rolex had entered the big leagues. However, like any brand destined for success, Rolex wasn’t going to rest on its oars.
When Kennedy resumed office, Rolex knew they just had to get him to own a Rolex too. He was young, he was rich, and he had an eye for style. Plus, he already seemed to fancy luxury watches. He just didn’t own a Rolex yet.
It’s assumed that Rolex did everything it could do to get Kennedy to own a Rolex but he didn’t seem to want to go for it for reasons unknown. Instead, he was known to wear an Omega given to him by Grant Stockdale, his friend. He also had a Cartier which was given him by his wife, and then a gold Bulova among other luxury watches.
But something happened. At an auction in 2005, a Rolex allegedly owned by President Kennedy surfaced. The watch was a Rolex Day-Date in gold finish. On the back, the words “JACK, With love as always, from MARILYN, May 29th 1962,” were engraved.
As the story goes, this watch was given to him by Marilyn Monroe who was allegedly Kennedy’s mistress.
It is said, though, that Monroe sent the gift to the president via his assistant. However, when Kenneth O’Donnell, the president’s assistant got the gift across to Kennedy, he was said to have asked O’Donnell to get rid of the watch.
Is this reason Kennedy shunned Rolex afterward? Well, we will never know.
President Lyndon B Johnson
Lyndon B Johnson was spotted wearing a Day-Date Perpetual Oyster Chronometer when he appeared in the Texas Timex. He was the first president known to wear the Rolex Day-Date in the history of American presidents.
However, before then, the Day-Date was simply known as the Day-Date and not the Rolex President. When Johnson wore it, though, it then became known as the Rolex President.
The Day-Date Rolex Johnson wore was a yellow gold model with the three-link bracelet which is now commonly known as the President Bracelet.
Back to the Texas Timex. Lyndon Johnson had just had a successful gall bladder operation. In a press conference afterward, he was spotted with the 18K Rolex when he pointed to the scar from the operation on his belly.
The watch cost about $1500 at the time.
President Ronald Reagan
The next president after Johnson to wear a Rolex was Ronald Reagan. His was a toned-down Rolex Datejust in simple stainless steel. It was from here that the appearance of a Rolex in the White House took a nosedive.
Apparently, presidents were being advised to desist from being ostentatious and political gifts were beginning to be looked upon with wariness.
According to an article written by Robin Wright, receiving gifts as a politician is no longer as easy as it used to be. There’s now a Gift Office in the Oval Office. This office redistributes gifts given to the President or redirects them to the warehouse of the National Archives.
Before then though, the President and his wife are given the chance to look at and admire the gifts before they are sent off.
Presidents like Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford also wore inexpensive watches while in office. However, upon retirement, they’ve also been seen to sport Rolexes.
There’s a bit of debate around the Argentine Marxist and revolutionist and what Rolex he actually wore. When he died, reports from the CIA says that he wore a steel Rolex GMT Master with the Pepsi bezel on his wrist.
On the other hand, other sources say he wore a Rolex Submariner. Apparently, this was the reason for Rolex’s slogan during its ad campaign for the Rolex Submariner at the time — Time for a revolution.
President Donald Trump
Trump is also known to own a Rolex Day-Date.
While she was running for office in 2016, Hilary Clinton was seen wearing a two-tone Rolex Lady Datejust often. Besides this, Clinton is also known to own a men’s model of the same watch but in all-gold and with a President bracelet.
Dr. Martin Luther King
Rolex has been known to refer to King as one of the greatest heroes in its history. Just like Winston Churchill, Dr. Marton Luther King, famous as a civil rights campaigner, wore a Rolex Datejust. His was slightly different though.
King’s watch was yellow gold while Churchill’s was rose gold. Also, King’s watch came with a Jubilee bracelet while Churchill’s was an Oyster bracelet. Lastly, the watch came with a five-piece link bracelet finished with an elegantly concealed clasp.
Celebrities Who Wear A Rolex
Before we go on, check out this video that shows us a few times where Rolex watches made it to the big screen.
Rolex made headlines in 2016 at Baselworld when it unveiled a new version of the Rolex Daytona — the stainless steel version. This version comes with Cerachrom ceramic bezel which comes with an ultra-modern feel. Not surprisingly, it was a huge hit and is super scarce to get your hands on right now.
One celebrity who owns this watch is world-famous rapper and business mogul, Jay-Z. Jay-Z is popular for being a watch collector typically favoring gold, platinum and gem-set luxury watches from brands like Pet Phillippe, Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Richard Mille, as well as, Rolex, of course.
Wearing a stainless steel watch, though, isn’t something Jay-Z regularly does which is why it’s somewhat surprising the celeb decided to go for the steel Rolex Daytona. But then again, this is a watch in its own class.
Another watch enthusiast who’s well known for his tastes in luxury pieces is John Mayer, the famous guitarist. The celebrity has a pretty impressive collection and has been seen on several occasions with a white-gold Rolex Daytona RBOW with a sapphire bezel.
