A Rolex GMT Master, once owned by Marlon Brando and worn during filming of Apocalypse Now, remains impounded by a Swiss court after a Christie’s auction descended into chaos.
The watch had Mr Brando’s name engraved into its caseback and he had removed its 24 hour bezel, making it look more like the sort of field watch that might have been worn by a crazed military man in a Vietnamese jungle.
There is no end in sight for the legal dispute playing out in Geneva for the Brando Rolex, but an alternative has just come to the attention of WatchPro in the form of a limited edition 101 Mark II from British independent watchmaker, Freese, which bears a more than passing resemblance.
Freese is the creation of Simon Freese, who launched his own business, Simon Freeze Watchmakers, after 15 years as a watchmaker and workshop manager with Swiss Time Services in Essex.
Freese Watches was born as a brand in 2018, and will join more than 40 British marques at the upcoming British Watchmakers’ Day in London on Saturday, March 9, to unveil the Freese 101 Mark II to the public as a limited edition of 101 pieces.
The watch has been specially created for the event, and will be offered on a first come first served basis.
Any unsold watches will be offered to customers who have pre-registered their interest but were unable to attend the event.
The 101 Mark II is the first Freese watch with a British-made case.
It is powered by a workhorse SW200 automatic movement from Sellita, which is sufficiently reliable and robust to allow Freese to offer a four year warranty on the watch.
“My aim was to create a simple, robust and reliable timepiece which can be worn and enjoyed every day and I believe we have accomplished this with the Freese 101 Mark II,” Mr Freese says.
“Initial feedback from watch aficionados regarding the Freese 101 Mark II has proved extremely positive, with some suggesting it bears a resemblance to the famous Rolex GMT 1675 worn by screen legend Marlon Brando in the 1970’s Vietnam War epic, Apocalypse Now. Some notable collectors have even begun to affectionately refer to the new Freese creation as The Brando,” he adds.
The 41mm stainless steel watch has a hand printed brass dial with vintage lume markers and dagger shaped hands.
It will be on sale at the British Watchmakers’ Day for £2,195 with a leather watch roll.