Steve McQueen and Rolex

Every guy out there wants to be like Steve McQueen. Retailers and brands have been counting on this judging from the number of products that remained popular for decades simply because of their association with McQueen it's safe to say he is a men's style icon. From Clarks Desert Boots, A White Triumph Tee Shirt, to those Persol Sunglasses and that Heuer Monaco from LeMans.  

However, many of the items he is most connected to were only on loan from wardrobe. For years collectors called the original Rolex Explorer II (ref 1655) the "Steve McQueen Rolex", after a rumor was started that this was the timepiece Steve wore daily. The supposed McQueen connection coupled with that bright orange 24-hour hand caused this model to absolutely sky-rocket in price. No one really knows where the story came from, but... McQueen never wore, the Explorer II and was certainly never photographed wearing it.


The Rolex of choice for McQueen wore was a Submariner, a watch called the Reference 5512 Submariner. How do we know he wore a 5512 Sub? Well, there are about 23,000 pictures of him wearing it. And he even wore it in his final film, the Hunter.  

We also know that McQueen wore a 5512 Submariner because just last year Antiquorum sold his actual Rolex for an astounding $234,000. Since that sale, the desirability of the rare 5512 Submariner has gone up considerably, while the "Orange Hand" has seen prices slide.  The 5512 Submariner is much harder to come by than your typical 5513, and if you want to do your best King of Cool, you'd better make it an early 70s "4-line" version.  
Today a Vintage Rolex Submariner 5512 set is being offered at just under $9000.
Source: Hodinkee