IN THE MOVIES HISTORY

 

I have always liked wristwatches and have been a bit of a movie buff. I remember the first time I saw a wristwatch become the focus of attention on a film screen. It was Roger Moore's Rolex Submariner in the 1973 James Bond Film, 'Live And Let Die'. The watch could be transformed into a super magnet and its bezel turn into a mini buzz-saw. I was very young when I saw this film and at the time didn't appreciate watches in any way. The only watch I had owned then was a Swatch 'Jelly Fish' which of course is quartz.

In May 1995, I bought the British Edition of Esquire magazine. Inside it had an article titled 'Screen Watch' by Nick Foulkes in which he described an actor and/or film and what watch was predominant in that movie. He only touched the surface and this is where I'd like to make a comprehensive list with the help of films and the wristwatch that can be clearly identified in that film.

In the wonderful publication, 'The Best of Time - Rolex Wristwatches' by James Dowling & Jeffrey Hess, it is suggested how a particular model of the Rolex Daytona was nicknamed the 'Paul Newman'. It went onto say that Paul Newman appeared in a film titled 'Winning' in which he wears the aforementioned watch. The 1969 film 'Winning' is a car racing movie in which Paul Newman plays a racing car driver. I have seen this movie and I'm unable to see the Daytona on Mr. Newman's wrist but I may be mistaken.

Eugenio Zigliotto's article in International Wristwatch No.23 states, 'in a film involving the Carrera Panamericana the famous actor wore one of these chronographs'. Osvaldo Patrizzi in his book 'Rolex Wristwatches' mentions the movie set in the Carrera Mexicana, the race setting in 'Winning' is the Indianapolis 500.

The suggestion by Zigliotto and Patrizzi that Newman wore the watch in the Carrera Panamericana, in my opinion is wrong. The Carrera Panamericana took place from 1950 to 1954. Dowling's and Hess' second explantion on how the watch was named seems more credible. They write that Paul Newman was on the cover of Italy's most popular magazine wearing the famous Rolex.

The movie 'Red Line 7000' clearly shows a Rolex Daytona. To see the same coloured chapter ring and subsidiary dials on the watch, there would have to been a close-up shot of the Daytona in 'Winning'. If the Rolex appears in the film could someone please inform me where? So set your Daytonas, Navitimers, Speedmasters or the VCR tape counter. Confirmation and any other comments regarding the Daytona would be greatly appreciated.

James Bond
Wristwatches have always been part of the secret agent's accoutrements. Long before James Bond ever appeared on the big screen, Ian Fleming in his novels had already issued James Bond with a wristwatch. In 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', Bond uses his Rolex as a knuckle-duster and breaks his watch. Contemplating on a replacement watch, Bond thinks, 'A Rolex? Probably. They were on the heavy side, but they work. And at least you could see the time in the dark with those big phosphorous numerals'.

When James Bond progressed from novel to film his watch could now be seen. In Dr. No, Sean Connery is clearly seen wearing a Rolex Submariner. This watch is described in Dowling & Hess' book. Rolex Reference No. 6538 or 6508 is now known as the James Bond Submariner. Bond's arch enemies also wear interesting timepieces. Three worth mentioning are Donald 'Red' Grant, Goldfinger and Scaramanga.

Grant, an assassin played by Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love, has an unnamed wristwatch that has a retractable thin wire garrotte. This watch is seen for the second time in another Bond movie, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. George Lazenby picks up the watch from the top drawer of his desk with other mementos and contemplates leaving the Secret Service.

In the novel 'From Russia With Love', Grant's watch is very well described. 'There was also a bulky gold wristwatch on a well-used crocodile strap. It was a Girard-Perregaux model designed for people who like gadgets, and it had a sweep second-hand and two little windows in the face to tell the day of the month , and the month, and the phase of the moon'.

Gert Frobe who plays Goldfinger obviously wears a gold watch but which I cannot identify. Christopher Lee who plays Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, could be wearing a Rolex Cellini King Midas but I can't be sure.

Listed below are the watches seen in the James Bond movies.

Dr. No (1962) - A Rolex Submariner.

From Russia With Love (1963) - A Rolex Submariner.

Goldfinger (1964) - Rolex Submariner which is beautifully illuminated by Sean Connery's lighter.

Thunderball (1965) - Rolex Submariner, Breitling Top Time which doubles as a geiger counter and a Breitling Navitimer which is the watch of Domino's brother.

You Only Live Twice (1967) - No watch seen.

O.H.M.S.S. (1969) - Rolex Submariner with steel bracelet. George Lazenby takes off his Submariner, places it on top of a photo-copier and then peruses a Playboy magazine.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - No watch seen.

Live And Let Die (1973) - Pulsar Time Computer Quartz LED & Rolex Submariner, ÒThatÕs a particularly handsome watch youÕre wearing Mr. Bond!Ó.

