If you’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s WWII blockbuster Dunkirk, you may have noticed the watch on Tom Hardy’s wrist gets a decent amount of screen time. Well, it’s a testament to the attention to detail (including using actual Spitfires) seen in Nolan-directed films that the watch used is an actual military watch — an Omega Ref. CK2129 — issued to Royal Air Force pilots during WWII.
That particular reference was given out to RAF pilots at the beginning of the war. On January 5th, 1940, an “urgent order” was put out for 2,000 watches with rotating bezels for RAF pilots, according to Time & Tide Watches — the delivery was fulfilled by March of that year. The seemingly simple addition of that rotating bezel (along with a crown that locked it into place) was a pretty big innovation at the time, which made calculations and timing missions easier for pilots.
Omega (bolstered by Swiss neutrality during the war) ended up being a major supplier of watches to all sides during WWII, but especially to the British military. In fact, it’s estimated that by the war’s end about 110,000 Omegas were delivered to the British Armed Forces. WWII-era watches have become incredibly collectible, and given the relatively limited production of the CK2129, it was likely a mission in and of itself for the Dunkirk crew to find one before filming.