The creative director of Gieves and Hawkes talks collaborating with a watchmaker and being adult enough for a gold timepiece.
I wanted a top quality, reliable, indestructible timepiece, so the first watch I bought was a brand-new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. It is brilliant. Then I got interested in watch design, though my style is still classic, and now I’m moving on to vintage timepieces.
A black-faced, steel, IWC Portuguese is my go-to watch for everyday wear, right through to evening. For casual wear, I have an oversized Santos de Cartier 2000, a gift from my partner — it’s a big, square-shaped statement. I wear it loose with a polo shirt and shorts. I also wear the Rolex, or a rare Breitling Grand Premier, which is a 1990s replica of a 1950s model. These watches are all steel with black dials and white numerals. I like that sporty aesthetic.
The idea of a Gieves & Hawkes collaboration with a top watch marque makes sense. For me, the watch would need a good movement but it’s also about aesthetics. I worked for five years with S.T. Dupont’s wonderful tooled metalwork and I like the idea of engine turning and enamelling.
A woman has bags or shoes. A man has a watch – it reveals how he finishes his look, how he lives, an accessory as much as a timepiece. The notion of using a phone for telling the time is comparing technology to jewellery. A man can enjoy just looking at a fine watch.
I think I’m now adult enough for a gold watch. I’ll buy a rose-gold IWC Portuguese but my dream is a vintage Patek Philippe Calatrava – classic, elegant and very grown up.
We put two extra buttonholes on a dress shirt cuff so it can be worn above the watch. Our formal shirt cuffs are accommodating but a chunky model like the Santos de Cartier needs to be worn low on the wrist.
Though a suit is made from fabric and a watch from metal, both disciplines produce items painstakingly made by human hand. Both have soul and a human connection; rare in a rushed, disposable society. Always buy the best you can afford in watches and tailoring. Both are an extension of your personality, so stick to what suits you. If something feels gimmicky, you’ll get tired of it. One difference is the thriving, second-hand market in watches – but not in suits.