Tick-Talk: Seiko Watches in Movies

Introduction: The watch/movie connection

Not many objects can eclipse us flesh-and-bone humans and attain stardom in public memory; much less secure a place in history. Those that did became famous; sometimes even overshadowing the human/non-human character they associated with. We gather around here to speak about a few such iconic movie gears. We gather around here to speak about watches that made it big on the silver screen.

Movies and watches are different forms of art, but ART nevertheless. Both have their own ways of creating lasting impressions; both in individuals and society, influencing the developments of both cults and cultures. Both create themes and imageries aplenty with their respective styles and some become legendary.

Legends never die!

From James Bond to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Capt. Willard to Marty McFly – they keep influencing generations. So do their watches they wore in some of their best movies; they ingrained into our collective consciousness. They became the stuff of dreams for every man wild at heart!

A brief look at the watch models in the movies

Iconic movie gears are either subtle and sleek or bombastic and on-your-face; there’s almost nothing in between. So, for this reason, the following pieces are regarded as the most iconic of all movie watches of all time. These are the opulent, the retro, the futuristic sci-fi tech tools and the straight-up military-style throwbacks.

S. No.MovieModelYearWorn by CharacterMonickerType
1.AliensSeiko Giugiaro 7A28-70001986Ellen Louise Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)Ripley/SpiritQuartz analog chronographs
Seiko Giugiaro ‘Bishop’ 7A28-6000Bishop (Lance Henriksen)Bishop
2.Apocalypse NowSeiko M5161984Peter Venkman ( Bill Murray), Ray Stantz ( Dan Aykroyd) & Egon Spengler ( Harold Ramis)Capt. WillardMechanical 3-Hander divers’.
3.GhostbustersSeiko M5161984Peter Venkman ( Bill Murray), Ray Stantz ( Dan Aykroyd) & Egon Spengler ( Harold Ramis)Voice NoteDigital
4.Predator & CommandoSeiko Prospex H5581987Major Alan “Dutch”
Schaefer
(Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Seiko ArnieAna/Digi
5.All Is LostSeiko SKX1752013Our Man
(Robert Redford)
PepsiMechanical automatic
6.The Spy Who Loved MeSeiko 0674-50091977James Bond
(Sir Roger Moore)
Lemon faceDigital
7.Back To The FutureSeiko A8261985Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd)Training TimerDigital

Watches in movies: Getting into the details

7A28-7000/Spirit

  1. Seiko Giugiaro designs from Aliens
    1. 7A28-7000/Spirit: This watch was prominently featured in James Cameron’s Alien and is present in all parts of the movie. Apart from adding an additional nerd appeal, this is probably the only time in both the history of movies and watches that a woman made a typical men’s watch look bad-ass and turned it popular to the extent that Seiko had to reissue the model upon public demand.
      Arguably the most recognizable piece of gear from the ’80s sci-fi movies, Seiko built this watch in collaboration with Giorgetto Giugiaro; his strange and elusive automotive designs influenced the Ripley’/Spirit’s sci-fi look. Its functionality is simple and straightforward and is now pretty hard to find.
      The new Seiko X Giugiaro Spirit “Ripley Reissues” – in matte gray and matte black – lack the extra pusher and crown on the left of the case. The crown is also hidden under the lug structure. It definitely brings a cleaner look, but it doesn’t look exactly the same as the original 7A28-6000/ Bishop1983 model featured Aliens. The up and down chronograph pushers are its unique points. Standing at 10.8mm, its other uniqueness is its little laughing lips – the section of the dial into which the subsidiary dials are placed – and the orange hands with a black line running through the middle of each. These colours adorned the coolest of sports cars from the era. This is one of the things Giugiaro brought in from his car design concepts.
    2.  7A28-6000/ Bishop: It’s one of the very few examples of a low-grail, inexpensive watch turning into a legend. This Giorgetto Giugiaro-Seiko collaboration piece is oddly asymmetric but provides relief from the oddly jutted-out buttons on the Ripley models. The Bishop chronographs were well-loved for their distinctive styling; not quite so radical but with enough flair to draw attention.

The Seiko 6105 from Apocalypse Now

  1. The Seiko 6105 from Apocalypse Now!

The Seiko 6105 has widely been acclaimed as the most definitive dive watch from the brand simply due to the fact that it has proved its capabilities in the real world. It led Francis Ford Coppola to use this watch as the most appropriate timepiece for Capt. Willard in Apocalypse Now, since it grew to be extremely popular amongst U.S. servicemen   during the Vietnam War both for its style and durability. It’s now hard to find an original of this particular watch, but Seiko built a recreation version of it with a modern movement (calibre 6R35) and its aesthetics heavily resemble the Seiko Prospex Turtle International Edition and the Seiko Prospex Turtle Save The Ocean Automatic Diver’s.

3. The Seiko M516 Voice Note from Ghostbusters

  1. The Seiko M516 Voice Note from Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters the movie made it famous! The Voice Note is in the same league with the calculator watches and the rest of the wearable electronic marvels of the era; however, you can’t exactly consider it to be a horological work of art. But to the Ghostbusters fan, the Voice Note means a lot!

