Photographs: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte
This is an edition of the newsletter Box + Papers, Cam Wolf’s weekly deep dive into the world of watches. Sign up here.
Last week, I was pleased to discover that celebrities are just as concerned as I am about properly showing off a watch. This has long been implied by the way many red-carpet attendees now stand: arm crooked at the elbow and a hand lovingly framing their famous, demure wrist where, inevitably, there is a beautiful watch. Or, less subtly, like Will Ferrell with his watch proudly held up for the eager swarm of photographers.
While it’s long been apparent that celebrities love their watches—and are just as concerned with getting great photographs of them as the rest of us dorks—it was finally made explicit earlier this month. In the afterglow of a super watch-y Golden Globes, the playwright and red carpet fixture Jeremy O. Harris weighed in on the importance of getting your timepiece on the record. “An under discussed anxiety inducing part of menswear red carpet is making sure your watch is clocked,” he wrote on X, in response to a snarky comment about actor Jonathan Bailey’s watch-conscious stance. “There aren’t many poses that are watch forward and if you aren’t careful most poses with obstruct the watch from view.”
If famous people are thinking about showing off their watches, it follows that the stylists responsible for dressing them are thinking about it, too. And, of course, they’re spending more time than ever making sure they source the right watch for a given event. “Yes, we definitely discuss what’s best based on the look they’re wearing,” said Jamie Mizrahi, who styles Jeremy Allen White and posted a close-up of his watch before Monday’s Emmy Awards. “We normally go with a more casual watch with a larger face for daytime events, and something sleeker and smaller for more dressy occasions.”
But it’s not just about selecting the watch—stylists also make sure the pieces get their moment in the spotlight. Ilaria Urbinati—who styles Barry Keoghan, James Marsden, Donald Glover, and John Krasinski—does notice her clients intentionally posing to show off their wrist candy. “They tend to basically do the hand-in-front-of-the-body at their waist,” she said. “James Marsden is really good at this, so is Barry Keoghan. I personally love a hand-in-the-pocket pose, which is not ideal for the watch, so we kind of try to pick our battles.”
Spending time on poses may sound silly, but they matter for a variety of reasons. Some of Urbinati’s clients have deals with watch brands and are contractually obligated to make a perfect right angle with their arm to ensure the sleeve doesn’t obscure the literal money shot. (This is the “cut the check” pose that folks like Andrew Garfield have mastered.) “If they have a contract with the watch brand, or if they're trying to get the contract with the watch brand, I do feel that they put more emphasis on posing with the watch,” Urbinati said.
Then there are those who are in it simply for the love of the game. James Mardsen, Urbinati says, is a massive watch enthusiast. “James is such a watch nerd that he really puts emphasis on it,” she said. “He does tend to pose with his hand in front of him, pulling his sleeve [up] a little bit so you can really see it.” (It should also be noted that Marsden is an IWC partner. But, as my dad always told me: Do what you love and posing with a watch will never feel like work.)
In fact, some celebrities are so eager to ensure their watch is photographed that they go as far as altering their clothes. “I do try to hem the sleeves so that the watch just naturally shows,” Urbinati said. “Then they don't have to over-pose for it.” This tracks with what stylist Jason Bolden told me last May: “Now everyone's wearing a timepiece,” he said. “It’s even to the point that I have one side of the jacket sleeve hemmed a little bit shorter than the other side, so you get to see a bit more of the faces of the watch.”
Urbinati won’t go much shorter than about a quarter of an inch. Watches are increasingly important, but she still draws the line there. “Any shorter and it’s just too short,” Urbinati said. “Can’t sacrifice the tailoring for the watch.” So get to posing, boys.
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Originally Appeared on GQ