Picasso’s Rolex, Warhol’s Cartier, and Other Icons of the Arts

Rolex GMT Master

In the world of art, literature, music, and film, there are only a few who can be considered icons, whose work and principles continue to influence those who came after them.

They arrived there through a combination of talent, vision, and technique – the same elements it takes to be a master at watchmaking. No wonder these icons have a good appreciation of timepieces and always had a fine watch on their wrists.

Here are the timepieces of Picasso, Warhol, Sinatra, Hemingway, and Fleming:



Rolex GMT Master Gilt Dial Pepsi Bezel Vintage Mens Watch 1675


Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso is widely considered as the most important artist of the 20th century, whose work heavily influenced modern and contemporary art. While he was known for radical, anti-symmetrical work, he preferred perfectly balanced and classic timepieces. He wore a stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master from the 1960s.

Other watches: 1940’s Jaeger LeCoultre Triple Calendar Watch, 1950’s Patek Philippe Triple Date Moonphase.


1973 Dokfilm Picasso de Lucien Clergue Condor Films” by Condor Films, licensed by CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons



Rolex Oyster Perpetual 18K Yellow Gold Vintage Chronometer Watch 6569


Ernest Hemingway

Who hasn’t read at least one novel of Ernest Hemingway? The novelist, journalist and Nobel Prize winner was an incredibly complex man; counting boxing, bullfighting, cocktails, and travelling among his many pursuits. As colorful as his life was, he always had a reliable watch: his 1950’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual in 18k gold with a leather bracelet.


Other watches: 1940’s Rolex Bubbleback, vintage Hamilton watch.


Ernest Hemingway wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Ernest Hemingway Writing at Campsite in Kenya – NARA – 192655” by National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain



Cartier Tank Solo Yellow Gold Steel Black Strap Unisex Watch W1018855


Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol may have led the colorful pop art movement, but he preferred his timepieces simple and timeless. He was quite outspoken about his love of the Cartier Tank, and was quoted as saying “I don’t wear a Tank to tell the time. In fact, I never wind it. I wear a Tank because it’s the watch to wear.”


Other watches: 1940’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref 4021, Patek Philippe ref 2503, Patek Philippe ref 2526. Photo from The Andy Warhol Foundation on Instagram




Rolex Explorer Vintage Steel Watch 1016 Year 1958


Ian Fleming

Author Ian Fleming, creator of the famed James Bond series, was often thought to have modeled some of his famous character’s traits from his own self. This includes their preference in timepieces. While James Bond now wears Omega watches in the movie franchise, Fleming once wrote that Bond wore “a heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on an expanding metal bracelet.” Fleming himself wore a Rolex Explorer 1016. Photo from 007 on Instagram




Cartier Pasha Three Time Zone Moonphase Yellow Gold Automatic Watch


Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Aside from his music, he was quite well-known for his personal style – always cool, relaxed and put-together in a suit and fedora. He was often seen wearing Cartier watches, but his most famous watch was the one he gave away.

His fellow actor and Rat Pack-er Sammy Davis was the recipient of his Cartier Pasha Moonphase, with an inscription that read “Sammy, I Luv Ya, F.A.S.


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