Kate Bishop and Clint Barton intersected with each other’s lives in Hawkeye when Kate accidentally stole the Ronin suit from an illegal auction to hide her identity. But as fans noted from the beginning, there was more than one item taken from the rubble of the Avengers compound. For instance, there’s Ronin’s sword, which Jack Duquesne stole, and, perhaps most importantly, a watch the Tracksuit Mafia members were after. The identity of the watch’s original owner has been a hot topic among viewers, and this Hawkeye fan theory that Laura previously owned the Rolex is an eye-opener that suggests there’s more to the Barton family than fans knew.
Warning: Spoilers for Hawkeye Episode 4 follow. There have been a lot of theories about the Rolex and why the Tracksuit Mafia are after it. For example, it could have belonged to Tony Stark as part of his Iron Man suiting or something connected to the Stark Industries database. The fact that it’s vintage, on the other hand, could link it to Steve Rogers, a theory supported by the Lot Number (268), which matched Avengers Issue #268, a Captain America-centered story. In fact, those who back the Cap theory felt like they got a boost with Episode 4. Barton mentioned the watch “belonged to a friend” who has been “out of the business for a while,” but it contained enough info to link them to it. Rogers retired as an old man at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and other than the wild theory that he’s living on the moon, no one knows what happened to him. Barton might be trying to keep it that way.
But there’s a far better theory on Reddit that makes so much sense it’s hard to discount. In a recent post, Reddit user Mars_The_68thMedic proposes the watch belongs to Laura, Barton’s wife. Consider the evidence: No one knows how Clint and Laura met. But it seems unlikely he’d fall in love with and marry a civilian after (as he describes it) he’d been trained to hurt people. Moreover, Laura appears very well connected; she’s been digging up intel and tracing signals. She also speaks fluent German, as fans saw in Episode 4. It’s the stuff one would expect from, oh I don’t know, a former SHIELD agent, maybe?
Barton said the watch owner has been out of the business for a while. How long? Perhaps 16 years since giving birth to her first child? Barton once said Nick Fury was the one who arranged for them to have a quiet life in exchange for him doing SHIELD business. Perhaps this is because one of SHIELD’s best agents wanted to leave and start a family with him?
It is also notable Laura was the one to bring up the Rolex as a still-unaccounted-for item from the rubble of the Avengers compound. The way she linked it to the Ronin suit and sword suggests Barton had the watch in his own personal effects when the building collapsed. And yet, he told Kate the watch not his, and although he’s not always open about his past or his plans, he doesn’t lie to her. So, why would he have had the watch?
Episode 4 spent time replaying the opening moments of Endgame when Barton’s family disappeared. What’s something people do when they want to keep a memory of a lost loved one? They carry personal effects like talismans, a locket, a photo... or a watch. If the Rolex was Laura’s and Barton had it in his Ronin suit, someone would find the three auction items together.
It would also explain why Barton is so frantic to get it back, because protecting his family is his primary mission above everything else.
Hawkeye continues with new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.