How Hamilton Curated a Collection of Period Accurate Vintage Watches for Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer'

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Hamilton Watches offers an inside look at the process of curating period accurate watches for key 'Oppenheimer' characters.

In Christopher Nolan's upcoming film Oppenheimer, every second counts. It only makes sense, then, that the Oppenheimer filmmakers would rely on heritage watch brand Hamilton to source its timepieces. 

The highly anticipated thriller tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist who created the atomic bomb that unleashed mass hysteria around the time of World War II. While we count down the days until Oppenheimer's July 21 premiere, Hamilton is offering an exclusive look into the process of sourcing period-accurate timepieces for the film.

Since its 1892 inception, Hamilton has served as America's timekeeper. The brand is deeply entwined with America's history: U.S. soldiers and aviation pioneers put their trust in Hamilton's watches to keep time, and Hamilton watches were used to synchronize the first railroads.

Over the years, Hamilton has developed a stellar reputation among filmmakers, with its watches appearing in over 500 movies and TV shows since 1932. The brand's custom timepieces continue to play pivotal roles in Hollywood, lending a keen eye for detail and air of authenticity to beloved blockbusters.

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Hamilton's team collaborated closely with Oppenheimer's filmmakers to curate a selection of vintage watches for the film that feel true to the time period and characters themselves. 

Throughout the film, Cillian Murphy's titular Oppenheimer wears three vintage art deco-style watches from the 1930s and '40s: the Cushion B, Endicott and Lexington models. For Oppenheimer's wife Kitty, played by Emily Blunt, Hamilton selected an ornate bracelet-style timepiece — the Lady Hamilton A-2. The brand's military heritage is on full display for Matt Damon's Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, who sports the rugged Piping Rock and Military ordinance watches.

"[Hamilton's team] were incredibly helpful in securing appropriate watches for these characters," said Christopher Nolan. "It's that kind of detail, working in combination with all of the costume work and the prop work in the film, that becomes so important to involving the audience in the story, in a world that they can recognize and has a nice tactile, relatable sense to it — but that is historically accurate."


While the vintage watches worn in the film are not available for purchase, you can see the Hamilton quality for yourself by shopping the brand's extensive collection of movie watches seen in films such as InterstellarTenetThe AvengersMen in Black and more.

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