Batman’s Favorite Watches
With the new Batman movie hitting theaters this week, I thought it might be nice to look at some of what Batman – or perhaps more precisely, his alter ego Bruce Wayne – has worn (or might want to wear) on his wrist.
The Batman stars Robert Pattinson of Twilight and Harry Potter fame as the famed Dark Knight, a pairing that may take some getting used to. I’m certainly curious. So far, the critiques have been surprisingly good, though, so I’m optimistic.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Date 8 Days and Christian Bale’s Dark Knight
For many fans of Batman movies, the Christian Bale “Dark Knight” trilogy constitutes the ultimate depiction of this all-too-human DC Comics hero.
But what makes it perhaps even more compelling (at least to watch geeks) is that Jaeger-LeCoultre delivered the watches for Bale’s Bruce Wayne. Bale wore both the Reverso Grande Taille and the Reverso Grande Date 8 Days in the role.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Grand Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 Batman
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso line has quite a history with the Batman movies. Here I’d like to highlight a very rare Grand Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 model in stainless steel from 2012, which was created in time for the release of The Dark Knight Rises. This was the concluding film in the trilogy of the Dark Knight series of Batman movies starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader and directed by Christopher Nolan.
This ten-piece limited edition was presented to Warner Bros. executives involved in the production of the film and was never offered to the general public. The reversible flip side of the case was engraved and enameled with the famous Batman logo.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and Val Kilmer as Batman
The first Jaeger-LeCoultre Batman Reverso came out in 1995 in the form of a 100-piece Grande Taille series with the Batman logo engraved and lacquered upon its solid case back. That was the year that Batman Forever came out, the third modern Batman movie after 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns (both with Michael Keaton in the starring role).
While I’m not sure Keaton, known to that point best for his comedic roles, wore a watch in that role – or that anyone would have been able to identify it if he did – like Bale after him, Batman Forever’s Val Kilmer also wore a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Taille as Bruce Wayne.
In fact – as I still recall all too well – I audibly gasped in the movie theater when Kilmer flipped his wrist up to communicate with his trusty butler Alfred and Alfred’s face appeared in the watch! The moviemakers had surprisingly imbued the Reverso with the ability to become an “instrument” à la James Bond.
Without delving too far into the personality of a fictitious character, it is probably fair to say that the various filmmakers may have been attracted by the symbolism of the dual personality that the Reverso provides. Like Bruce Wayne, a Jekyll-and-Hyde-style heroic character, the Reverso is famous for its ability to swivel in its case to reveal a second side. Even though this is a small detail, it is one that would certainly be appreciated by fans of the classic detective comics as well as cineastes interested in the ticking treasures that populate the world of the watch enthusiast.
Ben Affleck as Batman and the Breguet Fusée Tourbillon Tradition 7047
Most recently before Pattinson, Batman/Bruce Wayne was played by Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Suicide Squad, and the upcoming The Flash.
Though Affleck is probably no one’s favorite selection to play the caped crusader, it was his watch choice that surprised me more than anything else: veering from what had been tradition with Jaeger-LeCoultre to that point, Affleck wore Breguet’s Fusée Tourbillon Tradition 7047 at least in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. A heavy and large platinum watch, it was rather obvious on his wrist in the movies.
Perhaps because Affleck’s Batman was quite ensconced in the modernity of life with a distinct emphasis on technology, alter ego Bruce Wayne took a step further back in time with the concept of his wristwear: the Tradition line was inspired by an Abraham-Louis Breguet subscription watch from 1796, while the Reverso was “only” invented in 1931. Who knows if that was the thought process or whether Affleck just liked the watch. We do know he is something of a watch fan, so it could really have gone either way.
Kross Studio Batman Collector Set
Young independent manufacture Kross Studio – known for 2021’s outstanding Star Wars-themed Death Star Tourbillon – has now brought out a ten-piece Batman Collector Set, whose main component is The Batman Tourbillon, which is based on the same structure as the Death Star Tourbillon and features Batman’s emblem covering the central tourbillon instead of the Empire’s Death Star.
The bat logo covering the one-minute tourbillon immediately attracts the eye, while the time is displayed in an interesting peripheral format thanks to a planetary gear orbiting the central tourbillon.
There is no crown on the black DLC-coated titanium case; instead, a flush “time set” button is used to both set the time and wind the watch. The winding and setting are accomplished in conjunction with Kross’ so-called D-Ring Crown on the back of the watch, named for its D shape, which allows it to be lifted up and then turned like a key. Not only is it more comfortable to use than a conventional crown, but it also enables faster winding. The movement boasts five days’ worth of power reserve. By pressing the time set button, the D-Ring Crown sets the time instead of winding the movement (which it does in both directions).
Also cool are two pushers on the back of the watch that release the strap, allowing for fast and easy strap changeability. And this watch comes with three straps: a black rubber strap with black stitching, a black calfskin strap, and a red rubber strap with red stitching. All three have black rubber inlay on the inside and come with a DLC-coated titanium clasp.
This set, which contains the darkly styled tourbillon watch and an illuminated Bat Signal functional art piece that doubles as storage for the watch, have been released specifically in celebration of The Batman. Aside from the Collector Set, Kross also announced four new watch rolls featuring DC characters from The Batman: Batman in two variations, Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and The Riddler.
This is not the first time that Kross Studio has built a custom movement or used Batman as a topic: the first for both was the 1989 Batmobile Desk Clock, which launched in late 2020.
The Batman Collector Set and new watch rolls are official DC licensed products, but I do wonder whether Pattinson’s Batman would wear a watch bearing his own comic logo. I guess I’ll have to see the movie to find out what this new version of Bruce Wayne thinks is cool.
Quick Facts Breguet Tradition Fusée Tourbillon Reference 7047
Case: 41 x 15.95 mm, platinum and red gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber 569 with one-minute tourbillon and chain and fusée, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency, silicon balance spring
Functions: hours, minutes; power reserve
Price in 2014: $175,600
Quick Facts The Batman Tourbillon
Case: 45 x 20 mm, black DLC-coated titanium
Movement: manual winding Caliber KS 7001 with one-minute central tourbillon, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, five-day power reserve
Functions: hour, minutes
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: $100,000 (set)
Remark: 5-year warranty after registration, comes with three interchangeable straps; comes with illuminated Bat Signal functional art piece