An Italian luxury watch ends up on the wrist of an ItalianAmerican film legend in our watchrelated movie of the week. Pacino. De Niro. On the screen together at last. Thats how Heat 1995 was marketed nearly 30 years ago. The two scions of mobcinema are finally coming together. But wait they had to have co started in a film together before. And of course they did — sort of. In The Godfather Part Two 1974 De Niro plays a young Vito Corleone – in flashbacks only – so he was never on set nor did he share a scene with Pacinos Michael Corleone in the film. In short it does not count.
So that made and continues to make Michael Manns LA crime epic Heat a seminal film as far as crime thrillers go. It centers around a team of criminals led by De Niros Neil McCauley caught in the middle of a con gone wrong — and Pacinos Lt. Vincent Hanna is the detective on the case. While this is an important movie in Pacinos unassailable acting career it also features a period perfect 90s Bulgari watch that jives with his characters offkilter and frankly unhinged demeanor.
Why Were Watching
Last month the Ava Du Vernay project One Perfect Shot 2022 hit HBO Max. The show speaks with filmmakers about a single shot from a film in their catalog. The final episode is centered on Michael Mann – and the film he chooses is Heat. Its not like this film is a deep cut. If anything its his most accessible project. If youre a fan of Bill Simmons The Ringer then you know that the popular Rewatchables podcast centered on films that are worthy of multiple viewings was established with this film. There have since been subsequent Rewatchables episodes which return to Heat and are aptly titled ReHeat and ThreeHeat.
Al Pacino in Heat
Al Pacino on the phone with his Bulgari Diagano on his wrist in Heat. Image Warner Bros Its a movie that leaves a lasting effect. Its the modern version of throwback gangster pictures like The Godfather or Goodfellas only it has none of the schtick. Its such an arresting experience that its gone on to influence an entire generation of filmmakers. Christopher Nolan cites it as the main influence behind his film The Dark Knight.
At a high level its about good and evil – or perspectives on what the right thing is if there even is a right thing. Pacinos Hanna stands on the side of the law – of justice while De Niros McCauley and crew endeavor to find other alternatives to score big in a world designed to keep them down. Unfortunately for them Hanna is one hell of a detective and once they unwittingly leave a clue behind following a heist the heat is on them in a big way. It also appears that De Niro wears what looks to be some sort of digital Timex in his turn as McCauley.
Robert De Niro in Heat
Robert De Niro wearing his digital watch in his famous scene with Pacino in Heat. Image Warner Bros While I could wax cinematic all day about the filmmaking Id rather wax horological about the watchmaking – well at the very least the watch. Pacino serves as our watch guy in Heat – his character outfitted in a Bulgari Diagono Chronograph with the nowiconic Bulgari adorned bezel and a uniquely sparse dial. Its a supremely modern watch that feels both futuristic and very much of its time in the mid90s. Hanna wears a lot of dark colors via 90schic suits and the Bulgari is the perfect companion putting a cap on his entire look. His machismo and random bouts of yelling things like Gimme all you got! would feel utterly ineffective if he didnt have a timepiece made by an iconic Italian luxury brand on his wrist. I mean imagine him with a tiny Casio on a stretch bracelet. Sure itd be befitting of a law enforcement salary – but it would also just be strange.
Similar Bulgari Diagano to the watch worn by Al Pacino in Heat. The Diagono is an important model in the history of Bulgari watches. Released in the late 1980s it represented the brands first foray into sports watches. It came in stainless steel including the nameemblazoned bezel and had a very interesting integrated strap design. In the ensuing years the Diagono design would be translated into a threehander and a diver. It even paved the way for the Bulgari Aluminum which was recently reintroduced about three years ago. Its worth noting that the Diagono models featured quartz movements where modern Bulgari – including the new Aluminum feature automatic calibers. Hannas Diagono has a minimalist dial with no Bulgari branding up near twelve oclock which is fine because the bezel has that part covered.
Al Pacino Diane Venora and a Bulgari Chrono in Heat.
Hanna Pacino and Justine Diane Venora together in Heat. Hanna has on his Bulgari Diagano. Image Warner Bros Throughout the film you really get the sense that Hanna is married to his work – with very little time to do or think about anything else. This watch is kind of perfect for him. It marries style with the ease of quartz. No need to wind the watch or check the time. This thing just works – and looks good which is all he needs.
When Were Watching
Hannas seated at a table in his girlfriend Justines house after a particularly long day on the job looking for leads in the case of a pretty wild heist in which an armored car got tboned by an 18wheeler and left all of the guards dead. Hes finding solace in the company of a bottle of bourbon and the evening news on one of those small 90s TVs. Justine played by Diane Venora enters the room and a back and forth begins about him missing dinner and the food overcooking. As he sits there in his black suit you can see the Bulgari Diagano peeking out from beneath his sleeves 002737. He turns to her and– in a delivery specific to Pacino–says Im sorry the goddamn chicken got over …. cooked.
Pacino at the table
In maybe the movies most famous scene – and undoubtedly the one that inspired The Dark Knight most – a shootout breaks out in the streets of LA. Hanna spots McCauley and crew after they successfully rob a bank and bullets start flying out of automatic weapons that have no business frankly being in anyones hands – but this is a movie so I suppose we can let it slide. This scene gives us an iconic shot of Hanna holding his gun which simultaneously gives us an unobstructed view of the Bulgari Diagano 014730. There are certainly shades of Scarface in this moment though Id like to think the friend in this moment is the watch.