Bridgerton: Why Anthony Always Looks At His Watch

Why does Anthony continuously look at his watch in Bridgerton season 1 on Netflix? Here’s why the concept of time freaks out the stoic viscount.

Though by no means the focus of Bridgerton season 1, many have speculated on why Anthony continuously looks at his watch in the Netflix show. In the series premiere, “Diamond of the First Water,” the timepiece is revealed to be an heirloom from the viscount’s father, but ultimately functions as a visual motif associated with legacy and fear. It’s also a MacGuffin-like object that foreshadows Anthony’s doomed relationship with the opera singer Siena Rosso.

In Bridgerton season 1, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) initially tries to establish himself as an authoritative figure. During episode 1, the viscount figuratively swats away potential suitors for his younger sister, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), who makes her high society season debut and gains the attention of influential gossip columnist Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews in a voiceover narration role). As Daphne’s public life becomes more intense, Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) questions her eldest son about whether he wants to be a typical older brother or be the man of the household. Anthony knows how to perform in public, yet he’s easily distracted by Siena, who isn’t the ideal partner because of her “eccentric” lifestyle.

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Related: Bridgerton: Why Lady Whistledown’s Scandal Papers Are So Popular

Behind closed doors, Anthony’s watch thematically signifies his personal anxiety about the future. On one level, it’s a reminder about his late father, along with the weight of having to look after his seven siblings. As Anthony develops feelings for Siena, the watch distraction becomes more and more apparent to the audience, but not to the singer, who can’t possibly understand the larger picture. As Daphne’s private and public life becomes more complicated – large in part to the gossip columnist Lady Whistledown and Anthony’s Oxford classmate, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) – the viscount is continuously reminded about the pressures of finding his own wife. Given that Anthony can’t make a firm decision about his future with Siena, his mind becomes more and more cluttered, with the watch becoming a symbol of death.

Anthony Siena Bridgerton

In the third episode of Bridgerton season 1, “Art of the Swoon,” Anthony stares at his watch after being rejected by Siena, who now realizes that the viscount mostly cares about his familial title. Meanwhile, Anthony’s mother pressures him about finding a partner, even stating that “Time, as we both know, is certainly of the essence.” By this point, the watch subtext is obvious, yet it remains unclear how the viscount will react while navigating high society. In the subsequent Bridgerton season 1 episode, “An Affair of Honor,” Anthony’s identity crisis becomes more of a problem, as he actually threatens the Duke of Hastings to a duel, seemingly to defend the honor of his sister, Daphne (who isn’t at all offended by the Duke). The viscount then creates more drama by informing Siena about what has transpired, which leads to another sexual encounter. Unsurprisingly, the viscount takes a look at this watch before visiting the opera singer.

Anthony does indeed chill out a bit during the second half of Bridgerton season 1, as he now understands that true love is perhaps more important than familial titles. In the final episode, “After the Rain,” he and Siena hook up once again, but the singer eventually comes to the realization that she needs to permanently walk away from the viscount. Rather than getting upset, Anthony apologizes and appears to move forward with his life, which suggests that he will display more emotional intelligence in the second series installment. As fans of Julia Quinn’s book series may already know, the final shot of Bridgerton season 1 thematically links to Anthony’s deepest fears.

More: Bridgerton: How The Ending Sets Up Season 2

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Updated: January 7, 2021 — 10:09 pm

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