During the pandemic, many have used the time at home to catch up on a recommended TV series or film they may have missed in busier times, or re-watch some comforting favourites. In my seventh or eighth run-through of The West Wing television series, I almost spilled my beer in excitement when I spotted an Omega dress watch on my favourite fictional president (Bartlet 2020?).
This hobby has made watch lovers increasingly aware of what actors are wearing on their wrists. Just the other week I got a message from a buddy asking me what was on Sam Neill’s wrist in Jurassic Park III (an Oris if you were curious). The mark of a true watch enthusiast is when you find yourself rewinding and pausing, even at the risk of annoying your friends and family, to get the perfect screengrab of a watch worn by a character in film/television to post in your watch group — initiating a race among your #watchfam to name the reference spotted on your favourite character. The latest watch spot in pandemic movie night … Brad Pitt’s best fake TAG Heuer in Moneyball.
Moneyball, based on the book ‘Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game’ by Michael Lewis, tells the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its calculating general manager, Billy Beane. A struggling Oakland A’s franchise (who had just lost superstar Jason Giambi among others) was revived and rejuvenated by advanced statistics and mathematical probabilities, which at the time was a novel departure from the traditional means of analysis and recruitment in baseball. This critical thinking, brought to the team by the genius mind of Billy Beane, has now become the standard for how teams look for the next generation of talent.
The story of the watch
Fortunately for those wristwatch-curious viewers, Brad Pitt is often wearing a short-sleeve shirt, giving the Swiss fake TAG Heuer on his wrist ample screen time. Thanks to Jeff Stein, founder of OnTheDash and expert on all things TAG Heuer, this was an easy watch to identify. Why? Because he actually helped make it possible for Brad Pitt to wear the watch in the film.
How was the watch chosen for the film? By Brad, of course
According to Jeff, on the first day of filming, the property master for Moneyball presented Brad Pitt with three watches to wear as options for the movie. Two of the watches were from the property master’s own supply and the third was from the wrist of a fellow crew member. Naturally, Brad didn’t go for the prop master selections. It was the crew member’s actual watch that Brad would eventually declare worthy of his wrist; the TAG Heuer Kirium. Cue Jeff Stein. As a known TAG Heuer historian and expert, who even the brand calls on for help and research to this day, Jeff identified the watch for the property master and even sourced the three watches that would be the “back-ups” for Brad.
As Jeff tells it, in the name of continuity (as well as ensuring the crew member got his watch back), the prop master sent a photo of the watch to a production company who contacted TAG Heuer. TAG Heuer then contacted Jeff, as the watch was no longer in production or their catalogue. Jeff identified the watch and proceeded to secure three examples, at approximately $400 – $500 USD a piece. Thus, he irrefutably knows firsthand what the watch on Brad Pitt’s wrist was: the TAG Heuer Kirium WL1113.
The watch details
The quality fake TAG Heuer Kirium WL1113 was produced by TAG Heuer in the late 1990s, as part of its Professional collection. The particular watch worn by Brad Pitt in the film has a midnight blue dial, Mercedes-style hands (most notably found on Rolex sports models), a unidirectional rotating dive bezel, with a classic case build, water resistant up to 200 metres. Outfitted on its factory-integrated stainless steel bracelet, it was a perfect choice for a dive in the ocean or a dive on the (baseball) diamond.
As Jeff explains in the forum post, this watch really suited Brad’s character. A pragmatic man and thinker, working for a struggling MLB team, the Kirium made sense for someone who had a keen eye for value. A reliable and robust timepiece, it was a great match for the film’s protagonist. And while Brad Pitt’s Citizen “Bullhead” Challenge Timer in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was not period correct, this watch was produced in the late ’90s, which means it’s very feasible that it was worn during a film set in the early 2000s.
Most men can relate to four accessories: belts, hats, sunglasses and watches. They are windows into the character and taste of a person. While a conscious or subconscious choice, it can reveal a sense of how a person thinks and chooses to express themselves. It’s arguably why when we watch spot during our favourite films, we rush to identify and source them ourselves. Horology, or at least its consumers, are highly driven by emotion. If we can slap something around our wrist that makes us feel stronger, bolder, tougher, wiser, and with a greater sense of prestige – we will make it happen whenever possible. Fortunately, in this case, if the Kirium watch resonates with you, it won’t take a movie star’s budget to source one of them today – a decade later, they are roughly available for the same price Jeff paid on behalf of the studio.