Top Watch Brands of Hollywood Film Fests
High-end watchmakers support movie festivals around the globe, with contributions to new director grants to manufacturing Cannes' coveted Palme d'Or trophy.
Plenty of luxury watch brands do business in Hollywood, from product placement in movies and television and dressing actors on the red carpet to hiring A-list talent as faces (such as Chris Hemsworth who just became an ambassador for TAG Heuer). A quartet of timepiece companies go even further in aligning themselves with the entertainment business by sponsoring film festivals around the world. The support includes grants to young talent, special watches auctioned off to benefit the festivals and even designing award trophies. Brands not only get their names emblazoned throughout the fests, but they also often get special access to adorn the wrists of talent with their wares.
Jaeger-LeCoultre supports seven festivals including Toronto, Los Angeles (where it hosts a symposium for women in filmmaking) and New York (where it assists young directing talent). At the Venice International Film Festival, it sponsors the annual Glory to the Filmmaker Award, which was given this year (along with a special-edition JLC Reverso watch) to Brian De Palma. "Cinema and high-end watchmaking both result from a creative vision, a perfect blend of technical excellence and artistic sensitivity," said Daniel Riedo, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, at this year’s fest, explaining why the brand sponsors film festivals around the world. "Whether at the manufacture or on a film set, artisans and artists are driven by the same passion to ensure that every second captures an amount of eternity." On the red carpet in Venice this year, actress Elisa Sednaoui wore the brand’s Rendez-Vous Secret timepiece and Joel Edgerton wore a dressy Master Ultra Thin at the Black Mass premiere.
Elisa Sednaoui at Venice in Jaeger-LeCoultre's Rendez-Vous Secret.
Sednaoui's Rendez-Vous Secret timepiece by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Chopard has reveled in the glamour of Cannes, sponsoring the festival since 1998. This year, its L.U.C 1937 Classic got prominent play on the wrist of jury member Jake Gyllenhaal; others who wore Chopard timepieces included David Gandy and Colin Firth. To mark the collaboration, Caroline Scheufele, the brand’s co-president, redesigned the Palme d’Or trophy, which is produced in Chopard’s Geneva workshops and now uses ethically sourced Fairmined gold. In Italy, Chopard last year initiated a three-year partnership with the famed Cinecittà studios, Rome’s "dream factory" studio complex that was built in 1937. The project will work to renovate the facility and restore some of the 3,000 films shot there, which include about 50 Oscar winners.
Jake Gyllenhaal wears Chopard's L.U.C. 1937 Classic at Cannes.
Chopard's L.U.C. 1937 Classic timepiece
Among the fests IWC supports are Tribeca, Dubai and Beijing. At each, the brand awards a grant to a young director or screenwriter. For Tribeca, it auctions a special watch: The Portofino Monopusher Edition Tribeca Film Festival 2015 was given at its annual For the Love of Cinema dinner this past spring and benefited the Tribeca Film Institute. IWC matches the auction price with a donation. "For many years now, IWC has had a passion for cinema," says Edouard d’Arbaumont, president of IWC North America. "By nurturing and elevating young filmmakers through our various For the Love of Cinema awards, IWC can support the film industry and its vital young talent by providing them with the necessary means to complete their work."
Dakota Fanning wears IWC's Portugieser Chronograph at Tribeca.
IWC's Portugieser Chronograph timepiece
German brand Glashutte Original has focused on the Berlinale since 2011. In 2014, it joined with the festival’s Perspektive Deutsches Kino section to establish a fellowship, the Made in Germany — Perspektive Fellowship, that awards a young German filmmaker a 15,000 euro grant. The brand also sponsors Berlin’s Retrospective section, which celebrates the history of cinema, and Homage, which honors directors and international artists with the Honorary Golden Bar prize.
Sigrid Ten Napel wore the Glashutte Original watch at the Berlin Film Festival.
Courtesy of Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's fourth annual Watch Issue.