21 Movie Watches Spotted on the Big Screen, from 1961 to Now
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21 Movie Watches Spotted on the Big Screen, from 1961 to Now

Spotting watches in the movies, on the wrists of our favorite actors and often playing key roles in the film’s storyline, has long been a favorite pastime of cinephiles and watch enthusiasts, and identifying these movie watches, often all the way down to each model’s individual reference number, has become an online cottage industry. This compilation in no way purports to be the most comprehensive list of every movie watch ever, but it does spotlight some of the most noteworthy watches worn on the silver screen over the past sixty-plus years. Without further ado, let’s grab our popcorn and dive into the list, in more or less chronological order from the 1960s to today. 

Blue Hawaii (1961) - Hamilton Ventura

Hamilton Ventura

American watchmaker Hamilton introduced the first electronic watch, the Ventura, to great fanfare in 1957, and the watch would go on to even greater fame when it was worn by Elvis Presley — at the time, arguably the biggest star in the world — in the 1961 film, Blue Hawaii.

Elvis Presley with Hamilton Ventura

The watch, which is believed to be Presley’s own rather than a prop (see above), was notable not only for its unusual, futuristic curved case design but for its movement, Caliber 500, which used a battery, magnets, and an electronic coil rather than a mainspring to drive the gear train and balance wheel. The Ventura remains a presence in Hamilton's collection today, though modern models are now equipped with quartz or mechanical movements rather than the now-outdated electronic mechanism. It remains one of the most uniquely iconoclastic designs in the watch world, with the lightning-bolt motif on its dial and the shield-shaped case that calls to mind the contours of a guitar.

Le Mans (1971) - TAG Heuer Monaco

TAG Heuer Monaco

The TAG Heuer Monaco made its debut in 1969 but really ascended to pop cultural icon status two years later, when legendary actor and “King of Cool” Steve McQueen wore the colorful wrist chronograph for his role as racing driver Michael Delaney in the 1971 movie Le Mans.

Steve McQueen TAG Heuer Monaco ad

The Monaco, named for the Monaco Grand Prix, was the first wristwatch with a water-resistant square case, as well as one of the first chronograph watches to be equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement, namely the historic Caliber 11 that also animated the TAG Heuer Carrera and Breitling Chrono-Matic. Its chronograph pushers were placed on the right side of the case while the crown was positioned unconventionally on the left. While the movement inside has changed, to the in-house Caliber Heuer 02, with an impressive 80-hour power reserve, and its architecture positions both pushers and crown on the right side, the Monaco’s 39mm square case has remained largely the same, as has the dial, with the same two squared chronograph subdials that McQueen used to time his laps in the movie.

Jaws (1975) - Alsta Nautoscaph

Alsta Nautoscaph

The granddaddy of all summer blockbusters, Jaws hit the big screen in 1975 and its impact on moviemaking and pop culture is still felt to this day. The movie made a household name of its director, Steven Spielberg; inspired a generation’s fear and fascination with shark attacks; and contributed scenes and quotes that are still memorable (i.e., “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”).

Jaws Movie Poster

After movie watch-spotting became a thing, identifying the unusual diver-style watch worn by Richard Dreyfuss as oceanographer Matt Hooper was nearly as much of a challenging hunt as the one in the movie for the man-eating great white shark. Ultimately, the timepiece was confirmed to be a Nautoscaph model from New York-based Alsta Watch Company (watch photo via Analog/Shift), which was resurrected in 2017 as a British brand. Among the modern brand’s offerings are a revived version of the “Jaws” Nautoscaph, with a 38.8mm steel case, rotating divers’ bezel, and the original’s steel bracelet with perforated links. There’s even a shark etched onto the solid caseback.

Apocalypse Now (1979) - Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 and Seiko Diver Ref. 6105

Seiko Prospex Captain Willard

Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary and notoriously trouble-plagued Vietnam war epic, loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, has contributed not one but two storied timepieces to watch-enthusiast culture: the Seiko dive watch worn by Martin Sheen as Army Captain Benjamin Willard, and the Rolex GMT-Master on the wrist of Marlon Brando as Willard’s quarry, renegade Colonel Walter Kurtz. The former was the Ref. 6105, a chunky steel dive watch with an asymmetrical case and a 4 o’clock crown that was actually worn by U.S. troops during the Vietnam war; the model lives on today as the Ref. SPB153 from the sporty Prospex series (above), with a 42.7mm steel case, an automatic movement, and a military-green dial and divers’ bezel.

