'Queer Eye's' chef Antoni Porowski has been an avid fan of Omega watches. He recently celebrated the brand in San Francisco at the grand opening of the Omega boutique in Union Square.
He also reflected on how he first became aware of Omega, as a young swimmer, and how his appreciation grew. More below.
“I’ve had really strong brand loyalty since I was really young,” the Canada-born star of Netflix’s Queer Eye tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I took swimming lessons when I was young. Swimming is really big in my family. The chronometers, the stopwatches at swim practice, were these white octagonal shapes with this simple red Omega symbol. That was what I looked at as a kid.”
He continues: “When I got my first nice watch, I didn’t really put two and two together that that was the brand I went to. It was a symbol of achievement and striving for something. And the fact that they were the first watch on the moon. They are the official timekeeper of the Olympics, … anything that melds performance with luxury — I have a lot of respect for what they do,” says Porowski.
His watch of choice at the moment is Omega’s Seamaster 300 “that was the one that was just reissued. It has touches of the vintage version,” he says, and he wears it with an interchangeable Nato strap that he switches up to match his outfits. “For Pride Month, while we were filming, I had a multicolor band I wore.”
In addition to the Seamaster 300, what other Omega watches do you have?
The Speedmaster 50th anniversary in the Moonshine gold. It [originally came out] in 1969. They had the fiftieth anniversary in 2019. And there’s a map of the world on the back. It’s beautiful. It was the first watch worn on the moon [Apollo 11]. It has a thin burgundy band around it and it’s a fancy watch. I’m afraid to wear it on a day-to-day basis. Watches are something personal for me. They are mementos and they remind me where I was in my life when I got that specific piece.
It’s cool, hearing about how it was so competitive between the different brands. They were all competing to be on the moon. It was something so prestigious. And the fact that Omega was the one that was able to be part of it — for America and for world history — I think is really cool.
Where do you keep your watches?
They [Omega] gave me this beautiful wood box that’s like lightly lacquered and you can fit four watches into it.
How did you first connect with Omega?
In the first season, this is way before we started working together, my first nice watch I had was this baby blue Swatch watch that I used to wear. My parents got it for me at a duty-free in Europe when I was a kid. My first proper watch, when I started working at a gallery in New York was a vintage Omega constellation, somewhere between 1951 and 1955 with a black dial and gold trim. It was my pride and joy.
And when we first started filming Queer Eye in Atlanta I used to wear that watch all the time. There were a lot of close-ups on my hands when I was cooking. [Omega] took note and it started a friendship with Raynald [Aeschlimann], the CEO, and they started inviting me to events and then they invited me to their flagship on Fifth Avenue in New York and they wanted to give me a little tour and they were generous enough to give me this beautiful gift, a Dark Side of the Moon Speedmaster with a black bezel and a ceramic case. It’s a stunning case.
Do you have any other Omegas?
They reissued an older version of the Seamaster which I got which I love because the dial doesn’t have numbers on every index and they decreased the size of the case. I don’t like it when watches are too bulky. I don’t like watches that are too loud and bold.
My most recent purchase was the day that it was called that Joe Biden won the election and [Omega CEO] Reynald [Aeschlimann] sent me a photo of [Biden] wearing this beautiful Seamaster [Diver 300M watch]. It’s aluminum with this really nice blue face with this little wave [pattern on the dial]. I was so emotional I went to Times Square with my dog Neon to celebrate and went to Omega and said, ‘I’m going to do an impulse purchase and pick up the same watch that he has.’ It’s a Seamaster from I want to say two to three years ago. It feels sporty enough you can wear it to the gym.
The next one [Omega] I have my eye on, it’s like a completely white face with aluminum that’s the Alaska Project Speedmaster. It has a beautiful face on it. That one is no longer in production. It’s like a big collector’s piece.
Source, Degen Pener for The Hollywood Reporter.