As Fifty Shades Darker prepares to hit theaters, we reflect back on Christian Grey’s Omega Watch

Fifty Shades Of Grey / 50 Shades Of Gray

Omega Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Chronograph

For some of us, it might be a guilty pleasure, for others it’s all about the stylistic vision of the costume designer, set designer and property master of the films. With the release of Fifty Shades Darker on Friday February 10, 2015, we reflect back on the film version of E.L. James’ first novel in her trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, which broke box office records in 2015. From Apple to Audi—luxury products were featured throughout the film. But the draw for timepiece aficionados was the watch that adorned Christian Grey’s (Jamie Dornan) wrist—an Omega Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Chronograph. A character depicting a billionaire might have worn a higher ticket brand, but the film stayed true to James’ description.

It is interesting to note that as Fifty Shades Darker is about to hit theaters- the watch was originally mentioned in a passage in that book, yet it was worn in the first movie. Similarly, wedding rings have been popping up in trailers and film stills on the couple, yet Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) don’t get married until Fifty Shades Freed. There is also the spoiler engagement scene in the trailer. And, we will reveal the info about the jewelry on in the upcoming days.

In the meantime, back to timepieces —just like jewelry helps to develop the characters of actresses in their film roles and create a desire for similar pieces off screen, watches do the same for the leading men in movies. In the early twentieth century, many actors wore their own watches in films, which gained recognition for the brands as well as the specific styles.

Valentino dazzled audiences by wearing the first wristwatch ever to be shown on celluloid—his own Cartier Tank in 1926’s silent film The Son of The Sheik—, which was one watch that had nothing to do with the character or the plot. Since then however, lovers, secret agents, thrill-seeking cops and dangerous hit men have all worn watches that are associated with their roles. From Steve McQueen, Robert Redford and Paul Newman to today’s actors Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Ben Affeck, these are just some of our favorite actors who have worn watches that have enhanced their roles in film (and also in real life). And then, of course, there are the Bond men.

Ian Fleming describes a Rolex in his 11th book in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1963. “James sees a ‘heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual’ on a metal watch bracelet as he awakes in the middle of the night.” In all future 007 adventures, Fleming remains true to Rolex. Sean Connery, the original Bond man, wore a Rolex Submariner in the first of the films in 1962’s Dr No and in the next seven films he appeared.

However, when Roger Moore became the new 007, he wore Seikos that helped him survive and performed fictionalized tasks. But then in 1995, Omega won the bid to become the official 007 watch. Pierce Brosnan was the first Bond guy to sport an Omega Seamaster Professional 300m in Golden Eye. In Casino Royale, Daniel Craig wears two Omega models: a blue Omega Seamaster300 chronometer and a Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial chronometer. I guess if moviegoers can believe that Connery and Craig are both the same MI6 agent as were all the Bond men in between, they can believe that a man, even one with such a clear identity, can change his watch brand. For Bond, product placement took over the skilled description of the watch from book to film.

As far as Christian Grey, the Omega was not paid for product placement, but the result of this line E.L. James wrote when the character of Anastasia notices… “His wristwatch- an Omega with three small dials”.

Will Jamie Dornan be wearing the same Omega in Fifty Shades Darker? Only time will tell or at least—the two days until the film’s release.

Parts of this article appeared in a chapter ‘TimeKeepers’ which offers an in depth look a  leading men and their watches in real life and film in my book “If These Jewels Could Talk” (ACC Artbooks 2015)