Steve McQueen’s Rolex Submariner Has a Secret You Don’t Want to Miss

ADVERTISEMENT

Aside from being celebrated actors, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman have a lot of things in common. Both liked racing cars and collecting watches. Even after the death of both legends, they still “compete” on “expensive price tags.”

October 2017- Paul Newman’s 1968 Rolex Daytona was sold at Phillips New York auction house for $17.8 million. The astonishing price made history for Rolex as the most expensive amount paid for a watch at an auction.  A year before the conclusion of the Paul Newman Daytona, a memorabilia collector/Beverly Hills real estate broker Michael Eisenberg was already eyeing to seal a deal with the Daytona.

Eisenberg really wanted to buy Newman’s watch but said that he “had the money, but obviously it wasn’t anywhere near the money the watch sold for.”  So he thought of buying the one owned by Steve McQueen- a Heuer Monaco which he wore on Le Mans. This watch though was just a prop on his racing movie as he had his heart on his  Rolex Submariner, Reference 5513, often photographed during his private moments. As thrilling as it could get, this classic timepiece will be auctioned by Phillips on October 25.

What lies beneath McQueen’s Submariner is an open secret revealed by history.  The famous actor bought the watch sometime in the mid-1960s and decided to give it to his favorite stunt double, Loren Janes in the late 1970s.  As his gratitude for Janes’ friendship and work (the two had been a great pair in movies like The Getaway and The Thomas Crown Affair), McQueen had an inspiring note engraved on the case back of the watch that says: LOREN, THE BEST DAMN STUNTMAN IN THE WORLD. STEVE

For several decades McQueen’s Submariner was presumed missing not until it was found in good condition after surviving the massive wildfire that raged through Los Angeles in July 2016.  Janes, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s during the tragic event, unfortunately, lost his home. Eisenberg, who was madly keen on having the iconic watch begged Janes’ wife and daughter “to go back to the house and sift through ashes.”  Well, his efforts and begging did pay off as they recovered the watch, and the rest, as they say, is history.