If there’s one film that’s been marked on my calendar since I first announced it, it’s Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. It’s David Grann’s adaptation of the book of the same name, which traces the gruesome murders of the Osage Tribe in 1920s Oklahoma. It’s a mystery that also covers the birth of the FBI and uncovers the conspiracy. It’s all true – with every disturbing twist and turn. I read this book last year after about three days and highly recommend it to anyone. If nothing else, you may learn something about the tragedy that you may not have learnt in your school history books.
When Scorsese made the film as a movie, it was also announced that Leonardo DiCaprio would be playing one of the titular roles of Ernest Burkhart, the key figure in the vast, sinister conspiracy (I’ll try to make an attempt at that). Ernest Burkhart is a key figure in a huge, vicious conspiracy (I’ll try not to spoil it here – but history is history). After the principal photography in the film is done (October 2021) it’s basically a long waiting game.
But we knew this was a cinematic powerhouse, with scores from Robert Deniro and Jesse Plemons, as well as the late Robbie Robertson. After an epic wait, Killers of the Flower Moon has finally arrived at theatres everywhere. I plan to see it this weekend, but I’ve also been delving into the behind-the-scenes anecdotes surrounding the film, which is how I came across the watch-related portion of today’s discussion.
Scorsese is actually a Rolex brand ambassador – he can often be seen in official Rolex campaign material and wearing some version of the Presidential Bracelet dated on interview trails. In fact, I came to associate the director with the watch. But as more and more behind-the-scenes images began to emerge, I began to notice the iconic Rolex Oyster bracelet adorning his wrist.
Close examination and some research showed that Scorsese was a long-time wearer and owner of a Rolex Submariner ref. 16610, but not just any reference. 16610. His choice seems to be the 16610LV aka “Kermit” Submariner, with its green aluminium bezel commemorating 50 years of submarines. It was released in 2003 and remained in the Rolex collection until 2010, when the brand began the transition from aluminium to ceramic bezel models. This is a famous watch because it expands the “Maxi” Lume plot, unlike similar submarines of the time.
Diving into the internet archives to find Scorsese in this replica rolex watch, I came back to several live photos of the killer (including a key news image from the film) which showed him wearing it. Clearly, this was a watch that meant something to him, and he returned to his watch often.
In fact, it looks like this may be the only Watchman that took him to Oklahoma for the entire shoot. While seeing a director in a submarine (James Cameron basically set the precedent here) isn’t necessarily shocking news, it felt special with Scorsese. He’s the “President” guy, which is a kind of tool watch. But it’s also great to see him wearing a tool watch while participating in a craft. The interesting part is that it’s not like he changed his wardrobe for the occasion. You still see him wearing a dress shirt tucked into a pair of slacks. It’s just that the watch has become more casual.
Interestingly, I was able to spot the watch on Scorsese’s wrist in the Flower Moon context of the killers, as he wore the Chanel for the Bleu de Chanel commercial shoot with Dune Star Star Startimothée Chalamet. If the photo above makes it hard to figure out the green colour of the bezel, it almost confirms the watch (although the maximum limit is already a dead giveaway).