The watch is aptly named the Rainbow seeing how many beautiful colors the watch sports
Currently, there are three versions of this sapphire Daytona: yellow gold, white gold, and Everose gold.
The Daytona might be known as a men’s watch, but that hasn’t deterred the ladies from rocking these wristwatches fashionably. Many female celebrities have been seen sporting a Rolex Daytona especially the Everose gold model. One of such female celebrities is ex-pop star and fashion designer, Victoria Beckham.
With her tastes in fashion, it’s not surprising that Victoria Beckham rocks the heck out of the Rolex Daytona. Sporty but with a warm rose color, the Daytona Everose gold is both daring and darling at the same time.
Another celebrity in the Rolex camp is actor and comedian, Kevin Hart. Keeping up with Kevin Hart’s watch collection can be pretty tough as it appears he wears a new watch each time he steps out.
His most favored brand, though, seems to be Rolex. One of his most standout watches is his Rolex Platinum Daytona released by Rolex to mark the Daytona’s 50th anniversary in 2013. The watch is eye-catching with its ice blue dial surrounded by a brown ceramic bezel.
Jonah Hill, actor, writer, and director, is also known to own a Rolex. Hill appears to have a thing for yellow gold Rolex watches and is known to own a gold Day-Date, a gold Nautilus, as well as a gold Daytona with a bright green metallic dial.
Lead singer for the Maroon 5, Adam Levine also appears to be a fan of Rolex. The celebrity owns a Rolex Daytona. In fact, the one with the exotic dial better known as the Paul Newman dial.
In his words, the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona is his most prized possession which he bought over 8 years ago. He has also said that he would never get rid of this watch whatever happens.
Adam Levine also boasts a large collection of several other vintage Rolex watches besides the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona.
Check out Adam Levine show off his Rolex collection in this video below:
Jennifer Aniston is a proud owner of the Rolex Day-Date or the Rolex President, however you prefer to call it. She is commonly seen with the yellow gold Day-Date on her wrist and the watch definitely complements her charm and aura.
The actor, comedian, and musician is a proud owner of an 18K white gold Rolex Submariner. The stunner comes with a blue dial and a matching Cerachrom ceramic bezel to boot. It’s also known as the Rolex Smurf which we agree is a pretty tongue-in-cheek nickname. However, one thing is sure, the Rolex Smurf is one timepiece that means business in the world of luxury watches.
The Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback has been seen with a two-tone Rolex Submariner a number of times. Besides that, Russell Wilson also has the version just like the one Jack Black sometimes sports with the Cerachrom ceramic bezel and blue dial to match.
Action movie star, Tom Hardy, is another fan of the Rolex Submariner. The big-screen actor is known to own a stainless steel Rolex Submariner with a black dial and black ceramic bezel in addition to several other Rolex watches he has in his collection.
Kim Kardashian West
Of course, Kim K owns a Rolex. No surprise there at all. The celeb and mother of four has been seen in a limited edition Rolex Datejust. The watch is as stunning as her personality with a mother of pearl dial studded with diamonds as well as a customized diamond bezel.
Mark Wahlberg probably has the largest collection of Rolex watches any single famous person in the world has. Amazingly, he adds to this collection regularly with models such as the GMT-Master II, Daytona, and Day-Date models.
Mark Wahlberg is known to own at least two different Rolex Submariners both in yellow gold but one with a black ceramic bezel and dial and the other with a blue bezel and dial. You know what they say? Two watches are better than one.
Rockstar Slash Green is another celebrity with the Rolex Submariner in his watch collection. He wears his stainless steel Rolex Submariner “Hulk” while on tour and the watch, expectedly, holds its own even with the charged environments in which it is used.
Who does not love Brad Pitt? No one, right? Well, we’re sure he loves his fans right back but when it comes to watches, Brad Pitt loves all the big names.
The actor is known to own watches from all the biggest luxury watch brands from Cartier to Patek to Rolex, of course.
When it comes to his Rolex watches, Brad Pitt appears to love them in solid gold. Some of the Rolex watches he’s been seen to wear include a yellow gold Daytona with a champagne diamond dial and a brown leather strap. He’s also been seen to sport a yellow gold Rolex Yacht-Master with a white dial.
Besides the yellow gold Rolexes, Brad Pitt has also been seen with a stainless steel Daytona, a platinum Day-Date, a platinum and steel Yacht-Master, as well as a rose gold Day-Date II President.
Robert Downey Jr.
In an interview with GQ sometime back, Robert Downey Jr. showed off some of his personal favorites in his watch collections. Of these watches, three Rolex watches made it into the list.
These three watches are the famous Rolex Submariner Hulk (named thus thanks to its green dial and green bezel), the steel Milgauss with a green GV sapphire crystal, and a custom all-black PVD GMT-Master II. This last one was customized for him by Bamford.
