6 Rare Sightings: Independents On The Silver Screen
Google ‘watches in movies’ and your search engine will flood with articles on timepieces hot off the silver screen; Jaeger LeCoultre in Batman, Omega in James Bond, Breitling in Blood Diamond. But finding blockbusters that have featured the pieces made by the independent watchmakers are much trickier to come by, mostly due to the lack of knowledge of the independents within the mainstream but also because the indies simply don’t have the stock to play with.
Quick Change, 1990 – Audemars Piguet
In advance of the 1990 comedy, Quick Change, Bill Murray shared his frustrations with screenwriter and co-director, Howard Franklin, about how every time he did a movie he would have to take off his Audemars Piguet, for a few months at a time. After not wearing the piece he would have to take it to be re-wound. He asked Franklin to write his watch into the movie to avoid getting it serviced, and he did. In the scene, in which Murray is a bank robber decked in a clown costume, sees a Wall Street broker telling Murray it’s an Audemars Piguet with the day, date, month and moon on it, that it’s worth $12,000 and how he appreciates its value every day. In a comic twist, Murray’s character takes pity on his victim and offers him his own Timex and $300 in return for the piece he’s stealing from him.
Drive, 2011 – Patek Phillipe
Next up is 2011’s incredibly cinematic Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as a getaway driver. The film-makers took their time in finding the perfect timepiece for Gosling to measure that all-important five-minute window. In the end, they opted for an understated, classic Patek Phillipe wristwatch with a brown leather strap. However, due to the, ahem, “boisterous” nature of his scenes, Gosling actually wore a replica (of which he went through 5 or 6) to avoid damaging the real thing.
F.P. Journe – Mobius, 2013
2013 marked the first ever time for an F.P. Journe timepiece to be worn onscreen when the Octa Calendrier graced the wrist of Jean Dujardin in Russian-French thriller drama, Möbius. Dujardin plays a Russian Secret Service agent in the movie, directed by Éric Rochant, who is sent to Monaco to investigate a shady business man, played by Tim Roth. Later that year the piece stopped production, as is the custom for F.P. Journe to discontinue an existing calibre when releasing a new model. Octa Calendrier was replaced the Quantième Perpétuel, making it a collectors’ piece.
Survivor, 2015 – Speake-Marin
In 2015, Peter Speake-Marin acted as a consultant on the set of Survivor, a British-American crime thriller in which Hollywood legend, Pierce Brosnan, plays a watchmaker slash criminal mastermind. Peter taught Pierce how to handle the watchmaking tools onscreen convincingly. Throughout the film Pierce wore the Speake-Marin Resilience timepiece, which he continues to wear today. On set, Pierce and Peter got on very well and stayed in contact prior, a year later Pierce became the face of the Speake-Marin brand.
Spiderman: Homecoming, 2017 – Urwerk
Like Audemars Piguet in Quick Change, Urwerk’s appearance on the big screen was completely down to the actor’s insistence. According to Forbes, Urwerk initially declined the call from the Marvel studio, requesting The Urwerk UR-110 for the newest Spiderman movie, presuming it was a paid spot. Later, when it was made known that the Urwerk timepiece was personally requested by Robert Downey Jr. for his character, Tony Stark, Urwerk were happy for the piece to be worn in the latest instalment of the Marvel Universe. Downey Jr. continued to sport the piece after filming wrapped, donning it at the film premiere where he posed alongside Tom Holland, the new Spiderman, in the red carpet.
Ghost In The Shell, 2017 – Artya
Most recently, a member of the SKOLORR family cropped up in the cinema, in Rupert Sander’s Ghost In The Shell. In the movie Scarlett Johansson plays a woman who, after a terrible accident, has been cyber enhanced into a “perfect soldier” who fights crime, based on the 1991 Japanese Manga film. Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano, who plays Johansson’s boss, wears the Artya Russian Roulette timepiece. A perfect pairing.