The Story Behind Dune: Part Two’s Futuristic, Desert-Ready Watches

There’s no shortage of otherworldly technology on display in Dune: Part Two: a small box that delivers unspeakable pain when you stick your hand inside; axlotl tanks that generate living clones out of cadavers. But it’s not all horrors—there are also watches! Specifically, the “Desert Watch,” a distinctively Dune-ian wrist machine made in collaboration with Hollywood’s go-to watchmaker Hamilton.

Hamilton worked closely with Dune director Denis Villeneuve and prop master Doug Harlocker to make a device for the Fremen, the group native to the film’s planet Arrakis. The brand had “no knowledge of the device’s function,” according to a press release from Hamilton, but submitted a series of sketches “guided by the lore of Frank Herbert’s Dune and Villeneuve’s vision for the film.” The resulting watch’s dial looks like a microchip enveloped by a hardwearing, asymmetrical shield. On the dial, of course, is a line the same shade as the Fremen’s electric blue eyes.

Hamilton’s design sketches for the Dune: Part Two Desert Watch.

Courtesy of Hamilton

While the Desert Watch seen in the film is sadly confined to Arrakis, Hamilton used it as the inspiration for two real-world, limited-edition releases. (You could say the brand’s Dune 2 new watches for Dune 2.) Both are takes on the Hamilton Ventura, the brand’s unmistakable pyramid-like design. The first is the Ventura XXL Bright ($1,750), which comes with a button on the left-hand side that makes the dial’s Fremen-blue lines come to life. The other is the Ventura Edge ($2,500) that better mimics the design of the movie prop. This one uses a digital display to stack the hours on top of the minutes, with a button that prompts them to light up more intensely.

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Hamilton Ventura XXL Bright Dune Limited Edition

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Ventura Edge Dune Limited Edition

Courtesy of Hamilton

Hamilton has a long, rich history on the silver screen—and a particularly strong association with sci-fi movies. Stanley Kubrick commissioned the brand to make chunky bracelet watches for the ill-fated astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The space-age Ventura was the watch of choice for the agents in Men in Black. And Hamilton’s timepieces consistently turn up in Christopher Nolan’s work: the watchmaker crafted custom pieces (that are critical to the plot) for Tenet and sourced vintage ones for Oppenheimer. There’s also the limited-edition Hamilton “Murph” Khaki Field that came out of Interstellar—a handsome little thing that doesn’t require any understanding of the movie’s relationship to time. All in all, since the brand’s founding in 1932, Hamilton says its watches have appeared in more than 500 movies. “When Denis Villeneuve and his team reached out to us, with the request to help them design the wrist device for Dune: Part Two, we were very proud. This really underlines Hamilton’s standing as the watchmaker of filmmakers,” said Vivian Stauffer, Hamilton’s CEO, in a press release.

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