Are you, too, looking forward to any new The Last of Us content? Or have you been a fan of the post-apocalyptic game for some time? You must have noticed the watch that one of the main characters, Joel, wears. What watch is that, where can you get it, and what is the story behind it?
Let's start with the story of the watch. Those of you who already know it, feel free to skip this contextual part.
The story begins in 2003. Joel, around 36, lives a quiet and comfy life in Texas with his daughter Sarah.
HBO verseion of The Last Of Us.
At the beginning of the series, Sarah gets a watch fixed for Joel's birthday. Then the story moves on very quickly. (Spoiler alert!) In a few hours, the zombie apocalypse starts and spreads worldwide. People are getting infected by a mushroom, or fungus if you will. Well, simply put.
And by the way, the writers of the series were most likely not into watches. In the scene where Sarah, the daughter of Joel, goes to the watchmaker, he tells her that the problem is in the spring. The spring is what gets a mechanical watch moving. However, through the open caseback, we can see that the watch is a quartz one. I probably don't need to explain this mistake any further to watch enthusiasts…
Joel is a man with his priorities straight and knows that he and his daughter have to go somewhere safe. But Sarah suffers a leg injury on the way and is shot dead by a member of the military. To have your daughter dying in your arms is an unimaginable pain for any father. The only thing he's left with is the watch.
The main plot is set 20 years later when Joel has to smuggle a girl. Later, it turns out that the girl is the resolution to this so-far insoluble problem of this epidemy. But that's far ahead. What's important right now is that even 20 years later, he's still wearing that watch.
When the game came out, there were discussions on watch discussion forums about the watch even back then. What watch is it? With the series coming out, the focus on this watch heightened. There is an almost identical watch in the live-action version, so the question of the origin of the watch became more and more heated.
The Last of Us (TLOU) is, originally, a playstation game made by the Naughty Dog studio. It first came out in 2013. HBO released the live-action series at the beginning of 2023.
The answer? What kind of watch is it then? If you're looking for a specific name of brand or some breakthrough reveal, I'm sorry to have to disappoint. It is a watch that doesn't exist in the real world, a watch which was designed based on the watch from the game itself – so it unfortunately cannot be bought at your watchmaker's store.
Nevertheless, it was MSTRwatches.com in cooperation with Naughty Dog & Playstation who recreated his watch based on the TLOU characters. It had quartz Seiko movement, diameter of 41 mm / 1.61", mineral glass, and the colour was green NATO.
The watch was released as a limited edition of mstrwatches.com in cooperation with Naughty Dog.
Unfortunately for all the enthusiasts out there, it was a limited edition of 1,000 pieces. I probably do not have to say that a post-apocalyptic fight outbroke for every single piece when it was released. Although you can still buy T-shirts, bags, hats and other TLOU-inspired merch on the gear.playstation.com e-store, you won't get your hands on the watch. You can watch the unboxing video of one of the fortunate people here.
An internet-wide search for an alternative has been going on since then. Some even created their own watch to be as similar as possible from pieces from different models! Some even broke the glass on purpose! We are not gonna go that far. We're just going to look around the internet for some available alternatives which would satisfy our want, our need to have a watch similar to Joel's.
First, let's focus on the look. It's a mixture of classic military (field) and classic pilot watches. That means it comes in simple design, it's well readable, having inconspicuous colour palette. The model had a sub-dial for seconds and bold hands.
This field watch by Weiss looks very similar.
The military and aviation style will probably make you think of Sinn models. The classics, the 856, you know which ones. But then there's the sub-dial. Looking into it, I found some which were very similar desing-wise: the Weiss Standard Issue 38 mm Field Watch. I would even go as far as say that this watch was the inspiration for the creators of the game. Or maybe it was the Lum-Tec Super Combat, which has not only a sub-dial, but also a coin-edge bezel.
The Lum-Tec Super Combat could have been the inspiration for Joel's watch.
Or, most likely, the creators just looked at the most characteristic and popular fild/aviator watch elements, and voilà, Joel's watch was born.
On top of it, the majority of famous models by the Sinn brand or Zenith brand are usually mechanical, however, we already know that Joel's watch was a quartz one.
Times just loves its military watches. You can also get an amazing piece for an amazing price.
A comment about the show that caught my eye is that a quartz watch is not very ideal to have during an apocalypse. To look for a battery in a zombie-infested world, or even a watch-maker… good luck with that! Even though we could say that from the looks of it, Joel wears the watch as a reminder or a piece of memory, so he maybe doesn't even care that the watch stopped ticking some time ago…
Since we fell too deep into the search, let's look at some automatic movement alternatives. We can definitely think of some suitable pieces.
Right from the start, the Seiko 5 with a NATO strap. Basic but reliable movement, water restistance up to 100 meters / 328 ft, well readable.
And of course, we need to think of a solar movement pieces. These should last up to 10 years. The problem would be if the apocalypse would be the one without any sunshine or the one where we would be hidden under the ground without enough sunlight… But let's suppose that we would have a source of sunlight to use. In that case, we should definitely consider a Citizen watch or again a Timex one with its new Expedition North.
Looking at this list (of watches that you can actually get your hands on) that we went through, I think that the Orient one would be the most probable one. Bigger, more on the robust size, stylish, practical. Just like Joel's.
And which ones do you see as an alternative to Joel's watch?