Interstellar, the latest movie from Christopher Nolan doesn’t have many brands in it; however it does have one that has a great importance for the main characters Coop (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain). I won’t go into details, because I don’t want to spoil the experience for you, but it’s about a watch, Coop’s watch.

Hamilton watch in Interstellar (Source: Hamilton watch)
Hamilton watch in Interstellar (Source: Hamilton watch)

Watch has an integral role in the third part of the movie, so we got several close-ups. For viewers there was no doubt: it’s was a Hamilton watch – Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date to be precise. Hamilton also designed a unique Hamilton timepiece for Murph.

Hamilton's designs for the watch in Interstellar (Source: Hamilton watch)
Hamilton’s designs for the watch in Interstellar (Source: Hamilton watch)

The Hamilton watch company was founded in 1892 and is now part of the Swatch Group. Hamilton’s website has a special section devoted to Interstellar, so it’s safe to assume that it’s an official product placement. And to be honest, even without checking the website it was obvious that there was a deal between the producers and Hamilton.

Hamilton watch in Interstellar (Source: Hamilton watch)
Hamilton watch in Interstellar (Source: Hamilton watch)

How good (or bad) was Hamilton’s product placement?

Let’s break down the deal from the writers and producer’s point of view:

  • Writers (Christopher and Jonathan Nolan) decided that a watch is an integral for the story.
  • Coop used to be an astronaut.
  • Astronauts are an interesting segment with very special skills and capabilities. I’m sure they also have some special code of conduct or typical behavior. Perhaps they’re wearing specific type of watches as well.
  • I’m sure writers didn’t want to use a generic watch or some upscale brand, but rather chose from brands that were related to astronauts, e.g. Hamilton or Omega (Omega Speedmaster was the watch used in the first moon walk).
Hamilton watch in Interstellar (2014, Warner Bros., screen capture)
Hamilton watch in Interstellar (2014, Warner Bros., screen capture)

From Hamilton’s point of view Interstellar was the perfect choice.

  • The movie has a big budget, acclaimed director, reigning Oscar winner for the leading role and its release was in the “Oscar season”.
  • Interstellar practically doesn’t have product placement, so Hamilton is not competing with other brands.
  • The relation between an astronaut and Hamilton watch seems natural. Hamilton watch looks like the kind of watch an astronaut would own it.
  • Hamilton has an aviation heritage dating back to 1919.
  • Hamilton has a rich history of using product placement. Recently I noticed their watch in the latest Jack Ryan movie. To read more about that movie and product placement in it read the blog post Product placement in pictures: Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit.

I liked the movie a lot and I also like Hamilton’s product placement. The product was used and the brand was clearly seen. It was integral part of the story, but wasn’t forced or in your face. Great placement.