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Marlon Brando's one-of-a-kind Rolex has been sold for more than $5 million — or has it?

Lloyd Lee   

Marlon Brando's one-of-a-kind Rolex has been sold for more than $5 million — or has it?
  • Marlon Brando's Rolex GMT-Master was recently sold at Christie's for more than $5 million.
  • The sale was put on hold, however, after the owner of the watch filed a civil complaint.

A rare Rolex GMT-Master worn by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola's iconic "Apocalypse Now" is one of more than 100 luxury watches in a civil lawsuit recently filed by the watches' latest owner.

Brando's Rolex, which features unique customizations, was sold at Christie's auction house in November for more than $5 million.

The watch came out of the collection of Mohammed Zaman, an Omani businessman who has been collecting watches for about 45 years, according to Christie's. On November 6, 113 watches from his collection, including the Rolex GMT-Master, were auctioned off for more than $42 million.

But the transaction has been put on hold after Zaman filed a lawsuit in Geneva concerning the sale, Bloomberg reported. It's unclear what issue the collector has with the auction house, but the winning bidders have been told to withhold making any payments until the legal matter is resolved, according to the report.

A spokesperson for Christie's and an attorney for Zaman did not respond to a request for comment sent during the weekend.

The shocking price tag of Brando's watch — which his daughter Petra Brando Fischer sold at an auction in 2019 for $1.95 million — is in part due to the watch's distinct characteristics, namely the engraving of the actor's name on the back and the lack of a bezel.

While filming "Apocalypse Now," Brando was told by a production crew member to remove the watch because "it would stand out," Brando Fischer said, explaining the watch's backstory.

The lore goes that the actor protested against removing the watch, arguing, "If they're looking at my watch, then I'm not doing my job as an actor."

In the 1979 film, Brando played the role of Col. Walter E. Kurtz, who goes rogue in a remote jungle during the Vietnam War. "Apocalypse Now" was nominated for eight Oscar Academy Awards, won Best Sound and Best Cinematography, and is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made.

The production crew acquiesced, but Brando still wound up removing the watch's bezel. He also engraved the back of the watch with "M. Brando" using an electric engraver pen, The New York Times reported.

The Rolex was long thought to be lost until 2019, when the actor's daughter put the watch up for sale at Phillips auction house.

In 1995, Brando gifted the watch to his daughter Petra for her graduation from Brown University, the Times reported.

"This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going," Brando Fischer recalled her father telling her, according to the report. "I want you to have it as a reminder of how proud I am of you."

Brando Fischer later gifted the watch to her husband as a wedding present, which would be hidden in their home for years until it was auctioned.

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