For decades, Hollywood has set the standard for style and fashion. On and off-screen, actors and actresses set trends and make a massive cultural impact with what they wear. Consequently, some of the most instantly recognizable and iconic wristwear has cemented itself in popular culture after being worn by a legendary actor.
Counting Down Some Of Hollywood’s Most Iconic Watches
Whether it’s Sean Connery as the original James Bond, Christian Bale as the terrifying Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, or even Michael J. Fox in his career-defining role as Marty McFly in Back to The Future, some of Hollywood’s best-loved actors and characters have shaped pop culture with the watches they wore.
In this article, we’ll cover nine of the most unique and iconic watches worn by Hollywood Legends in some of the defining roles of their respective careers. This list spans the last several decades of cinema history and is full of familiar faces – pun intended.
1. Seiko H558: Arnold Schwarzenegger In Predator
For sci-fi and horror fans, 1987’s Predator is often cited as a favorite from its era. The film features Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his most iconic roles as Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, a hard-boiled soldier facing off against a terrifying, camouflaged alien with infrared vision.
The Seiko H558, the watch sported by Arnie in Predator, is a unique digital-analog hybrid dive watch with a sturdy design that perfectly fits the character wearing it in the film. Often sought after by watch enthusiasts and cinephiles alike, the watch was lovingly nicknamed the “Arnie” after Schwarzenegger immortalized it on screen.
The H558 has long since been discontinued, but Jack Mason’s Seamount dive watch is a worthy alternative. Whether you’re an avid diver or looking to level up your style on land, a dive watch is a great option. Iconic roles like Schwarzenegger’s Dutch in Predator and other entries on our list prove that you don’t have to be a diver to sport a dive watch.
2. Alsta Nautoscaph: Richard Dreyfuss In Jaws
Another classic from the latter half of the 20th century, Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws was largely responsible for propelling the director, as well as actor Richard Dreyfuss and other cast members, into becoming household names. In the film, Dreyfuss plays Hooper, a marine biologist who joins Roy Scheider’s Sheriff Brody and Robert Shaw’s grizzled fisherman Quint in hunting down a vicious and elusive great white shark.
Dreyfuss’s character, Hooper, has a distinct and iconic style, with his watchman’s beanie, denim jacket, and Converse-style sneakers. However, the element of his look that has most often been the topic of discussion for style connoisseurs is his watch.
For decades after the film’s release, fans of the film were left scratching their heads, trying to determine what watch Dreyfuss’s character wore. Eventually, over 30 years after the film released in 1975, the watch was determined to be made by the Swiss company Alsta.
Like the “Arnie,” Alsta’s Nautoscaph is a dive watch. Sported by many instantly recognizable characters that have graced the silver screen (including the next entry on our list), dive watches were initially designed for, as their name suggests, scuba diving. However, characters like Hooper, Predator’s Dutch, and others played a major role in popularizing dive watches for everyday wear.
3. Rolex Submariner: Sean Connery In Goldfinger
007 has always been a style role model for aspiring dapper gentlemen everywhere, and it all started with the first suave fellow to play the role: Sean Connery. The Scottish actor set the standard for all Bonds who followed with his signature style, the centerpiece of which was his luxurious Rolex watch.
The Submariner, another dive watch, was also worn by Connery as 007 in From Russia With Love. It’s an iconic timepiece that has continued to be sought after for decades since the first Bond films were released. The iconic British spy’s choice of a dive watch also contributed to the popularization of dive watches that continues to this day.
4. Casio CA53W: Michael J. Fox In Back to The Future
A well-loved classic from 1985, Robert Zemeckis’s Back to The Future highlights some of the most memorable aspects of the 80s, and style is no exception. The lovable Marty McFly, portrayed by Michael J. Fox, with his puffy red vest and retro Nike sneakers, has a look that wouldn’t be complete without his quirky watch. The Casio CA53W is a digital timepiece with a built-in calculator, making it an instantly recognizable product of its time.
5. IWC Pilot Watch: Tom Cruise In Top Gun
In one of the most iconic roles of his career, Tom Cruise sported a truly iconic watch. The pilot watch design is tailor-made for aviators, and the IWC’s multiple chronographs and sleek black build make it stand out in a crowd.
Unfortunately, the watch worn by Cruise on screen has a nearly unattainable price tag, but if you are in the market for a pilot watch, you’re not out of luck. The Avigator by Jack Mason is a great alternative to the IWC pilot watch’s nearly $8000 price. Although the pilot watch was originally intended for use by aviators, the design is now a staple as a component in many outfits.
6. Heuer Monaco: Steve McQueen In Le Mans
Long hailed as a 20th-century style icon and often nicknamed “The King of Cool,” Steve McQueen wore a Heuer Monaco for his turn as Michael Delaney in the classic racing film Le Mans. The Heuer Monaco has a unique style and shape, with its multiple displays and overall build looking much boxier than the typical rounded watch.
To this day, Heuer’s Monaco watch is associated with McQueen and his role in Le Mans. The watch worn by McQueen in the film continues to be sought after by collectors and enthusiasts around the world and, as of late 2020, is set to be auctioned.
7. Hamilton Ventura: Elvis Presley In Blue Hawaii (And Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones In Men in Black)
When the Hamilton Ventura hit shelves in 1957, it made waves for being the first battery-powered watch in history. A few years later, in 1961, legendary singer and occasional actor Elvis Presley wore the Ventura in the film Blue Hawaii.
Cinema legend has it that the watch worn by Presley on screen was his own personal timepiece, not a watch given him by the costume department. The Ventura has a distinct look and design. Like the Heuer Monaco, it is a departure from the classic rounded watch design, instead looking more like a futuristic spacecraft.
Speaking of spacecraft, the Ventura was also worn by the iconic agents in the Men in Black film series, played by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The watch’s futuristic design fits perfectly in the context of the films in the Men in Black Series and adds to the agents’ cool factor.
8. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Taille: Christian Bale In Batman Begins
Paying homage to Val Kilmer’s earlier performance as the caped crusader Christian Bale wore a slim and stylish Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece when he played the role of Bruce Wayne in 2005’s Batman Begins. Kilmer also wore a Reverso as Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever, the last live-action Batman film released before Batman Begins in 2005.
The Reverso Grande Taille worn by Bale in Batman Begins is distinctly slim and stylish, a perfect fit for the billionaire playboy persona of Bruce Wayne. When The Dark Knight Rises was released in 2012, Jaeger-LeCoultre released a limited edition Reverso watch engraved with Batman’s iconic insignia. The watch is now a widely sought-after collector’s item.
9. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch: Robert Downey Jr. In Captain America: Civil War
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch has major historical significance as the first watch worn on the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore the watch when he took his first steps on the lunar surface, forever cementing it in history. Since then, numerous films about space travel have honored the watch’s place in NASA history by featuring it, including The Right Stuff and Apollo 13.
However, the watch can also be found on the wrist of Tony Stark, the alter ego of Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Captain America: Civil War, Robert Downey Jr.’s Stark can be seen wearing the Moonwatch, a style choice that reflects his eccentric personality and scientific ingenuity.
The Speedmaster sits in a price range similar to a Rolex or other luxury watch, making it unattainable for most watch enthusiasts. However, if you are looking for an ideal alternative, look no further than Jack Mason’s Halyard Sport Chronograph.