 Marlon Brando Rolex Apocalypse Now

Brando’s GMT-Master, on the other hand, is of a style no longer made by Rolex, with a GMT hand and a cyclops lens but a plain, stationary metal bezel rather than the familiar bicolor “Pepsi” bezel. The actual watch that Brando wore as Kurtz eventually sold at auction for nearly two million dollars.

Alien (1979) - Casio F-100

Casio Alien Watch

Combining classic sci-fi with envelope-pushing horror elements, Ridley Scott’s Alien was an influential film best remembered for the H.R. Giger-designed titular alien and for Sigourney Weaver’s ass-kicking performance as astronaut Ellen Ripley, which she later reprised in three sequels.

Alien 1979 movie poster

In the award-winning original, Weaver wore a Casio F-100 digital watch, a model that was discontinued right around the time the movie came out but which lives on in the modern A100 from Casio’s historically influenced Vintage series. Today’s version pays tribute to its predecessor, which was notably the first Casio watch with a resin case, while adding some modern elements, including metallic components replacing some of the original’s resin ones. The four-button mini-dashboard under the main LCD time display, a hallmark of the F-100, is retained in the newer model, which packs an array of useful displays, from stopwatch to alarms to button-operated LED light.

Back to the Future (1985) - Casio CA-50 “Calculator Watch”

Casio Calculator Watch

A touchstone of the digital-driven 1980s, more popularly known as the Calculator Watch, Casio’s CA-50 was the perfect accessory for time-traveling hero Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Robert Zemeckis’ sci-fi romp, Back to the Future. (The model’s successor, the similarly designed but more water-resistant CA-53W, is the watch worn in the two sequels, and would bring the “Calculator Watch” back into the pop cultural conversation decades later when it was worn by Bryan Cranston as Walter White in the TV series Breaking Bad).

Michael J. Fox Casio Calculator Watch

The watch remains a cult classic with retro nerd appeal, its defining feature being the eight-digit calculator function that enables addition, subtraction, multiplication and division operations right on the tiny LCD screen. Its rectangular black resin case with reticulated strap resists water pressure to 50 meters. With its black miniaturized keyboard, the watch’s front face calls to mind early cell phones and Blackberries — appropriate, as this humble Casio model, with its range of functions that include stopwatches, multiple time zones, and alarms in addition to the calculator, anticipated the rise of the smartphone and, eventually, the smartwatch.

Commando (1985), Predator (1987) - Seiko H558-5000 “Arnie”

Seiko Prospex "Arnie"Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger wore a bulky, multifunctional, now-discontinued Seiko watch on his massive wrist in at least two testosterone-filled blockbusters in the 1980s, Commando and Predator.

Predator Movie Poster

The watch, Reference H558-5000, gained the nickname “Arnie” among Seiko aficionados for its appearance in those films and inspired a contemporary re-edition from the Japanese brand’s sporty, performance-focused Prospex collection. The modern Ref. SNJ025 retains the original’s bulky "tuna can'' case (emblematic of many Seiko divers since the 1960s) and the analog-digital display while replacing its standard quartz movement with a modern, solar-powered version. At 47.8mm in diameter and 51.3mm lug to lug, the Prospex’s steel case is even larger than the original’s, which measured just under 46mm; Arnold would likely approve. An ISO-certified dive watch with a 200-meter rating. its array of functions includes a 1/100-second chronograph, daily alarms, a full calendar, and an LED illuminating light function.

Top Gun (1986), Top Gun: Maverick (2022) - Porsche Design Chronograph One

Porsche Design Chronograph One
In Tony Scott’s era-defining blockbuster Top Gun, Tom Cruise stars as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who competes to be the top fighter pilot at the U.S. Navy’s elite Naval Fighter Weapons School while also wooing his beautiful flight instructor (Kelly McGillis). The watch he wears in the movie (and in its very popular 2022 sequel) is one that was designed with auto racing rather than flying in mind.

Top Gun scene

The Porsche Design Chronograph One was one of the first timepieces designed by Ferdinand Alexander (“Butzi”) Porsche, who designed the iconic Porsche 911 and later founded the Porsche Design Studio in 1973. Originally produced in partnership with the Orfina Swiss watch company, it was one of the very first steel watches with a black PVD coating, a forerunner of the many black-on-black “stealth” watches of today, and features elements inspired by car dashboards, including the prominent tachymeter scale. Presumably, Maverick chose the watch for its no-glare, matte-black exterior, which would have reduced reflections in the cockpit during aerial combat maneuvers.

