The Ultimate Guide To Watch Nicknames September 24, 2020 – Posted in: Watch Stuff – Tags: Rolex, Seiko, Guide, Omega, Panerai, Breitling, TUDOR, TAG Heuer
Rather than rattling off reference numbers, many in the watch collecting community like to depend on nicknames. It’s hard to deny that “Batman” is a lot easier to remember than “116710BLNR.”
Not only is a watch nickname simpler to remember but it can also make it clear which specific watch model you’re referring to. For instance, saying “Green Submariner” can denote three different models while the Rolex “Hulk” refers specifically to the Submariner ref. 116610LV.
Collectors have coined most of these names but some, as we’ll soon see, some were conceived by the brands themselves. From well-known ones to less famous ones, we cover them all right here in our ultimate guide to watch nicknames.
Click here to check out our blog post on Rolex nicknames.
Rolex Bao Dai
A special vintage Rolex ref. 6062 that once belonged to the last emperor of Vietnam, which sold for $5 million at auction in 2017.
The “Batman” is the nickname given to the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 116710BLNR with a black and blue ceramic bezel.
The “Batgirl” is the nickname given to the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR, which retained the black and blue ceramic of the “Batman” but featured a dressier Jubilee bracelet rather than the sportier Oyster bracelet.
A controversial watch that some claim does not actually exist (in genuine form), the Rolex “Blueberry” models are supposedly GMT-Master watches with all-blue bezels custom-ordered by the United Arab Emirates government.
The “Bluesy” can refer to any two-tone Rolex Submariner with a blue bezel and blue dial colorway, which includes the ref. 16803, 16613, 116613, and 126613.
Rolex Bubble Back
The “bubble back” nickname is not just for one Rolex watch but a specific style of vintage Rolex timepieces that have prominently curved casebacks to accommodate the then-new winding rotor affixed to the movement inside. These are also sometimes called “ovettone,” which is Italian for “little egg.”
The “Coke” nickname is given to the red and black bezels of select Rolex GMT-Master II watches.
Rolex Clint Eastwood
The GMT-Master ref. 16753 with a “Root Beer” bezel (more on that below) is also known as the “Clint Eastwood” because the actor wore his personal one in several movies.
Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller
The earliest versions of the Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665, produced from 1967 until 1977, are also known as the “Double Red Sea-Dweller” (or DRSD for short) due to the two lines of red text on the dial.
Rolex Fat Lady
The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16760 is nicknamed the “Fat Lady” thanks to its thicker case, which was necessary to house the updated movement. The Rolex “Fat Lady” is sometimes also known as the “Sophia Loren” due to the curvier profile of the watch.
Rolex Great White
The later versions of the Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665, produced from 1977 until 1982, are also known as the “Great White,” due to all-white text that replaced the preceding red writing.
The “Hulk” is the nickname given to the Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV, named so for its green ceramic bezel, matching green dial, and beefier Supercase shape.
Paved entirely in diamonds, the GMT-Master II ref. 116769TBR is aptly nicknamed “Ice.”
Rolex James Bond
Sean Connery wore the Submariner ref. 6538 in several James Bond movies including Dr. No, Goldfinger, and others. Therefore, the watch is now famously known as the Rolex “James Bond.”
Rolex James Cameron
The “James Cameron” models are Rolex Deepsea watches fitted with blue-to-black gradient dials (officially known as the D-Blue dial) in honor of the movie director’s historic dive to the Mariana Trench.
Rolex Jean-Claude Killy
Jean Claude Killy is a champion alpine skier, previous Rolex ambassador, and current Rolex board member. The “Jean-Claude Killy” Rolex watches are vintage Rolex triple calendar chronographs (ref. 4768, 4767, 5036, 6036, and 6236), which are also known as Dato-Compax.
Rolex John Player Special
Yellow gold vintage Daytona watches with black bezels and dials are commonly nicknamed the “John Player Special,” after the black and gold JPS Formula 1 livery.
The Rolex “Kermit” refers to Submariner models with green bezels and black dials. There are two that go by this nickname: the Submariner 16610LV with a green aluminum bezel that was released in 2003 and the brand new Submariner 126610LV with a green ceramic bezel.
Rolex Nipple Dial
The Rolex “Nipple” dials are specific dial styles found on some vintage gold and two-tone GMT-Master and Submariner watches, characterized by raised gold hour markers filled with luminous material.
