From Abraham Lincoln to Michael Jordan, America has its fair share of iconic historical figures. Some of these legends happen to have close links to the world of watches. After our author Jorg Weppelink wrote an overview of famous American watch fans, we decided to take a closer look at a few specific individuals. This new Chrono24 Magazine series began with a feature on Bruce Springsteen and his Heuer Autavia. Next, we learned that Frank Sinatra donned several Bulova watches in his lifetime. This time, we’re looking at long-time Hollywood star Clint Eastwood’s wrist to discover the actor and producer’s favorite timepiece.
Clint Eastwood: Hollywood Legend and Watch Enthusiast
Reticent, cynical, and a man of few words: That’s the character Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood plays in most of his films. Before the tall, slender actor got his big break in the 1960s and 70s, he played a number of minor roles in B movies. The best known of these roles is likely as a pilot in the 1955 sci-fi flick Tarantula!. Fans of Western movies will likely know Eastwood as the straight-faced cowboy in a string of Spaghetti Westerns. From 1964, Eastwood starred in a trilogy of films directed by Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Although Eastwood captured the attention of a wider audience in Europe, he remained lesser known in American film circles.
It wasn’t until the now-91-year-old started playing the unrelenting cop “Dirty Harry” in 1971 that Eastwood earned more widespread fame. This film series follows the story of vigilante policeman Harry Callahan as he patrols the streets of Eastwood’s hometown San Francisco. Over the past six decades, the actor has appeared in some 60 films, directed over 40, and continues to work on both sides of the camera to this day. Some notable examples of his work include the 2008 drama Gran Torino and 2018’s The Mule, the story of 90-year-old drug trafficker Earl Stone. Eastwood has received four Oscars in his career; two for best picture and best director of the 1992 Western Unforgiven, and winning the same two accolades for the drama Million Dollar Baby in 2004. It is astounding to think that Eastwood is likewise a successful producer and film composer alongside all his other work.
Clint Eastwood isn’t just known for his uncommon Hollywood success, however; it’s no secret the star is also interested in high-end watches. Eastwood’s best-known timepiece is his Rolex GMT-Master 16753. He’s been spotted wearing this watch both on and off the screen. In 1982’s Cold War thriller Firefox, Eastwood sports his Rolex while playing the former Vietnam fighter pilot Mitchell Gant. Two years later, the same GMT-Master accompanied him during his role as detective Wes Block in the film Tightrope. Eastwood’s Rolex “Root Beer” GMT-Master 16753 made yet another appearance in the blockbuster In the Line of Fire from 1993. Here, the actor plays the role of aging Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan.
Details of the Rolex GMT-Master 16753 “Root Beer”
Rolex first introduced the GMT-Master 16753 in the 1970s. The bezel, crown, hands, and indices are all in a gold tone, and buyers had the choice between a black or brown dial. The brown dial version stood out from the rest of the Rolex range at the time. Its golden-brown bezel hue was likewise new. Fans quickly christened this new variant of the GMT-Master 16753 the “Root Beer” after the beloved American beverage.
In contrast to previous GMT-Masters which had printed indices, Rolex opted for applied indices on the 16753. This earned the dial the further nickname of “Nipple Dial” or “Tiger Eye.” Rolex offered this model on a color-coordinated two-tone Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. Clint Eastwood selected the latter version, which is why the ref. 16753 with a Jubilee bracelet is also known as the “Clint Eastwood.”
In terms of technology, the 16753 is a standard, 1970s GMT-Master. The in-house Rolex caliber 3075 powers the watch. The movement has a quickset date adjustment and runs at 28,800 vph, which is higher than its predecessor. The 16753 is equipped with a plexiglass crystal and is water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 330 ft).
This reference is very popular with collectors, which explains why prices have increased significantly in recent years. You can expect to pay at least $12,000-14,000 to call one your own. However, depending on the watch’s condition, history, and available accessories, some sellers will charge closer to $17,500-22,000.