Luxury timepiece brand Omega gathered four of its superstar ambassadors in Shanghai for the global launch of its brand spanking new Constellation watches
What could possibly bring together the supernova-level star power of Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Alessandra Ambrosio and Liu Shishi? Omega pulled off such a feat for the Shanghai launch of its new collection of feminine Constellation ‘ Manhattan’ watches
It’s not often that you see an Oscar winner, a supermodel, a Victoria Secret model and a popular Chinese actress sharing the same stage. But there they were, Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Alessandra Ambrosio and Liu Shishi, standing in the same, shared spotlight and looking resplendent in matching red outfits at Shanghai’s Expo I-pavilion for the global launch of the new Constellation ‘Manhattan’ collection. As ambassadors of Omega, they have been chosen to personify the elegance of the Swiss brand’s latest Constellation watches. Judging by the crowd’s reaction to their appearance, there was no doubt that Omega had made all the right choices. But why the city of Shanghai? “It’s the capital of beauty and elegance, and one of the best examples of urban elegance,” enthused Raynald Aeschlimann, president and CEO of Omega in an interview earlier in the afternoon. “And we wanted to be in Peninsula
Shanghai along the historic Bund (where the product presentation and interviews were conducted) because we wanted the feel of a luxurious environment.” As for braving the nightmare of getting four superstar female ambassadors on the same schedule, Aeschlimann insisted he wouldn’t have it any other way. “The Constellation deserves it. It has been a strong part of the Omega family worldwide and for the new generation of Constellation watches, I wanted these four personalities from different backgrounds and parts of the world who share the same elegance and beauty. They speak of the character of Constellation.” For a watch that has come to represent Omega’s elegance, it is easy to forget that the Constellation was conceived as a family of chronometers in 1952. Omega made the move after the success of its first chronometercertified watch from four years prior. The modern Constellation, however, has its roots in the Constellation ‘Manhattan’ in 1982 when the now iconic claws were introduced. Their presence had a functional purpose—holding the sapphire crystal and gasket together to ensure water-resistance. And while technology has advanced such that the claws are no longer required to perform that role, they have been kept in subsequent iterations as a distinctive aesthetical feature. Fast forward to the present, the latest Constellation collection may just be the biggest yet with no less than 101 new models, offering exceptional variety. Design-wise, it has been further refined. Think slimmer claws, polished bevelled edges and skeletonised leaf hands. There are three sizes to choose from: 25mm, 28mm and 29mm—with the 29mm endowed with Omega’s proprietary Master Chronometer movement. Choice of materials, whether independently or as a combination of two, include stainless steel, 18k Sedna gold and 18k yellow gold, paired with an array of new dial colours from crystal and silk-embossed silver to sun-brushed blue and silk-embossed gold champagne. If you feel like indulging, there is the high jewellery ‘Manhattan’, a 28mm with an Australian white opal dial and 18k Sedna gold case and bracelet. The hour markers are made up of precious stones such as red rubies, blue sapphires, green emeralds or diamonds. Additionally, the bezel is paved with diamonds while the gemstones also decorate the bracelet in a shooting star pattern. “The Constellation is a symbol of Omega’s success, especially in Asia where it’s an instantly recognisable watch. It’s a watch with such a strong character that a woman would wear it with pride,” said Aeschlimann. Besides the watches, the gala also revealed a new ad campaign featuring stunning portraits of all four ambassadors shot by fashion photographer Damon Baker. For entertainment, musician Stephen Ridley performed an energetic number on the piano while an aerial silk troupe showcased grace and strength, qualities that also define the new Constellation.
The Iconic Ladies of Omega We spent an afternoon with the four leading ladies of Omega who shared their stories about the brand, the new Constellation watches, and their thoughts on time and elegance.
What do you love about being part of the Omega family? Nicole Kidman: I remember when I shot my first Omega campaign (in 2005), I thought: “My gosh, these watches are exquisite!” Since then, I’ve travelled the world with the brand. I’ve been to the Olympics and we were just talking about the 2020 Olympics in Japan that we will be going to. I’ve had so many great memories with Omega, and every one of them has been magical. Omega is incredibly committed to excellence and I’ve seen that time and time again. They always want to do their best and it’s good to associate with people with that belief. Omega is also very philanthropic. The brand believes in giving back to the community and I’m honoured, in fact fortunate, to be part of the family. Cindy Crawford: I joke that I’ve been ‘married’ to Omega longer than I’ve been married to my husband—and Omega and I never had a fight. So, it’s been a great relationship. When I started with Omega, I was 25, and they’ve allowed me to mature as a woman. There’s a shelf life in the fashion industry and I love that Omega has embraced me and not made it so focused on, “Okay, she’s a young, hot model.” I also love how philanthropic Omega is and the different charity work that I’ve done with Omega, specifically with Orbis and the Flying Eye Hospital. I love that I was able to take my daughter Kaia (Gerber) with me to Peru to discover more about the good that the hospital is doing for underprivileged children with eye issues.