The Italian word for “large frying pan,” “Padellone” is the nickname given to the vintage Rolex ref. 8171 triple calendar moon phase watch. It was called this because its 37mm case size was considered very large during its era, which ran from 1949 until 1952.
Rolex Paul Newman
The “Paul Newman” describes a very particular vintage Daytona dial style with contrasting dials and Art Deco font, named so after it was discovered that the actor wore one. The most expensive Rolex is Paul Newman’s own Daytona “Paul Newman,” which sold for $17.8 million at auction.
One of the most popular Rolex nicknames out there, “Pepsi” is the name given to the iconic blue and red bezels of the GMT-Master and GMT-Master II watches.
The “Polar” can refer to any white dial version Rolex Explorer II model, which includes the ref. 16550, ref. 16570, and ref. 216570
The President is the official name of a specific type of Rolex bracelet, characterized by semi-circular links in a three-link configuration. However, since this bracelet made its debut on the Day-Date, the Day-Date watch is now commonly known as the Rolex President or Rolex Presidential.
Rolex Rail Dial
The Rolex “Rail” dials refer to dial variations of some GMT-Master and Explorer II watches where the letters “Cs” in “Chronometer” and “Certified” in the ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ text are perfectly lined up.
The Daytona “Rainbow” chronographs are solid gold versions equipped with multi-colored sapphire set bezels.
Rolex Red Submariner
The “Red Submariner” is the nickname given to the ref. 1680, which was the first Submariner model with a date window. It picked up that nickname because the “SUBMARINER” label on the dial was printed in red.
Rolex Root Beer
Another bezel nickname of the GMT-Master, the “Root Beer” refers to either the brown and yellow bezels of vintage models or the brown and black bezels of modern GMT-Master II models.
The white gold Rolex Submariner 116619LB is also known as the “Smurf” due to its bright blue ceramic bezel and blue dial colorway.
The “Solo” is a special version of the vintage Daytona ref. 6240, characterized by a dial with only the Rolex name on it—no mention of Cosmograph or Daytona.
Nicknamed after the Italian word for “little star,” “Stelline” watches are versions of the vintage Rolex ref. 6062 triple calendar moonphase with little star hour markers.
Rolex Steve McQueen
The “Steve McQueen” is the nickname given to the Explorer ref. 1655 because it was once erroneously reported that the actor wore one. Although that turned out to be wrong, the watch kept the nickname but it’s also commonly called the “Freccione,” which is Italian for “arrow” in reference to the arrow-tipped orange hand on the dial.
In the 1950s, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird squadron adopted the Datejust Turn-O-Graph with rotating bezels as its official watch. Therefore, Datejust Turn-O-Graph watches are now commonly called the “Thunderbird.”
The “Zenith” Daytona watches refers to the generation of Rolex Daytona models (produced from 1988 to 2000) that used a Zenith El Primero based chronograph movement.
Click here to check out our blog post on Omega nicknames.
Characterized by an anchor on the dial and produced in the 1960s and 1970s, Omega “Admiralty” watches were water-resistant to 30 meters. Some included rotating timing bezels and some didn’t.
Omega Big Blue
The Seamaster Automatic 120M Chronograph ref. 176.004 made its debut in 1972 specifically for professional divers. The watch sported a massive case and vibrant blue dial, which paved the way for the “Big Blue” nickname. Somewhat confusingly, there’s also the modern Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GMT 126.96.36.199.03.001 with a blue ceramic case, which Omega has officially called the “Big Blue.”
Released in 1969, the Seamaster ref. 146.011 picked up the “Bullhead” nickname due to its distinctive silhouette and placement of the winding crown and chronograph pushers at 12 o’clock. Omega released a modern version of the watch in 2013 and today the brand includes a collection of Seamaster “Bullhead” models in its catalog.
“Connie” is short for Constellation, which is one of Omega’s flagship watch collections. When collectors and enthusiasts speak of Omega Connie, they are typically referring to vintage versions.
Omega Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, and Jedi
The late Chuck Maddox—a famous Omega enthusiast and collector, coined these Star Wars-inspired nicknames. The black version of the Omega Seamaster Chronograph ref. ST 145.0023 is known as the “Darth Vader” while the lighter version is known as the “Anakin Skywalker.” So it’s only natural that the following model, the Omega Seamaster Chronograph 145.0024, was christened the “Jedi.”
Omega Ed White
Astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space in 1965 and during his mission, he was wearing an Omega Speedmaster ref. 105.003. As such, that watch is now nicknamed the “Ed White.” In 2020, Omega released Speedmaster Moonwatch Caliber 321 “Ed White” in honor of that first watch.
