‘The thing I find amazing about this city, having been a few times, is that I always enjoy getting lost in it.’ Actor Eddie Redmayne is a fan of Venice. But having been once for the film festival, where ‘honestly you couldn’t take anything in, because it’s such a circus during that time,’ he prefers exploring it as a tourist. ‘I think that when you are in Venice you can’t get over the fact that the place exists; not only is it astoundingly beautiful, but it seems to be floating; it is a feat of artistry and of engineering.’
Redmayne is here to launch Omega’s new Seamaster Aqua Terra watch, which is all about being able to function on the water (aqua) and the land (terra). And about elegance. Redmayne, who was introduced to Omega by his father – who wore a De Ville model – became an ambassador for the firm’s Globemaster in 2015. That timepiece, a Master Chronometer (the world’s first, no less), is quite complex and, as the actor puts it, ‘feel very precious’. The Aqua Terra, by contrast, is simpler. ‘What I love about it is that it’s versatile,’ he says, and, particularly with the structured rubber strap he has on his, ‘it’s great because you could fling it in the bath… but it can also be elegant when you dress it up or dress it down.’
“What I love about the Omega Aqua Terra is that it’s versatile. It’s great because you could fling it in the bath… but it can also be elegant when you dress it up or dress it down.”
Redmayne likes his watches. He explains that through working with Omega he has gone from a position of ignorance to having an understanding of the skill and precision required to make a mechanical timepiece. He cites the Globemaster Master Chronometer as having been particularly educational for him and says, ‘I always find it deeply satisfying that humans are capable of making something like that.’
Today, in Venice, he will attend a black-tie dinner in the beautifully ornate Palazzo Pisani Moretta, which dates back to the 15th century and lies on the bank of the Grand Canal. It will give him an opportunity to dress his Aqua Terra up. Redmayne is clearly having a blast, and is captivated by his surroundings. He explains that he studied history of art at university and took a course in Venetian architecture. He’s been mugging-up on the place by revisiting a book by his old tutor. ‘I was re-reading Deborah Howard’s book and she wrote this beautiful thing about how most cities are framed by something, so… in Rome it’s framed by the hills around it, and in Florence, but in Venice it’s everything, all the architecture is delineated by the sky and the water.’ He talks about his wife Hannah’s reaction to the light that morning, how she thought it was really bright, ‘and it wasn’t a particularly bright day, but all the reflections of everything, and how everything’s built to be reflected in two ways – I find that kind of amazing’.
The Aqua Terra collection starts from £4,000; omegawatches.com