The Great Escape – A Norwich Resident Article


As you may know, ‘Mr Oakleigh’ writes a regular column in the luxury lifestyle magazine ‘The Norwich Resident’ (

In August 2015 the article was called ‘The Great Escape’ and here it is:

The Great Escape

With ‘The Great Escape’ as the theme for this month’s edition of the magazine, one thought popped immediately into my head – Steve McQueen.

“What on earth”, you may ask, “does he have to do with watches?” Good question. ¬†Well as well as being a massive petrolhead, the star of The Great Escape was a devoted Rolex wearer and the basis of the biggest horological misnomer ever..

This watch is the Rolex 1655 Explorer II from 1972 – commonly known as ‘The Rolex Steve McQueen’.

The only thing is that no-one actually knows why – while there are dozens and dozens of photographs of him wearing a mid 1960’s 5513 Submariner like the one pictured, there are none of him wearing an Explorer II.

None. Not any.

It’s like one day somebody just decided to attach his name to the watch on a whim and it caught on globally – a pre-internet example of a myth going viral.

Do you think if I started calling the rather lovely new Rolex Yachtmaster “The Oakleigh”, they might send me one? Worth a go I suppose…

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