On The Clock With James Marsden At The New IWC Boutique In Palm Beach
There’s no denying that James Marsden’s energy is infectious; his passion for timepieces and appreciation for the value of fine craftsmanship instantly fill a room, inspiring those around him. Haute Living went on the clock with Marsden at the new IWC Boutique in Palm Beach — as the brand hosted an intimate evening celebrating watches and bespoke cocktails from The Glen Grant — to better understand his affinity to timepieces, find out his all-time favorite watch, and get his take on the rapidly-evolving watch industry.
HAUTE TIME: You have been an avid watch collector for years; how did your passion start?
JAMES MARSDEN: When I was younger, I did not know much about watches — they weren’t something I could afford. Then, I was given an IWC as a gift from David E. Kelley, the executive producer on Ally McBeal. It was one of the nicest gifts anyone had ever given to me, so I wanted to learn more about the [watch] and why it was so special. This became the first in my collection in 2003.
Then, years later, my stylist was dressing me for the Met Gala, and she suggested I wear a watch with the tuxedo. She pulled out this beautiful perpetual calendar, which also happened to be an IWC. And I was like, This International Watch Company has some beautiful pieces. So, I started to learn more about the brand and that watch specifically — the in-house movement was incredible as it is a movement that keeps the time until 2499, which really blew my mind.
I’ve always been a fan and had a keen passion for finely made things, whether watches, cars, guitars, wine, or anything that takes real craftsmanship and care. So, over time, I forged a relationship with IWC, and I started wearing their pieces to events. They then took me to Geneva for SIHH, and that is where it truly all started. I was introduced to the [watch industry] through a generous gift, and I just never wanted to be the guy wearing a fancy watch and know nothing about it. So, I immersed myself in the work and passion that goes into making watches.
HT: The watch industry is constantly evolving — especially over the last three years or so. What excites you the most right now in the industry?
JM: We live in a time where we can pull our phone out and look at the time. We don’t necessarily need timepieces to keep time. But we also live in a time where we can celebrate real craftsmanship in building something so unique and social. I think nowadays (within the last 3 or 4 years), the watch culture has become so popular, with people realizing watches are tools, but they are also pieces of art.
There’s a story and a soul behind them. Watches are now more a personality [in the sense of]: what is the personality personality of this watch, and how am I connected to it? I love that each has its own personality – like the Aquatimer compared to the no-date watch. They are a form of expression, and a lot of young people – like my 22-year-old son — are into it. I love the idea of having something that lives and transcends beyond you — watches are heirlooms that you can pass on. It’s not just a time-keeping tool anymore.
HT: If you had to wear one IWC timepiece for the rest of your life, which would it be?
JM: Definitely the first perpetual calendar I wore to the Met Gala — it was a moment in time. The Portofino Perpetual Calendar with the 40mm case is a pretty small case for a big movement, so I think that is the one I would wear for the rest of my life and give me what I need.
HT: You also have an affinity with cars and F1…
JM: Oh yes. When I attended my very first SIHH, I was with IWC. So, I got to meet Lewis Hamilton as he was an ambassador who signed on just before me. Over the years, I have gotten to know him, and he’s been generous to invite me to races. The synergy between the two worlds has been incredible. I am a super fan of watches and racing, so I am very happy in any world where those two coexist.
HT: Time is a very personal, intimate thing. What does time mean to you?
JM: Not to sound corny, or too sentimental, but with every day, time means something more. You can easily go through life thinking when I get ‘x,’ I will be happier, or when I achieve ‘y,’ I will be happier, but then you realize, once you start to value time, you realize how precious and fleeting it is. When you are young, you think it is never ending — but it is all about how you fill it. We are here to accrue memories — are you going to do that and be curious about the world and about life and take chances, make mistakes, travel, do all of the things, explore, and even learn about watches or cars — whatever it may be.
Are you going to fill your experience on Earth, or are you going to squander it? I think the older I get I realize how much time is important to me.
Source: Haute Time