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) - Rolex Submariner seen very well when Roger Moore smokes his cigar.

The Spy Who Love Me (1977) - Seiko LCD Digital.

Moonraker (1979) - Seiko LCD Digital which doubles as a bomb.

For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Seiko Quartz Analog/Digital Alarm Chronograph.

Octopussy (1983) - Seiko Sports 100 & Seiko TV watch with LCD screen.

A View To A Kill (1985) - Seiko.

Living Daylights (1987) - Watch unknown.

Licence To Kill (1989) - Rolex Submariner(?).

Golden Eye (1996) - Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer with a laser worn by Pierce Brosnan. Agent 006 wears last yearÕs model.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer.

These are all the EON Productions of the James Bond movies. There are two other James Bond films worth mentioning.

Casino Royale (1967) - 1965 Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT beautifully described by Peter Sellers.

Never Say Never Again (1983) - An unknown watch given to Sean Connery by Q Branch which contains a laser beam. General Films

So we now have a Paul Newman Daytona, James Bond Submariner and the James Bond Seamaster named after a movie actor and a motion picture, which wristwatch will be next? Listed below are general movies where watches appear. My criteria for this category is that a wristwatch is clearly seen, mentioned, referred to or commonly known what actor wears what watch. This has become easier in today's world of the freeze frame on VCRs and especially laser disc and DVD. I've eliminated digital wristwatches unless it is important to the script or it compliments the movie with humour, etc. For example take the film Planes, Trains And Automobiles where Steve Martin's gold Piaget is contrasted by John Candy's Casio.

Obviously some watches are very easy to identify ie. Rolex Oyster Perpetuals or Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks, but there are probably hundreds of watches that appear on screen which can't be identified. Jewellery watches would fit into this category. Watches made by Bertolucci, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Concord, Piaget, Rolex Cellini, Tiffany & Co., Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, etc. are usually hard to distinguish from each other at a distance. The movie Casino in its credits lists Bulgari as the supplier of jewellery in the film. One can presume that the gold watch worn by Robert DeNiro is a Bulgari. Film credits have come a long way in the motion picture industry. Rolex, Seiko and Omega have all been listed in the James Bond movie credits and with today's trend of product placement in films, it will be easier to identify watches on actor's wrists.

Above Us The Waves (1956) - Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso which John Mills wears.

Apollo 13 (1995) - Omega Speedmaster Professionals. Did anybody see any GMTs?

Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - Patek Philippe.

Big Shots, The (1987) - A Rolex Submariner. This watch becomes the central focus of the plot in the first half of the movie. The watch is given to a young teenager after his father dies. It is stolen from him and with the help of a street-wise kid, they try to get the watch back.

Broken Arrow (1996) - Breitling Aerospace worn by John Travolta.

Burglar (1987) - Rolex Day-Date which Whoopie Goldberg likes to steal.

Carlito's Way (1993) - Rolex Day-Date worn by Sean Penn.

Cobra (1986) - TAG Heuer worn by Sly Stallone.

Daylight (1996) - A Luminor Panerai worn on the right wrist of Stallone. Film credits TAG Heuer, Seiko, Casio and Bulova watches.

Deer Hunter (1978) - Rolex GMT worn by DeNiro.

Dial M For Murder (1954) - Ray Milland wears an unnamed watch which has stopped. In the first close-up, Grace Kelly's potential killer's watch is unnamed. In the second close-up, the name of the watch partly appears and is obscured by the hands at 11 o'clock. I believe that the watch brands were deliberately erased.

Die Hard (1988) - Rolex worn by the actress who plays Bruce Willis' wife.

Die Hard 2 (1990) - Willis wears a TAG Heuer.

Die Hard 3 With A Vengeance (1995) - Breitling Chronomat Longitude(?) worn by Willis.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) - Michael Caine wears a Rolex Day-Date.

Easy Rider (1969) - Unknown watch thrown away by Peter Fonda at the start of the film.

Eraser (1996) - Luminor Panerai Marina is seen in the opening titles. Its crown is locked into place. This watch is worn by Schwarzenegger.

Falling Down (1993) - An extreme close-up of Michael Douglas' watch, a Lorus.

Fathom (1967) - Breitling Co Pilot worn by Raquel Welch.

Goodfellas (1990) - One of the gold watches that Ray Liotta wears on his right wrist is a Rolex Day-Date.

Guns Of Navarone, The (1961) - Two close-ups of a Gruen Precision worn by Gregroy Peck.

Hard To Kill (1990) - A gold or stainless steel and gold Rolex GMT II worn by Steven Seagall.

Harry In Your Pocket (1974) - A $1400 Rolex Day-Date worn by James Coburn's protege.