Watch Robert Downey Jr unveil some watches from his collection in this hilarious video.
Inspired by the speedway and beach of Florida, the Rolex Daytona is another celebrity favorite. This watch was designed for champion racers and is given to every winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona as well as the Le Mans.
While it might have a somewhat masculine feel due to its large shape, Sofia Vegara still comes out looking stylish and fashionable in hers.
We all know that Russell Crowe hosted an interesting auction where he sold off personal effects from himself and his ex-wife as collected during the marriage. He called it “Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce.”
Now, in this auction, over 30 watches were sold and three of them were Rolex watches. Each of these watches was significant for Russell Crowe as he got them to commemorate certain big moments in his life.
The steel and platinum Yacht-Master he bought after filming the movie, Master and Commander.
The platinum Rolex Cellini he bought while filming American Gangster.
And finally, the yellow gold Daytona he bought after he and his friend formed a company in order to purchase an Australian rugby team. This particular one came engraved with the company’s name as well as the date it was founded.
If you thought Crowe sold off all his Rolex watches, then you have another think coming. The actor has been seen to wear a steel Submariner and platinum Day-Date after the auction.
Indian actress and businesswoman, Shilpa Shetty is also a lover of Rolex and has been seen sporting a Rolex GMT before. The Rolex GMT is the pilot’s watch, much loved for the accuracy of its timekeeping especially across different time zones.
Sylvester Stallone has been collecting Rolex watches for as long as we can remember. In his heyday, he would often be found wearing yellow gold Rolex timepieces like the yellow gold Rolex Day-Date or the yellow gold Rolex Submariner. However, the actor seems to be going more with white metal Rolex watches these days.
For instance, Sylvester has been seen with, at least, two separate platinum Daytona watches — the anniversary version with the brown ceramic bezel, and the platinum and diamond Daytona with the diamond baguette set bezel, and the diamond pave dial.
Sly also favors timepieces with precious gems and has been spotted with the extravagant white gold GMT-Master II with a Pepsi bezel made from rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. Talk about lavish!
One other white metal Rolex that has featured on Sylvester Stallone’s wrist is the stainless steel Deepsea dive watch with the James Cameron D-Blue bezel.
Other Rolex watches in Stallone’s collection include the black Oysterflex with the rubber bracelet, and the Everose gold Yacht-Master.
Retired tennis player, Zheng Jie, is known to own a Rolex Lady Datejust. Designed in 1957, this watch is the first-ever ladies’ watch to receive certification as a chronometer thanks to its excellent precision.
The Lady Datejust is much smaller in size than conventional Rolex watches but still retains Rolex’s integrity for being reliable and precise.
Nicolas Cage’s collection of Rolex is quite diverse and you’re sure to find watches such as the vintage yellow gold Rolex with triple calendar complication (super rare watch), yellow gold Day-Date President, stainless steel Submariner, as well as the yellow gold Sky-Dweller.
Cage’s most surprising Rolex though remains the Daytona Leopard which many say is the ugliest watch Rolex has ever made.
The watch itself is super flashy featuring leopard print strap and dial, diamond pave on the case, diamond indices on the dial, and an orange sapphire bezel. Yeah, we know, right? Too much. But Cage owns it anyway, and from the looks of it, he’s happy with his purchase.
Steve McQueen was a phenomenal influencer popular for his career as an amateur racer and an actor. McQueen had such a huge influence on the Rolex Explorer II, it is more popularly known as the Steve McQueen Explorer to date.
The world’s most famous singer as at the 20th century, Elvis Presley, also owned a Rolex watch. This watch was gifted to him by the organizers of the concert in which he performed at the Houston Aerodrome.
Presley performed for 6 days straight at the Aerodrome, and for 6 days straight, continuously sold out the venue. This was in 1970, and the most expensive watch money could get was the Rolex King Midas (Click here to read: Why is Rolex so Expensive?). The super rare limited edition watch was gifted to Presley by the organizers after the concert. It came in solid gold with a square design and an air of individuality that almost equaled that of Presley himself.
Other Important People Who Wear/Wore A Rolex
Of course, this list, by no means is exhaustive, there are still a number of other celebrities who have been sported with Rolex watches.
For instance, we know of Sir Edmund Hillary who owned an Oyster Perpetual. This was the watch he chose to go with when he climbed the Mount of Everest to its summit in 1953. After this daring feat, Rolex, in commemoration, decided to issue the Rolex Explorer. A year after that, Rolex issued the GMT Master for pilots to help them monitor two time zones at a time.
In the James Bond movie, Doctor No in 1962, Sean Connery was seen wearing the Rolex Submariner. In fact, he wore that same watch in the next four movies after that one, only changing out the strap for each movie.
Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore are other famous people who also favor Rolex watches.
PS: If you own a Rolex and are currently thinking of selling, you want to read our article: Where Can I Sell My Rolex Watch? Click here to read it.