A person may be judged on the watch he or she wears, but the opposite can be true too.
If sporting an iconic watch on your wrist can help you stand out, being linked to a celebrity will similarly boost reputation of timepieces.
Whether seen on the wrist of a Hollywood star the likes of Brad Pitt, or named after a legendary aviator like Alberto Santos-Dumont, such horological creations quickly become more well-known – if not enduring icons.
There are even designs of which a celebrity has had a hand in creating. Yes, K-pop superstar Lisa has helped inspire a watch.
Breitling, Cartier and Bulgari are the watchmakers of such celebrity-famous timepieces. Whether you are a fan of the associated celebrity or not, you must admit that they do have a unique story to tell.
Mirroring a well-known person, watches such as these feature interesting design cues.
K-pop approved timepieces
The most recent celebrity-associated timepiece is the one Blackpink’s Lisa helped create. She worked with Bulgari to design her very own rendition of the Bulgari Bulgari watch.
Unveiled last month, the Bulgari Bulgari x Lisa watch is a steel and rose gold beauty. It features a striking multi-coloured dial with blue, green and hints of purple creating a rainbow effect.
Twelve diamonds mark the hours, complemented by rose gold hands. The crown is topped by a cabochon-cut rubellite, said to be one of Bulgari’s aesthetic signatures.
Lisa’s initial can be seen on the caseback, located within an edelweiss motif. The flower is her favourite, but more than that, it also a nod to Switzerland, where the Bulgari watch manufacture is located.
The timepiece is powered by a quartz movement. There are two sizes available, one in 33mm and the other in 23mm.
“Bulgari created just for me this special dial colour, mixing green, blue and some purple tone depending on the reflection of the watch!” Lisa, who is a Bulgari ambassador, enthused on Instagram.
CEO, Jean-Christophe Babin, revealed that Lisa herself came up with the idea to create a limited-edition timepiece. It was during the filming of Bulgari’s Inside The Dream documentary.
“We discussed watches together and Lisa very much suggested a very special interpretation of our Bulgari Bulgari watch icon with a new unique dial of her liking and special engraving and packaging,” Babin wrote.
The Bulgari Bulgari watch is a design first introduced in 1977. It is loved for having a bold bezel, with the ultra-visible brand name engraved on it.
That said, Lisa is just as much an icon. Not only is she part of Blackpink, one of the most beloved K-pop girl groups of the moment, the Thai superstar is revered as a style icon – with fans emulating how she dresses.
Right in the action
For Breitling, it is actor Brad Pitt who has elevated one of its watches to Hollywood superstardom.
In action-comedy film Bullet Train released last year, Pitt’s character wore an AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-edition. This Breitling watch was released in 2021 – a modern re-edition of a vintage model from 1953.
Pitt (Breitling’s ambassador) is said to have chosen the specific model. He wears the timepiece throughout the film too, and watch fans can’t seem to take their eyes off it in the different scenes.
Now, the actor has not commented on his choice in any interview, but he does not even need to draw attention to it. The Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-edition speaks for itself.
Back in the 1950s, the original model starred next to another Breitling icon: the Navitimer.
With its bold design, engraved rotating bezel and extra legible dial, it instantaneously became the perfect companion to the Navitimer as the rugged and reliable pilots’ watch.
Today’s AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition has an all-black dial, protected by a high-domed hesalite crystal. It also carries the same Arabic numerals as the first iteration, with tone-on-tone small seconds, 15-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters.
The hand-applied Super-LumiNova colour has been carefully chosen to recall the original luminescent material and gives the watch an additional touch of vintage allure.
Also identical is the 41mm stainless steel case. The bezel is secured by three screws that are placed in precisely the same positions as those on the watch from 1953, as well.
Of course, viewers of Bullet Train can try spotting all the design details in the film itself – on Pitt’s wrist.
Cartier’s Santos-Dumont watch however, gets its glory from beyond the entertainment industry.
Louis Cartier created the first Santos-Dumont model in 1904 for his aviator friend Alberto Santos-Dumont – who is believed to have asked for a watch that allowed his hands to remain free for controls while flying.
Two years after, Santos-Dumont became the first person to be filmed in an airplane in flight when he flew 220 meters in 21.5 seconds.
He was afforded the privilege of being the only one to wear this model for seven years. The Santos-Dumont watch was not officially available to the public until 1911.
It has since been updated numerous times over the long years, but all Santos-Dumont models have had that same square case. They are mostly outfitted with signature screws on the bezel, Roman numerals and blue hands.
The 2022 Santos-Dumont collection for instance, comprises three watches meant to invoke the spirit and style of the original watch.
These come in a mixture of colour and metal: burgundy and platinum, beige and gold, or black and steel. They also had standout options when it comes to the strap – gold, burgundy and black.
Over a century, the design shifted into more refined versions that spoke of elegance, instead of just being a sporty aviator watch.
“Simplicity. Practicality. Innovation,” Cartier declared on the collection’s webpage.
“These were the three major principles of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the aviation pioneer. Every single one of his projects was guided by the desire to make further progress.”
And rightly so, the watch also represent growth – but still having kept up with the times.