The Abyss (1989) - Seiko 6309 “Turtle”

Seiko Prospex Turtle

James Cameron (who’d later play a key role in the history of Rolex dive watches) directed this blockbuster about a diving team attempting to retrieve a lost nuclear submarine when they encounter an otherworldly presence at the bottom of the ocean.

The Abyss Movie Poster

Ed Harris, in his leading role as team leader Virgil “Bud” Brigman, appropriately wears a sturdy divers’ watch in the film, a Seiko Ref. 6309, nicknamed “Turtle” for its cushion-shaped case with rounded corners. The “Turtle” has been around in some form since 1976 and has become one of Seiko’s most enduringly popular divers’ watches. The modern SRP versions, launched in 2016 (example above), are a part of Seiko’s Prospex collection and feature hefty 45mm cases and 200-meter water resistance. That’s just slightly bigger than the watch Harris wore in the movie and the big luminous indexes, and screw-down crown at 4 o’clock, remain the same.

Apollo 13 (1995) - Omega Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”

Omega Speedmaster "Moonwatch"
As I cover in much more detail here, the Omega Speedmaster became legendary as the first watch worn on the moon in 1969’s Apollo 11 mission, and has been part of every astronaut’s equipment kit in every NASA mission since. In April 1970, the Speedmaster made history a second time, as dramatized in the 1995 movie Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.

Apollo 13 movie poster

The eponymous mission depicted in the film, the third space flight bound for the moon, experienced a potentially fatal equipment failure when an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the service module that provided life-sustaining functions to the crew. The original lunar landing mission had to be aborted and the explosion had thrown the spacecraft dangerously off course. With time running out, Commander Jim Lovell (portrayed by Hanks) executed a risky maneuver to ensure a safe landing: a fuel burn of precisely 14 seconds’ duration that would reorient the spacecraft to a safe angle for a return to Earth’s atmosphere. The onboard clock had malfunctioned, so the Speedmaster worn by fellow astronaut Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) was pressed into service to time the crucial interval for the burn. The desperate gambit was successful, and the crew managed to return safely to Earth for a real-life Hollywood ending.

Daylight (1996) - Panerai Luminor Marina

Panerai Luminor

Founded in Florence in 1860, Panerai was a watch brand mostly unknown to the general public, doing most of its business as a provider of military dive watches for Italian navy frogmen throughout the 20th Century. The brand found mainstream popularity and a rabidly enthusiastic following, however, after actor Sylvester Stallone famously wore a Panerai Luminor Marina in his lead role in the 1995 movie Daylight.

Sylvester Stallone Panerai - Daylight

Watch industry legend has it that Stallone discovered the watch at an Italian retailer while filming the movie in Rome and took such a liking to its robust, military look that he ordered an additional 200 more directly from Panerai, with his signature engraved in the caseback, to hand out as gifts to other cast and crew members. These very rare and collectible Luminor models are now known as “SlyTechs.” The Luminor is recognizable for its “sandwich”-style dial with stencil-style hour markers, its stately cushion-shaped case, and its patented crown-protecting bridge device that helps ensure the screw-down crown’s water resistance, which is put to the test in a harrowing sequence in the film in which Stallone’s character is trapped in a collapsed, flooding tunnel. I explore the Panerai phenomenon in detail here.

End of Days (1999) - Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore End of Days
Audemars Piguet kicked off the luxury sports watch category with the launch in 1972 of the Royal Oak “Jumbo” (much more on that story here), and in 1993, responding to that era’s demand for bigger, brassier timepieces, it launched the Jumbo’s even-more-jumbo successor, the Royal Oak Offshore. With a 42-mm case, an even more in-your-face tapisserie textured dial, and, for the first time ever in a Royal Oak watch, a chronograph movement, the watch projected an aggressively sporty spirit that spoke to a new generation.

End of Days movie poster

Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the height of his ‘90s box-office dominance, was a big fan of the watch and even worked directly with Audemars Piguet’s design team to create the watch now known as the Royal Oak Offshore “End of Days.” He wore the massive, all-black timepiece with yellow details in the supernatural thriller film of the same name, in his starring role as an alcoholic ex-police detective battling a banker — who’s really Satan — from conceiving the Antichrist with a young woman before midnight on New Year’s Eve of the new millennium (it's just as crazy as it sounds).

