One of my latest passions has become collecting vintage watches. In particular Casio digital watches, but I also love Swatch watches and any other cool watch from the 70s-90s. I’ve never really been hugely into Rolex or Omega or brands like that. I do appreciate a good Tag Heuer though. But my heart lies with the trusty old digital watch.

Back in the 80s and 90s, digital watches were pretty cheap. So as my recent passion exploded I thought it might be relatively easy to expand my collection quite quickly. And certainly there are re-issues and retro inspired new releases that are fairly easy to pick up. One thing, however, is that I always love retro items that have appeared in movies and TV shows in the past. And unfortunately a lot of these models have become slightly expensive.

One conversation I find often comes up is what would you buy if you somehow came into money. For example it could be an inheritance windfall; it could be getting lucky on the National Lottery; you could try gambling online and hit a lucky streak; or perhaps you just get a heck of a good promotion at work. Some people would buy a new house, or a fast car, but you know what? Right now I would buy a few, often very pricey, retro vintage movie watches. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones, in my opinion.

Back to the Future – Casio CA53W Twincept Databank
When you mention ‘retro digital movie watch’ I immediately think of the Marty McFly watch. It’s basically directly referenced in the movie as being futuristic, as he holds it up near the camera when he’s ringing the numbers from the phone booth when Lou comes looking and he quickly takes his hand away. I personally preferred the later Casio Databanks, the early DBC range being my favourites, but this one being the Marty McFly watch is 100% on my want list. It is currently being reissued and you can get it fairly cheaply, but with my new money I would be looking to get a genuine 80s one, or who knows maybe even the actual one that Michael J. Fox wore in the movie!

Commando/Predator – Seiko H558
I love when movies have the character holding a watch up to the screen to check the time or start a stopwatch timer or something. The watch really becomes an integral prop in the movie. This definitely happens in the awesome Commando, where Arnie has discovered his daughter has been kidnapped. I’m pretty sure he is told he has 12 hours to save his daughter, he gets stuck on an aeroplane for a bit, escapes and then sets his watch to a countdown of precisely 11 hours and then uses this as an exact barometer of how much time he has left. Let’s hope he wasn’t already an hour and ten minutes into his 12 hours!

This watch has been nicknamed ‘The Arnie’ as he has worn it in several movies including Commando, Predator, The Running Man and more. It was built to be very tough and withstand extreme temperatures. It does look like a proper action watch. An original can set you back over £800 but there has been a reissue in the last couple of years which is more around £400.

Blue Thunder – Casio AA-85
Another watch that has a particular close-up in a film, with the character, played by Roy Scheider, using it as a timer, is this cool retro Casio in Blue Thunder. It often gets mixed up for other models, as Casios often do, but the model in question is the Casio AA-85. It’s a pretty cool looking watch I think. Possibly as cool as the sweet car that Roy is driving in the scene. This watch is hard to come by and can go for around £700.

Speed – Casio G-Shock DW-5600C-1V
I was watching Speed recently, showing it to my kids for the first time. I really do love Keanu in this film. He has a good look and great charisma. He also has a great watch! I had never noticed the watch before, but I did this time. I had to look it up afterwards as I hoped it would be a fairly common, standard G-Shock that I could add to my collection. Sadly it is known as being the ‘Speed watch’ and can go for anywhere between £250 and £500. I do really like it though so would love to add it to my collection. Again, this one gets a pretty sweet closeup on camera.

Ghostbusters – Seiko M516-4009 Voice Note
For my last entry I’m including one that I didn’t know about for years. I am a pretty big Ghostbusters fan but I had never noticed the watches they have. It’s only in recent years I’ve noticed the watches in photographs and also in other watch lists online. It’s a quirky one and after hearing about it I still wasn’t sure if it was a prop for the film or was an actual watch. I believe it was an actual watch but was only made in low numbers. I don’t even know if it’s possible to get one any more. But if I had the money I would find a way.

Mission Impossible – Casio G-Shock DW-290 IV
Moonraker – Seiko M354 Memory Bank Calendar
Alien – Casio F-100 (x2)