Jaeger-LeCoultre Nicholas Hoult’s Reverso
While in Paris for the Reverso’s 90th anniversary exhibition, the British actor and X-Men star Nicholas Hoult talked about his relationship with Jaeger-LeCoultre
What does it mean to you to be a “Friend of the Maison”?
It means a great deal. I wore Jaeger-LeCoultre watches to the Venice Film Festival, for the launch of films that were important to me, and we’ve always had a very friendly, very relaxed relationship. We have so many good memories together, not just on the red carpet. We came together quite naturally. In my next film, the character I play is immortal, and the story begins in the 1920s, so I really should wear a Reverso with a perpetual calendar!
How has your partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre deepened your knowledge about watchmaking?
I grew up appreciating fine watchmaking, but I didn’t learn about everything that happens inside the movement. So my connection with Jaeger-LeCoultre for the Venice Film Festival was a wonderful opportunity for me to find out more. The brand was there with me for two of the highlights of my film career, and my visit to the manufacture opened my eyes to the craftsmanship and artistry that go into watchmaking. The passion of the watchmakers is impressive, and it’s astonishing how the science has developed. That’s where you realise how difficult it is to create a beautiful guilloché pattern by hand, or how complex some complications are, and what expertise they require. Sometimes, my brain can’t take in all the complexity! (laughs)
What do a watch manufacture and a film set have in common?
I think they both share the concepts of precision, creativity and commitment. No two watches or films are made in the same way; techniques are constantly evolving, and you have to keep challenging yourself. There’s always something new to learn. Both environments also rely hugely on team spirit and teamwork. They need a wide variety of skills and abilities in a whole range of different areas in order to function, and everything has to fit together perfectly, artistically, in every detail.
Nicholas Hoult © Anne Combaz
As an actor, are you sometimes under time pressure?
Yes, all the time! The best directors don’t let it show too much, but you’re always short of time (or money) to finish a film! That’s what’s so exciting about being an actor. You put in a huge amount of work so that you can give your best performance on the day. It’s almost like training for the Olympics – everything has to come together. And sometimes you don’t get a second chance.
In the film you made with Jaeger-LeCoultre you’re walking in a forest, preparing for an audition. Is nature important to you?
Yes, absolutely; nature means a great deal to me. It was a powerful moment: we were at the highest point overlooking the Vallée de Joux, and we could see the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture down below. That’s one of the reasons this film means so much to me. I love getting out into nature. I need it, to recharge and take a break from the intensity and busyness of this life we lead. If I have the chance to swim in a lake or in the sea, it feels like it’s good for me; it provides a moment of calm. I used to run too. When I got into my rhythm I would sometimes enter a sort of meditative state, where I could just listen to my breathing and my body.
Your new video with Jaeger-LeCoultre raises the idea of a turning point: is that a metaphor for the Reverso?
The idea behind the video is based around that moment when you reach a turning point in your life, which brings with it all kinds of pressure and expectations. You start to look inwards, and you then have to turn that into something positive. This kind of duality is what the Reverso represents. You wear it during the day with one face visible, and then in the evening your environment changes, and the watch metamorphoses into something new. Being an actor is a bit like that too. You have to switch from real life into a different role in a matter of seconds. You have to be ready, but you don’t always know what for!
Nicholas Hoult © Anne Combaz
What makes a good watch, in your view?
It has to suit you; it has to mean something to you, have been with you during a certain period of your life. In my case, I chose a rose gold Reverso, which I find is functional and very elegant. I also really like the Polaris chronograph when I’m doing sport, or simply when I want a more sporty look. But I do appreciate classic dress watches, particularly the Master collection, which I find magnificent, and very distinguished.
Your family has a tradition of passing watches to the next generation. Which watch will you pass down?
I’ve already chosen it, and it’s a watch I already have: a medium-sized Reverso with small seconds, on a brown leather strap, which has my three-year-old son’s initials engraved on the back. I intend to give it to him on his 18th birthday. He really enjoys looking at it, but before then he needs to fully understand the meaning behind it, as much as its value. For the time being, he plays with plastic watches, which are toys more suited to his age!
We also have a magazine called GMT. Have you visited the Greenwich Observatory (where Greenwich Mean Time originates)?
Yes, I went there on a date, a long time ago! It’s an incredible building. Weirdly, I lived in London for a long time, but I never realised it was so close. I highly recommend it for that kind of occasion, by the way! I also love the GMT function, because I’m always travelling between different time zones, and it helps me to stay aware of what time it is at home, in a simple and pleasurable way.
Jaeger-LeCoultre: HOME OF FINE WATCHMAKING SINCE 1833. Located in the serene setting of the Vallée de Joux, our Maison radiates a unique sense of belonging. The soul of La Grande Maison is formed here, inspired by the exceptional landscapes of the Jura Mountains, guided by an unquenchable inner fire. With all crafts under one roof within the Manufacture, watchmakers, engineers, designers and artisans work together to give birth to fine...Find out more >
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