When astronaut Wally Schirra embarked on the “Sigma 7” mission of the Mercury Program in 1962, he was wearing an Omega Speedmaster ref. CK 2998 on his wrist. As a result, this watch became known as the “First Omega in Space” (“FOIS” for short) or the “Wally Schirra.” Along with the original model, Omega has also released commemorative Speedmaster “FOIS” watches.
Omega Holy Grail
Another nickname coined by Chuck Maddox, the Omega “Holy Grail” is the Speedmaster 376.0822 because the collector was on a mission to find one for his collection.
Omega James Bond
In the mid-1990s, Omega took over as the official watch of James Bond. Since then, Omega has manufactured a slew of Seamaster “James Bond” watches that are either featured in the films or released in conjunction with the movies. Some examples include the Seamaster Diver “GoldenEye” ref. 2541.80, the Seamaster Planet Ocean “Casino Royale” ref. 2900.50.91, the Seamaster Planet Ocean “Quantum of Solace” ref 2201.50.00, the Seamaster Planet Ocean “Skyfall” ref. 188.8.131.52.01.004 and the limited edition Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” ref. 184.108.40.206.01.001.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Omega introduced a series of dress watches (such as the ref. 2025, ref. 2272, ref. 2713, ref. 2325, and others) with 38mm cases. Since this was considered extra-large for the era, these are now collectively nicknamed Omega “Jumbo” watches.
When Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins successfully landed the first man on the Moon in 1969, the three astronauts were equipped with NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster Professional watches. Consequently, the Omega Speedmaster quickly became known as the “Moonwatch.” However, it’s important to note that while Omega has given the Moonwatch label to many of its Speedmasters when collectors say “Moonwatch” they are usually referring to stainless steel 42mm Speedmaster Professional watches—similar to the ones worn by the three astronauts.
Omega Sapphire Sandwich
Versions of the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch with sapphire crystal on the dial side and caseback are often dubbed the “Sapphire Sandwich.” Conversely, the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch models with a Hesalite crystal on the front and sapphire crystal on the back are known as “Hesalite Sandwich.”
“Speedy” is the name affectionately given to the Omega Speedmaster chronograph watches. This has spawned the social media hashtag, #speedytuesday, where Omega owners post pictures of their Speedmasters on Tuesdays.
In 2013, Omega launched the Speedmaster Moonwatch Racing ref. 3220.127.116.11.01.004 with a red and white checkered detail around the periphery. The inspiration for the design came from the red and white rocket featured in the 1950’s Tintin comic, “Destination Moon” so this model is now simply known as the Speedmaster “Tintin.”
A 1970’s Japanese television character called Ultraman wore a 1968 Omega Speedmaster ref. ST 145.012 on the show. This version had an atypical orange chronograph hand, which led to the “Ultraman” nickname. In 2018, Omega introduced a limited edition Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday 2 “Ultraman,” complete with an orange hand.
Click here to check out our blog post on Seiko nicknames.
Seiko Bottle Cap
The Seiko 5 Sports watches are nicknamed “Bottle Cap” because of their distinct round and notched rotating bezels that resemble bottle caps.
The first 20 minutes on the dive bezel of the Seiko “Mohawk” is raised, much like the strip of raised hair that defines the hairstyle its nicknamed after.
Characterized by a big case, prominently jagged bezel, and oversized hands, the Seiko “Monster” models are some of the brand’s most popular diving watches. They are often categorized by their colorways, such as the “Black Monster,” the “Orange Monster,” the “Snow Monster,” the “Red Monster,” the “Yellow Monster” and so on.
Colonel William Pogue wore the yellow dial/yellow indicator variation of the Seiko 6139-6002, now known as the “Pogue,” during the 1973 Skylab 4 mission. Although the Omega Speedmaster was the official watch of the mission, Colonel Pogue was more familiar with his Seiko as he had used it during pre-flight training
The 1986 movie Aliens starred Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, who wore a Seiko x Giugiaro collaboration watch (ref. SCED035). Naturally, the watch was dubbed the “Ripley” and Seiko launched a reissue (ref. SCED037) in 2015.
Launched in 2004 and part of the Prospex range, the Seiko “Samurai” dive watches feature angular cases, broad oversized hands, 200-meter water resistance, and automatic movements. The origins of the “Samurai” name are not clear with some pointing to the sword-like hands while others drawing a line between the angles of the samurai style helmet to the case.
