Watching Movies: Adam Driver Wears His Personal Rolex In ‘Marriage Story’

Watching Movies: Adam Driver Wears His Personal Rolex In ‘Marriage Story’

And Scarlett Johansson wears mystery gold in our watch-related movie of the week.

It’s weird to say, but 2019 was the last real movie year – the last time films had wide theatrical releases in earnest. Interestingly, Marriage Story was a Netflix property, so it would feel just as at home in today’s streaming/limited theater release structure as it did in when it came out in the “before times.” In the ramp-up to its release, this excellently weepy drama, directed by Noah Baumbach, had tremendous Oscar buzz – going up against movies like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and being compared to vintage Oscar darling Kramer vs. Kramer.

The film follows characters Charlie and Nicole Barber (played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) as they navigate an initially amicable divorce that quickly turns hostile. The film has a throwback feel, bolstered by a sweeping and beautiful score by Randy Newman. Just like the classic movies of the 1970s, Adam Driver wears his personal watch on-screen – and it’s hard to miss.

Charlie (Adam Driver) stands next to Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) after being served  divorce papers in Marriage Story. Screengrab courtesy Netflix

Why We’re Watching

From his humble beginnings on the HBO series Girls to playing the grandson of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren (or Ben Solo depending on whose side you’re on), Adam Driver has become an A-list actor. He’s now starring in a new movie called Annette, opposite Marion Cotillard, which released into theaters last week and will hit streaming platforms next week. It’s the perfect time to look back at Driver’s role as Charlie – the Brooklyn-based playwright trying to balance his work and his life on two coasts in the face of a custody battle. All the while he wears a humble, but forever cool Rolex.

Charlie (Adam Driver) and his Rolex OP39 in blue in Marriage Story. Screengrab courtesy Netflix

His is the Oyster Perpetual 39mm ref. 114300 with a sunray blue dial and lime green accents. This watch was released in 2015 and effectively reintroduced and upgraded the OP line – Rolex’s most stripped-down steel model – bringing color to the forefront in all manner of sizes. There was a “Red Grape” dial variant with striking red accents, and a rhodium dial with blue accents. Then there was this watch, with its striking blue-green-effect dial.

Key features are the partially lumed dial markers at three, six, and nine, as well as the lacquer-like finish to the painted numerals in green. Like the current generation Oyster Perpetual line, the watch features a domed, polished bezel and a fully brushed oyster bracelet. This watch has since been discontinued, and replaced by the crazily popular OP 41 line – famous for taking the idea of colorful dials to new heights.

Similar Rolex OP39 ref. 114300 to the watch worn by Adam Driver in Marriage Story.

Driver is now known for being one of the faces of Breitling’s “Cinema Squad,” alongside Charlize Theron and Brad Pitt. A Breitling watch would have been an obvious choice here, which is what made this all the more surprising. The film makes no direct reference to the Rolex, but it’s worn prominently throughout the movie, visible in almost every Driver scene (although it took some work to spot exactly which model and color it was).

This appears to be Driver’s very own personal watch, as he’s been spotted wearing it in interviews in the past promoting other films. Could this be the first big watch purchase he ever made? A gift from JJ Abrams for his valiant Darth Vader impression?  Who’s to say (not me), but I imagine that this was a serious purchase for his character Charlie in the film – maybe after a successful run of one of his stage plays. Even more, I envision it as an heirloom that he might someday pass on to his son.

Charlie (Adam Driver) stands in the doorway of Nicole’s mother’s house wearing his Rolex OP39 in Marriage Story. Screengrab courtesy Netflix

As is quickly becoming tradition with Watching Movies, there’s also a mystery watch. Johansson’s character, Nicole, wears what looks to be a solid gold watch throughout the film. If you’re able to spot it – you know what to do – let us know in the comments.

When We’re Watching

There’s an almost Rashomon-esque opening sequence to the film, wherein Charlie and Nicole tell the story of their relationship in voiceover set to Newman’s score (a plot device that pays off emotionally in the final act). Charlie gives the audience the story of Nicole through his eyes – her personality, idiosyncrasies, and what a good mother she is. It’s a really touching and effective way to start the film. During one of the moments in this montage, the family is playing a board game [00:02:36] and Charlie takes his hand, and places it against his face. As he does so, we get a nearly full-frame glimpse of Rolex stainless steel. We don’t get a full view of the dial, but we get everything else.

Screengrab courtesy Netflix

As the divorce grows more acrimonious, Charlie finds himself on the phone with Nicole’s lawyer (played by Laura Dern, who took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). This is noteworthy because it was his expectation that the two would be settling things without the need for counsel. Her lawyer is tough and begins negotiations with him over the phone from L.A. as he stands in the stairwell of a New York theater amid rehearsals for his upcoming play. As the conversation gets more intense, he begins fidgeting with a box cutter (don’t worry, this does not foreshadow any acts of box-cutter violence) from his pocket. As he does so, the camera focuses tight on his hands and wrist [00:51:40] and we get a nice glimpse of the OP 39 with its blue dial.

Screengrab courtesy Netflix

Marriage Story (starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson) is directed by Noah Baumbach, with props by Rose Leiker and score by Randy Newman. It’s available to stream on Netflix and is available to rent on iTunes or Amazon.

Lead image courtesy of Netflix.

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