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Movie Watch: The Big Short (2015), Financial Drama and a Wealth of Wrist Candy

The Big Short

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in The Big Short (2015)

It would be remiss of us to end our investment issue without discussing arguably the greatest modern movie on the subject – and no, I don’t mean the sheer debauchery of Wolf of Wall Street. We’ve already done that masterpiece of obscenity. No, we mean the real-life story of The Big Short.

Before the US housing crisis of the mid-2000s, a group of hedge fund managers headed by one Michael Blurry had an inkling that offering multiple mortgages to anyone that asked was a bad idea. Go figure. Where every other investment institution was banking (sorry) on continued buoyancy, Blurry and his group readied for the inevitable crash. The result was that they individually made millions. Good for them, not great for the following economic depression. Anyway, while the film is an absolute masterclass in explaining tricky financial concepts – including those necessary to understand the current Game Stop debacle – it also nailed its watch game. Almost.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph with Black Dial

IWC Portugieser Chronograph

These are hedge fund managers we’re talking about so none of them are going to have crap wrist candy. Jared Bennet of Deutche Bank, played by Ryan Gosling on camera, opts for an IWC Portugieser, a sleek, sporty number with a chronograph and a black dial. It’s a nice watch in and of itself, but given Rolex dominates the rest of the film – because of course it does – it’s good to see another watchmaker in there.

Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust

Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust

However, while Gosling is happy to break the fourth wall throughout the film to explain the tricky financial concepts therein, he’s not the only one. Enter chef Anthony Bourdain, comparing the housing market to a rotten halibut while wearing a lovely stainless steel Rolex Datejust. It’s on point for the film but is actually part of Bourdain’s own impressive watch collection.

Rolex Submariner 116610

Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610

The only issue in fact comes with Steve Carrell’s Mark Baum. Not because his Rolex Submariner 116610 with a Cerachrom bezel doesn’t suit the character, but that it was released half a decade after the crash. The high-spec diver is so close to being perfect but alas, the devil’s in the details. 10/10 for style, 7/10 for accuracy. The film that is, not the watch.

Rolex Oysterquartz

Rolex Oysterquartz

What we’d like to see more of instead is the watch on of Baum’s unnamed colleague sports: a Rolex Oysterquartz, the quirky, battery-powered number that’s still remarkably affordable today. In fact, it’s one of expert James Dowling’s tips for a great investment watch right now.

For now though, if the Big Short is anything to go by there’s good mileage in films about investing. We’ll be looking forward to the upcoming Netflix cinematic event: Wall St. Bets, the movie.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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