Andrew Garfield Tells Us Why Watches Are Nerdy and Hot
MONDAY NOV. 13, 2023 8:03 PM NEW YORK.
On Monday evening, OMEGA transformed the Chelsea Factory into a hall of mirrors, with timepieces exemplary of the brand’s rich history on display through the looking glass. One section of the exhibit, which runs until November 19th, was dedicated to marine-inspired watches, another to the brand’s long legacy at the Olympic Games, and a third to James Bond, who’s worn an OMEGA watch in every installment of the franchise since 1995. Though Pierce Brosnan himself wasn’t in attendance, brand ambassador Andrew Garfield was. And after taking a stroll through the show, he caught up with our digital editor to talk about why watches send him into an existential tailspin.
JAKE NEVINS: I don’t want to ask you boring questions about watches, so I figured we’d talk about time.
ANDREW GARFIELD: We’ll get existential quick.
NEVINS: Have you read The Sound and the Fury?
GARFIELD: I haven’t actually, no.
NEVINS: There’s a part in the book when one character, Quentin, receives a watch from his father. And his father says, “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire.” So I wondered, does the nature of time stress you out?
GARFIELD: I’m really glad you’re asking this question. Are you recording?
NEVINS: I am.
GARFIELD: I turned 40 two months ago. Does that answer your question?
NEVINS: You don’t look 40.
GARFIELD: That’s kind. My mother always looked 10 years younger than she was, so I owe it to her. But internally, I am definitely 40. My body and my bones are on a slow decline. I think about the nature of time all the time. It doesn’t take a lot for me to get into existential issues. Hitting that midlife period and having lost a few very important people to me, it’s made the sacredness, shortness, and finite nature of our time on this earth so apparent. So I think, at best, a great watch that’s passed down from generation to generation can be, for me, a reminder of the shortness and the sacredness of our little brief visit on this spinning orb.
NEVINS: That’s beautifully put.
GARFIELD: You asked!
NEVINS: Who would you cast as Father Time?
GARFIELD: Oh, god. That’s a good one. I don’t want to insult anybody.
NEVINS: I think it would be a very dignified role.
GARFIELD: It would be, but it’s also an elder. You know who I think would be a really funny Father Time, and a really interesting, weird kind of surreal version of Father Time? Christopher Walken would be a really good Father Time.
NEVINS: He would be. He’s got that aged drawl.
GARFIELD: He seems to be clued into the cosmic joke of life.
NEVINS: Are you a punctual guy?
GARFIELD: Yes, to a fault.
NEVINS: Does it annoy you when people are not on time?
GARFIELD: Yes. Yes, it does. A friend of mine says, “If you can’t be on time, be 10 minutes early.” I adhere to that. If I’m ever late, I beat the shit out of myself. Unless there’s some extenuating circumstance, there’s really no excuse. I need to loosen up a little bit about that.
NEVINS: How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
GARFIELD: Oh, I need more than I get. If I get eight hours, it’s cause for celebration.
NEVINS: Eight is a lot.
GARFIELD: I don’t know. I’ve just kind of gotten used to waking up in the middle of the night at one point. That’s probably not healthy.
NEVINS: At what time?
GARFIELD: 4:00 AM, he says laughing.
NEVINS: Like, to pee?
GARFIELD: No, just to think about time running out. But I’m not panicked. It’s time to reflect and consider and start to analyze my dream a little bit. If I could sleep more, I would.
NEVINS: You’re just a pensive guy.
GARFIELD: I’m trying to loosen up.
NEVINS: What’s the ideal runtime for a movie?
GARFIELD: See, I don’t have an answer for that, because it depends. I saw Scorsese’s movie. It’s three-and-a-half hours and it flew by.
NEVINS: So it depends on the picture.
GARFIELD: It depends on the picture. It depends on the filmmaker. It depends on the story. I did a play in New York a few years ago called Angels in America. It was eight-and-a-half hours.
NEVINS: Yes, I saw it.
GARFIELD: Oh, thanks for watching. People came and saw it for the whole day.
NEVINS: There’s some great quotes about time in Angels in America, too.
GARFIELD: Oh, yeah. I’ll say.
NEVINS: Tony Kushner did a bang-up job with that one.
GARFIELD: He’s pretty good on the old theme of time, isn’t he?
NEVINS: He is. How’d you pass the time during the strike?
GARFIELD: Striking. I was trying to patiently hold the line and I’m really, really happy we’re back at it. But I took the opportunity to be with family. I turned 40. I planned a whole host of fun things for my birthday month. In true Leo fashion, I was like, “I’m going to have five parties, and they’re all going to be separate, and I’m going to make sure the month is anything but existential.” I made sure I filled my time with lots of joy and silliness.
NEVINS: Good for you.
GARFIELD: Yeah, I know how lucky I am that I got to do that, and surf and read and write and catch up on movies and TV and theater. I was in London for the most part, so I was home with friends and family. I caught up with my nephews and my god-kids. It was a very wholesome time.
NEVINS: It sounds like it.
GARFIELD: I’m a wholesome guy.
NEVINS: I’m going to ask you about watches now.
GARFIELD: Please do.
NEVINS: Are you a purveyor of timepieces?
GARFIELD: I’d say that I’m relatively new to understanding the depth and breadth of them. I love anything that has a nerdy quality to it. It seems to me that people who are into watches and timepieces are some of the nerdiest people I’ve met. It’s hot and it’s nerdy and it’s intellectual. I really appreciate it, imbuing something with meaning and story. I really find that kind of beautiful.
NEVINS: I’m getting into them, too. This one’s from my grandfather but it doesn’t quite fit and it needs to go to the watchmaker.
GARFIELD: It’s gorgeous.
NEVINS: Thank you. But it’s not Omega. What was your first watch?
GARFIELD: I actually think it was a Back to the Future watch from Universal Studios.
GARFIELD: Velcro. Oh, I used to have a Flik Flak watch as well. But now I’ve graduated and I’m in the hot nerd club.
NEVINS: Right, right. Watches are sexy.
GARFIELD: Omega, Omega, Omega, Omega, Omega.
NEVINS: Which fictional character do you think has the best watch collection?
GARFIELD: Oh, wow.
NEVINS: Sorry if that’s a little bit obtuse.
GARFIELD: That is very obtuse, Jake.
NEVINS: How about we limit it to characters you’ve played?
GARFIELD: That might be easier. I would say Eduardo Saverin from The Social Network. I think he’s a multi-billionaire and probably has a lot of disposable income and wants to look as flashy as he possibly can while he’s dodging taxes in Singapore.
NEVINS: That makes sense. He got rich quick. He would’ve bought himself a nice one.
GARFIELD: And it would be imbued with meaning.
NEVINS: Finally, should a watch stay on or off during sex?
GARFIELD: Off, 100%. Everything else on, but watch off.