Top Five Movie Watches from Elvis to James Bond

Nothing says glamour quite like a fine timepiece. So it should be no surprise that the worlds of Hollywood film stars and exquisite watchmaking often become intertwined both on and off set.

Whether as status symbols, gadgets or simply product placement, many beautiful pieces have been gracing the wrists of actors for as long as there's been a silver screen. Here are five of our favourites.

John Travolta's Breitling

Star of Grease and Pulp Fiction, John Travolta is a huge fan of Breitling watches, which he wears in as many of his films as possible.

Our favourite is perhaps the Breitling automatic diver type chronometer watchhe wears in Pelham 123 - but keep your eyes on it, as in one classic movie mistake he mysteriously switches to a black dialed chronograph a couple of scenes later, despite there being little spare time in the action to spare for any swap.

Elvis's Ventura in Blue Hawaii

Elvis Presley has been so intimately linked to the Hamilton "Ventura" over the years that many people, collectors and non-collectors alike, still refer to it as "The Elvis Watch."

Elvis wore a yellow gold "Ventura" very prominently in the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii. In at least one scene it is shown right up close and must surely have impressed many movie fans at the time.

Elvis ventura watch
A Ventura watch belonging to Elvis

It is unknown whether the watch Elvis wore in that film was his personal 'Ventura' or supplied by the studio. There are at least two museums claiming to own the watch from Blue Hawaii.

James Dean's lucky watch.

When James Dean made his debut starring appearance on the movie screens of America in East of Eden he insisted on wearing his lucky pocket watch - a gold-filled pocket watch manufactured by Standard Watch Co.

Dean purchased the watch in late 1951, as a struggling young actor in New York. It was his first big purchase and he was proud of it - he had his initials engraved on the gold cover of the watch, and carried it in his pocket for luck while working in TV and plays.

He gifted the lucky watch to a woman named Tillie Starriet shortly before his death in a car crash in 1955.

The 'Paul Newman' Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is of course a famous classic for watch collectors, and examples from its original run in the sixties are rare and valuable. This is especially true from those with the so-called Paul Newman dial, nicknamed as a result of the star's great love for his original series watch.

A nice close-up view of a Paul Newman Daytona watch for watch fanatics to appreciate.

All of the original examples had acrylic domed crystals. More importantly, the sub-dials of a Paul Newman dial have block markers instead of lines, will have crosshairs across each sub-dial meeting at centre (unlike the normal Daytona), and the minutes sub-dial placed at 9 o'clock is marked at 15, 30, 45 and 60, whereas other Daytona dials are marked at 20, 40 and 60.

Newman wore his Daytona, given to him by his wife Joanne Woodward, from 1972 until his death in 2008.

James Bond's 'Q-branch' specials

The most famous watches associated with the movies must surely be James Bond's many watches. Q always had something up his sleeve to slip under 007's, and there are too many of the gadget-laden pieces to run through here.

However, Christie's has recently announced the sale of a particularly famous example from Live and Let Die - a Rolex 'magnetic' wristwatch.

James Bond magnetic Rolex watch Live and Let Die
James Bond's magnetic Rolex watch from Live and Let Die (with circular saw)

Especially designed for James Bond to be worn during 007's mission, it was created in 1972 by the world-famous film production designer Syd Cain.

Featuring not only a bezel spinning at high speed to cut ropes and chains, in the movie it also bore an ultra-strong magnet which was supposed to neutralise bullets but was first used by the agent to unzip Miss Caruso's dress.

Both were used in the final showdown with Kananga. It is expected to bring $228,735 - $457,470 in Christie's Important Watches auction in Geneva.

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