Watchmaker Hamilton has been teaming up with Hollywood for more than 80 years and continues to play a big part in the future of film.
A close-up view of the Ventura watch featured in 1997’s Men in Black
Watches have always landed pivotal roles in movies. From the Rolex Speedking Steve McQueen checked to mark the hours he spent in the cooler in The Great Escape to the futuristic Seiko Giugiaro sported by Sigourney Weaver in Alien, storytellers use timepieces to help pull the narrative together.
But no watch brand has had more of an impact on Hollywood than Hamilton. The company made its big-screen debut in 1932 in the movie Shanghai Express starring Marlene Dietrich and Clive Brook—and a Hamilton Flintridge and Hamilton Piping Rock watch. These timepieces were more than mere wardrobe accoutrements—they played an essential part in the resolution of the film.
This vintage Hamilton Flintridge timepiece played a critical role in the plot of 1932’s Shanghai Express.
Since then, Hamilton watches have appeared in more than 500 movies. Many directors, such as Michael Bay and Stanley Kubrick for their classic films Pearl Harbor and 2001: A Space Odyssey, respectively, have collaborated with the brand to provide special watches and clocks for characters and scenes. Hamilton continues to support the future of the cinematic community through its Behind the Camera Awards and with special editions such as the Jazzmaster Regulator Cinema—an automatic watch featuring a superb asymmetric design that captures the turning reels of vintage movie cameras. Here, a roundup of Hamilton’s most shining screen stars.
The version of Hamilton’s Khaki Field watch that appeared in 2001’s Pearl Harbor
One of Hamilton’s most iconic timepieces is the asymmetrical Ventura. When Elvis Presley appeared wearing this Space Age wristwatch in the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii, the Ventura became a mainstream sensation. In fact, the timepiece was known as “the Elvis watch” until 1997, when its futuristic form became part of Agent J’s superstylized uniform in the Men in Black franchise. Fast-forward 20 more years: A skeletonized version of the Ventura took on a new role as part of inventor Tony Stark’s watch wardrobe in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The modern-day Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical carries on the watch’s tradition of military-grade ruggedness.
Today, the unmistakable Hamilton Ventura Chrono Quartz is also available to real-life superstars. With its stylized 32 mm stainless steel case and panda dial, this watch truly deserves to be called legendary. Silver $995, gold $1,045, Macy’s, Lenox Square; @hamiltonwatch
Today’s Ventura Chrono Quartz is just as bold and visionary as the original midcentury Hamilton design.
Hamilton Khaki Field
Every movie in which a Hamilton watch has appeared has been part of a collaboration between those who create characters and develop stories. On- and off-screen, the Khaki Field is one of Hamilton’s signature timepieces. In 1941, U.S. servicemen were issued the 38 mm Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical for wartime duty. Rugged, robust and, like many a movie star, instantly recognizable, the Khaki Field appeared in the 2001 drama Pearl Harbor not only because of its historical authenticity, but also because its heritage provided emotional credibility to the film.
The appeal of this classic is so enduring that you can still purchase it today. Of course, it’s had a few upgrades: The 2019 version features an H-50 mechanical movement with an 80-hour power reserve and a slightly more modern green dial with a matching green textile and pin buckle strap. $495-$575, Macy’s, Lenox Square; @hamiltonwatch
Making “the Murph”
Director Christopher Nolan collaborated with Hamilton for his 2014 blockbuster Interstellar. The focus of this sci-fi flick was the time-traveling relationship between a father and his daughter, and a version of the Hamilton Khaki Field provided the main emotional link between these two characters. “The Murph” (after the daughter, Murphy) is the nickname given by Interstellar fans to this timepiece—to such a degree that the internet basically willed this edition into existence. Devotees of the movie wanted an opportunity to own a piece of their favorite film. And thus, five years later, the Khaki Field Murph was born.
With its 42 mm stainless steel case, black dial, beige Super-LumiNova inlaid hands, H-10 automatic movement with 80-hour power reserve and black leather strap, the Khaki Field Murph is an exact reproduction of the movie watch except for one teeny-tiny Easter egg for fans: The word “Eureka” is printed in lacquer in Morse code on the seconds hand. Hamilton also collaborated with the film’s award-winning production designer, Nathan Crowley, to create a special box inspired by the tesseract from the film. The colored stripes recall the inside of the fifth-dimension portal where Matthew McConaughey’s Joe Cooper discovers he can communicate with Murph. The Khaki Field Murph itself is not limited, but the special packaging is—only 2,555 are being produced. $995, Macy’s, Lenox Square; @hamiltonwatch
Fan favorite: the new Khaki Field Murph from Interstellar
Photography by: HAMILTON Watches