Cuba has always fascinated me. Of course, for someone like me – born in Siberia – it was a hot and rebellious island, full of cigars, passionate people, and rum. No winters, and the Cuban style of salsa dancing everywhere, added to the lure. The omnipresent communal spirit was a perfect icing on the cake.
So when the revelation came that Fidel Castro wore a Rolex (sports model) during the Cuban Revolution in 1959, I was surprised! We certainly did not study this in our historic books! The Rolex defied the communal spirit, glorifying only the wearer. So it and Fidel seemed more of juxtaposition than a match.
When he made his first appearance on the LIFE Magazine, the world saw Fidel Castro standing on the balcony of the Hilton Hotel with friends, after his triumphant entry into Havana. The Rolex on his wrist caught everyone’s eye.
Same was the case when crowds cheered him during his victorious march to Havana.
Fair enough, I can accept the fact that he was a lawyer and wore his Rolex more as a time instrument than a luxurious symbol. The reasons being, Rolex had not earned that stature, and also, by then, quartz watches were not invented.
But why did he wear two at the same time? A fashion and style statement? Or a mockery of norms? What can I say?
I cannot deny that he and his best friend Che Guevara (another Rolex fan) were amazingly charming personalities with their gruff beards, the perfume of cigars, that aura of rebels and visionaries, wearing a ROLEX ALL THE TIME!
Apparently, Fidel and his Rolex charmed not only me, but also another watch addict – Nicolas Sarkozy, who famously had the picture of Fidel with two Rolexes in his room.
And also the whole Kremlin before
So it comes as no surprise that Rolex is one of the most recognised watch brands in post Soviet countries. It was next to us and on the wrists of one of most famous rebels of the 20th century.
Viva La revolución! Viva Rolex…