Stuff We Love: Now You Can Own James Dean’s Pocket Watch

Millie Stapleton

JD Watch soloJames Dean’s favorite possession was a pocket watch made by Standard USA with an American-made Elgin movement. And now you can have a piece of the Rebel Without a Cause. The pocket watch is being auctioned off by Antiquorum Auctioneers in its upcoming June 22nd auction of “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” in Hong Kong.
Dean purchased his prized watch in late 1951 while he was a struggling actor working in New York. It was his first big purchase, and he was so proud of it he had his initials engraved on the gold cover. Dean considered the watch his good luck charm and wore it while performing in TV and plays.
The actor wore it not in a vest pocket but in his pants pocket, with the chain dangling from a belt loop, even throughout the filming of “East of Eden,” despite director Elia Kazan’s protests. His performance in the film would earn him his first of two posthumous Academy Award nominations and two Golden Globes.
Dean ultimately gifted the watch to Tillie Starriet, a Warner Brothers employee whom he befriended during the filming of “East of Eden.”
The pocket watch is estimated to fetch between $5,000 to $10,000 when it goes up for auction later this month.
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