Awards season is officially upon us and so are the newspaper stories outlining the who’s who of film stars and, more importantly for some, what they’re wearing on the red carpet. While a handful of ceremonies span November and December, two of the biggest occur this month. They include the BAFTAs, which is to be held on 2 February, with the star-studded Academy Awards a week later.
Though tabloid picture editors will pore over photos of the latest red-carpet fashion, we’re more interested on what the stars will be wearing on their wrists. Accessorising with a discerning timepiece can make or break an outfit, which is why many look to the world’s finest horology brands to help them complement their designerwear. Here, we round up our favourite dress watches worthy of the glitz and glamour of a starry event. Conceived to accompany formal attire, such examples are regarded as some of the most elegant and sophisticated on the market, making them ideal for adding a dash of style to an outfit, whether by day or after dark.
Favourites so far
The Golden Globes kicked off the 2020 awards evenings and, with it, came a host of timepieces to admire. Daniel Craig (above) and Nicole Kidman, both OMEGA brand ambassadors, accessorised with stellar watches from the horology house. It has become customary for Kidman to use the red carpet to showcase her collection and, this year, she chose a vintage gold example for the occasion.
Ellen DeGeneres also accessorised with an impressive watch – a Patek Philippe 5271P shimmering with 58 showstopping diamonds. Meanwhile, Rami Malek wore a Cartier Tank Solo to the event, remaining faithful to the Parisian brand’s iconic model. It was another Tank, the Américaine, that adorned his wrist when he picked up the Oscar for Best Actor last February for his performance as Queen’s Freddie Mercury in 2019’s blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody.
The rose-gold and steel iteration of Chopard’s Alpine Eagle, featuring a 36mm case, a frosted mother-of-pearl dial and a COSC-certified movement (£17,800)
Peak of perfection
One of the names that immediately springs to mind when thinking of watches worthy of an awards ceremony is Chopard. It’s a regular on the red carpet, providing stunning accessories for the A-list and the brand has been favoured by Kate Winslet, Lupita Nyong’o and Julia Roberts to name a few. Chopard is also linked directly with Cannes Film Festival, annually producing the beautiful Palme d’Or award, given to the winner of the best feature film category.
The new Chopard Alpine Eagle is a sports-chic dress watch that’s guaranteed to make an impact at any occasion. This polished 18-carat rose-gold and stainless-steel 36mm model features a frosted white mother-of-pearl dial that’s reminiscent of the Alps in winter. Its bezel is set with ethically mined diamonds, further enhancing the dazzling appearance of the piece, while inside ticks a COSC-certified chronometer movement with a 42-hour power reserve (£17,800).
The name of the collection references the eagle that reigns supreme over the Alps, which is renowned for its piercing gaze. Like that of the mountains that inspired its creation, the watch’s appearance changes according to the light conditions, making it the perfect accompaniment to a paparazzi-pleasing red-carpet look. It’s crafted from an exclusive, ultra-resistant and light-reflecting metal named Lucent Steel A223, which Chopard developed especially for the collection. It took four years of research and development to produce, using a re-smelting process that makes it 50 per cent more resistant to abrasion than conventional steel.
The Alpine Eagle is a reinterpretation of the St. Moritz, Chopard’s first sports timepiece in steel, which was designed by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, now its co-president. At the time of its launch in 1980, it was a huge step for a brand that had been best known for its exquisite dress watches. Its creation was inspired by the sophisticated, après-ski community of the Swiss Alpine resort town of that name – a location favoured for the average of 300 days of sunshine it enjoys every year – and we think its successor will be every bit as popular with the jet set.
The dainty Cartier Panthère, featuring a 22mm x 30mm stainless-steel case and a matching steel bracelet (£3,550)
For women who favour a classic, timeless aesthetic, the Cartier Panthère would be an ideal choice. This beloved jewellery watch has been an icon since its launch in the 1980s. It was re-released in 2017, when the house hosted an extravagant party in one of Hollywood’s hippest venues, inviting everyone from Mark Ronson to Dita Von Teese.
This iteration features a 22mm x 30mm square case set on a supple metal chain-link bracelet, the creation of which was a real innovation. The five interlocking links made the timepiece not only more comfortable, but also beautifully intricate to look at.
While the original watch was branded as unisex, this launch is aimed at women, with the design altered slightly to give it a feminine edge. The Panthère’s signature Roman numerals, blue sword-shaped hands and rail track remain unchanged, proving the vintage aesthetic still has a classic and lasting appeal. In short, this is the timepiece to take the wearer from day to night – it looks as at home with jeans as it would worn with an evening gown (£3,550).
This IWC Portofino Automatic, cast in 18-carat 5N rose gold and set on a dark brown alligator-leather strap (£9,900)
The IWC Portofino Automatic has already seen action on the red carpet – it was worn by Darren Criss when he picked up the 2019 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. This formal gentleman’s watch has a timeless charm, its traditional brown alligator-leather strap is contrasting handsomely with its 18-carat 5N rose-gold case and accents, which include its hands and Roman-numeral hour markers at 6 and 12 o’clock.
A ‘less is more’ approach was taken with the design, based on an old pocket watch, resulting in an understated and effortlessly elegant timepiece that finds favour with those who love simplicity. The evenly rounded sides of its 40mm case make it appear slimmer than it really is. Its reverse features a beautiful engraving of the harbour of the Italian town of Portofino that lent the watch its name, capturing the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle that was its inspiration (£9,900).
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