Watches have been a part of Hollywood movies for several decades. In some movies, watches are simple props in the background, or mere accessories to complement a character’s outfit.
However, there are some Hollywood classics in which a certain timepiece plays such an integral role that it becomes a pop culture icon. It can even surpass the movie itself in status!
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most renowned watches in movies. Our list contains both affordable and high-end luxury timepieces so you will definitely find something to suit your budget, should you want to take inspiration from Hollywood with your watch collection.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and have a look at iconic films that feature equally iconic wristwatches.
1. James Bond’s Rolex Submariner In Dr. No
James Bond has always been associated with watches. That is partially thanks to his creator, Ian Fleming, being a big watch enthusiast. Fleming was known to adore his Rolex Explorer (ref. 1016). So, naturally, when the first James Bond movie was released in 1962, the character had to wear a Rolex.
Dr. No was a huge success, as was the watch worn by Sir Sean Connery - specifically, the Rolex Submariner ref. 6538. Nowadays, it’s amongst the most famous movie watches of all time. It’s also one of the most coveted Submariner references ever. The watch choice was so successful that the 6538 appeared around Connery’s wrist again in several other Bond movies.
Unfortunately, nowadays the watch can only be found in the used market. Also, since it’s very rare, it usually costs an exorbitant amount of money. If you do manage to get your hands on one, you will have the privilege to own a piece of film history; the James Bond watch that started it all.
To get a good look at the watch around Connery's wrist, check out the scene in Dr. No where Bond meets Honey:
2. Hamilton Watches In Interstellar
There have been several Hamilton watches in movies, but the most iconic one has to be the one in “Interstellar”. In the 2014 sci-fi film, directed by Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey’s character Cooper sports a Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date. Despite that, the most iconic watch in the movie is the Hamilton “Murph.”
Cooper gifts this watch to his daughter Murphy in order to keep her company:
Without spoiling too much, the watch plays an integral role in the movie’s progression and eventual resolution. The watch was originally a prop designed for the movie. However, due to the fans’ demand for it, Hamilton released it in 2019.
Today, you can find both Cooper’s (ref. H64615135) and Murph’s (ref. H70605731) watches at affordable price points. They are an ideal watch purchase for fans of the movie and even for people who just want an affordable piece of Hollywood on their wrist. For collectors, the Murph also had a limited release that came packed in a special box paying tribute to the film.
3. James Bond’s Omega Seamaster In Goldeneye
In 1995, Pierce Brosnan was cast as the new James Bond in the movie Goldeneye. This marked a new era for the James Bond franchise, which was accompanied by an exclusive deal with Omega. Since then, all watches in the movies are made by Omega.
The most important one, however, is the Omega Seamaster Professional 300M. Both the quartz version featured in Goldeneye and the automatic versions that succeeded it are synonymous with agent 007. Due to their immense popularity, they are regarded as some of the most famous movie watches. They might not feature lasers or detonators, but they are truly iconic timepieces.
While the quartz variant (ref. 2541.80) seen in Goldeneye is no longer available brand new, you can still find it used at a relatively affordable price. You can also opt for the newer automatic versions with Omega’s Co-Axial movement. The Seamaster is an excellent timepiece as it is both a high-quality luxury watch and an iconic movie watch.
4. Patrick Bateman’s Rolex Datejust In American Psycho
The 2000 horror film American Psycho portrays the life of young American investment banker Patrick Bateman played by Christian Bale. The film is a juxtaposition between the American business world of the 1980s and Bateman’s secret life as a serial killer. In the film, Bateman is shown to have a high sense of fashion, which is also evident by his wristwatch choice.
The Rolex Datejust (ref. 16013) was a very popular timepiece in the 1980s, thanks to its two-tone design and tapestry dial. The watch is also one of the most well-known Rolex watches in movies. It is so interconnected with the movie that it is often referred to as the “American Psycho Datejust”. And let’s not forget about this iconic scene:
Nowadays, the watch is surprisingly easy to find and does not cost a fortune. If you want to achieve the dapper look of 1980s businessmen, then the Datejust 16013 is the quintessential watch to look for. Plus, you’ll get the enjoyment of owning a true movie icon.
5. Seiko “Ripley” In Aliens
The 1986 sci-fi thriller Aliens, directed by James Cameron, is one of the most famous artistic creations of the 1980s. The film’s iconic status is partially owed to Sigourney Weaver’s exceptional performance in the role of Ellen Ripley. If you look at Ripley’s wrist, you will find an equally iconic timepiece.
The Seiko (ref. 7A28-7000) was designed by world-renowned car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and draws clear inspiration from supercars of its time. Its unique design and participation in such an iconic movie make this watch highly sought after.
While Seiko re-released the watch in 2016, it was for the Japanese market and was limited to 3000 pieces. Still, the Seiko “Ripley” (ref. SCED035) is an excellent timepiece for your collection if you’re a fan of the movie or its peculiar design.
By the way, Giugiaro was also responsible for the design of the DMC DeLorean that featured in a certain sci-fi film franchise...
6. Marty McFly’s Casio Databank In Back To The Future
Back to the Future was a sci-fi film that attempted to portray the technological advances that would occur in the distant future. While we, unfortunately, don’t have flying cars or time-traveling DeLoreans, the wristwatch worn by the main character, Martin McFly, is actually not that far from our reality.
Specifically, the Casio Databank (ref. CA53W-1) can be considered one of the first smartwatches, since it can perform simple calculations and store phone numbers. The watch is regarded as a cult classic. Everyone wanted to get their hands on one in the 1980s so they could be as cool as Marty McFly. The good news is that you can still buy it brand new today!
It might not be as useful for everyday scenarios - its functions can easily be performed by any smartphone - but it’s an excellent option for retro enthusiasts. And the best part: You can get it at a very affordable price point, making it a guilt-free purchase! It even comes in a plethora of colors if you fancy something different than the black one in the movie.
7. Seiko SKX In All Is Lost
The Seiko SKX is probably the most ubiquitous entry-level automatic dive watch. It is a true diver’s watch with an ISO certification of up to 200 meters of water resistance and robust build quality. Therefore, it seems like the perfect candidate for the 2013 survival movie All Is Lost:
In the film, Robert Redford’s character fights for his survival in the middle of the ocean with the Seiko SKX009 as his only companion. The rough conditions he faces match perfectly with the tough nature of the watch. Also, since the watch is adored by many people worldwide, seeing it on the big screen makes every fan proud to own one.
The SKX lineup was discontinued in 2019, but you can still find them in the market albeit at a higher price. The watch comes on a metal bracelet or a rubber strap, but in the movie, it is worn on a blue NATO strap which is perfect for the circumstances.
Watches Are Movie Icons
Here at Operandi Firenze, we are all huge movie lovers. So we know that getting your hands on that iconic movie watch you’ve wanted since you were young is an important occasion. We are here to help you protect and care for your newly acquired timepiece.
After all, some of these watches, especially the authentic props from the movies, can cost a fortune. Consider purchasing a high-quality watch roll like the ones from Operandi Firenze to keep your precious movie icon safe at all times.
So, go out there, find your personal movie icon, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!