Ernest Hemingway wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
When it comes to Ernest Hemingway, the average person will only see him as the writer of, “The Old Man and The Sea”. However, he was an incredibly complex person that traveled all around the world, went to parties, was an amateur boxer, and an alcohol connoisseur.
As is true with many artists and honest story tellers, Hemingway was a bit of a tortured soul. So many of his writings are incredibly interesting because they tell the stories that reflect the complicated and difficult nature of being human. He was a heavy drinker and lived a life of chaos much of the time. As he is also known for tragically ending his own life, it is easy to see that there were not many stable things in his life.
There were two things that were very consistent for Ernest Hemingway. The first was waking up and writing. He was known to write every morning as soon as he could. The other thing that was incredibly steady was his Rolex Oyster Perpetual. This was the watch that he wore almost every day. It was a classy steel watch that was the steady timekeeper for the man with a life that was all over the place.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a beautiful steel watch (or “Oystersteel”) with a stainless-steel band. However, Hemingway’s Rolex Oyster that he was often pictured with is from the 1950s and is 18 carat gold and has a leather band.
Hemingway admired the Rolex Oyster Perpetual so much that it found its way into his novel Across the River and Into the Trees when he compared the watch to the human heart:
“Do you think it breaks for me? If so, I would come and simply be with you and care for you.”
“It’s just a muscle,” the Colonel said. “Only it is the main muscle. It works as perfectly as a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The trouble is you cannot send it to the Rolex representative when it goes wrong. When it stops, you just do not know the time. You’re dead.”
Here Hemingway is equating the accuracy of an Oyster Perpetual to the human heart. But in the case of a Rolex, it can be fixed if it needs to be repaired. This was not a product placement, Hemingway had a genuine fondness for Rolexes and wasn’t afraid to show it.
The Oyster Perpetual is Rolex’s entry level model. Its classic design doesn’t come with features such as date or day and comes exclusively in stainless steel. This is a great watch if you’re thinking of entering into the world of Rolex.
The modern day 36mm Oyster has the following specs:
Ernest Hemingway has also been spotted wearing a Rolex Bubbleback. The Bubbleback was the pre-cursor to the Oyster Perpetual, and was one of the first automatic watches available when it launched in 1933. Getting its name from its distinctive protruding “bubbleback” case, Rolex decided to house the large auto-rotor movement in a larger case rather than increase the watch’s overall size.
Hemingway’s Bubbleback probably dates from the late 1940’s.
While he was most commonly seen wearing his Rolexes, he also had several interesting pocket watches. This seems even more incredibly fitting for Hemingway, the cigar smoking, rum sipping, bull fighter. Nothing says, “intellectual writer”, like the Hamilton pocket watch that he was given by Ava Gardner for his 55th birthday. Obviously, there is no need to constantly check the time if you are in the depths of writing for the first half of the day and chasing experiences in the evening. That is why a classy old pocket watch would be perfect.
There are so many different things about Hemingway that you could dissect and try to understand. The complications are what made his work great, but also lead to his unfortunate end and his misery. One thing that he could count on was his steady Rolex Oyster Perpetual, but even that could not calm the tides for this old man and his internal sea.
Chris Kyle wore a Casio G-Shock.
Chris Kyle was a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper with SEAL Group 3. He served 4 tours overseas for the United States and is currently the deadliest sniper in American history with at least 150 kills to his name. Kyle was known in the region as “The Devil of Ramadi”, and known to his comrades in the U.S. armed forces as “The Legend”.
Kyle, and friend Chad Littlefield, were murdered by a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD on February 2nd, 2013. His autobiography, American Sniper, was adapted by Clint Eastwood into a biopic starring Bradley Cooper.
Along with his G-Shock, Chris Kyle also mentions his Rolex Submariner in his autobiography. He only wore his G-Shock on active duty:
‘On my wrist, I’d wear a G-Shock watch. The black watch and its rubber wristband have replaced Rolex Submariners as standard SEAL equipment. (A friend of mine, who thought it was a shame the tradition died, recently got me one. I still feel a little strange wearing a Rolex, but it is a throwback to the frogmen who came before me.)’
We’ve also written about Rolex Submariner homage watches if you’re after the iconic Submariner look minus the steep price tag.
The watches these days are digital in their complications, but analog in their time display. Casio claims the battery life is 2 years, and some even come equipped with Tough Solar chargers to automatically recharge.
G-Shock watches all include automatic atomic clock synchronization, and most will now automatically adjust to whatever timezone you’re located in using radio waves and local sources. The “G” in G-Shock stands for ‘Gravitational’ -- the watch was designed in the early 80s to be able to withstand mechanical shock and heavy vibration.
As such, today’s G-Shock watch is water resistant to 20 BAR, and can withstand a rather high fall (at least 20 feet that we could find, possibly more with newer versions of the watch).
The best part about the G-Shock is that it is incredibly affordable given the engineering that has gone into them. There’s a variety of G-Shocks with a range of different features, starting from around for a basic G-Shock like this DW6900.
Chris would have worn a a G-Shock DW6600, which was the standard watch worn by Navy Seals after the Rolex Submariner, until 2011. Since then, Navy Seals have worn a variety of different watches.
We’ve featured the G-Shock G-Shock DW6900 in this article as it’s the closest available model to the DW6600.
Bradley Cooper wore a G-Shock DW 6600 in the movie adaptation of American Sniper. They got this part of the movie dead on as we’ve already mentioned it is historically accurate.
Around 2011, several rappers, including Eminem, started wearing the watch and vaulted it into the mainstream consciousness. As such, you can find them in your mall or local jeweler. You can also find some at a pawn shop.
Check out the following video for a glimpse of the G-Shock’s toughness: