Actor James Marsden Plays Watchmaker In IWC Film
It isn’t every day that an actor plays a watchmaker. In fact, American actor and singer James Marsden is used to playing roles in drama movies like The Notebook, adventure roles in the X-Men series, and even starring in the dark comedy, Dead to Me, currently on Netflix and in the sci-fi show Westworld, among dozens of others. However, in the recently released drama video, “Born of a Dream: A Man of the Future,” Marsden plays Florentine Ariosto Jones, the American founder of IWC Schaffhausen. Recently, in a one-on-one interview, Marsden, an IWC brand ambassador, shared his thoughts about playing this role and how time influences all he does.
The IWC film is the newest addition to the brand’s “Born of a Dream” series intended to highlight the lives of extraordinary people who followed their dreams in the face of adversity. F.A. Jones is a prime example. In the movie, Marsden portrays the young Jones (complete with scenes from the Civil War that he fought in) who pursues a dream of creating a global watch brand by marrying American industrial technology with Swiss craftsmanship. Marsden aptly captures the excitement and trepidation Jones experiences throughout the journey from Boston to Switzerland, and the establishment of the International Watch Company, IWC, Schaffhausen. The video can be viewed here.
“Normally, my involvement with IWC doesn’t include acting or film-making, so it was a cool opportunity to share with the world the story of F.A. Jones and the birth of IWC,” says Marsden. “As an actor, I only want to be involved if I feel there is a compelling story to be told and this one intrigued me. I have always been fascinated with watchmaking and the craftsmanship that goes into it and so this resonated with me. We all want to pursue our dreams and hope they come true. This tale of a man who had a vision and bet on himself when the odds were against him, and overcame plenty of obstacles, I like those themes. That’s the journey of life. You have to find your path and find your passion and have the courage and determination to go for it. So, for me to be able to lend my skills as an actor, it was a nice little marriage there.”
Marsden says he has always been interested in watches and even has a “modest” collection. “I love the purposes that watches serve. They are tools, but they can be very elegant and beautiful. and the meticulous dedication to expertly making something really special, I always want to celebrate that,” says Marsden, noting that he has watches in his collection that he had as a child, and some that are just $30 pieces. “When I collect watches, it’s because there is some connection to them for me. A watch has a soul and each watch is different. It is not about the dollar amount of the watch, it is about the value of the watch to me. I hope to someday share my passion for the craftsmanship with my kids and pass that down to them.”
Since having children, Marsden says he views time differently. “When you get older, you appreciate moments more, and when children came into my life, it really made me pay attention to time and how I spent it. I feel like my biggest fear in life is regret, and the biggest regret I can see myself having is missed opportunities to spend time with the people I care about. I think we are here to accrue memories and experiences, and at times it never feels like there is enough time, but if I am trying, that’s the best I can do.”
Without wanting to sound esoteric or existential, Marsden says all of these feelings about time are particularly intensified during COVID-19. When I asked him the longest moment of his life, he cited the pandemic. “The last six months, I feel the world has changed. The pandemic came in and pushed a pause button for all of us. It’s made us feel relatively powerless to nature, and we’ve had some strict guidelines to adhere to. We’ve had to learn to compromise and give up certain things and certain liberties here and there for the betterment of our health and our society, but that makes it feel as though time has slowed quite a bit,” says Marsden. “It has been a long six months and I feel like the rest of the world feels the same. I think the world is ready to come back to life but with a new set of eyes now and with a new appreciation for time.”
The discussion about time turns the corner, taking us back to watches. Marsden mentions that he was the first person to use the new IWC configurator to create his own Ingenieur chronograph, something he said was a lot of fun. Of course, in the “Born of a Dream” film, he is seen regularly with a pocket watch – a sign of the times.
As mentioned, the “Born of a Dream: A Man of the Future” film is not the first such movie IWC has made. This past summer, the brand released the video “Born of a Dream: A Boy from San Mateo,” which outlined the journey of brand ambassador and legendary football quarterback Tom Brady. That movie showcased Brady’s dreams and his struggle to achieve them. At the same time as that video was produced, IWC also shot another film – one wherein the stories of Brady and F. A. Jones (played by Marsden) are told in side-by-side vignettes – to showcase the shared values of determination, passion and the pursuit of excellence. That movie is also being released by IWC today. It , along with the other movies, can be viewed here.