Jaws (1975) - A Rolex Submariner and an unknown diving watch (Omega?) worn by Richard Dreyfuss.

In The Line Of Fire (1993) - A steel & gold Rolex Datejust worn by Clint Eastwood.

King Rat (1965) - Omega traded by George Segal.

L.A. Confidential (1997) - Spacey wears a Bulova while Guy Pearce wears a Rolex Oyster.

Leaving Las Vegas (1995) - Rolex Daytona pawned by Nicholas Cage. '$500 for a '93 Rolex Daytona? - I'll do it!'

Le Mans (1971) - A Heuer Monaco worn on the right wrist of Steve McQueen.

Lifeboat (1943) - Patek Philippe. When itÕs suggested that her watch is slow, Tallulah Bankhead retorts, 'Slow? That's a Philippe Patek!'.

Marathon Man (1976) - Rolex Submariner with gold crown given as a present to Dustin Hoffman. He then trades it for a taxi fare and some change. I guess it wasn't safe.

Marked For Death (1991) - Rolex Day-Date worn by Steven Seagall for the first part of the movie. He then wears a TAG Heuer stainless steel chronograph.

Men In Black (1997) - Hamilton Venturas (re-issues).

Midnight Run (1988) - Unknown watch constantly checked by DeNiro to see if it's still working, he finally gives the watch away at the end of the movie.

Nick Of Time (1995) - Johnny Depp wears a Seiko Quartz. A Bulgari chronograph is also shown on screen.

North Sea Hijack (1975) - Roger Moore wears a Rolex Submariner and a Seiko Quartz Professional Diver. Anthony Perkins wears an Omega Speedmaster(?).

Party, The (1969) - Peter Sellers wears an unknown underwater watch in a movie set based in 1878 India. The director cuts the action and reminds Sellers' character of the faux-pas. I suppose this is a parody on Ben Hur where Charlton Heston is supposedly seen wearing a wristwatch during the chariot race.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) - A Piaget which Steve Martin uses as part payment for a motel room. Martin: 'I have $17 and a helluva watch'. Candy: 'I have $2 and a Casio'.

Pulp Fiction (1994) - An old gold Rolex given to a little boy by Christopher Walken and worn by Bruce Willis.

Rain Man (1988) - Rolex Day-Date pawned by Tom Cruise.

Ransom a.k.a. Maniac (1977) - Incorrectly stated as an Omega Flightmaster by May 1995 British Edition of Esquire. It is in fact an Omega Speedmaster Mk.II which is worn by the four hi-jackers and becomes an important part of the movie.

Rear Window (1954) - A close-up of James StewartÕs stainless steel Tissot.

Red Line 7000 (1965) - Stainless Steel Rolex Daytona can be clearly seen worn by the owner of James CaanÕs racing team.

Right Stuff, The (1983) - Omega Speedmaster.

Ruthless People (1986) - Rolex Day-Date worn by Danny DeVito.

Seconds (1966) - A close-up of a Stainless Steel Rolex Perpetual Chronometer.

Seven Days In May (1964) - A close-up of a Bulova Accutron Astronaut worn by Kirk Douglas.

Seven Years In Tibet (1997) - A Gold Omega worn by Brad Pitt. Read the fabulous story by James Dowling on how he was asked to supply watches for this film.(See the archive section at www.timezone.com.)

Shattered (1991) - Breitling Chronomat worn by Tom Berenger.

Sheik, The (1921) - Rudolph Valentino wears a Cartier Tank.

Shindler's List (1994) - Rolex Prince worn by Liam Neesom.

Short Circuit 2 (1988) - Fake Rolexes sold by Michael McKean on the street.

Son Of The Sheik (1926) - Rudolph Valentino wears a Cartier Tank.

Speed (1993) - The 'cheesy' watch is a gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual, while Dennis Hopper wears a Rolex GMT II.

Stargate (1994) - Breitling Sirius worn by Kurt Russell.

Thelma And Louise (1991) - Susan Sarandon gives her watch (Cartier/Seiko?) to an old man.

They Live (1988) - Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetuals worn by the aliens.

This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - Rolex Submariner worn by Nigel Tuffnel played by Christopher Guest.

Top Secret! (1984) - A hugely over-sized Rolex Oyster Chronometer showing the time 7.22. It is supposed to be a close-up of wristwatch but in fact itÕs a wall clock on a person's wrist.

Wall Street (1987) - Charlie Sheen starts off wearing a Lorus and progresses to a Cartier(?).

This is the list that I have come up with. There are probably lots more movies that feature wristwatches, foreign films that I've forgotten the titles to, war films where soldiers synchronise their watches, Presley movies where he may wear a Patek Philippe, a Hamilton Ventura or a Tissot. But at the minute this is all I have to offer.

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