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Hamilton, Interstellar, and the “Murph”

Hamilton, Interstellar, and the “Murph”

To begin, it’s hard to believe Matthew McConaughey’s not-so-gentle trip into the long night of space is already five years old. In Instellar’s near-future existential scenario, where humanity has little time to save itself from environmental failure, it’s pretty cool that a wristwatch plays an integral part in saving the day. Perhaps this would be a great place to add a “spoiler alert” for anyone who hasn’t seen the film. Be warned, some important info about the film are touched on here.

Now, with that out of the way, it’s fair to note that without the stars, planets, and otherwise all astronomical cycles we would not even have wristwatches. This is where director Christopher Nolan did such a masterful job of drawing in his audience. His view on space goes beyond time, all the way down to a single wristwatch, all while exploring the outer spaces that timekeeping derives itself from. It’s an opus built on the integrity and ingenuity of human invention. What’s even more, it showcases how our technologies lead us all back to their original purpose—to keep us all connected and surviving through time. Surviving even the savagery of a black hole, main character John Cooper (McConaughey) transcends three-dimensional space to deliver an important equation. This information is sent via a fifth-dimensional message, using morse code, which Coop taps into the second hand of the film’s featured Hamilton watch. His daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain) takes that information down in a back-on-Earth timeline, thus saving the entire human race from extinction.

Field Khaki

The humanity-saving Hamilton featured in Interstellar was designed specifically for the film, but was based off of Hamilton’s Field Khaki series. Within the story, this wristwatch originally belongs to John Cooper and is handed down to Murph as a young girl. She continues ownership of the Hamilton through her life, since it’s the only thing her father leaves to her before he eventually leaves for space. It’s a fitting wristwatch for Coop to own in the first place considering he is an ex-NASA pilot. This first on-screen Field Khaki is a no-nonsense straightforward aviation watch. Murph’s handed-down watch differs from the day/date Field Khaki that her dad later sports in the film, having a more minimalistic flair. Freeing up the dial—this watch is dateless and was likely easier to shoot when the second hand needed to be seen tapping out its morse code message.

Watch In Real Life

Hamilton, Interstellar, and the “Murph”

Originally Hamilton only made 10 of the “Murph” wristwatches, specifically for Interstellar. Though McConaughy’s later Field Khaki day/date was available both before and after the film, the Murph watch was handed back to Hamilton after filming. All but one of these clean on-screen pieces were kept by their manufacturer—while horologically minded fans of the film lamented a lack of public release. That was until February of this year, when Hamilton released a Murph edition of their Field Khaki series.

The commercially released Field Khaki “Murph”—as it’s designed—still has the same 42mm case, the same beige Super-LumiNova numerals, and the same matte black dial seen in the film. Continuing on its features, it’s run by Hamilton’s H-10 80-Hour Calibre automatic movement. To keep out any potential dust-bowl levels of dust, and to keep off wear on the crystal, it has a 10ATM case-seal rating and a sapphire crystal to boot. Aesthetically, the only difference between this 2019 release and the Murph watch seen on-screen is that the 2019 release has “Eureka” lacquered onto the second hand of the watch. This is a pretty neat and subtle nod to fans of the Nolan film. It adds an enjoyably clever bit of design work to the watch.   

Limited Edition

Working with Hamilton, the picture’s production designer Nathan Crowley designed a special case for the first 2,555 Murph watches. This case is based on the film’s “tesseract” scene where Coop sends his message to Murph. Being the only limited edition pieces from the series, all other “Murph” watches will be regularly available to fans of both the film and the Hamilton design. Putting this watch into continued production was a pretty democratic move on the part of Hamilton—and a pretty fitting gesture considering the universally-shared crisis that’s resolved by the end of Interstellar. In terms of picking one of these watches up, Murph’s Field Khaki can currently be purchased at $995 (catalog pricing) from Hamilton. So if you’ve got the right stuff, you too can add this (inter)stellar watch to your collection. However, there are no guarantees that you’ll get life-saving interdimensional messages from a loved one—in this particular timeline.

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.