Listen, I don’t want to cast aspersions on your immaculate dress sense. But I suspect that you’re not reading this while wearing a tuxedo, a white silk scarf draped over your shoulders with devil-may-care panache. No, please don’t apologise. To tell you the truth, I’m wearing my tracksuit pants, too. During the last 12 months between the lockdown(s), the social distancing and the working from home, Covid has accelerated a collective decline of our sartorial standards. Opportunities to dress up are more limited than ever. All of which gives this year’s Oscars a certain rarity value as a high-profile, formalwear event. At the Academy Awards, like it or not, Hollywood’s leading lights are duty-bound to scrub up, polish their shoes and try to remember what the hell they’ve done with their cufflinks.
Traditionally the only watch to wear with black tie was, of course, a dress luxury replica watch. What does that actually translate to? Well, five years ago, Time+Tide actually ran an article by former GQ Australia editor Ceri David on the rules of selecting a tuxedo-appropriate watch. The fact that it was sub-titled: “No Submariners with black tie” gives you the general gist. But just to recap here are Ceri’s black tie watch commandments in full:
While slightly censorious, this is all stock-standard advice. Except that it’s now routinely ignored. At last year’s Oscars, a large proportion of male attendees conspicuously thumbed their nose at the dress watch, refusing to be confined by any of this less-is-more hectoring. Sports watches, GMTs and integrated bracelets ruled the red carpet instead.
Spike Lee wore a cheap fake Rolex GMT-Master II in 18k Everose Gold, Josh Gad opted for a Chopard Alpine Eagle, Sam Rockwell picked a Rolex GMT-Master II 16710, while Oscar Isaac wore an Omega Speedmaster Apollo. The list went on and on. Poor Ceri would’ve been absolutely livid.
The most likely option is that we’ll witness the continued demise in formality with more sports copy watches and GMTs on display. One of the more conspicious watch trends over the last 12 months has also been the increase in coloured dials, in particular the tidal wave of green. Perhaps we’ll see brighter hues replacing the white or black dials of the traditional dress watch, even if they do clash a bit with the red carpet
Something else that could influence proceedings is the phenomenon of the socially distanced attendance. If you’re accepting an Oscar over Zoom there are certain optics to consider. Your appearance in such a scenario is essentially limited to the top half of your body alone. That means you have fewer sartorial weapons at your disposal to create an impression. This could well encourage some actors to go bolder with their accessories and opt for flashier, more look-at-me wristwear. Again, that sounds like bad news for the dress super clone watch whose basic premise is understatement and discretion.
Alternatively, some actors could decide that the whole black-tie rigmarole is utterly pointless when you’re sitting on your sofa back home. That was certainly the approach of Jason Sudeikis at the Golden Globes when he ditched the tuxedo in favour of a tie-dye hoodie.
There is, of course, another possibility. Perhaps having been starved of formal opportunities for so long, actors will pounce on this opportunity to escape the tyranny of loungewear. Delighted to dress up, they’ll kick off their UGG boots and set out to conquer the red carpet in style. After a quick YouTube refresher course on how to knot their bow-tie, they’ll reach for a dress watch – the confident restraint of their Calatrava perhaps or the Reverso’s art deco flair. Buckling on the leather strap, they’ll remember why these 1:1 quality fake watches are, in fact, the ultimate black-tie accessory. Well, except for a small gold statuette.