Brand ambassadors just don’t get better than Nicole Kidman, said Raynald Aeschlimann, the Switzerland-based CEO of Omega, at Thursday night’s party to celebrate the opening of Planet Omega, an exhibition highlighting the history of the brand that’s open to the public in New York City through November 19.
“She’s absolutely at the top of her career as an actress and a producer, and for 20 years she’s been very important to us,” Aeschlimann told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet. “We were just talking about our journey together, and it’s amazing that she decided 20 years ago to be on our side, because we weren’t the Omega of today.”
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For Kidman, the feeling is mutual. “I’ve been with them not only because they’re classic, and I’m always drawn to classic lines, but also because they’re quality and they’re good people,” Kidman explained to THR. “I’ve known Ray for so long; he takes care of people, and he cares. I’ve traveled the world with him to Vancouver and London [for the Olympics], and now I’m really excited about Paris [in 2024]. I’ve got to see the swimming and the gymnastics.” Omega has been the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932.
Presented in a Chelsea event space, Planet Omega is a temporary exhibition that showcases the history, DNA, craft and highlights of the brand. In addition to showcasing watches that have become synonymous with Omega, from timepieces that have been to the moon and the Seamasters worn in every James Bond film since 1995, the 10-day event also includes historic models like the watches worn by President John F. Kennedy and Elvis Presley. “We brought iconic, incredible American pieces out of our museum to include here,” Aeschlimann noted. “It’s been a while since we’ve spoken about who we are in America. There’s so much storytelling in the watch and luxury industry, so to have a place where we can talk about not just the launch of a watch, but who we are — our values, precision, timekeeping — that’s very special. So it’s important to have this exhibition in a fantastic location, and have it in a capital of fashion like New York.”
Other guests Thursday evening included Ralph Macchio, Tyler Cameron and Victoria Justice, but it was quickly apparent that Kidman and the Planet Omega exhibition shared equal billing as the night’s star attractions for VIP clients and media.
The Oscar winner paired her black Balenciaga off-the-shoulder gown with the brand’s Aqua Terra Shades Co-Axial Master Chronometer, a 38mm timepiece in Omega’s proprietary Sedna rose gold, embellished with diamonds on the bezel. Both suit her style perfectly, Kidman said on the red carpet. “I’ve always been drawn to fashion, mainly classic lines with a twist; but edginess is something I don’t shy away from,” she added. “I love the artistry of fashion, and I’m very lucky, because I’ve been friends with a lot of designers since I was really young, when I first came to America and I was working. Part of it was, Omigosh, now I can access these designers who I only dreamed of wearing. I get to wear their clothes and be a part of their lives.”
Given the sentiment often connected to timepieces, Kidman also was asked if she had a favorite watch handed down to her by a family member. “My great-grandfather’s watch, which my mother had,” she said without hesitation. “I think there’s something about a watch that gets passed through the family that’s so special.”
Kidman’s Balenciaga look was styled by Jason Bolden, though she also was quick to name-check Julia von Boehm and Katie Grand as stylists likewise integral to her red-carpet appearances and editorials. “I just love people that break out of the mold,” she said. “Between Jason, Julia and Katie, I’ve worked with the greatest stylists, and I hope to continue. I’ve worked with the greatest [costume designers] as well, like [Moulin Rouge‘s Catherine Martin] and Sandy Powell [costume designer on 2017’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties]. I love the aesthetics and the way in which they can inform on a character as well. I don’t try to do their job; I let them do it for me.”
Onstage minutes later, and like many A-list stars over the past 24 hours, Kidman also found a moment to express her happiness about the conclusion of the 118-day SAG-AFTRA strike. “I’m about to start a film here, so that’s really good; very happy to get back to work,” a remark that drew the biggest applause of the night. Kidman then shared another reason why timepieces have become increasingly important to her life. “I use watches to avoid my phone,” she explained to the standing-room-only crowd. “I don’t have to get drawn into the vortex of emails and messages and ‘Omigosh, someone texted me and I have to get back to them quickly.’ I can actually just use it to tell the time, and it looks beautiful. It’s also a piece of jewelry for me, and I love that.”
Aeschlimann smiled at that sentiment — perhaps because his ambassador was making a terrific case for wearing a watch in a smartphone-dominated society, but also because it’s evident the relationship between star and brand is wholly authentic. “People who are loyal to us and inspiring to us, it only makes us strive to be better,” he said. “We’re very happy to have this longevity. Once you’re in the family, you stay in the family.”
Planet Omega is open to the public from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily through November 19 at Chelsea Factory, 547 W. 26th St., New York. For more information or to register for complimentary timed tickets, visit omegawatches.com.
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