Watching Movies: Jake Gyllenhaal Wears A Stolen Breitling In ‘Nightcrawler’
Loose morals and a loose fit in our watch-related movie of the week.
Sunny L.A. is a whole lot darker at night. Nightcrawler (2014) tells the story of a deeply troubled individual (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) who takes his job as a freelance videographer for local news stations to gruesome heights. Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, a wide-eyed, sociopathic entrepreneur lusting after the American dream in the worst way. Once he discovers there’s money to be made in grisly crime scenes and deadly car crash videos, his determination to be the best grows as his barometer for the humane evaporates. For his journey to the top, he made sure to secure a fine Swiss watch that’s never fully at-home on his wrist.
Why We’re Watching
The Belmont Stakes are this weekend, and what better way to prepare than by watching an unsettling, utterly dark, thriller? In this high-stakes film, Louis Bloom rides around Los Angeles in a red (with black racing stripes) Dodge Challenger SRT8 with 800 horsepower. High-stakes…Belmont Stakes…Horsepower…horse racing – okay it’s a stretch. But it’s a cool movie, with a cool watch.
This is a one-watch film, and the one on Bloom’s wrist is something we don’t often see on the silver screen: A Breitling Chronomat Evolution. This is an early- to mid-2000’s relic that is very much of its time. It has a large 44mm case, white dial, and wildly jarring bold numerals on the subdials. With the signature Chronomat bezel and crown, it represents the height of the big watch “moment.” Nothing about its design is clean or utilitarian. It’s meant to be large, loud, and luxurious – as accentuated by the non-tapered stainless steel bracelet.
What’s more interesting than the watch itself is how Gyllenhaal’s character manages to procure it. We’re first introduced to the watch in the opening scene, and more importantly, when we learn just how dark and disturbed Louis Bloom is. He steals the Breitling and proceeds to wear it throughout the film’s duration, but it never quite fits. Most of the time we see it, it’s dangling off of him (often upside down). Gyllenhaal famously lost an alarming amount of weight for the role – resulting in his character’s bony form – and so the 44mm size looks positively gargantuan on his malnourished wrist.
Side note: Gyllenhaal appears to be a bit of a watch guy in real life. During the promotional tour for the film, he wore a Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400GV – the black dial variant with its green crystal and orange lightning-bolt seconds hand – equally loose on wrist. But it’s important to remember that Gyllenhaal is not Bloom (thank goodness) and that’s not what he wore in Nightcrawler. Okay, back to the Breitling.
When We’re Watching
We first see Bloom holding a pair of wire cutters while trying to break through a fence to steal some copper wire. He’s quickly busted by a security guard. As he’s being questioned Bloom looks down at the guard’s wrist and spots his watch (must be a HODINKEE reader). We get a good closeup of the watch at this moment [00:03:20], but then things get ugly – quickly – as he beats the guard senseless. The film then cuts to him driving an old rusted Toyota hatchback. Under the witching hour lights of L.A., he holds the watch in his hand, analyzing his humongous acquisition.
Next, we hear the police radio reporting an automobile accident nearby. “Crash with injuries, good neighborhood,” Bloom says before flooring his Charger to the scene of a crime. He’s holding a new flashy camera, with its blinding hot-shoe video light, and interviewing witnesses [00:39:56]. As he’s doing so, his oversized Breitling dangles from his undersized wrists – an almost full inch separating the case of the watch from his body. He then proceeds to push the boundaries of ethical behavior, all in the name of evening news. This is one of the many frenetic scenes where the watch is in full view, an accessory in more ways than one.
Nightcrawler (starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Renee Russo, and Bill Paxton) is directed by Dan Gilroy, with cinematography by Robert Elswit, and props by King Orba. It is available to stream on Netflix and to rent on iTunes and Amazon. You can find a similar example of a Breitling Chronomat Evolution available here. For more on the modern version of the Breitling Chronomat visit Breitling.com.
Lead image courtesy: Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films