Actor Ryan Gosling is an anomaly in influencer-obsessed Hollywood. The star of such movies as Half Nelson, La La Land and Drive has never partnered with a brand, nor served as a product spokesperson. Until now.
On Thursday night, at a splashy event at a private Beverly Hills villa, TAG Heuer introduced the Canadian actor as its newest ambassador. In his first campaign for the new Carrera Three Hands collection, shot by New York-based photographer Pari Dukovic, Gosling seemingly recreates the brooding stuntman he played in Drive, the 2011 film that rocketed him to stardom.
“We are thrilled to announce Ryan Gosling as TAG Heuer global ambassador, for his first-ever brand partnership,” TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault told party-goers. “He is a true artist who chooses his projects with utmost care and dedicates himself to them like no other, not only shaping his character but the entire creative direction.”
When the 40-year-old actor joined Arnault on stage, he referred to having two young children by way of explaining why, after all these years, he’d chosen the Swiss watchmaker for his first-ever ambassadorship. “I’ve always admired the brand for its innovation,” he said. “Plus, I’m much more aware of time now, in a way I never used to be.”
In the new campaign, which features bold and colorful visuals, Gosling wears the Carrera Date 39 mm model, one of 13 pieces that comprise the collection of classic, sporty three-hands timepieces, all of which take their design cues from the 1955 Heuer Carrera Twin-Time. (The contemporary line includes four styles—the Carrera Twin-Time 41 millimeter, and the Carrera Day Date in 41 mm, 39 mm and 29 mm diameters—that retail from $2,300 to $3,300.)
Arnault explained that the Carrera’s clean, understated design and its link to motor racing felt just right for the actor, whose role in Drive, as a Hollywood stuntman who takes part in a botched heist, was instrumental in the brand’s decision to work with him. In one of the movie’s opening scenes, Gosling’s character takes a watch off his wrist and straps it to the steering wheel of his getaway car, so he can be sure his timing is perfect.
“We all have in mind this shot in Drive where you take the watch, put it on the wheel, make sure you have the time and see it well, and we feel this fits very well with the Carrera line,” Arnault said. “It’s a watch you can wear casually or with a suit. I think it’s a great fit.”
The actor said the model’s classic styling made it an obvious choice for him.
“I generally respond to simple design,” Gosling said. “We grew up on a budget so I veer toward timeless things, where you don’t have to keep up with the trends. You could put this watch in any time period in the last century and it would probably still be cool.”
Gosling also played a major role in the campaign, in which he appears in a car, by hand-selecting Dukovic, whom he met while shooting his upcoming film, The Gray Man.
“I felt he was playing with color and shutter speeds and time, and he was very innovative, and I thought it would be a nice match because TAG is, obviously, innovating as well,” Gosling said. “And it was a lot of fun, which is not nothing, as photo shoots are not generally my idea of a good time.”
While TAG Heuer’s other ambassadors—including Hollywood actor and racecar driver Patrick Dempsey, tennis champion Naomi Osaka and Olympic sprinter Sydney McLaughlin, all of whom attended last night’s event—are high-profile celebrities, none channel the brand’s legendary icon, actor Steve McQueen (whose love of the Heuer Monaco is one of its defining storylines), quite as well as Gosling. He also joins Tag Heuer’s history of previous high-wattage A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney who have fronted the watchmaker’s campaigns in the past.
“But Gosling also represents something else,” the brand said in a statement. “A new breed of masculinity that’s both sensitive and low-key, a confidence that is by definition effortless, much like the brand itself.”