It has often been said that wristwatches are an acceptable form of jewellery for men, and that’s especially true during the Hollywood awards season. For while brands such as Chopard and Cartier compete to get their dazzling creations onto the necks and earlobes of the world’s leading ladies, it’s the leading man’s wrist that has become the prime bit of real estate over which to do battle for luxury watch brands such as Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget and Breitling .
This year, the advent of the virtual award season means that there’s time to capture more in depth footage of what actors are wearing. Instead of trying to catch a glimpse of their wrists as they whizz by on the red carpet, celebrities can now use their hotel rooms to stage carefully chosen shots the better to flaunt the timepieces and outfits (which they have either been loaned or paid to wear). For example, the recent 2021 Golden Globes awards saw stars such as Daniel Levy, writer and star of Schitt’s Creek, pair his yellow Valentino suit with an equally elegant Cartier Santos, both clearly visible in press shots taken inside a studio. Meanwhile, Sacha Baron Cohen chose to wear a steel Omega Speedmaster to pick up his best actor award for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And who can blame him? After all, while technically a ‘tool watch’ made famous by astronauts, Baron Cohen shows us that the versatile ‘Speedy’ can also do double duty amongst the stars at an awards ceremony.
But some old tricks still crop up. Hollywood stylists such as Ilaria Urbinati, who dresses Bradley Cooper, always ensures that suit jackets and shirt sleeves are cut a little bit shorter on one side so the watch is more prominent. The cuffs of shirts are also cut a little looser for the same reason. And then there is the strap, which is fitted to be worn a little looser than normal. All of which means that the watch is on display whenever the actor moves his arm.
Body language also plays an important part. The main consideration is to ensure that the wrist is on display in one way or another. Shoving a hand in your pocket can cause the fabric to lift up, thereby – hey presto – revealing the watch. Similarly, pretending to adjust a shirt cuff or smooth down a lapel ensures that even the smallest dials can be seen in full. Josh O’ Connor pulled off both moves with great aplomb during the recent Golden Globes, showing off a stainless steel Bulgari Octo Finissimo as he went.
But if there were an award for a best performance in watch flaunting, then a sure fire nomination would be Chris Pratt who can often be seen meticulously adjusting his shirt cuff adjustment while on the red carpet, the better to show off his Cartier, Panerai or Bell & Ross. It’s a move not lost on Rami Malek who often posed with both hands in front of him during the awards circuit for Bohemian Rhapsody in order to flaunt his Montblanc 4810 Day- Date.
It’s not only the style and physicality of the actor that matters. A herculean Panerai or Hublot would look preposterous on the dainty wrist of Timothee Chalamet, but would be just the thing for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, whose Panerai Radiomir worn for the publicity rounds of Jumanji: The Next Level, came in at a whopping 47mm. On the other hand, Chalamet – the Call Me By Your Name star whose elegant red carpet outfits designed by Haider Ackermann helped propel him to the top of best dressed lists – wore a discreet Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface for the 2018 awards.
The forthcoming socially distanced 93rd Academy Awards [on April 26th], ceremony is the day when the award for red carpet best watch will finally be revealed. Will Lakeith Stanfield, nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Judah And The Black Messiah, wear an offbeat watch to match his famously wacky sense of style? Could Timotheé Chalamet, who has been known to pair those Haider Ackermann suits with a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, choose something more futuristic for his second try at a Best Actor Oscar for the re-make of Dune? A fellow nominee in the Best Actor category is Bill Murray for On The Rocks. Surely he will have something special up his sleeve.
We will have to wait and see. But make no mistake, the money shot in any watch product placement has to be the moment an actor actually receives his award. When Ryan Reynolds picked up his Golden Globe for Best Actor In A Musical Or Comedy for Deadpool in 2017, he delivered his acceptance speech wearing an elegant white tuxedo jacket and a 1950s Rolex Air King 5500. And that, ladies and gentleman, is what Hollywood watch dreams are made of.
CREDIT: Alfred Tong writes the celebrity watch column for British GQ and also works as a consultant providing brand and communications strategy for a number of Swiss watch brands. He wears a Mickey Mouse Timex as his everyday beater and one day hopes to own a Cartier Tank Chinoise, or failing that a Vacheron Constantin Prestige De La France