Ryan Gosling is the new face of TAG Heuer’s legendary Carrera, a watch designed for professional drivers and sports car enthusiasts.
Balancing a full roster of acting projects and family life, Ryan Gosling has learned time is of the essence.
In a career already spanning more than three decades, Ryan Gosling has become one of the most celebrated talents of his generation, able to bound from song and dance (La La Land) to heart-wrenching drama (Blue Valentine) to hard-punching thrillers (The Gray Man, coming soon to Netflix). His collaboration with TAG Heuer (tagheuer.com) adds a new role to that résumé: brand ambassador. As his first campaign with the Swiss brand makes its debut, Gosling shared with Watches International what he looks for in a watch, the reason he kept performing during lockdown and his perspective on those persistent Steve McQueen comparisons.
The Three Hands Carrera from TAG Heuer, with a day-date indication or single date at six, worn by Gosling
It’s hard to believe you’ve never had a brand partnership before. I’m sure you’ve been approached many times. Why the wait? And why was TAG Heuer the first? TAG Heuer has quietly and consistently been a classic and iconic pillar of excellence in its field for over 160 years. Partnering with them was an easy decision, and time, in general, is just something I think a lot about now. My kids are growing up fast, so I keep an eye on the clock in a way I never used to. Partnering with TAG Heuer also signifies that for me.
Your co-star in the campaign is the TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands. It’s a classic, unfussy watch. Are there specific aspects of its design that speak to you? I like clean and simple design generally. Growing up, we lived on a pretty tight budget. I gravitated toward things that were simple and timeless so I didn’t have to think about keeping up with trends.
One of TAG Heuer’s tenets is about pushing the limits of what’s possible. When you’ve spoken about selecting roles, you’ve said you only want to pick roles that scare you—does that remain the case? Why is that important? I’ve said a lot of things over the years, some of which I actually agree with. I think what I meant was that I didn’t really know how do it any other way. Since I didn’t go to school for this, all my learning has had to be on the job. In the beginning, I spent most of my time convincing people that I knew what I was doing and the rest of my time trying to convince myself. I was always in what seemed to be sink-or-swim situations. I did my share of sinking; the internet can attest to that. But I got used to working under pressure and kept seeking it out because it’s all I knew.
You’re often talked about as the heir apparent to Steve McQueen—someone else also associated with both a passion for cars and TAG Heuer. How do you view the comparison? I don’t know much about Steve McQueen personally, so I’m not sure what to say about the comparison. I can relate to his interest in cars and motorcycles, though. When I was a kid, a family friend kept his motorcycle in our backyard for a few months. He was trying to hide it from his mother. It didn’t run and I was too young to drive it anyway, but I was content just to sit on it all day. Up until that point, the happiest moments in my life were when I would ride my BMX around my neighborhood. Those were my first experiences of independence where I wasn’t a passenger anymore; I was the driver. It was a formative experience, so I’ve had a soft spot for vehicles ever since.
How was lockdown for you last year—how did you spend it? What did you do to get through it? Our kids were at a difficult age to not be able to see other kids or interact with people, so Eva and I did our best to entertain them. I think we did more acting in quarantine than in our films. Tougher crowd, though.
You’ve just finished shooting The Gray Man, Netflix’s biggest blockbuster to date. What’s it like working with the Russo brothers? Regé-Jean Page, who’s in it as well, mentioned he was surprised that for such a big-budget film, there’s a lot of room for improvisation and last-minute scene rewrites. The Russos are great like that. Always taking things apart and putting them back together. I can imagine some directors working at that scale might be hesitant to take their movie out of the garage for a joy ride. The Russos just drive it like they own it.
The refined design of the TAG Heuer Carrera provides optimal legibility even at top speeds.
What else can you tell us about it without giving anything away? It’s the most fun I’ve had on a film in a while.