20 Most Iconic Watches in Movies
Watches in movies are one of the most recognized product placements in the industry. Although their appearances are relatively swift, they still receive the acknowledgment they deserve from watch enthusiasts who happen to be watching the movie. Some models and references made their presence known on the silver screen, while others made a slight appearance without making a mark. How many models have you seen on the big screen? Below is a list of the top 20 watches you can find in movies. Keep in mind that the watches listed are in no particular order.
Most Iconic Watches in Movies
1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 — James Bond (Sean Connery)
I mean, come on! It would hardly be a decent listing if I did not mention James Bond. The relationship between James Bond movies and Rolex watches is quite possibly one of the most iconic movies and product pairings in human history. The Ref. 6538 was the timepiece that started it all. Ever since then, watches have become an essential part of James Bond movies. From Dr. No (1962) to Thunderball (1964), the Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538 never left 007. Not only did the 6538 complete his appearance, but it also helped the agent keep an accurate track of time.
Different kinds of Rolex are also seen in future movies, such as the Submariner Ref. 5513 used by Roger Moore in Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). A Rolex Ref. 6238 was worn by George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). The Ref. 16610 in License to Kill (1989) was the final appearance of Rolex as 007’s trusty timekeeper. They are all highly competent agents and references in their own right, but they weren’t as prominent and dominant as the original Sean Connery and his Ref. 6538.
The death of Sean Connery brought about much grief to fans of James Bond all over the world. Although we will no longer see him appear in newer James Bond movies, he will always be remembered as the first and arguably the best 007. Rest in Peace, Sir Sean Connery.
2. Porsche Design Orfina Chronograph — Top Gun
Top Gun is one of the most popular movies of Tom Cruise. In this film, he takes the part of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell — a young and careless individual who takes pride in his skills. Throughout the movie, Maverick chose a Porsche Design Orfina Chronograph to be his other wingman. The model was also used by Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer and by Martin Shaw in The Professionals.
This timepiece was particularly notable because it was the first Porsche Design watch ever made. It bore a unique design during its time with only a handful of models. Though Porsche is more known for its sports cars, they sure know how to make an eye-catching watch.
3. Omega Speedmaster — Apollo 13
They don’t call the Omega Speedmaster the “Moonwatch” for nothing. The Omega Speedmaster is one of the very few watches approved by NASA for space travel and was worn by Walter Schirra on board the Sigma 7 in 1962 and by Edwin ”Buzz” Aldrin during the 1969 moon landing. In the movie Apollo 13, the timepiece made its cameo on the wrists of Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton. Not only did the Speedmaster have apt screen time, but it also played a decisive role in keeping the astronauts alive.
Don’t forget this movie is a depiction of real-life events. For the Apollo 13 to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, Commander James Lovell relied on his Speedmaster to precisely time the firing of the ship’s secondary rockets. Omega received the Silver Snoopy award for its life-saving role. The award is currently on display in the Omega Museum located in Bienne, Switzerland.
4. Casio CA53W Twincept Databank — Back to the Future
One of the most famous digital watches ever seen in movies is Marty McFly’s Casio CA53W. The watch features an 8-digit calculator, a calendar, a stopwatch, and an alarm. Its techie look is recognized by many and reflects the innovative mind of Casio. The CA53W was also considered a relatively durable timepiece — a trademark that Casio watches are known to have.
Marty may not be a watch enthusiast, but he made a practical choice in bringing the CA53W. Such a durable timepiece is the only candidate suited to withstand the effects of time-traveling. Though it is severely outdated, the CA53W is a crucial part of Casio’s history. To this day, Casio still showcases their watches in movies, with Casio G-Shock being a staple in military-themed films.
5. Omega La Magique — Scarface
Who could forget that iconic line, “Say hello to my little friend!”. Though the title of “Little Friend” belongs to his Colt AR-15, Tony had another little friend known as La Magique. With its 18K gold and tremendously thin structure, La Magique is one of the most sought-after watches in movies. Only 261 models of La Magique exist. The rarity and grandeur of this timepiece gave it the title “Phantom Watch” because, like a phantom, you probably won’t be seeing it anytime soon.
6. Seiko H558 “Arnie” — Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger is another movie star known to bring his watch to the silver screen. His favorite wristwatch, the Seiko H558, made appearances in some of Arnold’s biggest movies, such as Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), and Predator (1987). The timepiece adopted the nickname “Arnie” as a symbol of its importance in Arnold’s career.
The Seiko H558 has also accomplished incredible feats outside the movie industry, such as handling temperatures as low as -40C. Because of its resistance to sheer cold, adventurers and mountain climbers would bring the watch with them as a dependable source for telling time. The timepiece can also withstand hot temperatures reaching 60C — ideal for trekking on drier and more arid areas like deserts and drylands.
