For many people, the watches we choose to wear is an expression of our character and how we choose to face the day. The same can be said for the characters portrayed in the films that we love.
While often time the choice of a watch is determined by a Property Master (Often known as “Prop Master”). The choice of what a character wears is usually intentional, with deep considerations for the script and the characteristic of the character within the director’s vision. As such, it is common to overlook the creative element of pairing an item with its user. So let’s take a look at some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and their equally iconic movie watches.
1) Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day-Date – Interstellar (2014)
Both Hamilton Khaki Field ‘Murph’ and Khaki Pilot Day-Date ‘Cooper’ had their own share of screen time. However, the former was not only shown in this scene where Cooper gave it to Murph before he needs to save the soon-to-be uninhabitable Earth, it is also an integral part of the movie plot shown later in the movie.
In this film, the use of watches is epitomised. For one, it romanticises the idea of connecting two humans in the form of telling time. Another, it served as an incredible tool for the characters to achieve an objective.
In this case, through the fifth dimension, Cooper was able to send a Morse code via the watch. By shifting the seconds hand, important quantum data was transmitted, saving humanity and an absolute overkill of what was conceived of any ‘tool watch’ capability.
2) Rolex Submariner 6538 – James Bond ‘Goldfinger’ (1964)
Flipping his lighter in one smooth move to not only light his cigarette but luminating his Rolex is such an iconic Bond move. But a 16mm nylon strap for a watch with 20mm lug-width, worn by a man dressed in a tuxedo, Why?
Turns out, Bond had a different set of task for the Submariner aside from looking great under the cuff.
That’s right, Connery’s Bond strap the Submariner over a dive suit in the opening scene of the movie before he swapping into his Tuxedo. Though I’d reckon the realisation that the bracelet would not fit over the dive suit sleeve was a rather late one as the strap did not belong to the property team but came from a member of the production team instead. But as with all clothing items associated to the most stylish on-screen character, the surprising juxtaposition of wearing a classic diver with a striking nylon band brought out one of the most iconic watch in film history.
3) Rolex Datejust Two-Tone 16013 – American Psycho (2000)
As much as the film’s lead anti-hero was played by the handsome and favoured Christian Bale, Rolex was initially against featuring their watch in what was to be an on-screen massacre and only agreed to allow the display of their watch on the condition that Bale’s character was never wearing it whilst in his alter ego, a psycho maniac killer. Fun fact, Apple, the tech giant, disallows on-screen villains’ from using their products. Denoting that In the world of cinema, property used often reflects the user.
“Don’t touch the watch”– Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
In his primary façade, Bateman is a man of utmost professionalism and perfection. The Rolesor(Two-Tone) Datejust represents that materialism aspect of his character, with the film placing high emphasis on the relationship between his success and possessions.
4) Seiko 6105 – Apocalypse Now (1979)
Despite being a Japanese watch, the 6105 was popular amongst American soldiers during the Vietnam War due to their ability to pay in dollars, so the watch was both readily available and cheaper for sale to them.
As a vintage Seiko diver with such history, it is no surprise that the prices have soared in the past decades while leaving a slim trial of finding one. however, it doesn’t take much to find alternatives made by the same company for modern consumers. Here are just some options for the iconic design:
Seiko SPB151 & SPB153 ‘Captain Willard’
Released this year in 2020, the reliable tool watch resurfaced at a rather accessible price. The continuation of the robust and original design leaves little room for complaints with modern-day upgrades.
Built with better technology and machinery, the new releases are equally capable of standing the test of time.
Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition SLA033
Zaratsu-Polishing and High-grade movement, often associated more with Grand Seiko, are both elements imbued into this diver from the 70s.
With a 2500-piece limited run, it was an instant hit for buyers who were not only enamoured by the provenance, but had the monetary prowess to shell out the now-higher price tag associated with the full overhaul in parts.
Nonetheless, This re-creation embodies modern capabilities in the classic design, delivering it with demand at its peak.
Seiko SKX009/175 – All is Lost (2003)
In the watch community, there is always a call-back to this particular movie played by Robert Redford’s character when discussing SKX ; A veteran mariner facing his mortality while stranded in the middle of the Indian Ocean with only his watch and thoughts as companions.
As a voyager out in sea, he really needs nothing more than a simple time-piece capable of handling the wear of on-deck duties and resisting the salty Indian Ocean. Often looked as the “Starting piece”, the iconic SKX does just that.
Initially, I had wished that the black-dial and bezel configuration – SKX007 was worn instead. However, I have come to admire the constant colour scheme in the movie with matching blues found throughout the vast ocean and clear skies.
The iconic watches featured are not only a piece of jewelry worn by our favourite characters on-screen , but also an extension of their personality, identity and purpose.
What is the one watch in your collection that defines who you are?
We have also compiled a list of actors with their choice of that expression, you can find that in the article here