The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

From Back to the Future to American Psycho, we take a closer look at the wrists of leading men

Time can be paused, forwarded and re-wound on the silver screen. Time is immortalised in films, particularly when it’s ticking away on the wrists of some of the world’s most celebrated actors, playing some of the most iconic roles.

Character, style and prominence are everything in cinema, which is why we’ve put together a run-down of watches from films that epitomise all three of these things. Whether they’ve slogged through the jungle, raced away from bad guys or witnessed bullets hurtling towards them, these designs will forever be timelessly welded to film history.

Le Mans

Tag Heuer Monaco 1969

The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

Two words are all we need: Steve McQueen. Oh, go on then, we’ll elaborate. An absolute classic, the Tag Heuer Monaco 1969 was sported by the style icon himself in the 1970 film Le Mans.

Although you can only come across the original in very rare, lucky sightings, the modern version still gives most designs a run for their money with updated styling and a combination of a blue dial with white sub-dials. In 2009, a 40th Anniversary Special Edition was released that was more faithful to the original, with the crown on the left and some unusual indices – the limited run of 1000 sold out almost immediately.

James Bond

Rolex Submariner 1953

The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

Probably the most recognisable watch in the world, due not only to the fact that it withstood temperatures of minus 45 degrees Celsius and over 1000 dives during the great Moana sea expedition, but also due to its eternal place in cinematic history, wrapped around Sean Connery’s wrist in eleven of the classic early Bond Films.

The design has since been revamped with a ceramic bezel inset and chunkier strap lugs. If it’s good enough for 007, then it’s good enough for us!

Back to the Future

Casio CA53W Twincept Databank

The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

Although you might not ant to admit it, every Back to the Future fan will have, at some point, fantasised about owning a watch which doubled up as an 8-digit calaculator, with 1/100 stopwatch, auto-calendar and alarm.

The latest smart watches have nothing on the Databank; it will forever be an icon of nostalgia alongside brick-like mobile phones and geek chic. So retro, it’s almost modern.


Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller

The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

Another Rolex to be immortalised on screen, and destined not to be the last. A heftier option than the Rolex Submariner – Bond has nothing on Affleck – the Deepsea Sea-Sweeler appeared in Argo, the 2013 Academy Award-winning film based on the heroic and hair-pulling rescue of six Americans during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

Its appearance plays testimony to its status as a truly iconic accessory, because the design launched five years previously, proving that this watch delivers both style and transcendental presence.

Blood Diamond

Breitling Chrono Avenger

The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

Both Breitling and Leonard DiCaprio had to appear on this list somewhere, and it turns out they both played roles in the same film. Indeed, whilst playing the heralded role of Danny Archer in the 2006 picture Blood Diamond, DiCaprio had the pleasure of sporting a Breitling Chrono Avenger watch.

The timepiece has a black dial set in a solid titanium 44mm case, with a brown calf leather strap. Other features include shockproofing and a water-resistance of 300 metres. This one doesn’t have any diamonds in it, but it’s certainly a classic if you’re after something robust.

American Psycho

Rolex Datejust

The most iconic timepieces from the the world of cinema

Legend has it that various designers, not wanting their clothes to be associated with psychopath Patrick Bateman’s mass murders, put conditions in their contracts that didn’t allow their garments to be shown at certain times.

Apparently, Cerruti agreed to allow Bale to wear their clothes – only not when he was killing anyone. Fair enough. In the same vein, luxury brand Rolex didn’t want the killer wearing one of their timepieces, meaning that Mary Harron had to cut the line “Don’t touch the Rolex” from the original script.

The Datejust also appeared in the The Informers, The Colour of Money and Lost in Translation, all testament to its versatility. It would also appear that the Rolex Datejust and Michael Caine were made for each other. Caine wore the model on a leather strap in many films, including Mike Hodge’s crime class Get Carter and Deadfall, where his arm was permanently draped around Giovanna Ralli.

Further Reading