When you dress up, you wear a dress watch. That's menswear 101, up there with not double-buttoning a suit jacket. But they also say that if you want to win an Oscar, you shouldn't make a film that features a knockabout, comedy Hitler dreamed up by a young German boy. You certainly shouldn't play him.
Trust Taika Waititi to show all those rules are made to be broken (well, besides the button thing, he's not a monster). The Kiwi director's Jojo Rabbit, in which he stars as a prat-falling take on the dictator, is nominated for a Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. And even though it's not going to win, that nod from the Academy does show how successful the onetime Flight of the Conchords director has been at puncturing the industry's self-importance from the inside out.
Which brings us to his watch. Waititi hit the red carpet in the kind of slick, black tuxedo that's synonymous with the Oscars and he nailed all the expected notes: black bow tie; white pocket square; patent leather shoes; well-fitted trousers. All very, "It's an honour just to be nominated." But, as he vamped away for the cameras, what should appear from beneath his sleeve? Not the slimline dress watch that custom generally demands. Instead, it Waititi channelled the Italian military in a chunky diving-inspired watch from a brand that once supplied navy frogmen.
Panerai's watches are not for wallflowers. As men's watches have shrunk over the last decade, the Italian horology brand has stuck to its big guns with dials that rarely dip below 42mm. Adding to the heft is its signature crown guard, which hints at Panerai's diving legacy – it's designed to prevent any chance of it accidentally getting damaged or unscrewing while you're underwater.
Waititi looks to have opted for the new Luminor Due, which was released in 2016 as an update of the Fifties original, and which last year was given a makeover with the deep sea-referencing blue dial you can see peeking out from his shirt cuff. It is, in every sense, a lot of watch: available in 42mm and alarm clock-like 45mm sizes, it's more about dive DNA than actual diving (at only 30m water resistance, you're best taking it off before you get in the bath). Under the hood you'll find Panerai's in-house P.4000, the brand's slimmest movement, which means that the Due is 40 per cent thinner than the watch it's based on. In that sense, it's the perfect watch for the Oscars – like thousands of actors before it, it's embarked on a drastic weight loss regime to make itself red carpet-ready.
Even if he goes home empty-handed tonight, he certainly won't go home empty-wristed. As far as his watch goes, he's picked a guaranteed winner.
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