Famous Watches and Their Nicknames
Watch nicknames may have started as affectionate calling cards given by watch enthusiasts. However, over the years, these monikers have helped to solidify certain watches places in horological history. What started as a playful practice has become a tradition in the watch community. The practice has such an impact, that exhibitors have held events in honor of watches with nicknames. First, the Davidoff Brothers held a single-day event at the Kempinski hotel in Geneva, Switzerland in 2017. A year later, Vacheron Constantin hosted their own “Nicknames” exposition at their boutique in Paris. We recently shared a selection of models from Rolex and how they got their interesting epithets. Today, we’re showcasing six models who particular nicknames hail from famous people or characters.
Heuer’s Autavia arguably launched the brand’s longstanding history with the sport of racing. The design was the first stopwatch in a car dashboard in 1933. Then, three decades later, they relaunched the collection under the leadership of Jack Heuer. Soon after the reissue of the Autavia, Heuer appointed their first brand ambassador, renowned Formula 1 driver Joseph Siffert. His preferred model was the Reference 1163T, a variation with a unique white dial. It’s initial production was a limited edition run of 1000 pieces. In 2002, they revived the reference, and today, the model continues to carry the moniker “The Siffert,” in honor of the racing legend.
When you think of the nickname Batman, the first watch that comes to mind may be the Rolex GMT Master II with a two-tone blue and black bezel. However, there’s another model that’s also bears the iconic superhero’s name. Vacheron Constantin’s 1962 Royal Chronometer Reference 6694 features uniquely shaped, sharp lugs that mimic the distinctive curves of Batman’s ears and the legendary Batman logo.
The Mario Andretti
Mario Andretti has been a self-proclaimed watch guy for as long as he can remember. He got his first timepiece at age thirteen when his family was living in a refugee camp in Italy. Once he entered the racing circuit, he received numerous models as gifts. One of these was the Heuer Autavia Reference 3646 from Motor Age magazine, a sponsor for the qualifying round of both the 1966 and 1967 Indianapolis 500. Andretti received the model both years for posting the fastest qualifying lap time. Over the years, in photographs he was wearing it, and thus it has become known as the Mario Andretti.
The James Bond
Before Omega, Rolex was the official watch of the world’s favorite fictional secret agent, James Bond. One of his signature models was a 1959 Reference 6538 big crown Submariner with a MK1 bezel insert. Though it may seem like a stretch, the James Bond nickname has spanned beyond the original Rolex reference to the brand’s daughter company, Tudor. The Tudor Reference 7924 is widely considered the sister reference to the Rolex 6538. For years, it was dubbed the “Poor Man’s James Bond,” but with Tudor’s reputation changing, presence growing, and prices shifting, the model is now simply – the James Bond.
The Jochen Rindt
Jochen Rindt was a German Formula 1 racecar driver in the 1960’s. His life was cut short at the young age of 28 when he was killed during practice for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix. However, even in his brief time on earth, his name became synonymous with a particular watch. Throughout his short-lived career, Rindt wore a Heuer Autavia Reference 2446. Today, the model bears his name, the Jochen Rindt.
The Scott Carpenter
When you think of watches worn in space, you might instantly recall to mind famous OMEGA models. Wally Schirra wore an OMEGA aboard the Mercury Atlas 7 in October 1962. And, of course, the most iconic OMEGA of them all is the one Buzz Aldrin wore when he set foot on the moon in 1969. But before Omega, Breitling was actually the first Swiss brand to travel in space earlier in May 1962. Scott Carpenter, who traveled in the Mercury Atlas 7 rocket as well wore the Navitimer Reference 809 wide bezel. Since then, the model has been given the astronaut’s name as its nickname.