Photographs: Getty Images, Cartier; Collage: Gabe Conte
Compared to the Oscars or even the laid-back Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards have never been much of a sartorial hotspot., But as television continues to shake off its secondary status to movies, its biggest award show is following suit. On the Emmys red carpet last night, there were a small handful of adventurous dressers—Young Mazino! Joel Kim Booster! Sam Richardson!—but more importantly, there was an absolute barrage of incredible watches.
The timepieces on a red carpet being more interesting than the actual outfits is a trend that began during last year’s award ceremonies. It’s a movement that makes sense given a watch’s standing in a man’s wardrobe. Watches are first and foremost an accessory, and there’s a reason that many of the most diehard collectors aren’t flashily dressed—most of them are taking risks and/or showing their taste through their wristwear.
The growing importance of event watches is evident in all the measures celebrities now take to show off their pieces. Take one look at the way Will Ferrell now poses at award shows and you’ll understand just how important his wristwear is to him. (Meanwhile, he joked that his tux was from Sears.) After Jonathan Bailey crooked his arm to ensure his watch was photographed at the Golden Globes, the uber-stylish playwright Jeremy O. Harris—who has walked plenty of red carpets himself—pointed out how difficult getting your wristwear on the permanent record can be. “An under-discussed anxiety-inducing part of menswear red carpet is making sure your watch is clocked,” he wrote on X. Last year, stylists told me they’re now hemming jackets slightly shorter to give a timepiece more real estate.
It makes sense, then, that the watches at award shows are only getting more exotic. Take Donald Glover at last night’s Emmys, for example. While the Atlanta creator sported a Cartier Tank Must—that most iconic of red-carpet dress watches—he went with a 2021 edition with a red vermeil dial. That sultry, offbeat choice earns Glover a bunch of creativity points.
Many of the celebrities at the Emmys took a page out of Glover’s playbook: selecting the more interesting pieces from their favorite brands’ catalogs. While the IWC Portugieser is a red carpet regular, for instance, Tom Hiddleston’s skeletonized version was a much less familiar (and very welcome) sight. IWC decked out many of the night’s better wristed attendees, putting last year’s Gérald Genta-designed Ingenieur on both Kumail Nanjiani and Charlie Puth.
Elsewhere on the carpet were actors just dead set on nailing the assignment. No one has ever looked bad wearing a Vacheron Constantin, which makes elegant pieces destined to end up at these swanky events. Jeremy Allen White wore the maker’s very pretty Fiftysix in pink gold, while Nicholas Braun donned the more rugged Overseas Chronograph. Both are proof that even when watches aren’t wild, they can still be the centerpiece of an outfit.
The most interesting choice of the night came from an unexpected candidate: Brian Cox. You might expect the Succession patriarch to reach for some standard dress watch befitting his elder statesmen status but he instead dialed up a funky piece from the over-the-top New York jeweler Jacob & Co. The Epic SF24 is a world timer that approaches the function in a totally unique way: Rather than the typical list of cities printed around the dial, the Epic features an aperture at the top that flips at the press of a button to display the time in 24 different cities, including New York, Tokyo, and Dubai. The watch popped out of Cox’s sleeve as he was giving out hugs during yet another Succession win. I’d bet it saw its shadow, too, meaning many more weeks of awesome red-carpet watches to come.
Originally Appeared on GQ