7. Casio G-Shock — Mission Impossible
Like Agent 007, Ethan Hunt of the Impossible Mission Force also wore various watches for different operations. Among the many Mission Impossibles, the Casio G-Shock had the lengthiest screen time. The sturdy Casio series made its appearances in Mission Impossibles I, II, and III as Ethan Hunt’s go-to undercover timepiece. Being a senior field agent is arduous work. Part of your job involves tracking down criminals, taking down crime syndicates, going through harsh environments, and most importantly, not dying. If you want to bring a watch with you, you’ll need a timepiece that’s as tough as Ethan Hunt.
In Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, you can see Benji wearing a G-Shock during the city chase scene. Unlike Benji, the G-Shock was unharmed and scratch-free.
8. Seiko M516-4009 Voice Note — Ghostbusters
The Ghostbuster look wouldn’t be complete without the Seiko Voice Note. In 1983, Seiko released the M516-4009 Voice Note. During that time, the Voice Note was one of the most innovative timepieces in the market. As the name portrays, the Voice Note’s most notable feature is its ability to record your voice. The timepiece lays on the wrist of 3-out-of-4 Ghostbusters, namely Dr. Peter, Egon, and Ray. When you see the Voice Note in action, the Voice Note exhibits its capability of detecting Electronic Voice Phenomenon or EVP.
Fun fact: EVPs are sounds recorded from electronics that some believed to be the voice of the spirits. Back then, it was common for ghost hunters and parapsychologists to use a device that possessed a feature similar to the Voice Note in detecting EVPs. The audio quality was poor, but it did offer its users some entertainment when they would try recording EVPs themselves.
9. Omega Seamaster — James Bond (Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig)
At one point, film creators thought that the Omega Seamaster would fit James Bond more than a Rolex Submariner. Though the idea may not be agreed upon by all fans, the Seamaster filled in the Submariner’s shoes as James Bond’s official timepiece. From Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig and from Goldeneye (1995) to Spectre (2015), the Omega Seamaster remains by 007s side. I think both the Submariner and the Seamaster suit James equally well.
The 25th installment to the Bond series (No Time to Die) currently has a release date of October 2021. Trailers reveal frames of an Omega Seamaster on Double-O’s wrist. The model is supposedly the Omega Seamaster Diver 300m (42mm) Co-axial Master Chronometer. Word has also gone by that Daniel Craig added some inputs of his own to the timepiece.
10. Seiko Giugiaro 7A28-7000 — Aliens
The 7A28-7000 is probably the most well-known Seiko Giugiaro. One of the main reasons this particular timepiece reached such a reputation is its cameo in James Cameron’s critically-acclaimed Aliens (1986). Those with a keen eye would notice Ellen Ripley sport the watch in numerous scenes of the movie. Although the wristwatch’s function is pretty straightforward, the unique design and elusiveness make the Seiko Giugiaro a fine addition to any enthusiast’s collection.
11. TAG Heuer Link Chronograph: Model CT1111. BA0550 — Bourne Trilogy
Yet another spy and watch duo makes its way to the list. Jason Bourne was a spy who suffered amnesia. Despite forgetting most things about himself, he at least remembered his favorite watch. In all three movies, Jason uses the TAG Heuer Link Chronograph. Jason’s actor Matt Damon is also quite fond of the timepiece since he wears the wristwatch in real life too. You can also find Matt Damon wearing a TAG Heuer in the 2006 movie The Departed. After the trilogy, TAG Heuer made its comeback appearance with a new model in Jason Bourne (2016).
12. Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar — Moonraker
James Bond donned a handful of Seiko’s in his missions. However, it was the Seiko M354 Memory Bank that had the most explosive performance. For James and Holly to escape the Moonraker platform, Bond had to rely on the hidden feature of his Seiko Memory Bank. Inside the Memory Bank lies an explosive charge that detonates via remote control. Thanks to 007’s quick wits and Q’s modifications, James and Holly safely escape the fiery pit of the Moonraker. Though the original M354 Memory Bank does not come with an explosive charge once purchased, the watch remains one of Seiko’s and Q’s most iconic devices.
Other Seiko watches also appeared in Roger Moore’s tenure as James Bond. Before Moonraker, Bond wore a Seiko 0674 LC in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). He wore a Seiko 7549-7009 and Seiko H357 Duo Display in For Your Eyes Only (1981). In Octopussy (1983), Q modified a Seiko G757 Sports 100 to allow Bond to track his target with a built-in tracking system. For his final appearance as James Bond, Roger used a Seiko 6923-8080 SPD09 in A View to a Kill (1985)
13. Alsta Nautoscaph — Jaws
Alstater was a watch company that vanished during the late 1970s. After more than four decades and a successful shark-themed movie, Alstater (now known as Alsta) made its return to the industry with a new name. Before the watch brand disappeared from the radar, Alsta’s Nautoscaph made appearances in the cult classic and blockbuster movie Jaws (1975). Richard Dreyfuss wore the Alsta Nautoscaph in his role as marine biologist Matt Hopper.
