This is a timeline of events that occurred during the 1980s.
- In Detroit, Michigan, a class-action lawsuit launches against Jacobs Motors, on behalf of the victims of fuel-tank flare ups in the company's Apache car. The New York Gazette publishes an account of the proceedings.
- The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight.
- The New York Gazette's headline reads "Scientists Move Doomsday Clock One Minute Closer to Midnight".
- Veidt Enterprises' research and development team shows Adrian Veidt a prototype for the next generation of electric cars, offering twice the mileage at half the charge and passing every safety test. He orders the vehicles into immediate production, instructing the team to put all other projects on the back burner and focus on the Manhattan Project, his plan to duplicate Doctor Manhattan's teleportation abilities.
- Doctor Manhattan is assigned to the the Rockefeller Military Research Center's Special Talent Quarter. Laurel Juspeczyk move to the base with him, tasked with keeping him happy and relaxed as he carries out projects for the government and military.
Late October or Early November 1981
- Dan Dreiberg embarks on a trip to Africa with Professor Joseph Westwood, his editor at the Journal of the American Ornithological Society. The two go out every morning to observe the local bird life.
- A couple of weeks after arriving in Africa, Dan Dreiberg sends a postcard to Hollis Mason describing his expedition. He admits to Mason that he misses being Nite Owl and is having trouble accepting the fact that he will never again wear the costume.
Late November or Early December
- Dominique Hirsch is born.
- Laetrile is deemed phony and outlawed in the United States.
- Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of California.
- Max Shea disappears from his home in Boston.
- On the same week of Max Shea's disappearance Robert Deschaines' brain is stolen while his body lies on a mortuary slab.
- Two months after Max Shea's disappearance other prominent creative figures disappear including Hira Manish, Norman Leith, Linette Paley, and James Trafford March. Whittaker Furnesse and others from the scientific community as well as menial workers also disappear.
- Dan Dreiberg visits Byron Lewis in Maine. Outside the asylum he hears an owl, an experience that revitalizes his childhood excitement.
- Nostalghia is released.
- DC Comics' Flint Editions imprint publishes Treasure Island Treasury of Comics, which reprints the first thirty issues of Tales of the Black Freighter.
- Laurel Juspeczyk and Jon Osterman walk to Grand Central Station; they buy a Time issue commemorating "Hiroshima week". Dan Dreiberg notices the gross pictures of dead kids.
- Eddie Blake visits Edgar Jacobi drunkenly confesses to the details he has learned of Adrian Veidt’s plan. Veidt, who had wired Jacobi's home, learns that Blake has discovered his plans.
- Richard Nixon undergoes a third heart operation.
- The Vietnam Admission Act comes into effect, proclaiming the official addition of the State of Vietnam as the 51st U.S. state to be admitted into the Union.
- The Soviet Union conducts a bomb test in the Bering Sea.
- Eddie Blake is ambushed in his high-rise apartment and thrown out of the window. Blake dies upon impact.
- New York Times features headline: "Vietnam 51st State: Official!".
- Steven Fine and Joe Bourquin investigate Blake's apartment.
- Doctor Manhattan and Laurel Juspeczyk are informed of Eddie Blake's death. CIA suspects Libya is behind Blake's death.
- Hollis Mason meets his old foe, the Screaming Skull, at a supermarket; they trade addresses.
- After nightfall, Rorschach investigates Eddie Blake's apartment and discovers Blake's Comedian costume and a photograph of the Minutemen. He takes Blake's blood-stained smiley-face badge.
- Hollis Mason meets Dan Dreiberg for their customary Saturday beer night. Dreiberg leaves Mason's home shortly before midnight.
- Dan Dreiberg arrives home to find Rorschach waiting for him. Dreiberg is informed of the Comedian's death and takes the Comedian's badge.
- A newspaper features headline: "Russia Protests U.S. Adventurism in Afghanistan".
- A newspaper features headline "Congress Approves Lunar Silos".
- New York Gazette features headline: "Nuclear Doomsday Clock Stands at Five to Twelve Warn Experts" and "Geneva Talks: U.S. refuses to discuss Dr. Manhattan".
- Rorschach sleeps through the day and wakes up at 4:37 PM, then continues his investigation at Happy Harry's Bar & Grill.
