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Watches and jewelry

Jaeger-LeCoultre dives into campaign with Benedict Cumberbatch

October 6, 2020

Benedict Cumberbatch has been a Jaeger-LeCoultre ambassador since 2018. Image credit: Benedict Cumberbatch Jaeger-LeCoultre


Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is adding a touch of posh British glamour to its product repertoire by recruiting British actor Benedict Cumberbatch to market its latest diving watch.

Mr. Cumberbatch, a diver himself, makes a star turn in the short film “In A Breath” produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre to kickstart its elaborate campaign to promote its newest watch, the Polaris Mariner Memovox. Luxury brands often turn to celebrity ambassadors who reflect their brand values who can also extend their marketing reach.

Diving in
At the opening of the three-minute footage, the wiry, ginger-haired actor sits cross-legged and meditating while staring out at the Pacific from Rakino Island in New Zealand.

“Breath and time,” Mr. Cumberbatch says. “We have our own internal rhythms. We have many different clocks.” remarks Cumberbatch placidly.

The film moves on quickly from the simple, but refined Tiki-style hut where Cumberbatch is stationed. Soon, it cuts to a shot of its narrator in snorkels and fins diving into the Pacific without gear, but armed with a Polaris.

Benedict Cumberbatch for Jaeger-LeCoultre

“To sustain your dive, it makes you understand the relationship between that breath and time,” Mr. Cumberbatch says. “When you slow yourself down, you gain more time. You accomplish more. You can go further. You can go deeper.”

In public statements and media interviews, Mr. Cumberbatch has often discussed his interest in scuba diving, adding authenticity to this effort with Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The watchmaker described the campaign with Mr. Cumberbatch as an attempt to “capture the transcendent state induced by both meditation and diving, and the deep connection with nature that is triggered by both activities."

Donnie Pacheco, chief executive at Donnie P. Consulting in Seattle, calls Cumberbatch's recruitment a "viable way" to widen the appeal of the Jaeger campaign.

"The main goal is to increase the reach of the advertising campaign and to get more eyes on the ads, because it is likely that fans of Cumberbatch may not see a Jaeger ad otherwise," Pacheco said.

The Polaris Mariner Memovox works at a depth up to 300 meters and retails for $17,600. Along with the Polaris Mariner Date, which costs $11,100, the two timepieces are the newest additions to the brand’s Mariner line.

The Polaris Mariner Memovox diving watch. Image credit: Jaeger-LeCoultre

The watches still emit a “school-bell” sound to signal when it’s time to return to the surface and the Polaris Mariner Date’s power reserve lasts for seventy hours.

As well as a rotating inner bezel which measures how much time elapses under water, the Memovox Polaris also boasts a super-compressor case which helps to amplify the sound of its alarm without sacrificing water resistance.

Watch ambassadors
A growing number of luxury watchmakers have enlisted celebrity ambassadors to engage wider audiences.

Recently, Swiss watchmaker Arnold & Son named British athlete Sir Mo Farah as its special ambassador.

Officially Sir Mohamed Mukar Jamah Farah, the sportsman is a 5,000- and 10,000-meter long-distance running specialist who is well known in the United Kingdom, a country to which he migrated from Somalia at age eight. The relationship between Sir Mo and Arnold & Son kicked off with his interest in fine watchmaking and the brand’s English roots (see story).

In a more extensive effort, Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen tapped brand ambassador actor James Marsden to play the role of Florentine Ariosto Jones, who founded the watchmaking brand in 1868. The cinematic short is a follow up to a chapter released this summer featuring fellow IWC brand ambassador, American football player Tom Brady.

IWC’s “Born To Dream” campaign is only available in full on the watchmaker’s website (see story).