At just 34 years old, British Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne has become one of the hottest actors of the day by playing everything from a paralyzed physicist to a transgender artist. Redmayne comes from an ultra-conservative background, having been educated at Eton, the UK’s most exclusive boarding school (in the same year as Prince William), as well as Cambridge University where he took a degree with honors in the history of art.
Last year he was awarded an OBE in the Queen of England’s Birthday Honors list for services to drama. He’s also gained a reputation as one of Hollywood’s best-dressed men, thanks to his beautifully cut, equally conservative suits in the style of icons like Cary Grant and Gregory Peck. And while not one to let accessories steal the show, Redmayne has recently come out as a watch guy, reinforced by a new brand ambassador gig with Omega, the Swiss watch manufacturer known for timepieces favored by both astronauts and James Bond.
For Omega, which is vying for wrist space with better-known and more prestigious Rolex, Redmayne is a shrewd choice, exuding as he does an air of authenticity augmented by those beautiful suits, clean-cut good looks, modest demeanor and posh accent. “Certainly through having seen my dad wear them, there's a kind of legacy element to traditional watches,” he says, “and they're substantial things. For me, personally, I don't like watches to be overstated or ostentatious or crying out too much, but you want to feel a weight to them and a history to them. In a subtle way, it makes you feel stronger having a decent watch on.”
Redmayne has cited his father, Richard Redmayne, the dapper chairman of leading financial house Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, as a strong influence on his style, and as it happens his dad’s watch of choice for many years was a rather dressy gold Omega De Ville. “I think there’s a romance to [traditional] watches,” Redmayne says, “I think it’s this idea of, again, history passing things on, but also storytelling. And as technology takes over and we invest in that, it is lovely to have something that is sincere and honest,” like a mechanical watch. As an actor very much in the public eye, “wearing something that's classic but also modern gives me confidence,” he notes. “It's a wonderful thing, because I don't have to overthink it.”
While Omega still produces the De Ville line, the brand’s latest creation is the Globemaster, officially unveiled at Baselworld and billed as the world’s first master chronometer, meaning it goes above and beyond the usual certification standards for Swiss watches of this caliber. It’s a clear shot across the bow of the iconic Rolex Datejust, with a similar price point and classic styling. Its main appeal may in fact be to those who could afford either but somehow find Rolex to be a bit too vulgar, or too easily taken for a knockoff by the uninitiated. Only time will tell whether Redmayne can help.