- Rorschach visits Adrian Veidt at his office to warn him of a potential 'mask killer'.
- At 8:30 PM, Rorschach infiltrates Rockefeller Military Research Center and warns Doctor Manhattan and Laurel Juspeczyk.
- At 9:30 PM, Laurel Juspeczyk and Dan Dreiberg meet for dinner at Rafael's.
- Nova Expressfeatures headline: "How Sick is Dick? After 3rd Presidential Heart Op?"
- A newspaper features headline: "Soviets Will Not Tolerate U.S. Adventurism in Afghanistan."
- Laurel Juspeczyk visits her mother, Sally Jupiter, in a retirement home in California.
- Doctor Manhattan, Adrian Veidt, Dan Dreiberg and Edgar Jacobi attend Eddie Blake's funeral.
- Rorschach confronts Edgar Jacobi at his home who in turn tells him about Eddie Blake's visit mentioning a "list", an "island" and the "blue guy".
- Rorschach visits the cemetery alone to pay his last respects to Eddie Blake.
- New Frontiersman features headline: "Missing Writer: Castro to Blame?"; Nova Express holds the previous cover while preparing another subject.
- Utopia advertises Template:W.
- Public workers install fallout shelter signs around Manhattan.
- Doug Roth interviews Janey Slater about Doctor Manhattan.
- After an argument, Laurel Juspeczyk leaves Jon Osterman. Around 6:00 PM she visits Dan Dreiberg who is installing a new Gordian Knot lock after Rorschach broke the previous one; on their way to Hollis Mason's, they are ambushed by Knot Tops. Laurie decides to check in to a hotel.
- Doctor Manhattan gives a televised interview to Benny Anger on the Template:W network. Doug Roth of Nova Express accuses Manhattan of causing cancer to the people he worked closely with. While being harassed about it by several journalists, Manhattan teleports the crew and audience outside the studio.
- Nova Express features headline: "Dr. Manhattan Cancer Link New Evidence; Inside: Janey Slater Speaks"
- Dan Dreiberg visits Hollis Mason and witness the televised event concerning Doctor Manhattan.
- Doctor Manhattan briefly visits the abandoned Gila Flats, picks up an old photo of himself with Janey Slater, then teleports to Mars.
- Template:W passes near Earth and Doctor Manhattan can see a meteor shower from Mars.
- The main headline of the New York Gazette's morning edition is "Dr. Manhattan Leaves Earth".
- New Frontiersman features headline: "Our Country's Protector Smeared by the Kremlin".
- Walter Kovacs buys a copy of both papers
- Rorschach breaks into Dan Dreiberg's house on 7:25 to inform him that another costumed hero is gone.
- Laurel Juspeczyk returns to the Special Talent Quarters at the Rockefeller Military Research Center to discover that Jon Osterman has disappeared, that officials are sweeping the rooms for radiation, and that she is to be given a cancer scan.
- New York Gazette's evening edition features the following headline: "Russians invade Afghanistan"; "Forecast: Cloudy, heavy rain later"
- Richard Nixon, G. Gordon Liddy, Henry Kissinger and other political officials and scientists meet at the war room.
- New York Gazette features headline: "Afghanistan Fighting Spread" and inside: "Aghanistan: is Pakistan next?"
- Utopia advertises Template:W
- Rorschach pays a visit to Edgar Jacobi asking him about a scheme to discredit Doctor Manhattan. He leaves at 2:35.
- Dominique and Clare Hirsch are murdered by their father; Steven Fine and Joe Bourquin investigate.
- Pyramid Deliveries man stops by Bernard to refuel and talk about World War 3.
- Laurel Juspeczyk is expelled from the military base; Dan Dreiberg buys her a meal at the Gunga Diner and invites her to his home.
- Rorschach wakes up from the Knot Tops making graffiti of the Hiroshima lovers.
- Rorschach has an encounter with his landlady and goes to Gunga Diner where Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk are leaving.
- There is an apparent attempt on Adrian Veidt's life. Veidt fends off the attacker, who dies from ingesting a poison capsule.
- New York Gazette evening edition features headline: "Industrialist in Murder." 
