A newly released trailer for Ford V Ferrari has the internet buzzing about stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Both actors over the course of their careers have stolen the show in indie film favorites and blockbusters alike. The latter of the two actors has played two particularly wealthy characters in his films. This has placed some pretty big names on Bale’s wrist. As a result of his profession, he’s also worn some other noteworthy watches while taking on other starring roles. With Ford V Ferrari releasing soon, we here at TimesTicking are looking forward to any retro racing timepieces Bale might be wearing in the film. Until then we join other horologically minded folks in admiring his other time-oriented costars in his films. Between his portrayals of Bruce Wayne and American Psycho’s Partick Bateman, Bale sports some standout pieces worth highlighting.
American Psycho’s Rolex Datejust
This particular wristwatch got the least amount of screen-time compared to any of Bale’s costars. In order for the watch to appear in the film, the film-makers had to agree to not let the watch be worn in any of the scenes where Patrick Bateman (Bale) committed explicit, heinous, or horrific acts. That narrowed down how often he could be seen wearing the Datejust, considering the graphic violence throughout the flick—but it was an appropriate piece for the character. Taking place in the high-society business life of New York in the 1980s American Psycho required its main character to portray affluence (to the max). Rolex’s classic auto-wind fit the bill quite nicely. During the day Bateman is successfully slaughtering his way up the corporate ladder. Every aspect of his appearance is meticulous, down to his expensive wristwatch. His depravity and narcissism are so over the top, it’s meant to satirize the very type of person Bale is portraying. What’s no joke or satire is the unique history of Bateman’s timepiece. Originally released in 1945 to celebrate Rolex’s 40th anniversary, the Rolex Datejust was the first automatic winding chronometer wristwatch with a date window. Considering the Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde life of Patrick Bateman, it’s particularly important for him to keep track of the date and time to not get caught—no matter how far his mind slips. Just don’t look for this piece in the film’s many graphic scenes. Rolex is sticking to the business side of things.
The Dark Knight’s Jaeger LeCoultre
One letter difference from “Bateman”, “Batman” was an even wealthier character for Bale to take on. As the story goes, Bruce Wayne is a multi-billionaire who portrays a playboy lifestyle—trying to mislead people into believing he only cares about himself (wow, there are some parallels here). Before digressing down the similarities between Patrick Bateman and Bruce Wayne’s portrayal of himself, there are quite a few key differences between the characters. Instead of taking down innocent people at night, the Dark Knight takes down criminals for Gotham. When Bruce Wayne is done nursing wounds he has to make the occasional appearance on behalf of Wayne industries. Playing the part well, Wayne wears a Jaeger LeCoultre (JL) model “Reverso Grande Taille”—an even more expensive watch than Bateman’s Rolex. Incorporating some Dark Knight stealth into its design, the case of the Reverso can be (big spoiler) reversed to hide the crystal face-down toward the wearer’s wrist. So if Bruce wants to protect his mechanical watch after accidentally wearing it on the graveyard shift—Jaeger-LeCoultre’s got his dial covered. Before we move on, there’s a neat parting fact about this watch: Bale’s Bruce Wayne wasn’t the first to sport it. Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Mr. Wayne also has worn the Reverso Grande Taille. In fact, JL has released special editions of this watch due to its screen time. Be sure to have some deep pockets if you want to pick one up, though.
Aside from the two timepieces we’ve highlighted today, Christian Bale has also worn two other noteworthy watches over the last couple of decades. In the film Cheney (2018) he wears another Rolex—an all-gold Oyster Perpetual. The other wristwatch is from a lesser known brand called Android USA. In the cult dystopian sci-fi flick Equilibrium (2000) Bale wears a sleek and futuristic model AD52K. There couldn’t be two more different timepieces to showcase side by side. One watch—the Android—is two quartz movements built into one stainless steel watch. Its simple and sleek design matched the aesthetic of Equilibrium, but it is no Rolex. The Rolex perpetual calendar watch featured in Vice is more mechanically diverse. Oyster Perpetual watches have a calendar that self-adjusts to the year 2100—if any one of them makes it that far, maybe they’ll get their own futuristic film debut (but people will just be calling it the “present” by then). Where the Android has the futuristic looks with simpler guts, Bale’s Rolex has a complex movement and solid-gold built into the case and band. This contrast matches the contrasting characters that Bale has taken on during his career.
Upcoming Watch Highlights
Taking on a diverse range of characters gives time-conscious audience members something to look forward to from Christian Bale’s silver screen exploits. On that note—chronograph watches are a cornerstone of the motorcar racing industry. Just like Steve McQueen, Bale will likely be sporting top-of-line era-appropriate racing wristwatches in Ford V Ferrari. With his costar likely following suit with this aspect of wardrobe it’s going to be a horological delight. Thus we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more stellar Bale-worn watches. So keep your eyes peeled for new posts from us—we’re perpetually geeking out about the latest featured timepieces in entertainment.
Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.