Above is the actual Hamilton watch prop used in Interstellar by the character Murph (Murphy) Cooper. Like many people around the world, I was highly entertained by Christopher Nolan’s newest (at the time of writing) movie Interstellar, starring the talented Matthew McConaughey, among other A-list actors. The science fiction epic is very much inline with Nolan’s style, which marries complex science-based plot devices with a little bit of reality suspension, so that at the end of the movie, the viewer is forced to contemplate what they just saw and perhaps watch the movie again. Nolan is also skilled at creating powerfully moving scenes that marry emotions with character development in a way few other blockbuster directors are able to achieve. One of the most important characters in the movie was not a person but a watch.
The actual prop watch and system for the @hamiltonwatch “Murph” watch from Interstellar, complete with the electronics to manipulate the seconds hand with morse code from beyond time and space – more about Hamilton Interstellar watches: http://ablogtowatch.com/hamilton-watches-movie-interstellar/ #baselworldABTW #watches #interstellar #watchporn #watchmaking #moviemagic #hamilton #murph
People who see Interstellar might not believe that Hamilton had no hand in crafting the incredible screen time that the watches enjoyed in the movie. In addition to a Hamilton watch worn by McConaughey’s character “Cooper,” another Hamilton watch was used as a key plot device by his daughter in the movie Murph Cooper played mostly by young Mackenzie Foy and later by Jessica Chastain. This latter watch is very much the more important piece when it comes to the movie’s story, and takes on the incredible role of being used to communicate Morse code through time and space. It really shows the symbolic power of a watch, and its placement in the story is very interesting (and very Nolan-esque). It is also a wet dream for watch companies given how it is able to make traditional timepieces very relevant for modern viewers.
What people interested in the Hamilton Khaki Interstellar watches need to know is that the producers of Interstellar specifically asked Hamilton to work with them on the project and to supply two watches. First was a pilot-style watch from their standard collection to be worn on the wrist of Cooper, and another watch that was to be custom-made based on very specific requirements. This latter timepiece has been nicknamed the “Murph Watch” by Hamilton, and sort of mixes and matches some Khaki model elements in a new way that is particularly attractive.
Hamilton produced about 10 pieces for the production, which actually were all returned to Hamilton after filming was over. Hamilton did a giveaway a few months ago for a lucky winner to actually receive one of those Hamilton Khaki Interstellar watches. Otherwise, the “Murph Watch” will not be available for any type of commercial purchase – even though I think it would do well.
Interstellar wanted to feature a very traditionally “tool style” timepieces with an American character. At 42mm wide, the steel case of the Murph watch has been totally brushed with a look that Hamilton refers to as “rough.” There is a simple stepped bezel and a large crown that is reminiscent of more classic timepieces. The Khaki-collection style dial is black with an aged type of lume and is beautifully symmetrical, as it does not have a date window. Currently, Hamilton does not offer any Khaki watches without a date window on the dial, and I have strongly advised them that producing one (even as a test) would more than likely result in very good sales, given how beautiful and legible the dials are. Inside the watches are Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movements.
Fans of the movie will be curious to know how Interstellar achieved the “Morse code” complication via the seconds hand. Hamilton informed me that the prop master was actually able to partially deconstruct the movement and insert a small servo motor to move the seconds hand as it did in the movie. There were no computer graphics involved in that. They were then able to put the movement back together again. The watch seen here is one of those watches, and it has some gel in the movement to block it from operating on purpose. You can also see the watch returned to Hamilton that was fitted with the servo motor – operated by hand to create the “Morse code” scene in the movie.
It is also interesting to note that Hamilton had just a few weeks to produce the Murph Watch from concept to production and approval by the Interstellar producers. Hamilton is no novice to the demanding schedules of movie production and is known in Hollywood as a go-to brand when it comes to offering both unique and standard timepiece models for characters to wear. According to Hamilton, as of 2014, they have over 400 movie placement credits. Hamilton CEO Mr. Sylvain Dolla is really proud of this fact, and we’ve enjoyed a lot conversations together talking about working with various production teams. He makes it clear just how impressed he is at how many knowledgeable watch lovers there are in Hollywood. According to him, many times when Hamilton is approached, the producers and prop masters know exactly what they are looking for – and he is honored that Hamilton is called upon time and time again to participate in a range of movies and television shows.
While the Hamilton Murph watch will never be produced commercially (though I would not rule out that a watch similar to it will be), the Hamilton watch worn by Murph’s father Cooper is a standard model which is available as part of Hamilton’s current collection. That watch is known as the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date. We actually did an aBlogtoWatch giveaway for that precise watch in September here. I am sure the winner was really pleased to see his watch model being worn on the wrist of Matthew McConaughey throughout the movie and in space.
The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date also has a 42mm wide steel case, and in this case, contains a Swiss ETA 2834-2 automatic movement that offers the time with a day and date complication. The watch retails for a reasonable $945 on the steel bracelet as it was worn in the movie. Keep an eye out for more Hamilton watches in movies, and if you haven’t yet seen Interstellar, I highly recommend it. Just don’t expect to understand everything that is going on in full, and if you are a physicist prepare to relax your logic and education just a bit. hamiltonwatch.com