- Rorschach receives Edgar Jacobi's note and at 8:30 he takes his gear and neutralizes a mugger along the way.
- Joey forces Bernard to hang a poster about a Pink Triangle concert.
- Steven Fine receives an anonymous tip about Rorschach.
- Edgar Jacobi is shot in the head by Adrian Veidt to have Rorschach framed.
- Rorschach is lured to Edgar Jacobi's apartment, where he discovers his body and is cornered by the police; Officers Shaw, Willis and Charlie Greaves are injured. Rorschach's mask his removed and his arrested by Steven Fine and Joe Bourquin.
- Rorschach is jailed at Sing Sing to await trail for the murders of Gerald Anthony Grice, Harvey Charles Furniss, and Edgar Jacobi.
- The New York City Police Department writes down Walter Kovacs' arrest file.
- A tenement building catches fire.
- Fighting in Afghanistan spreads closer to the borders, Russia claims to secure her borders, while Pakistan calls for United States to intervene. Peace demonstrations at Greenham Base of England with many arrests.
- Police ceases investigation for Max Shea.
- Laurel Juspeczyk's stuff arrive from the military base to Dan Dreiberg's house.
- Dan Dreiberg performs maintenance on Archie and later Laurel Juspeczyk accidentally uses the flamethrower.
- Walter Kovacs, now incarcerated at Sing Sing, attends his first interview with psychoanalyst Malcolm Long.
- 6:10 PM Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk watch the news and make out
- Adrian Veidt does a benefit performance for Indian Famine Relief in the Astrodome. The performance ends at 6:40.
- Red D'Eath of Pale Horse is featured on Benny Anger's show.
- 2:00 AM, After failing to have sex, Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk fall asleep.
- 3:15 AM, Dan Dreiberg has a nightmare about nuclear war. Dreiberg wakes up and heads down to the basement.
- 4:00 AM, a tenement building catches fire. Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II bring Archie out for the first time in years, and they and rescue the residents from the fire.
- After rescuing the civilians Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk have sex.
- Walter Kovacs tells Malcolm Long about the fabric he used to make his mask, and the murder of Kitty Genovese.
- Later during lunch, Walter Kovacs throws a hot cooking pan in the face of another inmate who had attempted to murder him. The guards intervene and drag Rorschach away while shouting "I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me."
- Malcolm Long spends his night with a cup of coffee, troubled with Walter Kovacs. Tension begins with his wife.
- Nova Express features headline: "Superheroes in the News: Spirit of '77."
- New York Gazette features headline: "Reds Cross Pakistan Border"
- Utopia is now showing Template:W.
- Hollis Mason calls up Sally Jupiter and they talk about the fire rescue and the past.
- Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk plan to break Rorschach out of prison.
- Rorschach tells Malcolm Long about Nite Owl II, the Comedian and the Crimebusters.
- Malcolm Long buys a copy of the New York Gazette from Bernard about Walter Kovacs and Soviet tanks invading Pakistan. He notices the Hiroshima lovers graffiti.
- Gloria Long attempts to spice up her relationship with Malcolm.
- New York Gazette features headline: "Nixon promises maximum force".
- Malcolm Long has fourth session with Rorschach. Rorschach relates the story of the Blair Roche kidnapping.
- Malcolm Long passes by the Watch seller; he buys another copy of the New York Gazette from Bernard about the war on Pakistan and nuclear alert procedure.
- In the evening the Longs welcome Randy and Diana for dinner. Malcolm's mention of Rorschach makes them feel uneasy and leave. Furious, Gloria refuses to sleep with Malcolm.
- Malcolm Long resigns.
- Big Figure, accompanied by Michael and Lawrence, threaten Rorschach in his confinement.
- New York Gazette features headline: Tanks Mass in Eastern Europe: 'Purely Defensive' Say Reds" and "California governor Reagan urges hard line".
- Dan Dreiberg installs another Gordian Knot lock. Detective Steven Fine, who suspects that Dreiberg is Nite Owl II, visits him and makes remarks in order to warn him.
- 6:35 PM Hector Godfrey and Seymour prepare the tomorrow's issue of New Frontiersman in response to Nova Express. They continue the story about Max Shea's disappearance and put a filler from the crank file.
- Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk study the plans of Sing Sing.
