Michael Caine’s Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date sells for £125,000 at auction Michael Caine’s Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date sells for £125,000 at auction

Michael Caine’s Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date sells for £125,000 at auction

Luke Benedictus

As Michael Caine went from strength to strength in the 1970s, he was frequently pictured with a gold Rolex. I’ve written before about my love for the Day-Date on a leather strap that he wore in Get Carter. But Caine also showed his forward-thinking mindset by also snapping up this 18K gold Oysterquartz Day-Date, which today sold at a Bonhams auction for £125,250 ($228,157 AUD).

Caine confirmed that he wore this watch during numerous roles, including as the sleazy conman Lawrence Jamieson in the 1988 movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The gold bracelet of the watch can even be seen peeking out of Jamieson’s crisp white suit as he raises a glass of champagne with Steve Martin in the promotional posters for the film.

Michael Caine

Rolex’s dalliance with quartz is an interesting chapter in the brand’s history.  Their Oysterquartz watches were first released in 1977 with a range of models based around the Day-Date, Datejust, and Date watches.

To power the watches, Rolex devised two quartz movements. The Cal. 5035 was fitted inside the quartz-powered Datejust and Date watches, while Caine’s Oysterquartz Day-Date was driven by the Cal. 5055.

As you’d expect from a quartz calibre made by The Crown, these were extremely accurate movements. When Rolex sent the Oysterquartz calibers off to COSC to be tested, they cruised through the  +/- 0.2 seconds a day test with ease.

Michael Caine
Caine’s Oysterquartz Day-Date

Not wishing for these watches to be confused with their mechanical siblings, Rolex designed the Oysterquartz piece with sharper profiles distinguished by the crisp faceted edges that make them instantly recognisable on the wrist

With the Day-Date being one of Rolex’s most in-demand models, the Oysterquartz versions eventually came in 12 different references all in yellow or white gold. Caine’s watch, the ref. 19018, is still the most widely available and came with various dial options including champagne, white, black and even wood.

Encircled by its signature fluted bezel, Caine’s watch has a sunburst champagne dial with applied gilt baton hour markers, a black outer minute track with Roman numeral and luminous dot five minute markers. Despite the quartz movement, there’s no skimping on the case which is made of 18k gold as is the bracelet.

Michael Caine

Downsizing to move into a new home, Caine and his his wife Shakira put mementos from his career up for sale at the Bonhams auction as well as artwork, furniture, jewellery, a pair of the actor’s iconic glasses and a diamond-set lighter.

The pair would been delighted with the results. The 183-piece collection had a pre-sale estimate of £314,000 but sold for a total of £847,000 with every lot getting snapped up.  The watch did particularly well. The Oysterquartz Day-Date had a bafflingly low estimate of £8,000 to £12,000, a price that it eclipsed 10-fold.