I’ve seen dozens of theories about that mysterious Rolex from Hawkeye, but none of them seem to fit the clues. About ten minutes ago I had a wild idea of my own… and while it’s a stretch, I think it’s a strong contender.
Warning: If you haven’t seen “Partners, Am I Right?” (AKA Hawkeye Episode 4) turn back now. There are going to be spoilers here!
First up, a quick recap. There’s a mysterious Rolex in Hawkeye that seemed like something of a MacGuffin early on. It was the motivation for the Tracksuit Mafia to raid the black market auction, which is when Kate stole the Ronin suit to fight back. Things went a little sideways from there, and we lost track of the watch other than a brief mention or two. Episode 4 brings the watch back into focus, with Clint Barton determined to steal it back before its owner’s identity was stolen.
We know very little about the watch’s owner. We know it’s someone who’s been out of the game for a while. We know the watch can lead back to them somehow, which would blow their cover in a Bad Way. We know Clint considers this person a friend.
A lot of people (so many) are getting hype over the possibility that this Rolex is Laura Barton’s. They’re suggesting she’s secretly Mockingbird, and if her identity is exposed their family is at risk. I think that’s unlikely for a lot of reasons I cover in my “Partners, Am I Right?” review, plus the fact that… well, it’s a man’s watch. Women can wear men’s watches for sure, but as a narrative device that would be a confusing choice.
Besides, I have a better idea.
That watch belongs to Phil Coulson.
I know what watch fanatics are saying: Coulson wears what looks like an Omega Speedmaster throughout the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D series. It has a stainless finish, a classic outline, and a dark face. Check it out:
The face of the watch we see in the show has a stainless finish, but the face is light. Observe:
At face value that should be pretty conclusive. Not Coulson, right?
Except this watch was found in the rubble of Avengers Tower. Coulson “died” in Avengers, he wouldn’t have been hanging around the tower to misplace his expensive watch. However, it does seem feasible that someone else had one of his older watches. Someone whose life was changed by Coulson’s death, someone who spent a lot of time in Avenger’s Tower and who collected things like a magpie.
We all know I mean Tony Stark, right? Cool, just had to check on that.
SO. My theory is that Tony had Coulson’s watch from Avengers as a reminder of the first time he realized the importance of working as a team to combat mind-bogglingly huge threats. It was probably sitting in a pretty little lighted security box somewhere he could see it regularly. When the tower went down, the watch was lost in the rubble and probably didn’t seem like much more than a curiosity for the recovery team.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the watch Phil Coulson was wearing in Avengers.
How about a closer look?
Stainless band? Looks like it. Light face? Ditto. I’m not a watch fanatic, but to me, those could very feasibly be intended to be the same watch. My one concern is that I can’t tell if the little ticks are the same color… but then, we’ve glossed over bigger plot holes in the MCU, haven’t we?
Anyway, Coulson matches those other clues. He’s an old friend of Clint (who would be a really safe person to approach if Coulson needed inside information from S.H.I.E.L.D). He’s been out of the game for A WHILE, and he really would like his cover not to be blown.
Am I right? Only time will tell. But right now I’m about 85% convinced that we’re going to see or hear from Coulson at some point in the last two Hawkeye episodes.
Even if I’m wrong, it’ll be fun to find out.
What do you think of my theory? Tear it apart or build it up in the comments!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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