James Byron Dean, cultural icon of the 50’s, known also as the title of his most celebrated film, “Rebel Without a Cause” had only three watches in his possession in his brief rebellious life. Sadly, he did not have time to become a collector of watches.
He owned, one pocket watch (Standard Watch Company) who bought the 1951 engraved with personal initials. He wore it on his father’s gold chain (with fear not to lose) and considered it a lucky charm. Another is “Westclox Wrist Ben” who also wore in the cult film “Rebel Without a Cause” and the third was “LeCoultre Powermatic Nautilus” which he had on hand at tragic car accident.
His first watch, the Elgin pocket watch will be auctioned by Antiquorum Auctioneers in its June 22nd auction of “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” in Hong Kong. This watch is a piece of Hollywood history, one of the few known existing items that belonged to the late legendary actor. James Dean gifted the watch to Tillie Starriet, a Warner Brothers employee whom he befriended during the filming of “East of Eden.” The watch contains a letter of authentication from Starriet.
James Dean’s pocket watch was made in 1889 by Standard USA, with an Elgin movement. The gold filled case has a cartouche with the initials “JD” engraved on the front cover. Watch is pre-auction estimated on $5,000 – $10,000.