I still can’t work out what our fascination is with time or timekeeping... surely as mortals we would want to ignore the notion of our fleeting time on this planet. But then maybe it’s the beauty in which time passes and the devices we use to track it, that makes us the moth to the flame, it’s a peculiar obsession, being so focused on watching our time dwindle.
It’s still a force I can’t get my head around… I watched Interstellar again the other day and as per usual, I cried like a baby.
There is a lovely duality to the film, being set in the future, presumably some time after a natural disaster or crisis brought on by what is described by Coop’s (Mathew McConaughey) father in law (John Lithgow) as “six billion people trying to have it all”. In what would be considered a dark age of invention or exploration -although set many years from now; it all seems very familiar. Being littered with old pickups and Carhart shooting jackets it echoes of depression era America in the 1930’s.
The main disparity that strikes me is an enlightened return to a gritty, hands on approach to everyday life, where tech isn’t geeky or edgy and has become part of the toolbox in the same way mechanical engineering was in the 20th century for the farmhand or a typical dad fixing his lawnmower.
Of course, the big star of the film is the “Murph” watch given to Coop’s daughter Murphy named after Murphy’s law -the quantum theory, not the TV crime drama… Made by Hamilton who needless to say have carved their way into watch history from supplying Elvis to the Men In Black.
And they very kindly lent me the Murph to have a play around with.
It has the look of an old military watch, with a beautiful set of cathedral hands with a vibrant full lume. The movement is an ETA base, H-10 automatic with an option for manual wind. The case is in brushed steel, aside from the bezel which has a mirror polish and is 42mm in diameter yet wears strangely small on the wrist with a high level of legibility. Given that McConaughey’s character is an ex pilot for NASA you get the idea that it’s one of the watches given to him by the agency, which nods to a certain other brand owned by the same group as Hamilton… Aside from this Hamilton produced large numbers of watches for the US army during the second world war, the piece itself is not a million miles away from the Khaki, another heavy hitter from the brand.
So, when I watched Interstellar again, I had the watch sat right next to me. Yes it’s a bit nerdy, but what the piece does -aside form tell the time- is bridge the gap between cinema and reality, it’s an experience piece no question and belongs in any film buffs watch collection. Last but not least, the second hand carries a somewhat secret message in Morse code executed in a fine Superluminova, so only really visible in darkness.
Worth a look...
Images and words by Tom Heap