At a dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills on Tuesday night, Brad Pitt was mingling in the garden with some of his fellow ambassadors for the watch company Breitling, such as seven-time surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore and 19-year-old British drone racer Luke Bannister.
The group was gathered for the Swiss watch brand’s latest Breitling Summit event, where the company announced new products — including the debut Aviator 8 Mosquito inspired by a classic WWII aircraft and the newest collaboration with surfer Kelly Slater’s Outerknown brand with a recycled-nylon strap — to retail and press throughout the day.
At the dinner, Breitling CEO Georges Kern introduced Pitt, who has been wearing a Breitling Premiere B01 Chronograph 42 Norton edition watch at press events for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Ad Astra over the last few months, and talked about Pitt’s interest in the brand. “We know that you had a pilot’s license. You relate to pilot’s watches. You even told me that you bought some Emergency watches even before we met each other,” said Kern. Responded Pitt gently, “Even before you, George, yes.” Added Kern: “So this is authenticity and credibility of the brand.”
Kern, the brand’s hard-charging chief exec since 2017 (and former CEO of IWC), has long been a fan of Hollywood. He recently produced his first movie, the French film My Stupid Dog, based on a John Fante novel, which stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and is set to open later this month. Since arriving at Breitling, Kern has also hired Pitt, Charlize Theron and Adam Driver as spokespeople comprising what it calls its Cinema Squad. (Pitt was connected to Breitling through Jon Liebman, CEO of his management company Brillstein Partners, who knew Kern.)
Earlier in the day, the exec talked about what makes a connection between a celebrity and a brand work. “First of all, they need to like you,” said Kern. “If you don’t have a personal connection forget it. You have to spend time with them. I don’t think anybody we have as a squad member needs our money for sure. They still like it and they feel committed and they do the stuff and they have fun, but they do it if you as a partner are interested in what they are doing. It’s like any partnership, if you don’t show interest in what your wife or girlfriend is doing forget it.”
After Kern spoke, guests got to try on the new timepieces, which included an updated Avenger pilot watch collection (the brand has had a connection to aviation since the 1930s and 1940s when it provided onboard clocks for aircraft). Also on display were the newest straps with Outerknown, made from a recycled material called Econyl (which uses nylon waste from oceans and landfills) and part of the brand’s commitment to reducing plastic pollution.