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Spot the Watch: Bill Murray’s personal Audemars Piguet in the film Quick Change

by Nick Gould on August 9, 2016
Watches

As promised from last Friday, we have a movie themed Spot the Watch for you today.  It comes from the 1990 comedy film Quick Change starring Bill Murray. Now usually when you see a watch in a film its either a product placement or the prop department have requested timepieces which they have given some screen time.  We know that Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham are two actors that like to wear their own personal watches while filming.   When the writer of this article saw the film Quick Change he was quite certain the Audemars Piguet watch was requested by the prop department.   While researching he found a quite amusing comment by the director of the film on an article for the 25th anniversary of its initial release.

During the film Quick Change there is a scene during the bank robbery (Don’t want to give away the whole plot if you haven’t seen it) where the robber played by Bill Murray, is offered a Audemars Piguet timepiece by a hostage who looks likes he works on Wall Street.  He tells Murray its an Audemars Piguet with the day, date, month and the moon on it, worth $12,000 and appreciates in value everyday.  Bill Murray’s character feels bad for the guy and offers to pay him $300 plus his own Timex on a flexiband for the AP.

AP Quick Change - Copy

Screenshot from the movie Quick Change, with a hostage offering Bill Murray his Audemars Piguet timepiece.

You can see what looks like a pusher on the case at the 8 o’clock position for adjusting one of the calendar functions.

The author chanced upon this article on the 25th anniversary of the film in which the co director  Howard Franklin was interviewed (Bill Murrary was the other director).   Entertainment Weekly asked Franklin about the script and low and behold he actually mentioned the timepiece!  The question and his response is below:

I think you’re credited as the sole screenwriter, but did Bill collaborate on the script? Or was it something that you kind of went away with and came back with pages?
No, I don’t think I’ve ever really collaborated on a script. I do write alone. But I’ll tell you one funny story about it, for instance: there’s a scene in the bank vault where the yuppie guy tries to bribe him with his watch. I had written a slightly different thing, and that very expensive watch that’s in the movie, that Audemars Piguet whatever, was Bill’s watch at the time. And they had this thing where it’s a self-winding watch, but if you don’t wear it for awhile, you have to take it to the Audemars Piguet store on Fifth Avenue or whatever for them to wind it. And they charge you $150. And Bill was really pissed off about this because every time he did a movie, of course, he’d have to take it off for a few months. And then he’d have to pay this $150, so he said, “I’d really like you to write this watch into the movie.” [Laughs] There were always things like that that would give me ideas. 

The Audemars Piguet timepiece was actually Bill Murray’s personal watch and he had it written into the movie!   The funny thing is the amount of $150 being charged by Audemars Piguet to “wind the watch”.  This leads us to believe the watch is a perpetual calendar and the charge of $150 was to adjust the perpetual calendar to the correct day, date etc.  As you know if you adjust a perpetual calendar at the wrong time you can break it, which would lead to a hefty repair bill.  A watch winder would have been useful to Bill Murray as it would have kept the watch wound and the perpetual calendar in synchronization.

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A very similar Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar to the one owned by Bill Murray and used in the film Quick Change. Picture (C) Sothebys

A funny little scene that was put in the film because of the actual watch itself! Great humor from Bill Murray to request it be written into the script.

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of Spot the Watch!

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