Jan 15 , 2021
The huge vast emptiness of space. A universe so big it is unimaginable. Science fiction that may one day become reality. These are all aspects of movies centred around the unknown, asking "what is out there?". But looking closer, lets focus in on one of the smaller details that may just be a stylish accessory, or in some cases, have a huge effect on the outcome of the story. The watch.
Out of the many movies we could have explored, we've chosen five of our favourite sci-fi/space movies to learn a little more about the watches worn by their leading characters.
APOLLO 13 (1995)
Jim Lovell: "Houston, we have a problem"
This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) find everything going according to plan after leaving Earth's orbit. However, when an oxygen tank explodes, the scheduled moon landing is called off. Subsequent tensions within the crew and numerous technical problems threaten both the astronauts' survival and their safe return to Earth.
The film shows the astronauts’ reliance on an Omega Speedmaster (later known as the Professional), with the watch used by John Leonard “Jack“ Swigert, Jr. (Kevin Bacon) to time a 14-second maneuvere that proved critical in returning the crew back to earth after an oxygen tank onboard explodes. The movie helped spread the message of Omega and its connection to NASA—the most important link in the watch brand’s history.
Cooper: "I love you, forever. You hear me? I love you forever. And I'm coming back. I'm coming back."
Earth's future: a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth's population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind's new home.
The producers of Interstellar were asked by Hamilton to supply two watches. One was to be a pilot-style watch to be worn by Cooper, but the second watch had to be custom-made based on very specific requirements. This custom-made watch has since been nicknamed the “Murph Watch” by Hamilton, and sort of mixes and matches some Khaki model elements. Hamilton produced about 10 pieces for the production, which actually were all returned to Hamilton after filming was over (unlike some of the Heuer watches used in the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans - click here to discover more on this story).
The classic "Murph" has returned with the faithful recreation of the watch that was fastened to the wrist of the film’s main character Murph. The only difference is that the word Eureka is printed in Morse code in lacquer on the second’s hand of the watch, which can only be viewed with the help of a watchmaker’s loupe. This subtle yet important feature is a tribute to one of the crucial moments in the film where Cooper attempts to communicate with her from the fifth dimension by using Morse code through the second hand of the watch he left to her.
The "Murph" was limited to 2555 pieces as a nod to the number of days to complete seven Earth years, which is the same as one hour on Miller’s planet in the film.
Neil: "I'll see you in the beginning, friend."
International espionage is a twilight world where an unnamed CIA operative, known as The Protagonist, is recruited by a mysterious organization called Tenet to participate in a global assignment that unfolds beyond real time. The mission: prevent Andrei Sator, a renegade Russian oligarch with precognition abilities, from starting World War III. The Protagonist will soon master the art of "time inversion" as a way of countering the threat that is to come.
Robert Pattinson and John David Washington both wear Hamilton watches in Christopher Nolan's 2020 film TENET.
For Tenet, Hamilton produced a prop watch that combined an analog display with a digital countdown timer - the Hamilton Khaki Navy BeLOWZERO. The watch was made in total secrecy - not even the people who invented it knew how it would be used. In trailers, it looks like the watch counts down to something - but it’s unclear even to those who have seen the movie.
Although that was a prop watch, Hamilton has created a limited edition watch inspired by the specs of the movie watch and looks similar, but it doesn't have the digital screen that appears on the custom-made prop watch we created for TENET.
As a side note, this watch also featured in The Martian, worn by Matt Damon.
MEN IN BLACK FRANCHISE (1997-2019)
M.I.B UK Branch Head: "Always remember: the universe has a way of leading you to where you're supposed to be, at the moment you're supposed to be there."
The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep everyone safe, in MIB: International, decorated Agent H and determined rookie M join forces - an unlikely pairing that just might work. When aliens that can take the form of any human arrive on Earth, H and M embark on a globe-trotting adventure to save the agency - and ultimately the world - from their mischievous plans.
The Hamilton Ventura has played a starring role in every MIB movie - as key to their characters as the black suit, wrap around shades and neuralyzer. The Ventura is one of our most popular watches and has had a cult following since its original release in 1957. Since 1997, it has been a part of the iconic Men in Black uniform. Daring, pioneering and ahead of its time, it’s an eye-catching choice that has served the Agents well.
With the expansion of the MIB franchise to now showcase some new actors, the watches they are wearing have also changed, just a little. From early trailers of the movie, Chris Hemsworth appears to be wearing the brown Hamilton Ventura Auto. It is very much like most other Venturas, but with a few key differences. First, it features an automatic, self-winding movement. It also has a skeleton interior displaying the moving parts of the movement, something watchmakers love to do with automatic watches.
Dutch: Run... Go... Get to the chopper!
Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes weapons expert Blain (Jesse Ventura) and CIA agent George (Carl Weathers), land in Central America, something is gravely wrong. After finding a string of dead bodies, the crew discovers they are being hunted by a brutal creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings.
As worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Predator film, the fame of Seiko’s H558 dive watch was so intertwined with the sci-fi horror flick that people actually began calling it the “Arnie.” In fact, in horological circles, that’s still the term used in place of its numbered designation today. But this watch is notable more for just its appearance in the ’80s action film, as it was the first dive watch to feature a digital alarm chronograph in conjunction with an analog display. Nowadays the original watch is fairly rare and in pretty high demand, though it’s not a stretch to say your average watch fanatic would be able to afford to pick one up for relatively cheap. Still, you’ll find it very difficult to track one down, as owners of this watch tend to hold onto them.