Obtaining Marlon Brando’s customized $5 million Rolex GMT-Master watch and actually wearing it are two entirely different matters. An Oman-based collector has brought proceedings to a halt by filing legal action against Christie’s in Geneva. This exceptional timepiece is one of approximately 100 watches frozen by a court order due to a legal dispute between a collector and the auction house Christie’s.
Mohammed Zaman, a watch enthusiast and collector, filed a civil complaint in Geneva. This action followed Christie’s auction of 113 watches from his personal collection on Nov. 6, which fetched a total of $42,418,914, according to Bloomberg. According to the court order, the watches remain under lock and key with the auction house until the matters are resolved.
Brando’s exquisite Rolex watch, part of this stash, was seen in the film ‘Apocalypse Now’. The watch comes with a missing bezel and the actor’s name engraved on the caseback. Brando had removed the iconic bezel from his watch to reflect Colonel Kurtz’s insanity and penchant for theatrics, addressing director Francis Ford Coppola’s concerns about its fit in ‘Apocalypse Now.’ He also hand-scratched his name onto the caseback, adding to the watch’s provenance and distinctiveness. The revered auction house has requested bidders to withhold payments for any watches won in the Nov. 6 auction until the matter is resolved.
“Mr. Zaman is regrettably blocking Christie’s from releasing watches to the successful buyers at the ‘Passion for Time’ sale,” a spokesperson for the auction house said in a statement. “Christie’s has taken immediate steps to challenge this interference with the sale process and is hoping for a swift resolution,” the auction house added. “We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to our valued clients pending that outcome.”
Despite the amount being recognized as the record commercial success of the ‘Passion for Time’ sale, boasting the largest total achieved for a single-owner watch collection, Zaman wasn’t a happy man. More developments in the matter will take place at the next hearing regarding the case on Dec. 11 in Geneva.