- William J. Franklin writes a top secret paper concerning Doctor Manhattan and Soviet aggression; planned to be sent on November 2.
- A ship arrives on Veidt's island, Max Shea and Hira Manish discuss the completion of their "baby" while Manish makes a final sketch.
- Dan Dreiberg and Laurel Juspeczyk prepare Archie.
- New Frontiersman features headline: "Honor is Like the Hawk: Sometimes It Must Go Hooded"; includes an article "Jewnited States of America" and the missing writer followup. Inside, it makes an appeal of clemency on behalf of heroes.
- Otis, the prisoner Rorschach scalded, dies.
- Sing Sing erupts into chaos.
- Hollis Mason prepares a jack-o-lantern for Halloween,
- TV news features the anticipation nuclear war within ten days, and criticism between New Frontiersman and Doug Roth.
- Archie passes the flood gate of the deserted subway tunnel.
- Knot Tops and Joey convene to the newsstand asking for the evening Gazette. Headline: "Sing-Sing erupts: Captured vigilante sparks riot: Five dead"
- Archie exits the old warehouse.
- Big Figure attempts to take his revenge on Rorschach. Archie arrives at Sing Sing. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre rescue Rorschach, but not before he kills Big Figure.
- 11:00 PM, Dan Dreiberg, Laurel Juspeczyk, and Walter Kovacs return to Dreiberg's home.
- 11:10 PM, Doctor Manhattan arrives and takes Laurel Juspeczyk to Mars.
- The police knocks on Dan's door but they pack and leave with Archie.
- After a discussion about the masked heroes, Derf and the Knot Tops high on katies head out to punish Nite Owl.
- 11:55 PM, Knot Tops storm into Hollis Mason's home, believing him to be the current Nite Owl, and kill him. His body is discovered by a group of kids.
- On Mars, Doctor Manhattan reveals to Laurel Juspeczyk that Edward Blake was her real father, and ultimately decides to return to Earth, his faith in humanity renewed given his theory that all humans are "thermodynamic miracles".
- The United States military moves to DEFCON 2.
- Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford arrive at a secret military bunker and meet Henry Kissinger and G. Gordon Liddy.
- At 4:30 AM, Adrian Veidt leaves New York City for his compound, Karnak, in Antarctica.
- The New York Gazette front page headline reads "Eastern Europe: Tanks Mass as Conflict Escalates". The newspaper also reports on Hollis Mason's death as well as Walter Kovacs' escape, which publicly reveals Nite Owl's true identity as Dan Dreiberg.
- Rorschach and Nite Owl II go to the former's apartment to recover his spare outfit and mask.
- Rorschach and Nite Owl II find the courier at Happy Harry's. Nite Owl II learns of Hollis Mason's death.
- The participants in the alien monster project are taken from Veidt's island on a Pyramid Deliveries ship and are all killed by a bomb.
- Rorschach and Nite Owl II break into Adrian Veidt's office. After uncovering Veidt's crimes, they fly to Karnak to confront him, but not before Rorschach mails his journal.
- At 2:40 PM a postman brings the mail, including Rorschach's journal, to the offices of the New Frontiersman.
- Pale Horse perform with Krystalnacht at Madison Square Garden.
- Between 11:14 and 11:18 PM Adrian Veidt watches his TV wall and records. (dialogue says 11:18, the panel shows 11:14)
- At 11:20 PM Aline meets Joey outside the Promethean.
- At 11:24 PM Steven Fine goes to interfere.
- At 11:25 PM, Adrian Veidt teleports the alien monster to New York City.
- Three million people are killed in New York City after Adrian Veidt teleports a giant, telepathic, genetically engineered squid into midtown Manhattan.
- Adrian Veidt kills his remaining servants.
- Nite Owl II and Rorschach arrive to Antarctica, but Archie breaks down and crashes in the ice. They proceed to reach Karnak via hoverbike.
- Nite Owl II and Rorschach enter Karnak's main dining room to confront Adrian Veidt. After fighting, he explains his plan and reveals that he had already activated the transmission, initiating the final stage of his sinister plot, "35 minutes ago."
- At midnight, Laurel Juspeczyk and Jon Osterman return to Earth and witness the devastation on New York City.
