When it comes to recognizing our favorite movie wristwatches, we tend to focus on the good guy. James Bond and the Omega Seamaster 300M, or Ellen Ripley with her Seiko Giugiaro, for example. Yet, in interviews, actors and actresses often proclaim they cannot wait to chew the scenery and portray the antagonist. Therefore, I am selecting wristwatches worn by the bad guys.

Playing the part of the bad guy can often turn a performer into a household name overnight. Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman kickstarted their Hollywood careers with Die Hard and Léon respectively. Unnerving yet captivating performances surely leave an impression when exiting the theater. With my keen eye, their wristwatch choice also lingers long after the credits roll. Like with my previous watch spotting articles, I put aside any prop watches or brand tie-ins. This is all about the character, what they choose to wear, and why.

IWC Ingenieur Ref. IW3233 bad guys watches

IWC Ingenieur Ref. IW3233 — Collateral (2004)

First up is quite a left-field choice. Tom Cruise is endemically linked to the hero, not the heretic. In Collateral, Tom Cruise portrays hired killer, Vincent. On a one-night LA hit list, Vincent commandeers a yellow taxi driven by an unwilling driver, Max. Noticeably, Vincent is sharply-dressed and laser-focused throughout his villainous killing spree.

Collateral is a tense thriller with an unrelenting performance by Cruise. His — almost superhuman — proficiency with firearms and reflexes provides him with the upper-hand in combat situations. On his wrist is the IWC Ingenieur. The Ingenieur by IWC has gone through a wide variety of case shapes and styles, partly the reason why it is often ignored by its competitors. In Collateral, the particular reference is the round IW3233 with black dial.

IWC Ingenieur Ref. IW3233 — Collateral Tom Cruise

Vincent’s overall look is very uncharacteristic of his locale. You get the sense that Vincent is a jet-setting assassin and likely obtained his IWC after a successful hit in Budapest, Milan, or St. Petersburg. Possibly using unmarked cash and a phoney name.

Timex Camper Watch T41711 bad guys watches

Timex Camper Watch T41711 — No Country for Old Men (2007)

“Call it” — those familiar with the chilling phrase by Javier Bardem’s character in No Country for Old Men will have a shiver by now. No Country for Old Men is the tense western set in modern-day Texas. The primary story is of a lone hunter played by Josh Brolin stumbling on a drug trade gone south and pocketing the cash. Bardem plays Anton Chigurh — an intriguing nomad who wanders the waste in search of his missing millions.

bad guys watches

The film plays out as a cat-and-mouse thriller. Above the level of the main plot is the allegory of the changing ways and the aging police department’s inability to deal with crime of an unthinkable nature. Early in the film, Josh Brolin’s character, Llewellyn Moss, reaches for his Timex to check the time. The Timex is the field watch style Camper Watch T41711.

Not only is No Country for Old Men, devoid of senior citizens, it is also lacking any kind of good guy. In comparison to Bardem’s menacing Chigurh, Brolin’s character is a saint. But he is still a baddy by any other metric. That’s why he’s wound up on this list. But better here than falling to the mercy of…Oh…Wait…

Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 — Apocalypse Now bad guys watches

Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 — Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now is one of my favorite movies of all time. I remember the first time I caught it on TV. I sat bolt upright and wide-eyed while the closing credits played out in silence. Even to this day, the long take of the napalm strike with The Doors song “This is the End” acting as the only audio is still one of the most exceptional openings of all time. It is by no means easy viewing, but it is worthwhile. I strongly suggest to ignore the extended “Redux” version that spoils the flow.

The final third concludes the journey to the mouth of the river in Cambodia, from where the chaos stems. One of the highlights of the movie is a surprising turn by a bald Marlon Brando who plays the rogue Colonel Kurtz. Experiencing extreme PTSD and a God-complex, Kurtz defects from his platoon and recruits indigenous assailants to worship him and his views. On his wrist is the Rolex GMT-Master sans bezel.

Marlon Brando. Image Courtesy: Mary Ellen Mark

According to lore, the director, Francis Ford Coppola, felt the 1675 GMT Master with blue and red bezel was too fancy. Without hesitation, Brando popped off the bezel, and his GMT Master became a legend. So much so, that last December, the very same watch sold at auction for $1,952,000. From Kurtz’ perspective, this GMT would not be service-issued. Most likely, something Kurtz obtained as he ascended the ranks just before he descended into madness.

bad guy watches

Breitling Chronomat Ref. A13356 — Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler is a hard-hitting look at what sensational news has become — capturing victims at their most vulnerable via hidden cameras instead of calling for emergency support. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, an amateur paparazzi who stumbles upon his calling in life. Without shame or remorse, Bloom stops at no length to get the scoop he needs to sell the footage to the network channels. Vicariously, the TV audiences tune in with shock at the real-life crimes. Yet rarely pause to question how the footage was caught.

Noticing the Breitling Chronomat A13356 on a security guard, Bloom wastes no time in obtaining the watch he desires.

Before long, the titular Nightcrawler begins orchestrating the tragedies to be first on the scene and ahead of the game. His determination to succeed is commendable, but his practice is deplorable. Even at the outset, Bloom displays his aspirations. Noticing the Breitling Chronomat A13356 on a security guard, Bloom wastes no time in obtaining the watch he desires. For the remainder of the film, Bloom is sporting the steel Chronomat very loosely on his slender frame.

Tell us your favorite watches worn by big-screen bad guys?