Watch What You Say

A wristwatch says a lot about its wearer. It is a subtle accessory that becomes part of the wearer’s identity. With hundreds of years of history behind each brand, there is an ethos and style to match any individual in the world. Whether it be for technology, style, or philanthropic reasons, a host of celebrities have become brand ambassadors to sport their favourite timepieces.

Awristwatch says a lot about its wearer. It is a subtle accessory that becomes part of the wearer’s identity. With hundreds of years of history behind each brand, there is an ethos and style to match any individual in the world. Whether it be for technology, style, or philanthropic reasons, a host of celebrities have become brand ambassadors to sport their favourite timepieces.

Being a ‘friend of the brand’ turns a celebrity into a fashion icon; the limelight exposes luxury watches to the world, in turn massively heightening exposure and publicity. Here, we look at celebrated actors who have sided with different brands and tell us what these partnerships mean to them.

LEO DICAPRIO
Tell us about your relationship with TAG Heuer.
Coming together with TAG Heuer was important for me on a couple of levels. It was a brand I really believed in, and one that, in my mind, has always been synonymous with precision, quality and attention to detail. I wouldn’t say I was a perfectionist in every aspect of my life, but I think we all strive to be that little bit more polished, so it was a nice link to make!

How does that work?
Well, we came together to design limited editions of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500M – again, that was something I was so proud of. That kickstarted other green initiatives and really moved forward the philanthropic standing of TAG. It has been hard work at times, but it goes to show that any corporation in any industry can reassess, refine and make an impact. It just has to want to do that.

How did TAG achieve that?
Everything from improving inefficient lighting systems to reducing wastage on steel. That’s why it has been such an exciting project because it was always about more than designing a watch.

But the watch is a standout part of the process?
Absolutely. I love the contrast the steel offers, both to the rubber of the strap and the brilliant blue colouring. It’s a wristwatch that can be versatile depending on what you’re wearing… dressed up or down.

You’ve worn a number of different wristwatches over the years in films – the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre, a Breitling Avenger Chrono, and many more besides. Do you have a favourite?
My favourite is always the one I have on!

CAMERON DIAZ
TAG Heuer was established in 1860 and you’ve been with the team since 2012. Are we looking at longevity?
I have been a fan of the TAG Heuer brand for many years. The Link Lady watch is wonderful – so beautiful, yet with a bit of edge to it as well. That’s not an easy combination to pull off. But upon seeing the design it just seemed to resonate glamour and elegance and strength. That’s pretty cool!

Can a watch speak volumes about the person who wears it?
Well, I think the Link Lady is for the confident, elegant, modern woman who sees her watch as a piece of her favourite jewellery.

I’ve heard you don’t like the suggestion it’s just a smaller version of a man’s watch?
Well, it’s true to the TAG Heuer line, but distinctly feminine at the same time. There are as many variations on the women’s watches as there are types of women. I consider mine one of my favourite pieces of jewellery, much more than just a timepiece.

UMA THURMAN
Okay, so tell us about your decision to put your name to some fantastic wristwatch brands over the years, particularly TAG Heuer.
Well, there is this whole accessory thing going on when it comes to fashion, and it’s really important, particularly for women. Putting my name to a brand of wristwatch was really expressing the ultimate accessory, because a good watch says so much about style and appearance and, indeed, your personality.

Which of those watches stood out for you?
I think the Diamond Fiction watch was an incredible piece of design – a watch and an item of jewellery. I’d never seen anything like it, and it’s with that kind of innovation that a really clever design is taken forward. A beautiful piece of art. Wristwatches have a base in tradition, but that doesn’t mean ideas can’t be taken forward – modern ideas.

With that in mind, you were brave enough to wear a men’s watch for that Vogue photo-shoot – the Rolex Datejust. Was that a statement you were intending to make?
That was an interesting shoot and good fun. I’m not one of those people who would want to go so deep as to start talking about subverting stereotypes. For me, it’s just about what enables you to look good. The fact is, women can be beautiful and attractive at any age and wearing most things! I think you are responsible for casting your own aura and drawing people to you – or not, depending on your state of mind.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Tell us about the variety of wristwatches you’ve sported over the years.

Well, there have been so many, but the one that I always come back to is the Seiko Arnie H558. I think I wore this in seven different movies. It’s a very sporty watch, hard-wearing, and that was really reflective of the movies I was doing at the time back then. It was a great combination. But I’ve always liked vintage watches as well because they’ve been big watches.

