Watch-spotting: Phil Coulson’s watch on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t what you think it is…

With three seasons already under its belt, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is proving a popular TV show. It stars Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent whose team is tasked with dealing with all sorts of interesting scenarios in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’re now two seasons in, and we’d have gotten a lot further if we didn’t get sidetracked by our own mission to identify Coulson’s watch.

A promo shot with Maria Hill (left) and Phil Coulson (right).

A promo shot with Maria Hill (left) and Phil Coulson (right).

The picture above is a promo shot that we found online, rather than a still from the series, and it features both Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders in character as Phil Coulson and Maria hill respectively. On Coulson’s left wrist you can see (click to enlarge image) a watch with a black dial that packs three sub-dials at the three, six and nine o’clock positions. The first time we noticed it on Coulson’s wrist in one of the episodes we thought to ourselves ‘awesome’ because it looked like an Omega Speedmaster Professional – the watch that NASA selected to go to the moon, a watch that – today – is still on NASA’s approved equipment list for astronauts.

However, when we caught our next couple of glimpses of the watch, we began thinking something was amiss because all three sub-dials seemed a ‘bit off’ under further scrutiny. If you focus on the three sub-dials of Coulson’s watch, it’s just about obvious that there’s quite a bit of text and/or numbers on the periphery of each individual sub-dial, which is in contrast to what you’ll find on the Speedmaster Professional (image below).

The Speedmaster Professional is one of the most iconic chronographs ever produced.

The Speedmaster Professional is one of the most iconic chronographs ever produced.

As you can see the Speedmaster Professional has clean, super legible sub-dials – the running seconds counter and the 30-minute chronograph counter at nine- and three-o’clock have just three numbers within the periphery of the sub-dials, while the 12-hour chronograph counter at six o’clock has four numbers.

Once we resolved that Coulson wasn’t wearing a Speedmaster Professional, we began Googling for ‘Speedmaster lookalikes’ and ‘Speedmaster homage’ watches. Homage watches are not a new thing, and the idea is that the design of a homage watch mirrors that of a far more famous and iconic watch. These are far from replica or counterfeit watches however, because while these homage watches borrow a lot of the design traits from the original watch, the companies producing them make it obvious that their products are not actually the watch they are mimicking i.e. they will be branded differently, have slightly different design elements etc.

Image credit: Stan's Watch Web.

Image credit: Stan’s Watch Web.

After a bit of poking around, we hit the jackpot and arrived at Stan’s Watch Web, which has pictures and talks about what is called the Alpha Watches Speedmaster. This seems to be the same watch that Coulson has on his wrist in the TV show.

Alpha Watches appears to be a Chinese company that makes all sorts of inexpensive watches, a chunk of which pay homage to watches from several well-known Swiss brands including Rolex and Omega. As you can see from the picture above, the Alpha Speedmaster looks quite similar to the iconic Speedmaster Professional, except for the sub-dials, which have day, date and a 24-hour indications, rather than chronograph indications. It also seems that the running seconds hand on this homage is the large central hand that would normally be the main chronograph hand on the Speedmaster Professional.

Another promo shot with a better view of Coulson's watch.

Another promo shot with a better view of Coulson’s watch.

The watch is actually 44mm in diameter versus the Speedy Pro’s 42mm, and there’s also a lot more text under the 12 o’clock position. Another thing we noticed was that the logo sitting above the ‘Alpha’ text on the dial – seen from far – could present like the Omega symbol found on the Speedy Pro. This Alpha logo coupled with the black dial, bezel and three sub-dials are probably leading a lot of people to assume that Coulson is wearing a Speedmaster. Now you know better…

We’re not quite sure what the back story is with this homage watch and Clark Gregg’s character – whether it’s his personal watch or just a prop but we’ll update this story if/when we have additional information. For now we’re going to sink our teeth into season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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