American Psycho (2000) - Seiko 5 SNXJ90 (standing in for Rolex Datejust)

Based on a 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the darkly comedic American Psycho stars future Batman Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, an obsessively competitive New York City investment banker who moonlights as a serial killer. Among Bateman’s most notable badges of wealth and power are the watch he wears, which is purported to be a steel-and-gold Rolex Datejust, a timepiece regarded now, as then, as a go-to accessory for the executive class. (In the novel that inspired the movie, Bateman refers to the watch as a Rolex on several occasions.)

Christian Bale Rolex American Psycho

However, further probing by watch spotters in recent years has unearthed the timepiece’s true identity, as a vintage Seiko 5 Ref. SNXJ90, a much more affordable alternative to the Datejust. (Apparently, Rolex was not on board with its brand being associated with such a reprehensible, murderous character.) The Japanese-made watch bears a more than passing resemblance to Rolex’s icon, with a 38mm case, a gold-tone fluted bezel, white dial with day-date display, and five-link Jubilee-style bracelet with a gold-plated center links. Despite the lead character’s very dark proclivities, and the fact that his coveted watch was in essence an impostor, the movie helped supercharge the Rolex Datejust’s popularity among young, ambitious Wall Streeters of the era. 

Blood Diamond (2006) - Breitling Chrono Avenger

Breitling Chrono Avenger

The title of this politically tinged cinematic thriller refers to the “blood diamonds” mined in war zones to finance international conflicts — and not to any precious stones found on the watch worn by star Leonardo DiCaprio as smuggler and mercenary Danny Archer, a Breitling Chrono Avenger whose exact reference is unclear.

Blood Diamond Leo DiCaprio

The watch has a 44mm titanium case on a robust brown strap — ideal for traipsing through the harsh jungles of Sierra Leone — and a black dial with a blue-tinted crystal. The bezel has the emblematic rider tabs that are today found on the Chronomat series and the dial features a lineup of three subdials to display chronograph readings; the stopwatch itself is operated via the pushers that flank the crown. Breitling revamped the Avenger family in 2019 with elements drawn from its sister Colt collection, but pre-owned examples of Leo’s movie watch can likely still be found at some dealers.

Interstellar (2014) - Hamilton Khaki Field Murph

Hamilton Khaki Field Murph

Among watch manufacturers, few have contributed as many memorable timepieces worn on big (and small) screens as Hamilton. One of the most prominent examples can be found in the Christopher Nolan-helmed sci-fi adventure Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey as ex-NASA pilot Joseph Cooper and Jessica Chastain as his daughter, Murphy “Murph” Cooper.

Interstellar movie poster

The Khaki Field Murph Automatic (now offered in both a 42mm and 38mm size), takes its nickname from Chastain’s character and is, for all intents and purposes, an exact replica of the watch featured in the movie, with a steel case, a black dial with nickel-coated cathedral hands and applied Arabic numerals, and a black leather strap with a pin buckle. The notable but subtle difference is the seconds hand, upon which the Morse code for the word “Eureka” is subtly printed in lacquer, a reference to Interstellar’s climatic scene in which Murph uses the Hamilton watch to, essentially, save world by using it to send coded signals.

Darkest Hour (2017) - Breguet Pocket Watch No. 765

Breguet Churchill Pocket Watch

Winston Churchill’s early days as Great Britain’s wartime prime minister are the subject of the epic drama Darkest Hour, with Gary Oldman, one of our most talented and chameleon-like actors, inhabiting the role of Churchill in an Academy Award-winning performance. The real Churchill, it turns out, was partial to a Swiss Breguet pocket watch that was originally made for his grandfather, the seventh Duke of Marlborough, and carried it on his person almost constantly. When today’s Breguet got wind of the production, its watchmakers decided to rebuild the classic timepiece (above), which Churchill’s family nicknamed “the Turnip,” for Oldman to wear in his scenes.

Darkest Hour Gary Oldman as Churchill

The yellow-gold watch is period-accurate in nearly all of its exterior elements, down to the enamel dial and the Duke of Marlborough’s coat-of-arms engraved on the caseback. Subtle differences from the original (which is safely under glass at the Imperial War Museum of London) include the lack of a grand complication movement — a bit of overkill for a watch that’s essentially a prop — and the Breguet logo on the dial, a tiny anachronism that nevertheless gives the brand some well-deserved screen time.

