Profiles in Time: Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese: An American Filmmaker

Martin Scorsese is a widely-celebrated modern American filmmaker. His signature filmmaking style, include dark themes, unusual camera techniques, and contemporary music. But you may not know about Scorsese’s deep ties to the watch industry. He’s not only a collector but also a partner with Rolex and other watch brands. Plus, he’s got some pretty specific opinions when it comes to watches and film.

A born and bred New Yorker, Scorsese suffered from severe asthma as a child. So, instead of playing sports like most other young boys his age, he spent his time in front of the television or at the movie theatre. Here, his interest in film began to develop. By the time he was just eight years old, he was drawing up his own story boards.  He labeled them, “directed and produced by Martin Scorsese.”

Both of Scorsese’s parents were part-time actors. They happily supported his enthusiasm for cinema. By the time he graduated high school, he had created a ten-minute comedy short that earned him a scholarship to NYU, where he went on to complete his MFA in film directing. He spent a brief stint working at the university as a film instructor. However, he wanted to focus on creating films of his own.

Martin Scorsese

Photo Credit: David Shankbone

Martin Scorsese’s Filmmaking

In 1968, Scorsese finished his debut feature-length film called Who’s That Knocking at My Door? The film didn’t receive much attention at the time, but that didn’t discourage him from pursuing his passion for filmmaking. He directed his next film in 1973, revisiting the characters from his first film. Highly regarded among critics, Mean Streets showcased some of the elements that have become Scorsese’s trademark style. While making this film, he also met Robert Di Niro, with whom he’d end up forming a lifelong filmmaking partnership.

Just three years later in 1976, Scorsese solidified his place in filmmaking history with Taxi Driver, his masterpiece. This movie featured none other than Di Niro himself. Just four years later in 1980, the dynamic duo wowed critics and audiences again with their film Raging Bull. Although Taxi Driver and Raging Bull are considered two of the greatest movies of all time, Scorsese didn’t land his first box-office hit until The Color of Money in 1986.

Scorsese continued to rise to the top of the industry during the 1990’s and the new millennium. He released Goodfellas in 1990 and Casino in 1995. He followed it up with a series of films showcasing Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead in the early 2000’s: Gangs of New York in 2002, The Aviator in 2004, and The Departed in 2006. The Departed garnered Scorsese his first Oscar for Best Director.

Martin Scorsese

Photo Credit: WikiCommons

Watches and the ties to Martin Scorsese

Throughout his decades of film success, Scorsese has also developed close ties in the watch world. To start, he’s a Rolex Ambassador. He also participated in the brand’s Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative from 2008 to 2009. This program strives to help rising artists realize their full potential by pairing them with mentors for a year of creative collaboration. Of course, there are several Rolex watches in his collection, including a Day-Date and Submariner. He also has a vintage model gifted to him in celebration of one of his more recent films, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Rolex isn’t the only brand connected to Scorsese. In his 2011 film Hugo, the robots in the movie drew inspiration from the “Automates et Merveilles” created by Jaquet Droz. He also has a few other watches in his personal collection. These include a TAG Heuer Professional and a Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. Despite Scorsese’s love and appreciation for the fine art of watchmaking, he has a no-wristwatches policy for his crew—he wants his set to exist in a microcosm, independently of time and the outside world, as a vacuum for creativity.

Check out our other Profiles in Time, like Robert Redford

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  • Wow I didn’t know that scorsese was a fellow watch ENTHUSIAST. great article and thanks for sharing!