Watch Spotting From The Couch: The Top Watches We Found While Streaming
Let’s indulge in some cinematic and horological escapism.
Since life has slowed down recently, I’ve had plenty of time to check out some new and classic movies on streaming services. And with my social calendar suddenly wide open, if I spy a nice watch in a scene, I have all the time in the world to dive through an internet rabbit hole to research the whereabouts of said timepieces.
It would be a shame to put all that energy into something and not share it, so here’s a list of some of the scene-stealing watches we’ve spotted, as well as some speculation about where they are today.
Sean Connery’s Rolex Submariner from Dr. No
It’s hard to imagine life before product placement in movies. In the old days, before the 1990s, if a character wore a watch it either belonged to the actor (see Rudolph Valentino’s anachronistic Cartier Tank in The Son of the Sheik), or it was sourced by the wardrobe department.
Take, for example, the Rolex Submariner on a non-factory NATO-style nylon strap worn by Sean Connery in the first few James Bond films. The famous spy has worn a lot of iconic timepieces in this long-running franchise, but the legend is that the diver Bond wears when he meets Ursula Andress as she emerges from the sea actually belonged to producer Cubby Broccoli.
That’s right! While working on a tight budget, Broccoli supposedly took the watch off his wrist and handed it to Connery. Where is it now? Well, Cubby was a canny man, so he took the watch back when production wrapped. The timepiece is still in the Broccoli family. A 6538 of the same vintage isn’t easy to find, but they do come up at auction now and then. Although, expect to pay six figures.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Seiko H601 from Commando
Some of us are taking solace in the action films of our youth. And if you are having a Schwarzenegger movie marathon, you may notice the same watch popping up again and again. It seems Arnie sported a series of Seikos in a string of films, such as The Predator, The Running Man, and Commando.
There is debate about the exact model he wore. Was it the H558 with the digital display on top? Or the H601? Or, the upside-down Arnie with the display down below? But when Commando came out, Seiko released a limited edition of this rugged watch. It sports a digital/analog dial, as well as a few other rugged features, such as water resistance to 10 ATMs; shock resistance from 3 feet; an abrasion-resistant Hardlex coating to stand up to decompression; resistance to chemical and gas exposure, such as alcohols, cosmetic oils, ammonia gas, and carbon monoxide; and bright luminescence, allowing readability from 25cm in complete darkness.
Since Schwarzenegger is a watch guy, it’s safe to say he probably stores the watch from the film in his vault, but you can sometimes find one on the secondary market for about $500 to $1,000, depending on condition. And in 2019, Seiko launched the look-a-like Seiko SNJ025 Solar Arnie.
Sigourney Weaver’s Seiko Giugiaro 7a28-7000 from Aliens
This futuristic time machine is famous for three reasons: It was conceived by the automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, it is considered the first watch to use an analog quartz chronograph movement, and because director James Cameron selected this Seiko to be worn by Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ripley, in the 1986 sci-fi classic Aliens.
If ever you needed a movie to remind you why it’s important to respect a quarantine zone, it was Aliens. In this sequel, we learn that, while there are strange days ahead, it is not the end times. And when we get through this, I will continue my quest to own one of these exotic timepieces. The last recorded appearance of the actual movie timepiece was in 2015 at a Seiko mini-exhibit in London, so we imagine it’s safe in the Seiko archives.
FYI, Seiko also reissued “The Ripley” in 2016 under their Spirit Smart line. And in the 1990s, they produced a lookalike version called the K2000 under their subsidiary brand, Alba.
Adam Sandler’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date in Uncut Gems
I’m not just sitting on the couch living in the cinematic past. I’m also using this downtime to catch up on movies from 2019 that I missed, including the weirdness that is Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems.
In this movie, Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a gambling addict and jeweler, who caters to celebrities such as Kevin Garnett and The Weeknd. Howard has got to wear a watch that matches his game, in this case, a diamond-encrusted gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date with a red dial and Roman numerals.
While the movie had a high-powered cast, the production itself was done on a Netflix budget. So, it’s probably safe to say that the movie’s featured Rollie was a reproduction created by the stylist and costume designer, Miyako Bellizzi. However, a similar diamond-studded Rolex was displayed in Midtown New York at an Uncut Gems promotional pop-up store in December 2019. Other props included were Sandler’s character’s gold Torah pendant, gold and wood Cartier eyeglasses, gold Star of David pinky ring, gold chain link bracelet, and diamond stud.
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood - Citizen 8110 Bullhead
There’s a lot going on in director Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, what with Bruce Lee and the Manson Family. But, for me, Brad Pitt’s chunky Citizen 8110A Automatic jumped right off the screen.
Called a bullhead due to the placement of the chronograph’s pushers, the Citizen 8110 was introduced in 1972, just at the start of the quartz crisis. It’s not a super expensive watch (you can find it on an online auction house for about $400), but it boasts a sturdy 8110 automatic chronograph caliber. The brand produced many iterations of this chrono, but the gold-tone version seen in the movie best fits the film’s ‘70s groove.
In the movie, Pitt’s stuntman character wears this watch on a wide brown leather cuff made by Red Monkey Straps, a company that also created the customized strap the star wore in Ocean’s 13. We’re guessing this ’70s watch went home with Pitt as a souvenir.
Speaking of stuntmen…
Ryan Gosling’s Patek Phillipe in Drive
Watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood drove me to revisit the 2013 thriller Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as a stuntman and getaway driver. Of all the movies I’ve watched so far, none gets as much screen time as Gosling’s Patek Philippe. It even gets its own backstory (it belonged to his character’s father).
Like Schwarzenegger and Pitt, Gosling is a watch guy and to get into character he requested a Patek Philippe with a brown leather strap.
In an interview with GQ, when the film came out, Drive’s propmaster Will Blount revealed that the timepiece used during filming was a fake. “You can't use the real watch, or you're going to break it," said Blount. "So, we used five or six replicas." As for where they are now, Blount said Gosling asked if he could keep one. Blount’s response? “You definitely deserve it, brother."
So, while this watch doesn’t technically exist in real life, a classic Patek Phillipe Calatrava could still set you on the right track.
Happy streaming and stay safe!