Collecting Trends: Watches Made Famous at the Movies

As a gemmologist appraiser, I have been in the unique position to examine and appraise various luxury brand watches for my clients. Watches have traditionally been classed within the category of gems and jewellery because brand new they are traditionally sold in the retail jewellery industry from authorized dealers. If the watches are important vintage or estate items, then they are either sold at auctions or through exclusive secondary market watch dealers.

I have always had a personal fascination for watches. The mystery of the miniature mechanical engineering combined with the art of design and gem setting techniques have always appealed to my own visual and creative sensibilities. I have been a cinephile since I was in my teens. One of the key elements that I have enjoyed during my movie going experiences was checking out whatever ingenious watch props, gadgets, gems, or jewellery items were used to advance the plots of these films. For the next couple of weeks, I am going to turn the 10x lens so to speak on the various watch brands that have been worn as props by the various actors in their films.

Movies and celebrities have a symbiotic relationship. Each is involved in an influential partnership with much to gain whether its money or fame or both. Broad marketing and promotion or a lack thereof can make or break a film for the studio. For actors, their stake is even higher than the studio’s to just make money— its about building their career longevity. Product placement is frequently part of the hype involved in the promotional exposure of any film. Sharp product promotion is done independently by the maker but usually in tandem with the film’s debut advertisements well in advance of opening day. Such exposure of luxury brand watches as gadgets and tech ware to covet plants the seeds of that brand’s cache and desirability in the minds of new and emerging collectors. The success or failure of these films is often irrelevant to the minds of movie goers. Movies often help create a fan base in the niche market of luxury watches.

My first example is Arnold Schwarzenegger and his long collaborative history with the Audemars Piguet brand. Not only has Schwarzenegger worn the different AP models in the following movies but has collaborated with AP into designing several other watches within their series. These joint collaborations were manufactured specifically to promote Schwarzenegger’s philanthropic causes such as the Royal Oak Offshore Arnold’s All Stars that benefits his non-profit organization After School All Stars, an organization dedicated to helping students find suitable careers after graduation. The All Stars watch was made in an extremely limited run of 350 watches. This is just one example of an AP model created to benefit Arnie’s charity.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore End of Days Watch in 1999 was produced after the success of the movie. The original watch that AP was asked to produce for the movie was a concept prop that did not actually work but was used as visuals only. Only a limited run of 500 watches were made.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore End of Days watch


Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Double Chronograph, featuring an automatic movement watch in titanium and platinum with a black dial was the result of the prop concept watch worn by Schwarzenegger in his movie the Sixth Day in 2001.

Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Double Chronograph in titanium and platinum, the Sixth Day watch


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore T3 “Terminator” Limited Edition Watch in titanium with a black dial in 2003 was created as a promotional offshoot for the third film in the Terminator movie series. This

Royal Oak Offshore T3 Terminator Limited Edition

particular model was produced in a limited edition of 1000 watches.

For Arnie fans or tech lovers the styling and features within these watches have something for everyone. For avid AP collectors, these watches are the must have models to have in their collection.

To read more about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s informal ambassador relationship with Audemars Piguet and his other AP watches promoting his films and charities can be found at the following links. These are only a few of the various articles written on Schwarzenegger and AP watches.:–imod2947.htm

For those with a limited budget but who still desire an AP watch such as one of the models worn by Arnie in his films there are tons of copies and counterfeits sold online as such.

Join me next week as I review the next watch under the lens.


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