This is WATCH THE WATCH, a series uncovering the most iconic watches seen on screen. From cult classics to new releases, we explore the cinematic presence behind the cameras. In this week’s edition, we look to the Christmas classic, Bridget Jones’ Diary (yes it’s a Christmas film) in the spirit of the holiday season.
A topic up for discussion, is ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ a Christmas film? You might shake your head, but much of the film takes place around the holiday season, bookended by Bridget’s annual existential crisis as she reflects on the past twelve months. Lest we forget the obscene Christmas jumpers Bridget and Mark Darcy are sporting at a Christmas family reunion filled with uncomfortable questions about your love life and a relative that can’t handle their drink. We’ve all been there.
Should you not be well acquainted with the quirks of Bridget, from the tarts and vicars party, turning soup blue and that trip to Thailand, here’s the lowdown. At the start of the New Year, 32-year-old Bridget, played by Renée Zellweger, decides that after a rendition of ‘All by Myself,’ it’s time to take control of her life. Using a diary to document the narrative of her day-to-day life, from exercising, underwear and men. Finding herself in a triangle between two romantic interests, one played by Hugh Grant and the other, Colin Firth, Bridget’s opinion on turning a page in her new life becomes more than she ever planned.
Cue Daniel Cleaver, the underrated star of the film’s trilogy played by Grant himself. Somewhere between charming and sleazy – a fine line – the womanizer, Daniel Cleaver, who plays the role of Bridget’s boss before becoming a love interest on Bridget’s romantic agenda. Glib from the offset, what he can’t articulate profoundly in words, he does so by the choice to the timepiece that he flutters about on his wrist in the office.
And what watch would that be? Loud and bold in appearance? None other than the Panerai Luminor Marina Ref. OP 6560. Daring to be different, while it feels like the entirety of the watch world has its roots in Switzerland, Panerai laid its foundations in Florence, Italy. Opening the first shop in 1860 to serve not only as a watch shop and workshop, but also as the city’s first watchmaking school: the history of Panerai begins here.
Within 50 years, the brand established itself as a leading manufacturer, sourcing precision instruments to the Italian Royal Navy, but it wasn’t until 1949 in a post-war Europe that Panerai introduce a novel self-illuminating substance called Luminor, a safer and brighter substance for the watch dial, and later patented on 11 January 1949 under the “Luminor” trademark.
A pause on the history lesson, fans of Hugh Grant, most likely to be noughties kids with a fever for rom-coms will know that Hugh Grant is partial to a Panerai off screen too, but the model he sports in the eponymous Christmas feel-good film made its name just 8 years before the film’s release. In 1993, for the first time, Panerai presented the Luminor and its variation, the Luminor Marina to the public, which had previously only been available to those in military positions.
Tackling a stifling economic crisis in 1992, Panerai made the executive decision to go into the civil watch market, launching three collections, originating from ten total references in numbered and limited editions: the 44 mm Luminor and Luminor Marina watches and the 42 mm Mare Nostrum chronograph, and they quickly become highly sought-after items for collectors and enthusiasts, often regarded as the kickstarter for oversized watches.
For this particular iteration, worn by Grant, featuring a stainless steel automatic wristwatch with date and bracelet – metal straps seen less with Panerai models today – it seems fitting for a confident and overt character to partner with a wristwatch that seeks attention. We somehow still love you though Daniel Cleaver and believe that you really one the fight in the cafe. If you still have no idea what we’re talking about, set yourself up on the sofa and thank us later.