Guides Watches

Top 10 Watches Worn by Heroes in Film

Die Hard Tag Heuer

If you take a look at our top watches worn by villains article, it’s clear that the Dark Side has some great horological taste. But what about the heroes fighting back against evil? The stars of the screen who champion adventure, self-empowerment and sticking it to the bad guys. Well, they don’t go without their favourite wristwatches either, so here are the best watches worn by heroes in film.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300m – James Bond, No Time to Die

Omega Seamaster Diver 300m James Bond No Time to Die

The name’s Seamaster, Omega Seamaster. Omega’s connection to James Bond pre-dates the Daniel Craig era, with the first Bond to don the Swiss brand being Pierce Brosnan (read how this came to be in our Jean-Claude Biver interview). By the time of Craig’s last film in the franchise, the two names have become inextricably linked. In fact, in No Time To Die the Omega takes a starring role by containing some crucial technology from Q. Prior to wearing Omegas, Bond was known for his affection for Seiko and Rolex.

Tag Heuer Professional 3000 Quartz – John McClane, Die Hard

Tag Heuer Professional 3000 Quartz Die Hard

Image credit: propstoreauction.com

While Hans Gruber may have been rocking a refined dress watch, Bruce Willis’ archetypal action hero John McClane prefers something a little more practical. The Tag Heuer Professional 3000 Quartz dates from the mid-1980s, at a time when Tag Heuer was embracing a new sportier, modern aesthetic alongside its more classical designs. It’s the perfect fit for the wise-cracking and trigger happy McClane, naturally worn on the inside of his wrist in traditional military style. The watch was sold as part of a movie memorabilia auction in 2018, fetching £12,300.

Omega Speedmaster – Jim Lovell, Apollo 13

Omega Speedmaster Jim Lovell Apollo 13

When filmmakers set about the task of reflecting the real world in their films, cinephiles love to pour over every frame looking for anachronistic inaccuracies. Something which 1995 film Apollo 13 avoids by giving Tom Hanks’ Jim Lovell a period accurate Omega Speedmaster as close as possible to the model worn by Lovell himself. Famously the astronauts in the film use their Speedmasters in a crucial life or death moment at the film’s climax to time an intricate manoeuvre in space.

Cartier Tank – Roger Thornhill, North by Northwest

Cartier Tank Roger Thornhill North by Northwest

Alfred Hitchcock is the master of suspense and psychological thrillers and one of his most famous films is North by Northwest. There are few shots in cinema more iconic than Cary Grant in his prime being strafed at by a crop duster. On Grant’s, or should I say Roger Thornhill’s, wrist at the time is the actor’s own wristwatch, the Cartier Tank. Not the traditional watch worn by a hero but that makes sense because Thornhill isn’t a traditional action hero.

Hamilton Boulton – Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Hamilton Boulton Indiana Jones Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

The final instalment of Indiana Jones has a surprising amount of horology involved with the adventure centring on the titular Dial of Destiny. While it isn’t said dial of destiny, the watch on Harrison Ford’s wrist is the Hamilton Boulton, a quartz watch with an Art Deco design featuring a 27mm x 31.6mm case in an elongated cushion shape. The yellow PVD coating on the steel case gives it a golden appearance akin to the treasures Indy is famous for hunting.

Rolex GMT Master – Rocky Balboa, Rocky II

Rolex GMT Master Rocky Balboa Rocky II

In Rocky II we find Sly Stallone’s underdog boxing hero adjusting to his new life of fame and money. We see him in a shop buying three Rolexes, a full gold GMT Master, a full gold Day-Date and a gem-set Lady Datejust. He’s then spotted in the following scenes wearing the GMT Master, which he pairs with a dog collar on the other wrist. While it’s now regarded as a mid-tier Rocky film, Rocky II helped to propel the franchise forward and it’s still going almost 45 years later with the Creed films.

Tag Heuer Monaco 1133 – Michael Delaney, Le Mans

Steven McQueen's 1971 Le Mans Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133

The 1971 racing film Le Mans was initially a flop, which is a surprise considering the cult status the film has today. In the picture, McQueen can be seen wearing a Heuer Monaco 1133 in the dark blue of Gulf colours – Gulf being the team that McQueen’s character is racing for. It is the archetypical Monaco, with a square case made from stainless steel and a diameter of 40mm featuring a bi-compax chronograph display.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar – Doctor Strange, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Dr Strange wearing broken Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual

If you’ve seen Benedict Cumberbatch in the last few years you’ll know he often has a JLC on his wrist, he is an ambassador for the brand after all. However, his status as an ambassador came about after his first appearance as the Sorcerer Supreme when he chose the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar as the character’s timepiece. The watch plays a significant role in both films, coming to symbolise Strange’s relationship to time and the people around him.

Longines/Lord Elgin – Rick Blaine, Casablanca

Longines Lord Elgin Rick Blaine Casablanca

This wristwatch identification comes with the caveat that no one is entirely sure what watch Humphrey Bogart is wearing in Casablanca. Several identifications have been suggested centring on vintage Longines watches such as the Evidenza and Roosevelt or alternatively the American brand Lord Elgin. Of those three, I personally feel the Lord Elgin is the best fit due to its rectangular shape and distinctive lugs. Although any of them would be an appropriate hero watch for the nightclub owning Rick.

Rolex GMT Master “Root beer” – Frank Horrigan, In the Line of Fire

Rolex GMT Master Root beer Frank Horrigan In the Line of Fire

To be honest, I could’ve picked from a handful of Clint Eastwood films/characters to fill this slot because the Rolex GMT Master “Root beer” isn’t connected to a specific character so much as it is the actor himself. He’s seen wearing it in 1982’s Firefox, 1984’s Tightrope and 1993’s In the Line of Fire. In fact, the watch has become such an Eastwood classic that it’s been colloquially re-nicknamed the Clint Eastwood Rolex.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.