What is it you like about a wristwatch?
The size, the magnitude, the big stuff! I don’t like small watches; I want something that really makes a statement. I also like the fact you use different watches for different occasions. I like the way I can choose a different watch for a different setting.

Your watch drawer has courted publicity in the past…
Sure, watches are there to be worn. I choose a watch, put it on, get on with my day. I don’t like all that watch winder stuff – it’s so unnecessary. So I don’t show off my watches… I don’t want to do that; I just want to enjoy them.

You’ve worn so many different brands of wristwatch over the years in your movies. Do you have a favourite?
Wow – that’s a question. I don’t think so. I think different watches suit different movies and different eras. I used to wear a lot of Seikos, for instance, but sometimes when you switch to a certain manufacturer, you get the feeling you have found the one that is right for you. The Panerai, the Audemars Piguet… they were good moments! The Piguet, especially.

You’ve said in the past that kids aren’t obsessed about wristwatches like you maybe were in your youth?
That’s true – there are so many other things to occupy them… their computers, their phones. I think it’s a passion you only really pick up in later life anyway.

HENRY CAVILL
Tell us about the Omega relationship.
I love Omega watches. I think a wristwatch needs to match who you are, how you feel and how you dress. If I was a pop star I might have chosen a different watch, but Omega produce beautifully crafted watches that are exactly right for what I wear and how I carry myself.

You wore the Omega De Ville Hour Vision wristwatch for the London premiere of Man of Steel, right?
Yes, it has that beautiful solidity and style, yet it’s a delicate thing as well.

A bit like Superman?
I guess!

Would you ever wear an expensive watch on set?
It depends on the role. I like the versatility of a number of wristwatches – they can adapt to what you’re wearing and the situation you find yourself in. It’s very clever. But whether I’d want to risk one on set is something else!

EWAN MCGREGOR
You’ve been a ‘Friend of the Brand’ for IWC Schaffhausen for some time now. Should we assume the Pilot’s Watch is your preferred timepiece?
Yes, it is! I do like the big Pilot’s Watch. It’s beautiful and simple. The face reminds me of an instrument in the cockpit of an aircraft. It’s crafted with practicality as well as style. For instance, it has a beautiful big knob on the side because pilots had to wear leather gloves, so you could change the time as you were flying along. It’s a lovely watch and it carries with it appearance and practicality.

Any others?
I like the Miramar watches very much as they look like the real deal – the kind of green canvas strap – and they’re beautiful. The Double Chronograph is similar but has more toys on it!

Are you a one-brand man when it comes to wristwatches?
No, I’ve had a few different watches over the years. I think you get a feel for what you like quite quickly, but I don’t think you’ll ever just settle on one wristwatch, and nor should you. I’ve had four or five Panerai watches over the years – a 196, 187, 177T and more. I used to buy them in Scotland but am obviously not there as much now, and of course, your taste changes as the years go by.

How does a good wristwatch make you feel?
I guess it makes you feel complete. You want to show it off but at the same time, there’s nothing worse than someone flaunting a timepiece in your face. But it’s the weight of the object that offers that sense of power and security.

Is there any rivalry between film stars in terms of what wristwatches are being worn?
Not to the extent it interrupts our work! Charley Boorman and I wore Bremont watches on our motorbike adventures and were really impressed with their durability. They’re made to be tough and almost unbreakable, and certainly stood up to the challenge, particularly where Charley’s driving skills were concerned!

***

Wristwatches strike enthusiasm for a host of celebrities. For actors, who change characters quicker than it takes for a brand to produce a new design, the wristwatch is an accessory that symbolises what they represent.

A timepiece has the ability to give the wearer an identity. It is in this that the success of luxurious watch brands lies; each brand has a uniqueness that gives them a loyal following. When it comes to associating a brand with an identity, James Bond is the perfect example. Always stylish and smart, Bond’s adventurous aura makes the partnership with Omega more than fitting. Costume designer for Bond, Lindy Hemming, says: “I was convinced that Commander Bond, a naval man, a diver and a discreet gentleman of the world would wear the Seamaster with the blue dial.”

Bond and Omega is a classic example as to how the watch shapes the wearer, but more importantly also as to how the wearer shapes the timepiece brand’s identity. Brands specifically target a certain type of celebrity for each model and even associate themselves with different sports. Be it TAG Heuer with motorsports, Omega with diving, or Rolex with tennis, a luxurious timepiece brand seeks a variety of sources to shape its target audience.

Types of watch models are vast and varied, catering for any style and purpose; be it a World-Time watch, perfect for travellers always switching through time zones, or a Seamaster, for anyone with a penchant for the deep water.

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