- Laurel Juspeczyk and Jon Osterman arrive at Karnak. Adrian Veidt attempts to kill Osterman via intrinsic field subtractor, the same way he was reborn as Doctor Manhattan, decimating him and Bubastis.
- Laurel Juspeczyk shoots Adrian Veidt, who catches the bullet and knocks her to the ground.
- Jon Osterman returns, lashing out and destroying much of Adrian Veidt's estate.
- The mainstream media announces the devastation in New York City. The ensuing chaos averts World War III and ushers in a new era of global cooperation, much to Adrian Veidt's satisfaction.
- Having witnessed the media's response to the alleged alien invasion, Adrian Veidt convinces his fellow masks that revealing his atrocities would destroy the newly achieved atmosphere of peace between the United States and the Soviet Union. Everyone agrees to remain silent, except for Rorschach who storms out, refusing to cooperate.
- Seeing the potential outcomes of Rorschach's assured upcoming actions, Jon Osterman kills Walter Kovacs.
- Jon Osterman decides to leave Earth with the intention of creating life of his own; leaving Adrian Veidt to ponder his nefarious actions.
- A Saturday morning cartoon series about Adrian Veidt's exploits as Ozymandias is released.
- The Dorchester family donates the building containing the Minutemen's former headquarters to New York City for public viewing.
- Who Watches the Watchmen by Joel H. Keesman is published.
- New Frontiersman editor Hector Godfrey starts burning most of the crank-file submissions that he and Seymour have never featured.
- Veidt Enterprises' Veidt Cosmetics & Toiletries division introduces its Millennium line, the new re-branding of Nostalgia.
- Honduras is devastated by mudslides and an earthquake leaving thousands without food or water.
- A series of Quake Aid concerts raise money to purchase supplies and equipment to help the survivors of Honduras.
- An airplane carrying supplies and equipment purchase with funds from July's Quake Aid concerts crashes while en route to help earthquake survivors in Honduras. The crash kills two pilots and seventeen people on the ground, and the plane lands in the only operational fresh-water tank within seventy miles of a makeshift Red Cross landing strip.
- Laurel Juspeczyk and Dan Dreiberg visits Sally Jupiter under their new identities, Sam and Sandra Hollis.
- Run for the Shadows: The Story of Ursula Zandt by Martha McCormick is published.
- New York City raises funds to renovate the Minutemen's former headquarters as a public museum.
- After buying lunch for himself and editor Hector Godfrey at Burgers 'N' Borscht, Seymour returns to the New Frontiersman's office. Hector has been forced to nix an anti-Russian column, so as replacement material, Seymour turns to his crank file, atop which sits Rorschach's journal.
- New York City opens the doors of the Minutemen's former headquarters as a public museum and begins offering tours.
- Chapter II: Absent Friends
- DC Heroes Role Playing Module #235: Taking Out the Trash - Curses and Tears
- This presumes Election Day in the United States occurs the same day in the Watchmen universe as in the real world.
- Chapter I: At Midnight, All the Agents...
- Watchmen Sourcebook
- Chapter V
- The last gubernatorial elections were in 1982, and according to Chapter IX Ronald Reagan is Governor as of 1985.
- Chapter XII: A Stronger Loving World
- Chapter VII: A Brother to Dragons
- New Frontiersman draft
- Blood from the Shoulder of Pallas
- Treasure Island Treasury of Comics
- Chapter IV: Watchmaker
- Chapter III: The Judge of All the Earth
- Chapter VI: The Abyss Gazes Also
- Chapter VIII: Old Ghosts
- Chapter IX: The Darkness of Mere Being
- Chapter X: Two Riders Were Approaching...
- Chapter XI: Look On My Works, Ye Mighty
- Ozymandias correspondence
- Ozymandias correspondence
- Chapter X: Two Riders Were Approaching...
- Chapter III: The Judge of All the Earth
- On October 19th, 1985, Doug Roth informed Doctor Manhattan in an interview that Janey Slater has lung cancer and that her doctors have given her six months to live. This assumes that Slater hasn't died earlier.
- Historical Date
- In the real world, U.S. Federal law specifies that new flag designs become official on the first 4th of July following the admission of a state.