In the movie, the Seiko M516 has been shown as an audio recording gadget of carbon fibre, plastic and stainless steel for ghost-hunting, this model was released in 1983 and holds the record of being the first watch in the world with a built in voice recording function. It has the ability to record 2 messages (one 8 second and the other 4 second; in its built in 16K solid state memory) when you speak directly into the built in microphone. Other features include a stop-watch, an alarm, backlight, day/date display and hourly chimes. However, the sad part is – it’s near-impossible to find it new.

The Seiko Prospex Arnie Watch from Commando & Predator

  1. The Seiko Prospex Arnie Watch from Commando & Predator: The original Arnie showed in Predator/Commando ran on a calibre H558 while its modern interpretations (the Prospex PADI Solar Diver, the Seiko Prospex Solar Diver and the Seiko Prospex Street Series Diver’s Solar) or as Seiko nails it – Reissues – run on the Calibre H851.
    The Arnie rose to fame as a Seiko that was finely tuned to the specific vibe of that time period the movie was set to.  It became synonymous with the actor and two of his most famous roles. The Arnie reissues were introduced in 2019, with subtle updates that made its burly, T-addled appeal run higher.
    Being the first dive watch to feature a digital LCD screen in conjunction with an analog display, the original is still a highly sought-after item to collectors and Arnold Schwarzenegger fans. But then again, it didn’t have a six-month power reserve unlike the reissues.

The Seiko SKX175 5. The Seiko SKX175 from All Is Lost

A very modern age film and still it chose Seiko! The movie is a survival story set amidst the Indian Ocean; a water-based, action-adventure-drama. Redford is the central and only character in the movie we know as Our Man.

The Seiko had been a part of his solo voyage in the Indian Ocean when he’s thrown into the sea in an inflatable life raft, following a collision. He also sails directly into the path of a storm, his damaged navigational equipment being responsible.

A film no doubt but the Seiko SKX175 had to undergo all the pressure from the simulated storms and other vicious action-related elements and motions. Using the same 7S26 automatic movement as its 007 and 009 cousins, this one too qualifies among Seiko’s die hard, affordable divers that are good to wear even if you are nowhere near the seas.

Seiko 0674-5009

  1. Seiko 0674-5009 from The Spy Who Loved Me

Sir Roger Moore in his time with the Bond series have been spotted wearing a small number of different Seiko watches and this is one. The Seiko 0674-5009 was the second digital watch that Sir Roger Moore tried out as Bond; the first one was a Pulsar. Bond’s version came with a special ticker-tape function. It was meant for times when M and 007 had to communicate but with no usual communication facilities around. The real one in the consumer market didn’t have this feature. From a technical point of view, this is impossible due to a lack of internal space.

Seiko A826

  1. Seiko A826 Training Timer in Back to the Future

The thing that fetched this watch a place in the sci-fi movie is its unusual rotating bezel with which you choose different modes of functions. The detachable stopwatch trigger is another gimmickry though you may struggle to find the trigger and the watch in one single package. There are still a few that sometimes pop up from here and there, mostly used.

This is the watch worn by Doc in the movie, on his right wrist. In real life, trainers and coaches hugely benefitted from it. The modes it offers are multiple split-time measurements, countdown timers, preset target times and repeat. The detachable, remote trigger unit allows for the capture of split times, start/stop and reset with one hand, keeping the other free.

Conclusion

Seiko always knew what they were doing and that tradition still continues, making some of the wonders of yore come back to an exuberant mass comprising divers, sailors, military personnel and outdoorsmen in general. These were made famous by movies that portrayed some of the extreme uses of these watches that took aback watch-nerds globally. Partly for that and partly as memorabilia, they give you great bang for your buck.

The list above brings a few of the most famous of Seiko watches on the big screen and there are more. In our upcoming posts, we will bring them up, one by one and that will open possibilities even further for plenty of great conversations to be had.

F.A.Q – Seiko in Movies: To calm those few, pestering thoughts

1. Do old Seiko watches have any value?

The answer is both a “Yes” and a “No”. For you see, if it is the watch Herr Schwarzenegger actually wore during the filming of the movies, you might have to buy it from an auction for a few to several thousands of dollars. If you manage to get one brand new, unused piece from any old stock you might be paying double its actual price, at the most. On the other hand, used ones might cost half their actual price. DO the math from here.

2. Does anyone buy old Seiko watches?

Yes. Prices fluctuate depending upon their models, availability and technical points. The fluctuation, however; could be very sharp, on either side.

3. Are any Seiko watches collectible?

No. Only the Seiko that were and are associated with something big are valued as collectibles. Or, if your Seiko is truly a vintage. However, fact remains that for any Seiko watch, depreciation is lesser.

4. How can I tell if my Seiko watch is a ‘vintage’?

Your Seiko is a vintage if:

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  • It was built during the 1950s and 60s.
  • It is a veritable, successful model from that era.
  • It is a Seiko Marvel (1956)..
  • It is the original Grand Seiko (1960)
  • It is the 1969 Seiko Astron, the world’s first quartz watch.
  • It is the first digital wristwatch with a six-figure digital display from 1973.
  • It is the first multi-function digital watch with a chronograph, the 0634 from 1975.
  • It is the Twin Quartz watch from 1978.

Keep dropping in to leave your replies below. State which one of the above mentioned you’d like to go for the most and also, for what?

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