It’s a known fact that the watch you wear on your wrist says something about your personality, your likes and more. The same is true when an actor is playing a character on the big screen: the right watch tells the right story. Over the years we have seen so many incredible timepieces worn by celebrities in movies. There are even some icons. For instance, when Paul Newman was filming Winning in 1969, he wore a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona that his wife Joanne Woodward had given him. It became famous and the watch model he wore was thereafter typically referred to as the Paul Newman Daytona. Similarly, Steve McQueen made the TAG Heuer Monaco watch a global success when he wore it in the 1970 movie Le Mans, and in almost every James Bond movie, no matter who played 007, a watch was a necessity.
Today, the business is a little more commercialized, with brands working with prop masters to have their watches placed in the right movies. Relationships have been formed between watch brands and film studios, such as Universal, Marvel, Disney, and others, as well. In the past months, we have seen a flurry of activity on this front. Here we take a look at recent movies and the watches that played a starring role, and at watches that were inspired by the movies or the characters they represent.
Audemars Piguet & the Black Panther
Something unexpected from a “Holy Grail” watch brand like Audemars Piguet made its debut this year. The Royal Oak Black Panther Flying Tourbillon made an appearance. Created first as a one-off that was introduced and immediately auctioned for charity, the Marvel-inspired character watch was then made in a limited edition with a different color scheme. The watch features a highly detailed sculpture of the Black Panther character above the tourbillon escapement on the dial. Audemars Piguet worked with Marvel Entertainment for this 250-piece limited edition that is crafted in titanium and black ceramic.
Kross Studio & Space jam
Just in time for the debut of the new Space Jam: A New Legacy movie, Kross Studio teams with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to release a Space Jam Tourbillon timepiece, complete with Looney Tunes characters on the dial. The watch is a complicated work of horology as well as an ode to the beloved action/animated movie that stars Lebron James. The $100,000 luxury watch is an exciting piece that is being sold as a set featuring the high-tech Tourbillon timepiece and an interactive wood and aluminum basketball sculpture. The Space Jam Tourbillon watch is powered by a 281-part mechanical hand-wound 3 Hz caliber KS7’000 movement, developed and produced fully in-house by Kross Studio. It features a tourbillon cage in the center of the movement. Thanks to the skeletonization of the movement, the wearer can view the movement from both sides, with its basketball accents such as wheels styled like basketballs, and an hour hand that turns into a free throw lane. The dial ring is engraved with the Looney Tune characters, Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, and others. Just 10 sets will be created.
Hamilton & Tenet
Hamilton has been playing a role in movies since the 1950s. It first appeared on the wrists of divers in the movie Frogmen. Its Ventura was worn by Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii, and it even created a special watch for the movie Interstellar. In fact, Hamilton regularly hosts the Behind the Camera Awards to honor the people behind the scenes (gaffers, costume designers, and others) who make the movies possible. The brand’s most recent starring role was in Christopher Nolan’s late 2020 movie Tenet, where the brand collaborated with the design team to make a custom watch with features the producers needed. Hamilton then created an edition for the public. The Hamilton Khaki Navy BeLowZero watch is created in blackened titanium with a red-tipped second hand that is a nod to the key color in the movie. The special edition watch is being sold in a package created by Tenet production designer Nathan Crowley. Just 888 pieces were made.
Omega & James Bond 007
Omega has been a favorite for James Bond movies for years, although over the course of the famed Spy movies, several other watches were also worn by Agent 007. Now, though, Omega has scored the top spot on a regular basis thanks to a long-standing relationship that dates back to 1995 and places Omega as the official timepiece for Bond. In the most recent release, James Bond, No Time to Die, which was postponed multiple times since 2020, actor Daniel Craig dons the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition. The 42mm watch is crafted in lightweight Grade 2 Titanium and is water-resistant to 300 meters. It boasts an aluminum bezel, a “tropical” colored dial, and a Milanese mesh bracelet.
Jacob & Co. & Fast & Furious
Inspired by one of the longest-running film franchises, Jacob & Co. partnered with Universal Pictures to create the all-new Fast & Furious Twin Turbo watch – just in time for the release of the new F9 movie this weekend. Jacob & Co. has focused on its Twin Turbo watch for the new limited edition Fast & Furious Twin Turbo watch. The case alone of this watch is made of 88 individual pieces and is crafted in forged carbon with a steel bezel. The large sapphire crystal dial that resides in the top portion of the watch features an image from the first Fast & Furious movie of the starting girl with the checkered flags. In the background are two hot rods ready to roll, and above the entire image is the Fast & Furious logo. The watch is powered by a manually wound movement that consists of 832 parts and includes two 3D triple-axis tourbillons. It is further equipped with a decimal repeater to sound the time, a monopusher chronograph to time races (or other events), and more.
Kross Studio & Star Wars
Teaming with Lucasfilm, Kross Studio recently released the Death Star Ultimate Collector set that is inspired by Star Wars that consists of the Death Star™ Tourbillon watch and a kyber crystal from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The 46mm watch boasts a central tourbillon that makes one revolution per minute. The cage is covered with an open-worked structure designed to look like the Death Star. The watch is crafted in black DLC titanium and is even sold in a specially made Imperial Kyber Crystal container. Just 10 sets will be made.
Citizen & Cruella de Vil
Just in time for the debut of the new Cruella de Vil movie starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, Citizen, which has a long-term partnership with Disney and has a complete Disney Collection of watches, released its Cruella de Vil timepiece. The black and white watch, with red accents, captures the essence of the villain. Half the dial is white with a black silhouette of Cruella and the other half of the dial is black with a white silhouette. Surrounding the dial and set on the bezel are black and white crystals, while red crystals form the markers. The watch is crafted in a black IP stainless steel 36mm case and is powered by light with the exclusive Eco-Drive technology.
Swatch & James Bond Character Q
Also, in time for the James Bond movie, in fact, making its debut before the movie, Swatch released the 2Q watch honoring the Bond character Q, who is the famed maker of all of the gadgets and gizmos Bond uses. The watch is created in a limited edition and is the result of a collaboration with the movie’s costume designer, Suttirat Anne Larlarb. It features a tartan plaid brown leather strap with bold red edges and a red liner. The stainless steel watch features a sun-brushed dial ring instead of a full dial to allow viewing of the open-worked movement.
About the Author
Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.