Top photo: Rolex Global Communications Director Arnaud Boetsch, right, with Rolex CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour at the 2018 U.S. Open Tennis Championship in New York City.
The Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures is a long-gestating project of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, which has as its most public-facing activities the granting of various awards for distinguished achievements in filmmaking – including, of course, the Oscars (more formally known as the Academy Awards; “Oscar” was adopted as the official nickname of the trophy statuette in 1939, but nobody seems to quite know for sure who came up with it, but whoever did, it stuck). The Museum is slated to open in April of 2021, and it will include both an architecturally striking theater on the Museum campus – a spherical structure that seats 1,000 – and the main structure, the Saban Building, which is an architectural landmark dating to 1939 and which was originally the May Company Department Store.
The Museum will have facilities for the exhibition, curation, and preservation of film and film artifacts, and objects in its collection include the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz, the prop tablets of the law from The Ten Commandments, the original xenomorph costume headpiece from the 1979 classic, Alien, and from more recent cinematic history, the May Queen dress worn by Florence Pugh in Midsommar, which is one of the finest antiromantic horror-comedy bad-breakup movies ever made. Recently, Rolex announced that one of its top executives, Arnaud Boetsch, will join the museum’s Board Of Trustees, where he’ll work to guide long-term strategy, as well as financial development, along with other board members.
Boetsch is global director of communication and image at Rolex. He has largely worked out of the public eye (at least, the eye of the watch-buying public), but he’s been responsible over the years for some of the company’s most significant activities and partnerships. His brief is very broad and includes sports, exploration and arts partnerships, and philanthropic activities (which are very wide-ranging but again, often not especially publicly visible, in keeping with the company’s culture of discretion). He has been behind the association of Rolex with some of the most important sports and arts events in the world – including golf, motorsports (especially Formula 1) as well as its partnerships with major ambassadors. One of the most important Rolex ambassadors is, of course, Roger Federer. Of Federer, Boetsch said in a rare interview with Tennis World in 2019, “What matters is not the short term, but the principles and values that should last over the time. Federer is the ultimate ambassador. He will stay as an ambassador also after his career ends, like Jackie Stewart and Jean-Claude Killy, who have been ambassadors for more than 50 years.”
The French-born Boetsch is no casual presence in the world of tennis. Aficionados will recall that he was a pro from 1987 to 1999 who rose to 12th in the world in 1996, winning the Davis Cup twice.
Rolex watches have, of course, been widely seen in motion pictures, and in recent years, one of the company’s more notable official associations with cinema (it does not place watches in films, although its watches are often chosen either by performers or others associated with particular productions) has been as a sponsor of the Academy Awards, which began in 2017. The year before, Rolex also sponsored the Green Room at the Oscars – the area, offstage, where performers wait prior to their turn on stage. Don’t think of a dull, featureless waiting room; the Rolex Green Room at the Oscars was designed by the same Boetsch-led team which designs interiors for Rolex’s retail network. (HODINKEE’s Cara Barrett gave us a sneak peek inside, in 2017, and Rolex has continued to sponsor the Green Room ever since.) The origins of the term “green room” are lost to history, although one possibly apocryphal story is that the 16th century Blackfriar’s Theater, in London, supposedly had a waiting room for actors that was painted green. By a happy coincidence, green is also a signature color for Rolex.
Though he’s not a household name among watch and Rolex enthusiasts, Boetsch has been one of the most influential presences at Rolex during his tenure (prior to his current role, he directed the Rolex sponsorship programs for seven years). He’s a major figure in the company, and the next time you see a Rolex partnership, sponsorship, or philanthropic activity, you’ll know who’s behind the scenes directing the firm’s constantly evolving and very wide-ranging extra-horological activities.
Top photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images