We’re all familiar with high-end timepieces appearing in popular films and movie franchises, from the various Omega watches that has adorned James Bond’s wrists since 1995, to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches worn by Val Kilmer and Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman.
But more than just an obvious product placement—think slow pans and detailed close ups—watches in recent years have become more than just an accessory, aiding the development of characters and even advancing plot lines.
Take the latest summer blockbuster Atomic Blonde for example; it stars three Carl F. Bucherer timepieces: the Manero AutoDate worn by Charlize Theron’s badass Dior-wearing, vodka-drinking, chain-smoking spy agent character, as well as the Manero CentralChrono and the Manero Flyback.
The latter two watches play a key role in the movie as a means of transporting highly sensitive information, including a piece of microfilm that concealed the names of every active field agent in the Soviet Union and forms the whole basis of Theron’s mission in the action thriller. The film’s director, David Leitch, is a long-time brand ambassador, and also worked with Bucherer in 2014’s John Wick and 2017’s John Wick: Chapter 2.
Another timepiece is also enjoying its moment in glory this summer, in the historical epic Dunkirk. The movie, which chronicles the strategic evacuation of British and Allied troops on the shores of Dunkirk, shows a vintage Omega CK2129 on the wrist of Tom Hardy, who plays a RAF pilot.
Omega notes that the placement is historically correct, as the brand was the biggest supplier of watches during the two World Wars, and that particular model was the most commonly worn Omega timepiece for RAF personnel in the early days of World War II. It is said that many soldiers depended on their watches then as an instrument of survival.
Omega, of course, has had a long run of supplying its timepieces to Hollywood blockbusters, including the hugely popular franchise James Bond. The world’s most famous super spy might have gadgets ranging from invisible cars to explosive lighters, but the Omega timepiece is a constant. In Spectre, we see the Omega Seamster 300 on Daniel Craig’s wrist. And for the first time, the watch was marketed to the public, and 7,007 lucky ones were able to get their hands on the limited edition Spectre timepiece.
Marvel Studios too has strapped timepieces to their actors’ wrists, including the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Thin Ultra Perpetual on Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Doctor Strange in the 2016 and more unusually, the Urwerk UR-110 RG on Tony Stark in Spider-Man Homecoming, played by Robert Downey Jr. Although interestingly, it’s been reported that it was Downey Jr. himself who asked to wear the watch, being a huge fan of the brand.
Coming up, we’re set to see the Tag Heuer smartwatch in the upcoming sequel to the hit movie Kingsman: The Secret Service. Writer-director Matthew Vaughn really wanted a watch that could double as a gadget, and happened on a television interview with Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Tag Heuer talking about the smartwatch, which debuted in 2015. A phone call and a meeting later, Biver did more than just loan the production an existing watch, Tag Heuer debuted The Kingsman Special Edition of the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45. To catch the timepiece in action, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is set to hit Hong Kong theatres on September 29.