The Time+Tide team pick their favourite ever watchspot in a movie, from Le Chiffre to Le GoslingTime+Tide
This year has been the year of “stay at home”, resulting in a sort of carte blanche to binge all the televisions series and movies that your heart desires. This meant it was a no-brainer for us to revisit our favourite watches in film, so today we have assembled like The Avengers to bring you our picks for watches that make cameos and appearances in film. Let the battle begin …
Andrew McUtchen: Crazy, Stupid, Love – Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer Bubbleback (1946)
Putting aside the fact that this is my go-to rom-com for all time, sufficing as gym inspiration (Gosling’s rig is out of control), celebrity crush central (Emma Stone, divine; Gosling, already mentioned) and endless laughs care of an in-form Carell, there’s also a very nice and unexpected watch to gawk at, a pebbly old Rolex Bubbleback in 14k yellow gold.
There’s something of an overall vintage aesthetic to Gosling’s personal brand, codified not only by his wrist choices but also his wardrobe, and he wears it well. Think also of the Omega he wore in La La Land, also alongside Stone. He was way ahead of the curve of plummeting watch case sizes, too. This one looks to be a diminutive 32mm, making his forearm cannons seem even bigger than they already are.
Nick Kenyon: Heat – Bulgari Diagono Chronograph
Sure, 1995 was a simpler time. The moral ambiguity between good and evil we see on the silver screen today didn’t exist, and we knew exactly who we were meant to be rooting for. In Heat, it was Lieutenant Hanna, played by Al Pacino, a man who had the swagger of an experienced veteran. In one of the more intense scenes in the film, where a gun battle is being fought on the streets of LA that causes the kind of carnage that only pre-2000s action films could, Pacino comes face to face with a bad guy holding a child hostage.
Picking his moment perfectly, he expertly shoots the bad guy, saving the child in the process, and when you see him holding his rifle up after the shot, there on his wrist is a Bulgari Diagono Chronograph. It’s bold, it’s aggressive, and it has a dusting of Italian panache that is perfect for his character and the scene.
Thor Svaboe: Le Mans – TAG Heuer Monaco
For me, my pick is as easy as why a square watch can be cool. It has to be the daredevil King of Cool, man of men Steve McQueen in Le Mans. As a car enthusiast, this huge product placement before the term existed has throughout fifty years underlined the unbreakable link between motorsports and watches, through Jack Heuer’s genius.
Even after so many years, seeing the TAG Heuer shield, that image of Steve in the racing overalls appears in my frontal lobe, and the wail of the Porsche 917. YES, I have actually watched the entire movie, and am close to remembering every line of what is a total of about four minutes of dialogue throughout the entire split-screen/engine-screaming incoherent extravaganza.
Luke Benedictus: The Dark Knight – Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grand Taille
On a practical level, watch functions are often totally gratuitous (do you ever really need your diving watch to be water-resistant to 100m?). But the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grand Taille that Bruce Wayne wears in The Dark Knight offers an even more meaningless trick. Back in the 1930s, the Reverso was conceived to withstand the rigours of polo, thanks to its ingenious flip-over case design. When the mallets started swinging, the watch could use its caseback as protection, concealing its dial until the action was over.
I remain sceptical as to whether anyone has ever used a Reverso in this way. But if anyone was going to insist on wearing the watch like this during a vigorous chukka, it would surely be a playboy billionaire with the gilded upbringing of Master Bruce. For me, the Reverso is the dress watch par excellence and here it’s masterfully tuned to the personality of its owner.
Fergus Nash: Casino Royale – Longines Evidenza Quartz Chronograph
Although I own a calibre 2500 Planet Ocean from Omega, and my love for Casino Royale has extended to owning the Swatch limited edition for the film, there’s one watch from that movie I can’t let go unmentioned. While Bond himself wears the PO, his classy, albeit devious nemesis Le Chiffre is adorned with a Longines Evidenza quartz chronograph, ref. L2.6220.127.116.11. Upon the wrist of Mads Mikkelsen, the dressy tonneau case and jangly bracelet lend itself to the glamour of the casino, while its distorted Arabic numerals and quartz precision match the villain’s twisted yet calculating personality beneath the surface.
Mike Christensen: Kingsman: The Secret Service – Bremont
It’s fair to say British special agents have a bit of history when it comes to iconic wristwear, so I enjoyed spotting some Bremont pieces adorning the wrists of the main characters in Kingsman: The Secret Service, not least because the brand was only 12 years old at the time – quite the coup. Of the three included, my pick is the world timer in rose gold that both Colin Firth and Sir Michael Caine donned in all their quintessential Englishness, because it’s not just secret agents who work on different time zones.
The icing on the cake moment, though, came when I spotted none other than Bremont co-founder/Hollywood star Nick English in one of the boardroom scenes. Now, that is baller.
Zach Blass: Interstellar – Hamilton Khaki Field Murph Auto
Matthew McConaughey, as pilot Cooper, wears a Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date in the film – but this was not the only Hamilton watch to make an appearance in the film. The Pilot Day Date was a standard production model at the time of the movie’s filming, but the Hamilton watch he gives to his daughter Murphy, or “Murph”, was a completely original creation for the film. It was a really touching moment when Cooper presents the watch to his daughter as he heads off into the depths of space, promising that upon his return they will compare the time they have on each of their watches to see firsthand the effects of relativity. As you get to the end of the movie, the watch is a complete scene-stealer as it becomes an integral part of communication between father and daughter across time and space.
While trapped in the “tesseract”, Cooper has to find a way to send a message to his Murph. He determines, after hitting the fabric of time in frustration, that he is capable of moving objects in Murph’s bedroom – leading him to eventually attempt to send a message in Morse code via the second hand of the Hamilton Watch he gave his daughter. The Morse code was added to the second hand of the watches built for sale to consumers, a really neat nod to such a pivotal scene in the film.
What I love about the watch, or at least the custom prototype used in the film, is it was engineered to be remote-controlled by a person off set to make the second hand wiggle/jump in the film. Its creation was born from director Christopher Nolan’s vehement disdain for unnecessary CGI and use of practical effects whenever possible. It is also among one of the more approachable mechanical watches you can buy that is directly tied to a film and, considering how many people loved the film and how integral the watch was to the movie’s plot, it is no surprise the initial allocation of the watch with limited edition packaging sold out almost immediately.