Once you notice how celebrities wear their watches you can’t unsee it….Zach Blass
During the week an interesting article popped up from the Independent UK in my Apple News feed. It revolved around a press conference at Euro 2020 where superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo shunned one of the tournament sponsors Coca-Cola by purposefully moving two bottles of the soft drink out of view from the camera while asserting water to be the better drink of choice. It made the news because Ronaldo’s action triggered a 1.6% share price drop for Coke, a loss (later recovered) in share price of a few billion dollars. Here was clear evidence of the effect that celebrity endorsement (or the inverse) can have on a brand or product. Now it’s no secret that watch brands routinely recruit ambassadors for their brands to promote their products. But when you’re conscious of this fact, you start to notice certain things about the way celebrities wear their watches that clearly reflect the nature of their paid ambassadorships.
Celebrities intentionally gesture and posture to showcase their sponsored watches…
In the aforementioned Independent article, writer Rupert Hawksley kicks off his report noting, “I remember when I was first told that sports stars sometimes scratch or rub their heads a number of times during interviews, seemingly to show off the brand of watch they are wearing. (Roger Federer seems to do this a lot, as apparently does Jose Mourinho.)”.
Hawksley further explains that once you are aware of this phenomenon it’s impossible not to notice it. He’s not wrong. Heck even I have done it cheekily when I wanted to convey a new watch alert to my fellow Time+Time team during an editorial call over Zoom.
To check the theory, I picked a random video of Roger Federer having a post match press conference, and lo and behold – midway through the interview the watch found itself in a prime position for the camera to pick it up and viewers worldwide to clock the Rolex Sky-Dweller on his wrist.
Was it natural motion and gesturing? Perhaps. But it does seem uncanny that Federer suddenly managed to position his Rolex into such clear view. Check out the clip above at the moment in question for your own evaluation.
While Federer delivered the good for his sponsor with nonchalant ease, former Rado ambassador Andy Murray went through a more dramatic scramble. After winning the US Open in 2012, Murray’s first words were not a scream of victory but a worried admission: “I don’t have my watch!” As a true professional, the Scotsman had the presence of mind to search for his Rado D-Star chronograph to ensure it got its moment in the limelight when he raised the US Open trophy. If you click through the hyperlink above, you’ll see Murray clearly searching for the watch like a father who lost his child at Disneyland.
The irony here is that while the hiccup would seemingly anger a brand sponsor, it likely worked out in Rado’s favour with every news outlet covering the tournament noting the harmless incident and in turn creating further publicity for the watch. It’s kind of like when actor Mark Ruffalo accidentally kept his Facebook Live stream running after entering a private screening of an Avengers film. Ruffalo was reprimanded by executive producer Kevin Feige, who basically asked him how he could be so stupid. But the following day Ruffalo was unexpectedly met by Feige absolutely thrilled by the result, hugging him and claiming the blunder was absolutely genius – as the incident had increased coverage and interest in the film.
I’ve noticed another trend: celebrities wearing their watches very loosely…
Speaking of Mark Ruffalo, his attendance of the Frederique Constant Hybrid 3.0 watch in NYC supports a theory I’ve always had about how celebrities wear their watch. Frequently dressed up for glamorous event, a suit sleeve or cuff always threatens to obscure the visibility of their watch . To mitigate this issue, I have found that many celebrities often tend to wear their watches on the more loose side.
The reason? To ensure the watch can casually slide down the wrist and further peek out from under a sleeve. Ruffalo is clearly aware of some obligation to flash the timepiece on his wrist and as a result is not only posturing with his arms crossed, but also has his sleeve sneakily pulled back to ensure the watch gets caught in full view. If there were video footage of his arm straight down I would be willing to bet the watch would have slid further down his arm, crown almost digging into the back of his hand. I say this because you’ll notice the amount of clearance he has on the top side of his wrist in the photo, the lack of centering a clear indicator the watch is not secured very snugly to the wrist.
You’ll notice the same thing while watching the film The Dark Knight Rises where Christian Bale’s/Bruce Wayne’s JLC Reverso is clearly worn loose with an assumed posture designed to display the watch without obstruction.
Here, Chris Hemsworth exhibits the same loose fit style to ensure his TAG Heuer is in full view. The watch is clearly past the ulna bone of the wrist, a physical indicator most watch wearers use for a more “proper” fit. I know I personally like my watches on the more snug side, but this is to ensure my timepiece remains behind the ulna and further away from your hand. This can also mean having to tug a sleeve back in order to check the time, and, as my colleague Thor has noted, he will intentionally wear his watches looser in such formal wardrobe for that exact reason.
Now to be fair, some people just like to wear their watches loose. Some people are also more fidgety than others. So neither of the two above observed phenomena are universal rules. But I think it’s fair to say that if you do catch a celebrity with a seemingly forced posture, being overly expressive when they typically are not, or wearing a watch as if there was no time to properly size it for their wrist, they may have an ulterior motive.