When British actor Nicholas Hoult is not filming or walking the red carpet alongside Hollywood’s finest, he’s marvelling at the intricacies of a finely made watch. He speaks with us about this other passion, and how the guiding principles of fine watchmaking really isn’t entirely different from crafting a great film

Fashionably lean and towering at over six feet, with a look that is dreamy but a touch mischievous, it’s rather hard to imagine that Nicholas Hoult is the same actor who played Marcus, the charming but also painfully awkward tween with a bowl cut in the 2002 film About A Boy. Yes, he was that boy.

Now a dad to a one-year-old baby boy and with a string of blockbuster and critically acclaimed films to his name, Hoult is one of the most sought-after actors of his generation. On top of landing a major role in the X-Men franchise, he went on to star alongside Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in the award-winning film, The Favourite. And he’s just warming up.

Hoult is currently working on a number of film projects that will certainly bring him to greater heights, and perhaps, an Academy Award? Why not.

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Hoult was also tapped by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 2015 to be its brand ambassador—another role he’s taken on with gusto. Earlier in the year, he travelled to the brand’s manufacture in the small town of Le Sentier in the Vallée de Joux in the Swiss Alps, where he met and observed the watchmakers and master artisans behind Jaeger-LeCoultre’s finely made watches. And just a few months ago, he joined the brand at the Venice Film Festival to celebrate its 15th year as a major supporter of the annual event.

He took some time between his engagements at the festival to speak to us about the parallels between watchmaking and filmmaking, and the importance of preserving cinema’s heritage to ensure that it continues to thrive. Here are some highlights from that interview:

Jaeger-LeCoultre has always supported art and filmmaking. Do you feel it is important for brands to continue such undertakings?

Yes, I think maintaining close relationships between different creative fields is so important because they can learn from each other and evolve together. I felt inspired by my visit [to the manufacture] and developed a new understanding of Jaeger-LeCoultre and will try to incorporate their commitment and ideals into my work.

What impressed you the most during your visit to the manufacture?

The craftsmanship of the artists who worked at the manufacturer were incredible. To understand the complexity and skill it takes to design and create each piece was remarkable. Each watch is truly a work of love and art that lives and breathes.

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How much has your understanding of watchmaking changed after becoming a friend of the brand?

My brain can barely comprehend the level of complexity and mechanical engineering; I am completely in awe. I’m hoping to learn more and work alongside a watchmaker to get a better understanding. The science behind the Atmos clock and its perpetual motion is something I knew very little about, but is completely genius and a triumph in precision engineering.

What fascinates you about watches in general?

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watches feel like living organisms, completely part of your being and in sync with you. The genius of the mechanical engineering and how that’s been passed down through generations makes you feel like a part of a special history.

Have you ever given a watch as a gift?

Yes, I’ve gifted Jaeger-LeCoultre watches to both of my parents, most recently an engraved Reverso to my mum, which she adores. I’ll continue to pass my watches down through generations. I see them as family heirlooms. Jaeger-LeCoultre helps to finance the restoration of old Chinese movies.

Jaeger-LeCoultre helps to finance the restoration of old Chinese movies. What do you think of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s support for film heritage through the restoration of old films?

Jaeger-LeCoultre has such an understanding of their heritage and that’s what makes them special, so it’s wonderful that they can help other industries have that same honour.

Stories are timeless and are always relevant, so to be able to go back through the archives and keep that history is important to understanding the past and where we’re heading next.

See also: These Vintage Rolex Watches May Be The Most Expensive Ever Sold


Jaeger-LeCoultre has such an understanding of their heritage and that’s what makes them special
Nicholas Hoult

If you could choose an old film to restore, what would it be?

I’d like to find and restore my parents’ old 8mm home videos so I can get a glimpse into their lives before I arrived.

When and why did you decide to become an actor?

I looked up to my elder brother and sister, and their passion for acting, singing and dancing is what inspired me. It began as a hobby, which I have managed to maintain and turn into a career. It’s always evolving—something I can grow with.

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?

I like to imagine being creative in design or engineering somehow. I like trying to problem solve and develop ideas practically.

During your career, have you ever had a role model?

I look up to most of the actors I’ve worked with. They all approach work differently, so I try to take the best from each.

What are your next projects?

Next I’m working on Those Who Wish Me Dead for director Taylor Sheridan, which is a thriller starring Angelina Jolie. Then I’m reuniting with The Favourite screenwriter Tony McNamara on a project called The Great in which Elle Fanning will play Catherine the Great and I will play Peter the Great.

Also, The Banker will be released later this year, which I’m very excited about. I’m in that alongside Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson.

See also: Game of Thrones: Which Luxury Watch Would Your Favourite Character Wear?