Venom (2018) - Bremont U2/51 Jet

Bremont U2/51-Jet

Bremont is a British watchmaker known to celebrate Britishness, as evidenced by its line of watches named for and inspired by the U.K.’s military history. Thus it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of Britain’s most admired and multi talented actors, Tom Hardy, wears the U2/51 Jet timepiece in his leading role in the 2018 Marvel/Columbia action film Venom.

Tom Hardy as Venom

Hardy plays Eddie Brock, a disgraced journalist who merges with an alien symbiote to become a black-clad, rougher-edged version of Spider-Man, the nightmarish, shadow-dwelling Venom. In keeping with the darkness of the character, Brock’s watch, from Bremont’s aviation-inspired U2 collection, is a veritable stealth bomber for the wrist, with a jet-black case of DLC-coated steel and similarly ebony-tinted dial with fax-lume numerals and indexes. A smoked crystal covers the caseback, revealing the movement, and the watch is mounted on a black rubber strap.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) - Vintage Citizen 8110A Automatic Bullhead

Citizen Bullhead Vintage

Quentin Tarantino, who wrote and directed, used the shocking 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders as the basis for this epic dramedy about an aging movie star (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double (Brad Pitt) as they navigate their way through a changing Hollywood film industry and find themselves caught up in the looming threat of the Manson family. Pitt wore a very period-appropriate piece for the era the film depicted, a vintage Bullhead chronograph watch from Japanese watchmaker Citizen (photo above via Chrono24).

Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The watch has a gold-plated case, a matching gold dial with black subdials, and a motorsport-inspired tachymeter ring. Also evoking the spirit of auto racing are the two top-mounted pushers, that give the watch its “Bullhead” designation: they’re reminiscent not only of a bull’s horns but also of a hand-held stopwatch used to time racing laps. While Citizen has long since discontinued the model used in the movie, the brand offers modern versions in its current Tsuno collection.

No Time to Die (2022) - Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “007 Edition”

Omega Seamaster Diver 007 Edition

At this point, you might be thinking, "Where are all the James Bond watches?" Certainly, the watches worn by the various lead actors in the long-running James Bond film franchise are deserving of a category all their own (and I strongly encourage Bond fans to check out my much-more-comprehensive feature on 007’s cinematic watches if you’re interested in the full history) but for the purposes of this article, we’ll spotlight the most recent Bond film, Daniel Craig’s final turn as Agent 007, the much-anticipated and COVID-delayed No Time to Die. James Bond Daniel Craig Omega Seamaster

As in every movie since 1995’s Goldeneye, when Omega began its relationship with James Bond, the titular superspy wore an Omega Seamaster, in this instance the titanium-cased Seamaster Diver 300M “007 Edition” a watch for which Craig himself contributed ideas to the distinctive design, whose signature elements include a scalloped-edge rotating divers’ bezel with an aluminum insert, a brown “tropical” dial with vintage-hued lume, and a British armed-forces-inspired “broad arrow” marking above 6 o’clock — a nod to Bond’s backstory as a British naval officer.

The Gray Man (2022) - TAG Heuer Carrera TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5

Ryan Gosling is known for being a style icon, and the watch he wears in the Russo Brothers’ 2022 spy thriller The Gray Man is equal parts elegance and sportiness — a three-handed version of the iconic TAG Heuer Carrera, the first of which debuted in 1964 as one of the era’s most trend-setting chronograph watches. This one from the Calibre 5 series is much more sober in its look, with a silver-toned dial sporting central baton hands and a date window at 6 o’clock.

Ryan Gosling wearing TAG Heuer

The steel case is a moderately large 39mm, making it very versatile for Gosling’s various costume changes in the movie, in which he plays a spy trained by a covert CIA group on the run from a sadistic assassin formerly from the same secret group. Gosling announced his role as a “brand ambassador” for TAG Heuer shortly before the movie began shooting, so look for more TAG Heuer watches on Ryan Gosling characters in the future (apparently, he sported at least three of them in his Ken role in 2023’s biggest summer flick, Barbie.)

What are your favorite movie watches that are missing on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric J.

Wrong on Back to the Future. It was the 50, not 53….

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Sevada H.

Wrong on the Psycho movie, it was a Seiko SNJX90 that Christian Bale wore, this was because Rolex wouldn’t let a character acting as a murderer wear a Rolex, so they changed it to the Seiko. You could just Google it! It’s funny that this site of all places would miss such an iconic switch in the movie.

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