What are cinema’s coolest watches? Our Client Services Director, Thomas, takes a closer look at timepieces that took the lead role throughout the years.

What is it that first drew you to your first Swiss watch? Was it worn by a friend? Did it catch your eye in a boutique? Or perhaps it was worn by your favourite movie star?

It’s true that seeing a timepiece adorning the wrist of the actor playing the title role has a big influence on the watch in question’s desirability. Often film stars are synonymous with heroism, attractiveness and integrity (…unless, of course, they are the villain!), and actors who chose to wear certain watches have influenced generations of watch lovers.

Certain timekeepers have also been specially made or adapted for the films. For example, the Bond gadget watches that often save the day – notably the “rotating saw” Rolex from 1973’s Live and Let Die, and also the fan-favourite “Murph Watch” in 2014’s Interstellar.

Here, I take a look at the watches – Swiss and otherwise – that have made a big impact on the Hollywood film cannon throughout the decades.

1960s

Blue Hawaii – Hamilton (1961)

The Hamilton Ventura was the first electric-powered watch and, as such, was designed to look suitably futuristic. Released in 1957, its art-deco shield-shape case soon caught the attention of The King himself, Elvis Presley, who wore his very own model on the set of 1961 musical rom com, Blue Hawaii. This was far from the Ventura’s last big-screen appearance – it notably appeared in the latest Men in Black film – 58 years later! View our Hamilton Ventura range here, including an Elvis Anniversary watch! 

Dr. No – Rolex (1962)  

James Bond is a character that has become synonymous with style and gadgets, and throughout the years his choice of wristwear has been closely observed by watch lovers. Author Ian Fleming chose Rolex for the famous spy, and in 1962 his hero came to life on the big screen in Dr. No. Sean Connery proudly donned a Rolex Submariner 6538 (released in 1953), reportedly borrowed from producer Cubby Broccoli. The stylish piece would accompany the spy on his next three outings: From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965).

 1970s

Le Mans – TAG Heuer Monaco (1971)

At TIME-TO-FIND, we’re big fans of automotive-inspired timepieces, which have seen many releases this year. And one of the most famous is the blue-faced, black strapped Heuer Monaco (before the TAG Heuer name emerged when TAG Group bought a majority stake in 1985), worn on the wrist of “King of Cool” (and watch connoisseur) Steve McQueen’s in the famous automotive racing film: Le Mans. In his role as Michael Delaney, McQueen also wore the Heuer logo on his racing suit. View our TAG Heuer Monaco range here.

1980s

Back to the Future – Casio (1985)

Moving swiftly on to the 1980s, which saw a number of iconic wristwear make their movie debuts. Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly became an 80s style icon, with his orange puffy vest, light-wash denim and of, course, his Casio CA53-W digital calculator watch accompanying him on his time-travelling trip. Not a luxury Swiss watch but, love it or hate it, it is a symbol of the 80s no less. It came at a controversial time when digital and quartz watches threatened the traditional Swiss watches – although the film’s CA53-W posed no real danger, as fans of the movie will know, it couldn’t keep time!

Aliens – Seiko (1986)

The scary sci-fi sequel popularised the Seiko 7A28-7000, worn by main character Ellen Ripley. Made by Seiko in a collaboration with automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, this utilitarian and futuristic watch was perfect for the both movie and title role, played by Sigourney Weaver.

1990s

Pulp Fiction – Unknown (1994)

An unusual entry into the list, as no one has proven beyond doubt what the “Gold Watch” is in Captain Koons’ captivating monologue in the iconic Tarantino film. Some believe it to be a Lancet WW1 trench watch, while others think it’s simply a prop watch. Whatever the watch’s provenance, it still makes the cut as an iconic watch film scene – we won’t spoil it for you, but the story of how it came to Christopher Walken’s character is certainly a memorable one…

Apollo 13 – OMEGA (1995)

The OMEGA Speedmaster was the obvious choice for the Academy award-winning 1995 film about the incredible story of the Apollo 13 mission. The Crew all wore Speedmasters – as we covered in a previous blog, the Speedmaster was the first watch worn on the moon in 1969, as the only watch declared ‘Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions’ by NASA. The watch plays a key role in the Apollo 13 story, after ill-fated crew were forced to abort the mission (we won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film – but it’s definitely worth a watch!) View our range of OMEGA Speedmasters here.

2000s

Blood Diamond – Breitling (2006)

Diamond-smuggler Danny Archer (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) wore a Breitling Avenger watch in this 2006 epic, with a 44mm titanium case, black dial, and brown leather strap with white stitching – a delight for both watch aficionados and cinephiles. The watch was a sturdy companion for Archer as he braved the conflict zones of the Sierra Leone to hunt for the elusive pink diamond. Nowadays Leo can be seen sporting a TAG Heuer, as an official ambassador, but this Breitling model is undoubtedly still a film icon! Check out our Breitling Avenger models here.

Interstellar – Hamilton (2014)

Not one, but two Hamilton models played critical roles in the 2014 sci-fi epic. The first: a stainless-steel Khaki Pilot Day Date worn by Matthew McConaughey, and the second: a bespoke model since nicknamed the “Murph watch” – watch the film to see why! Hamilton has since released the Khaki Field Murph watch, by popular demand from film and watch lovers alike.

Keep your eyes on our blog for more exciting releases for 2019 – plus industry news and views.