Alessandra Ambrosio: My story with Omega began during the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. The previous year, we did a shoot for the Aqua Terra campaign, and then I officially became the ambassador in May last year. All I can say is that it has been amazing so far.
Liu Shishi: Omega has a long history, excellent quality, classic design and a pioneering spirit, which are all very attractive to me. I’ve always admired its innovative side.
What are your thoughts on the new Constellation ‘Manhattan’ collection? Kidman: I love the jewellery version that we would be wearing tonight. It’s such a beautiful work of art. I wanted to wear it here but they told me I can’t show it until tonight!
Crawford: What I’ve always loved about the Constellation is how feminine it is. The new collection is truly eye-catching. It’s sleek and feminine. I like that there’s an updated bracelet with little bars on it.
Ambrosio: I’m a big fan of the Constellation watches ever since I saw Cindy (Crawford) in the 1995 ad campaign. This time around, the collection has so much to choose from, whether it’s the size, the colours or the materials. I see myself wearing the watch on a beach, but I definitely would be able to wear the same watch to a red carpet event later in the evening. It’s very feminine and beautiful.
Liu: There are many new dial colours to choose from. Also, I love that there is an option powered by Omega’s Master Chronometer calibre.
How do you feel about being in this league of iconic ladies? Liu: I feel really honoured and happy. Chinese women are feminine but they are also firm and strong. The other three ambassadors are very outstanding in their own fields. They each have a distinct personality and character. Together, I hope we can express a feeling of independence and confidence. I think that’s also what Omega hopes to express with their feminine timepieces.
Ambrosio: They are all different and supertalented; Cindy has always been a big inspiration, and I’m honoured to be here with all of them.
“When I started with Omega, I was 25, and they’ve allowed me to mature as a woman. And I love that Omega has embraced me and not made it so focused on, ‘Okay, she’s a young, hot model’”
If you could design your own Omega, what would it look like? Crawford: I do have a custom Omega watch. When Nicolas Hayek Sr was still alive, I teased him that I wanted a platinum Constellation and he actually made one for me.
Kidman: I love a flat watch, when it’s very streamlined, flat, and chic, which I consider the Constellation to be. I travel a lot so I like something that can work for many different occasions. But the most important qualities are that it is chic and streamlined.
Ambrosio: A Brazilian flag could be nice, with some emeralds on the dial. A little bit of green and gold to represent Brazil, my home country.
Tonight’s event is called the Iconic Ladies Evening. Who are your icons? Kidman: I grew up watching great actresses like Vivian Leigh, Ingrid Bergman and Jeanne Moreau. But right now I love Meryl Streep, Isabelle Huppert and Charlotte Rampling, I just think they are exquisite human beings who have remained incredibly dedicated to their craft. And Glenda Jackson, who was just on stage in New York; she’s astounding. I have this incredible reverence for these actresses who continue to blaze trails far beyond what they call the normal ‘shelf life’ for a female actor.
Ambrosio: Someone who is timeless like Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin. I also have to say my mom, because she’s a superwoman. She always took care of the house, she took care of my sister and I, and now she helps me with my kids—and she still works!
You don’t need a watch anymore to tell time. What does a watch mean to a woman today? Kidman: I like watches because it separates me from my phone. I don’t use my phone as my watch, because then I would get distracted by the emails and text messages.
Liu: I love wearing watches with unisex designs like the Seamaster or the Speedmaster because it always makes me feel a touch more confident.
Ambrosio: I’ve always liked watches ever since I was a kid, when I collected these little plastic watches. Obviously when I started working with Omega, I’ve learnt a lot more about watchmaking and the details that go into the creation of a watch. It’s interesting and it somehow makes the watch you wear a little more special.
As working mothers, how do you juggle your time? Kidman: I’m actually really good at scheduling my time. Let me tell you what I usually do before I go to sleep. I take four minutes to choose thr ee things that are going to give me pleasure and three things that I want to accomplish the next day, and I write them down or commit them to memory. It then gets set subliminally and I do accomplish them and more the next day. It’s like my guideline for the day.
Ambrosio: I try to schedule my travels around my kids’ schedule. If I’m in Los Angeles, I love to wake up early, cook them breakfast, after which I take them to school and then I work out before going into my office.
Cindy, how do you feel about your children, Kaia and Presley, joining as Omega ambassadors? Crawford: I’m excited for them because I know what a long and rewarding relationship it’s going to be. You really do become part of the Omega family. In fact, my family has been part of the Omega family since my kids were little. Omega invited my whole family to the Beijing Olympics, and then we went to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Kaia came with me to Peru. The whole family (including husband Rande Gerber) shot a campaign for Omega last year. I must say that I had a very nice Christmas card last year.
What do you love about Shanghai? Crawford: We were out on the hotel terrace earlier to shoot some pictures with the skyline behind us. When you see it, you immediately know that it’s Shanghai, which makes it iconic.
Ambrosio: I love the food, its vibrancy and energy. The last time I was here I was mesmerised by all the amazing buildings. I couldn't stop taking selfies.