Chinese director Jia Zhangke appointed Rolex brand ambassador

On 28 June, Swiss luxury watch brand Rolex announced its latest brand ambassador, Chinese film auteur Jia Zhangke (sometimes stylised as Jia Zhang-Ke), a “testimonee” in the brand’s terms. The news came a little more than a month after Jia’s team announced that Jia had joined the Rolex family after the watchmaker congratulated the director on his latest film, ‘Caught by the Tides’ premiering at the Cannes Film Festival.

This is not the first time Jia Zhangke has worked with Rolex. In 2022, Jia took part in the brand’s Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative 2023-2024. He took on Filipino filmmaker Rafael Manuel as his Protégé. During a talk held in November 2022, Jia shared that he took on the challenge as he had always wanted to teach and there wasn’t much else to do during the lockdowns.

At the same event, Jia expressed his admiration of the Swiss watch brand’s patronage of the arts, especially cinema such as funding Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Film Foundation’ which preserves and restores world cinema. Indeed, Scorsese, along with James Cameron, are also Rolex testimonees.

Jia is known for his humanist view and a penchant to focus on the ordinary people of China. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2006 for the film Still Life. He is also actively contributing to the film industry in China, such as hosting the Pingyao International Film Festival. Having appointed Yuja Wang as its testimonee in July 2023, it is clear that Rolex has been leveraging the arts in China.


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