This is not your typical watch "icon".
And it's not that the Waltham 25 Jewel self-winding watch isn't a good watch, it is. But, if it were not for the TV show "Dexter", it probably wouldn't get the attention it's been getting.
Having said that, there is a reason why the costume designers for "Dexter" chose this watch, and thats part of what makes it an icon.
First, Waltham has pedigree.
Yes, they folded with the arrival of the Quartz movement (like so many others, even though the brand still exists under new ownership), but they are the company (and the American watch industry in general) responsible for establishing the art of modern watchmaking.
Waltham, named after the town it was founded in, in Massachusetts, made the first-ever watch with interchangeable parts and the first 100% American-made watch. The advanced machinery they designed spread to other industries and led to America's reputation for industrial prowess. Waltham pioneered a more precise and efficient production method, where each machine made a specific part correctly and in the same way each time it was manufactured, enabling the production of perfect watch components with repeatability.
Waltham was not the only company a part of this revolution, there was Elgin, Illinois, and Hamilton too. But Waltham was first, and that's a pretty big deal, especially since the Swiss adopted the American method and with obvious success.
Second, this particular model captured the style of a decade, and in doing so was perfect for a TV show based in middle-class Miami that started in the early 70's with Dexter's Dad Harry, through to today.
Dexter, the main character epitomises a laid back Miami style in the way he dressed and his attitude in his day-to-day (of course, ignoring his "dark passenger"). His Waltham, which was most likely passed down to him from his Dad Harry once Harry died, was the perfect no-frills, yet stylish watch and the show could not have made a better choice.
The great news is that these watches can be had for as little as $100-$250. Of course, proceed with caution. If the caseback says "water resistant" or "shock proof", it's probably a fake. And check the red-tip arrow second hand. If it has a kind of line, it's probably fake too.
But if you do find one in decent shape, buy it. Get it with a Speidel strap (for Dexter Authenticity), and enjoy!