Interview: For The First Time, Brad Pitt Opens Up To Watchonista About His Love Of Watches
During the Breitling Summit, the legendary actor and recent Breitling Squad inductee sat down with Watchonista.
BY JOSH SHANKS
Brad Pitt really needs no introduction. The Academy Award winner is one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men and one of the planet’s most recognizable people. Well into his multidecade career, Pitt still draws global audiences to theaters. This year saw the release of two critically acclaimed films, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Ad Astra. On the final leg of his press tour, Pitt made one last media appearance before taking a well-deserved break.
The Cinema Squad
After joining Breitling, one of CEO Georges Kern’s first orders of business was to develop the brand’s Squad concept. The first Squad was perhaps the most logical, as a self-professed film buff, Kern set about creating the Cinema Squad – comprised of Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, and Adam Driver (read our interview HERE). As a member of the Cinema Squad, Pitt finds himself involved in a project which celebrates the past, present, and future of cinema.
To start, I asked both gentlemen about how this partnership started. Kern immediately replied, “For 20 years I’ve wanted to work with Brad Pitt, so when I joined Breitling, I finally thought ’now is the moment!’” Pitt went further, “It felt right, almost instinctual, I think it’s a good matchup.”
Our Interview With Brad Pitt
Thanks to Breitling, Watchonista had the unique chance to join a roundtable discussion with Brad Pitt during the Los Angeles stop of the Breitling Summit. This was only the second time Pitt has done an appearance with Breitling, the first being a promotional event in China. This would also be the first time that Pitt has ever done a watch specific interview.
As one of Hollywood’s leading men, a position which allows Pitt to command salaries that exceed eight figures, I had to know, what watches are in Brad Pitt’s collection? Naturally, Pitt said his first nice watch was a Breitling. Specifically, it was a Breitling Emergency, and he came to love the watch so much that he, “Bought them for all of my friends that were frequent travelers.”
I found our discussion to be relaxed – yet thoughtful. Casually dressed in a black silk polo and tweed blazer, Pitt was joined by Breitling CEO Georges Kern who acted as a moderator of sorts. And before getting down to business, Pitt greeted every interview attendee with a warm handshake and a casual, “Hey I’m Brad.”
The first question on everyone’s mind was, is Brad Pitt really a watch guy? Turns out, watches have played quite a role in his life, after our first question, Pitt replied, “I’m a watch guy! Watches are one of the few opportunities to express yourself and for me, a watch is the most steadfast symbol of what we value. It’s about quality, precision, and timeliness. I actually pride myself on always being on time.”
It soon became clear that Pitt, an Oklahoma native, shies away from the trappings of fame and Hollywood. Elaborating Pitt said, “I’m a simple guy, you find a few quality things that last, and you live with them.” Furthermore, he hates the concept of fast fashion and disposability, “I shy away from buying superfluous, disposable things.”
Why watches? Pitt replied, “There’s nothing superfluous about them! In architecture, it’s all about design, and how you move through a room. It’s the same with a watch. There is nothing superfluous about a watch in its design.”
The Concept Of Time
I think one of the most interesting takeaways was Pitt’s profound grasp on the very nature of time. When asked about his thoughts on time, Pitt gave this thoughtful response, “Time is funny, as I get older it moves quickly. So, I try to enjoy and live in the moment so that those moments can feel longer. I see it this way, I’m already on the back half. I’ve lived longer than I have left, barring some kind of medical breakthrough, it’s so important to cherish time.”
Interestingly, because Ad Astra is a movie which embraces the concept of space and time, I was curious, how does time affect an actor on set? So, I asked Pitt what one of his longest moments was while filming Ad Astra? Pitt replied, “Well Ad Astra is a space movie, and when you do space movies, it’s a bit like Peter Pan. Every day we’re on wires, a lot, and after a long day I was ready to come down.”
Later in the discussion, Pitt was asked about the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which he portrayed the titular character, Benjamin Button, a man who suffers from reverse aging. It’s one of his most famous roles, and his exceptional performance earned him his second Academy Award nomination. When asked if filming the movie gave him a new perspective on time, Pitt thought for a moment before replying, “I’m definitely more conscious of time. Just look, we’ve lost [David] Bowie, [George] Harrison, and more. It really makes you think.”
Brad Pitt Knows Watches
At one point during the interview, Pitt checked his watch – a new Breitling Avenger Chronograph. Then, after staring at the watch for a few extra moments he looked up at us and said, “These chronograph sub-dials man, they just speak to me.”
Digging deeper, we had to know, what is Brad Pitt’s favorite complication? “My favorite would have to be the world time complication. It comes in handy, but I’m good at math, so I don’t really need it.”
As a racing fan, I knew that Pitt had an affinity for speed. We’ve seen countless images of him on motorcycles and at the occasional track day. So, since Breitling had a rich history in racing, I wondered if he drew any parallels between racing and acting? Pitt replied, “For one, I love MotoGP, what those guys do is amazing. I’ve followed the sport for a while, and it’s just incredible. It always comes down to milliseconds, and precision is key.”
Pitt went further, “Watches are just one of the symbols of the elegance and the allure of Hollywood. All of my heroes had their watches.”
One of the reasons Brad Pitt is so highly regarded in the fashion world is his effortlessly cool style. He drew similar parallels between red carpet fashion and wearing a watch saying, “You should wear what you want, and what feels right. Sometimes a suit feels right, and sometimes blue jeans are the way to go.”
Pitt also takes his watches seriously on set, as can be seen from the vintage Breitling he wore in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. He explained that in order to be authentic, he almost always chooses to wear a mechanical watch, “Most of the prop masters in Hollywood usually end up buying cheap or fake watches, and I always want to have something authentic on my wrist when I’m filming, it’s part of my character.”
Pitt went further, “I usually end up buying all of the watches that I use on set. For example, for Jessie James, I bought this incredible vintage pocket watch.”
After this comment, Pitt turned to Kern and said, “Georges when are we doing a watch?” After a bit of back and forth, it seemed clear that the idea of a Brad Pitt Breitling wasn’t so crazy after all. The two gentlemen vowed to pick up the conversation another time.
Pitt was very on-brand during our interview. Obviously, his collection includes a lot of Breitlings, as he stated before, but he said he also has a lot of vintage pieces in his collection. This is due in part to Pitt’s insistence on purchasing his own watches before a film shoot.
On the concept of smart watches, when asked if he would ever wear an Apple Watch or similar smart watch, Pitt replied, “Not for me, I know smart watches in some way have usurped mechanical watches, but I really like to maintain the traditions [of watchmaking and craftsmanship].”
Asked if he could give any tips to watch collectors, Pitt replied, “Find what you love, and wear it for a long time.”