Article By: Logan Hannen

What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re talking celebrity endorsements, how they work, and what their goal is in the world of horology.

So a celebrity endorsement is – in the simplest explanation – a form of marketing in which a celebrity is used as a means to promote a product. The main idea behind this is that, because consumers tend to idolize (or at the very least idealize) celebrities, a brand hopes that consumers seeing that celebrity in association with that product will be motivated, either subliminally or explicitly, to purchase that product. My personal favorite example of this is the development of Chuck Norris branded “Action Jeans,” which were jeans designed to be used by stunt actors on film and TV that would make them more mobile and honestly, I can’t think of anyone better to sell such an item. Seriously, just look at this thing…

Chuck Norris Action Jeans Ad
Source: The San Diego Reader

(That ‘stache, though) Anyway, now that we have a good working idea of what exactly a celebrity endorsement is, let’s take them in reference to the watch world. Watch brand endorsements work basically the way your standard endorsement would with one, kind of major exception: the contracts. When it comes to clothing or jewelry, celebrity endorsement deals can be bound by a number of different requirements, but the most common one is this – “if you’re going out in public, you have to at least be wearing one of our products.” Typically for clothing brands, this isn’t difficult, though someone like Jared Leto is fond of taking this idea to the extreme in head-to-toe Gucci on what seems to be a daily basis.

With watches, though, things get a bit hairy. Since most celebrities don’t wear two watches at a time, that means that their public appearances must all feature the brand they’re endorsing on their wrist. For the majority of celebrities, this likely isn’t a big deal, since those pieces are also relatively functional in their day to day lives (see: Roger Federer’s Partnership with Rolex). And moreover, that isn’t always the contract stipulation (see: George Clooney’s relationship with Omega for a case of someone who adores the brand and actively wears them despite not being required to all the time).

Now, in the spirit of geeking out, we’re going to discuss one of my favorite more recent brand-celebrity partnerships: Benedict Cumberbatch and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Ben officially joined JLC at SIHH 2018, even though he’d been wearing them for a bit longer than that. The reason I’m so particularly fond of this relationship, though, is because it just makes sense. Benedict is, in a majority of his work, portraying a character to whom some semblance of classic elegance is the norm (see: Doctor Strange/Sherlock). Even out of character, the man just oozes class, so to partner with a brand like JLC, who is, in my opinion, one of the most elegant, classy brands there are, is just brilliant. This is, arguably, the point of having a celebrity market a luxury watch – it’s designed to connect the consumer the timepiece to a certain lifestyle, often one the consumer is trying to emulate. With clothing, brands run the risk of consumers not recognizing their brand, especially if the design is more conservative. With watches, though, there is often no mistaking which piece is on someone’s wrist, barring any interference from a shirt sleeve, of course.

Benedict Cumberbatch w/ JLC Polaris Automatic in Steel
Source: The Rake

But of course, it would be absurd of us to ignore perhaps the greatest modern celebrity endorsement there is, and you probably know right who I’m talking about…

James Bond and the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in Skyfall
Source: The Watch Quote

Daniel Craig’s relationship with Omega stems primarily from 2006 when he was cast as the new James Bond in Casino Royale. To a large extent, this relationship was one he kind of walked into, since the relationship between Bond and Omega had actually been in place since Goldeneye with Pierce Brosnan, but Craig seems to have embraced it pretty full on. He has worn Omega in every turn as James Bond, and has also been spotted out and about wearing them as well. And when it comes to marketing a sports watch, can you geeks think of anyone better than 007 himself? I don’t know if there is such a person, but if there is, they’d need to compete with Bond’s penchant both for action and for keeping it classy, watchfam.