When Alstater came back as Alsta, one of their first moves was to re-release the iconic Jaws watch. And thus, the Alsta Nautoscaph Superautomatic was born. The model is not an exact reproduction of the original, but it features all the things enthusiasts admire and more. Funnily enough, there are only 1975 Superautomatic editions made. The amount of editions is an homage to the year Jaws made its debut in theatres
14. Gruen Precision 510 — James Bond (Sean Connery)
As much as Sean Connery loved the Rolex Submariner Ref. 6538, he gave the spotlight to his other beloved timepiece, the Gruen Precision 510. The Gruen Precision 510 appeared in the fifth and seventh installment of the James Bond series. Interestingly enough, Bond watch researcher Dell Deaton confirmed that James wore a Gruen Precision 510 in the opening of Dr. No (1962). Compared to the 6538, the 510 offers a more sophisticated and delicate look.
15. Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso — Dark Knight Trilogy
Not a lot of people possess the qualities of a Billionaire Playboy like Bruce Wayne. He’s rich, he’s powerful, and he’s got some super friends. Though he doesn’t possess any superpowers like Superman and Wonderman, he has a pretty cool watch. Christian Bale plays the star-studded role of Batman in the Dark Knight Trilogy. As Bruce Wayne, Bale wears the Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso Grande Taille as his wristwatch for Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). For The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bruce switched from his Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso Grande Taille to another Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso known as the Grand Date.
Choosing this line of Jaeger-Lecoultre is a practical choice because wearers can flip the timepiece to protect the crystal. It is good to know that the Jaeger-Lecoultre wrist watches can stay safe while Batman lays waste to his adversaries. Val Kilmer also wore the Grande Taille in his movie Batman Forever (1995). Worse comes to worst, if the Grande Taille breaks, I’m sure he has enough money to buy another one.
16. Breitling Top Time — Thunderball
Breitling may not have as many appearances in Bond movies as Rolex, Omega, and Seiko, but it does have significance. The Breitling Top Time was the first timepiece Q ever modified. The Top Time had a Geiger counter installed to allow James to detect and measure levels of radiation. To fit the movie’s style, the prop department altered the original case of the Breitling Top Time. Aside from the Top Time, Captain Derval also wore a Breitling 806 Navitimer.
17. TAG Heuer Carrera Automatic — Inception
Inception (2010) was one of the highly anticipated movies of the year 2010. Being a brand ambassador of TAG Heuer, it may come off as no surprise to see Leonardo Dicaprio wearing a TAG Heuer in one of his movies. The precise model that Dicaprio used is the Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic. The timepiece makes its first appearance in one of the first scenes of the movie. It also shows up in scenes where Dicaprio journeys through all sorts of extreme environments. Such segments can prove a testament to the Carrera’s durability towards various climates and altitudes. Dicaprio also donned a TAG Heuer Series 1000 in his role as Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
18. Jaeger-Lecoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual — Dr. Strange
If you’re a superhero who can manipulate time, then wearing a decent timepiece should be appropriate for you. Dr. Strange is one of Marvel’s most beloved characters. As his watch of choice, Stephen Strange uses the Jaeger-Lecoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual. The timepiece is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and fits well on Dr. Strange’s attire. It is appropriate to his character and a testament to Benedict Cumberbatch’s love and respect for Jaeger-Lecoultre as a brand ambassador.
19. Breguet Tradition Fusee Tourbillon 7047PT — Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Breguet Tradition timepiece is one of the most expensive watches in movies. This model takes the wristwatch spotlight in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Being the CEO of Wayne Industries, Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne) needed a timepiece that exuded his lavish and prestigious lifestyle. Thanks to his detective skills and various intel sources, Bruce found a watch that suits him best. The Breguet Tradition is a $190,000 timepiece that made its cameos on the wrist of Ben Affleck in his several visits to the Batcave.
Bruce’s butler Alfred is also a part of the watch game and uses a Breitling Bentley 6.75 Midnight Carbon Limited Edition. Both watches are equally magnificent.
2o. Dora the Explorer Watch — Iron Man 3
Man, when Harley offered this watch to Tony, people couldn’t help but laugh. The Nickelodeon show-inspired timepiece belonged to Harley’s six-year-old sister. Since Tony needed something to help keep track of time, he had to make do with Dora. If you watch the movie closely, you’ll see Dora making an appearance on numerous occasions. It may bewilder you that this very watch fetches a price of approximately $5,300 on eBay. Who knew it was true when Harley said the timepiece was a limited edition?
Did you expect James Bond to occupy ¼ of the entire list? That said, all these watches are impressive timepieces that rightfully carry the names of their brands on the big screen. Product placement of watches in movies is a trend that will continue to take place with no signs of stopping. Whether worn by a secret agent, a soldier, a time traveler, a CEO of some big-shot company, or an average joe, watches will remain on the wrists of many stars and megastars. Do you agree with this list of watches in movies?
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