Watch on film: Pulp Fiction
Captain Koons describing to an infant Butch Coolidge the ends his character went to smuggle out a family heirloom timepiece from a prisoner of war camp is easily one of Pulp Fiction’s most memorable scenes.
The indie filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was gaining a reputation for his distinctive style of dialogue (and violence). While the film helped catapulted him into the wider cinematic consciousness, it also helped usher the movie’s timepiece into an elite category of famous watches on film. The scene saw both the director and the actor, Christopher Walken, very much playing to their strengths. Tarantino’s long-winded and darkly humorous monologue script is not only brilliantly delivered by Walken, but it also emphasises the importance that watches have long enjoyed as family heirlooms.
The fourth-generation timepiece at the centre of the Walken’s speech is a gold World War One Lancet trench watch. The piece was made by the (now defunct) Swiss watchmaker, the Langendorf Watch Company, which at the end of the 19th century was widely considered to be the largest producer of watches in the world. Its watches were sold widely in the US before World War I and were generally quite affordable.
Sadly, neither the timepiece nor the company still exist. However, at this year’s Baselworld, Longines — another Swiss watchmaker — released a novelty timepiece as part of its heritage collection that looks remarkably similar. The limited-edition Longines L2.809.4.23.0 (in banner) watch takes its inspiration from a classic 1918 design, whose period aesthetics and refinement will thrill lovers of the brand.
The honey shade of the watch is emblematic of early 20th century timepieces, with the dial’s features also reminiscent of pocket watches from this period. Measuring 41mm, it also houses a reliable L615 automatic winding mechanical calibre.
While it might not be the exact piece from Pulp Fiction (and considering where that watch had been, this might be a good thing) this updated version is a wonderfully nostalgic replacement that can be used to start its own family legacy from here on in.