Seiko Sea Urchin
Considered a budget diver among the brand’s already well-priced lineup, the Seiko 5 Sports “Sea Urchin” combines time, date, and day functionality in a 100-meter water-resistant automatic watch.
Nicknamed after the Japanese title for a military director during the feudal era, the Seiko “Shogun” dive watch offers upgraded features such as hardened titanium and the 6R15 automatic movement with hacking and hand-winding capabilities.
The signature design trait of the aptly nicknamed Seiko “Starfish” diving watch is its six-point bezel—similar to the silhouette of a six-armed sea star.
The Seiko “Stargate” takes its nickname from the 1994 sci-fi film of the same name. In the film, the Stargate was an ancient portal to other planets, and if you look closely at the lume plot on the bezel, you’ll spot the similarity.
Much like a spork combines the functions of a spoon and fork, the Seiko “Spork” marries a dive watch case with a pilot watch dial. Another explanation for its quirky nickname is that it’s a loose anagram of its reference number: SRP043K1.
Yet another Prospex dive watch with a Japanese nickname, the Seiko “Sumo” stands out for its generously sized 45mm case. In 2019, Seiko released the second generation “Sumo” with enhancements such as sapphire crystal instead of Hardlex, a slimmer case profile, and a new movement with a boosted up 70-hour power reserve.
Seiko Tuna Can
One look at the case shape and size of the Seiko “Tuna Can” and you’ll immediately understand where it got its nickname. The massive no-lug 48mm case is further protected by an outer shroud and its winding crown is positioned at 4 o’clock.
The “Turtle” nickname is perfect for these cushion-shaped shell-like Seiko dive watches, which have been a part of the Seiko catalog since 1977. In 2020, Seiko launched a new batch of models, which are now dubbed the “King Turtle,” with several improvements including sapphire crystals and ceramic bezels.
Martin Sheen’s character, Captain Willard, wore the Seiko reference 6105 in the iconic movie, Apocalypse Now. As such, this watch is now known among enthusiasts as the Seiko “Willard.” Taking inspiration from the original model, Seiko released the premium-priced Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition SLA033 in 2019, and in 2020, two affordable-priced reincarnations join the lineup in the form of the ref. SPB151 and SPB153.
In 1953, Breitling introduced the Co-Pilot AVI 765—a military-style pilot’s watch. Collectors sometimes call it the “Lucy” in reference to the 3.2 million-year-old fossil skeleton of a human ancestor to emphasize that this Breitling watch came out before the similar-looking Breguet Type XX. Along with the “Lucy” (sometimes called the “Analog Lucy”), there’s the “Digital Lucy” version with a minute-recorder window at 3 o’clock.
Heuer Jo Siffert
The vintage Heuer (before it became TAG Heuer) Autavia ref. 1163T chronograph with a crisp white dial and blue details is known as the “Jo Siffert” due to its association with the Swiss racing driver.
Heuer Orange Boy
The vintage Heuer Autavia ref. 1163 chronograph with a black dial and orange accents goes by the nickname “Orange Boy.” In 2019, the TAG Heuer Autavia Calibre Heuer 02 For HODINKEE made its debut as an homage to the original “Orange Boy” watch.
Introduced in 2002, the Panerai Luminor 1950 PAM 127 was a modern reproduction of a Panerai watch from 1950—hence its “Fiddy” (translation: fifty) nickname. The limited-edition watch sports a massive 47mm case, complete with the customary oversized crown-protecting bridge customary to Luminor watches.
The name “Pre-V” is given to any Panerai manufactured from 1993 until 1997 when the company was purchased by the Vendome Group (now known as the Richemont Group.)
Tudor Big Crown
The vintage Tudor Submariner ref. 7924, which was released in 1958, is now often called the Tudor Sub “Big Crown” due to its prominent 8mm winding crown—the same one found on the Rolex Submariner “James Bond.”
In 1969, Tudor released two new Submariner references in the form of the ref. 7016 and the ref. 7021. New to these models was the uniquely-shaped hands, with square tips on the hour and seconds hands. These are referred to by collectors as “Snowflake” hands and other versions of the “Snowflake” Submariner joined the Tudor collection over the next decades. Modern Tudor dive watches with these hands include the Pelagos and the Black Bay.
Whether you’re a fan of watch nicknames or not, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the main ones to better understand conversations within watch collecting circles. Do you have a favorite watch nickname? Are there any we’ve missed you’d like us to include on the list? Leave us your thoughts below!