PARIS — “How are we doing this?” wondered Andrew Garfield as he crossed his arms one way then another with Omega chief executive officer Raynald Aeschlimann.
The two weren’t rehearsing for a choreography: they were showing off their watches for a souvenir photo on Friday during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
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As photographers snapped away at the “Spiderman” star, guests were exchanging notes on the Omega Speedmaster timepieces dotted around Sugaar, a speakeasy-style restaurant in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Près that has become a go-to for fashionable soirées.
Garfield soon joined in, whipping off the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon model he sported to show its intricate skeletonized movement and the quote engraved on the back.
“I do genuinely love these things, not only because they’re beautiful but because of the story,” he said. “Every one of their watches has such an epic, soulful story and I feel quite genuinely nerdy and passionate about it.”
Plus, he found humanity’s ability to destroy but also create items as delicate as a watch movement “quite moving.”
As he dives deeper into watchmaking through his connection to Omega, the actor could be tempted to create one himself.
But despite finding the challenge fun, it still felt daunting. “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” he admitted. “I would be a bit overwhelmed at the concept.”
Recently he’s had the passing of time particularly on his mind, not least because of the theme of “We Live in Time,” an upcoming romance in which he stars opposite Florence Pugh, who is said to have shaved her head for the role.
“It’s a story that deals with that very question of how we spend the time we have — a short time we have — between birth and death,” he said, although he wouldn’t be drawn into spilling more on the plot.
Turning 40 in the summer — “thanks for that,” he deadpanned when reminded — and a personal loss had set the wheels of reflection in motion.
“My soul is definitely getting rearranged as we speak,” he said, drawing a chuckle from guests. “You laugh but it’s true. I feel like everything that once mattered doesn’t matter so much anymore.”
Ruefully noting that it was physically all downhill from there, Garfield said the realization “keys into the true sacredness and sanctity of life, the shortness and sacredness of our time here.”
“The more aware of that we become, hopefully the more true to ourselves we become, the more we live as authentically as we can — joyfully, full of love, honesty, anger, rage, all the stuff that matters,” he continued, describing the experience as “a process of shedding.”
But the conversation was not all existential questions. The actor also revealed he loved stopping into famed shirtmaker Charvet, “the most fancy f–-king store ever.”
Just for a quick browse, mind you. “I can’t frequent Charvet,” he hedged. “I’m a frugal guy.”
And before going back to work, he was planning on attending the Loewe show on Saturday morning.
“The fashion world’s a riot,” he said. “I feel like such a tourist in a way. I get to enjoy a whole other art form.”
Even the habitual tardiness of shows felt like a part of the experience, although Garfield once told the press he detests being late.
“As long as I’m on time, I’m OK. I can sit back and relax and let someone else’s lateness shine,” he said with a chuckle. “I like to people watch and I don’t often get to be in a situation where I’m not a famous person in the room. It’s quite enjoyable.”
But showcasing its latest timepieces wasn’t the point for Omega’s CEO. Having the fashion set in town was the perfect opportunity for a night of fun.
“Of course, we have watches but it’s about bringing all the people that we like together,” Aeschlimann said.
Before guests tucked into Cantabrian anchovies, red gambas crudo, turbot and dry-aged Simmental beef followed by saffron-infused chocolate mousse, the executive toasted to 2024.
“I have no idea [what’s] going to come — apparently fashion shows were quite great — let’s pray for incredible continuation of courage, motivation and hope,” he said.
With the watchmaker’s position as official timekeeping sponsor, Aeschlimann told the room that they would see much more of him with the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, inviting everyone to visit the Omega House that will be located near the Musée d’Orsay.
Earlier, he’d said that although 2024 brought “no security of a business going up,” he was serene thanks to the experience accrued during the pandemic era and a good dynamic. “Through the years of COVID[-19], we made record sales in some countries,” he said, attributing success to Omega’s ability to trigger emotion.
“We are very lucky to inspire people and the Olympic Games are the best way,” he continued.
According to the executive, the Swatch-owned watchmaker recorded its best-ever year in 2023 for e-commerce in the U.S., as did some of its physical stores, amounting to marked growth in the territory.
Asked if the brand would pursue elevation or brand equity this year, Aeschlimann said the former alone was “too opportunistic” and a short-term business choice.
“With a good brand equity that will also grow, then you make sure that for the next generation you continue to do your values,” he continued. “Equity has more value than elevation.”
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