Hubert Burda Media

Cindy Crawford: Always On Time

Cindy Crawford, Omega’s longest-serving brand ambassador, talks about her enduring relationship with exceptional timepieces.

A friend of the Omega family since 1995, Cindy Crawford is the Swiss watch manufacturer’s longest-serving brand ambassador. The supermodel has always shared Omega’s values: a commitment to beauty, quality and reliability, and a strong sense of tradition. Crawford was instrumental in establishing the brand’s fashion credentials. Today, the relationship is strengthened even further with the selection of her children, Presley and Kaia Gerber, as Omega’s newest brand ambassadors.

Prestige had a rare opportunity to meet Crawford when she attended Omega’s “Her Time” exhibition opening in Paris at the end of September. Highlights of an absorbing interview:

What do you enjoy about wearing a watch?
It used to be that I wore a watch every day because I’m a very punctual person. A watch was a necessity. I even slept with my watch on. I think that’s why Omega likes me, I’m always on time. But nowadays, no one needs to wear a watch. We all have our phones. The watch has become strictly an accessory. But to me, it’s a real statement accessory. And different watches make me feel different. It’s like the difference between flats and heels. It’s like, how do I want to feel that day? Do I want to wear a more masculine watch with a shirt and jeans. Or do I want a feminine watch with something more for the evening. Or do I want a little more sparkle or bling? I’ve learned to really appreciate the craftsmanship of a quality timepiece. Also, just having fun with a watch wardrobe and really just being able to wear what you want. But my basic everyday watch is stainless with rose gold, more of a men’s watch with a black face.

What are the highlights of your work with Omega?
I’ve had so many. I’ve ridden an elephant in India. We’ve gone to the Olympics with Omega several times. But I think the one that was the most impactful was when, three years ago, I went to Peru with my daughter and Orbis. And we did a documentary about the Flying Eye Hospital, because Omega had partnered with Orbis. It was just to be able to share that with my daughter and to work with a company that gives back. And even for her to see in Peru, not every child there has access to good eye care. For her, it made a big impression. She saw that you can make a difference, even in a country far away from yours, and that was a great thing to share.

Since you joined Omega, how have you evolved and how has the watch evolved for you?
When I first started working with Omega, they hired me as a model for an ad. At that time, the way they saw me was as a fashion model. And the way that I saw them was as a client for an advertising job. But when we did the shoot, everyone got along and then they invited me to an event in Milan that they were doing, and that’s when we really connected I think. Omega is all about heritage and quality … there’s so much history there. And even as a young woman, I knew that I wanted those same qualities to be associated with my brand. Then we started working together more … It’s kind of like dating; You go on the first date, then you go on a second date, and then we decided to get married. I always joke that I’ve been with Omega longer than I’ve been married to my husband.

As their brand ambassador, I love that they’re not still expecting me to be the 25-year-old model that I was when we started. They embrace the fact that I’m now a mother, a wife, a businesswoman. I’m 51, not 25. They’re not trying to make me be that still. They’re letting me grow up and they appreciate this history that we have together. Now that my children are joining the Omega family, I’m so excited for them. Omega is all about legacy and obviously my kids are my legacy. And they’ve already done things with Omega. We’ve gone to the Olympics together. They already know a lot of the Omega team. They know what Omega stands for and they’re really excited.

The Gerbers family at the “Her Time Exhibition” with Omega’s CEO Raynald Aeschlimann

What sort of legacy do you hope to see Presley and Kaia carrying forward?
For both of them, it’s about finding their passion. My husband always tells them, “If you love what your job is, then it doesn’t feel like work. You’re just doing what you love.” I want to help them define what it is that they love and figure out a way to make their work life a part of that. As a model, I’m sure Kaia’s career will be different to mine because the world has changed. We didn’t have social media or all that stuff back then. For my son as well, he likes modelling, he loves watches and cars. He’s a typical guy. But he also wants to follow my husband as a businessman. So it’s about helping them both find their passions and helping them bring that to life. I think that would feel like I’m a successful parent.

What did your husband say when your children signed up with Omega?
He was excited for them. He knows what an incredible relationship it’s been for me over the last 20 years. Even he’s benefitted over the years by coming on some of the trips with me. So I think he was excited and that it made sense, which is how I feel about it.

What is your passion in respect to charity?
My brother died when I was 10 years old. He had leukaemia. So for me, the charity that I’m the most passionate about is children with cancer. Since I started modelling, I’ve raised money for the hospital where my brother was treated and for the American Cancer Society.

And even with Omega, usually when I’m in any city, I go to the children’s hospitals and we bring toys. The kids don’t even know who I am. The parents do, but to the kids I am just someone who is giving them a present and paying attention to them. That’s my main charity. And then with Omega, I got involved with Orbis. Its International Flying Eye Hospital gives free eye operations to disadvantaged children all over the world. I think it’s important to find a charity that you can connect with personally.

Omega Constellation

How do you maintain your good looks?
I thought it was really going to be hard to turn 50. I said, “There’s nothing girlish about 50. It’s not young.” But the day after I turned 50, I was like, “I’m still the same person.” I realised that the anticipation is worse than the reality. I’m lucky because I have one grandmother still alive. I have my mother and my father. So I have great genetics to look to. Since I started modelling, I’ve exercised. I try to eat healthy. I think every year I even get a little better, because I learn more. I know that I don’t look the same as I did when I was 20, and I shouldn’t really either. I have kids who are almost 20.

For me, getting older is about taking care of myself, but also about developing the other areas of my life. Yes, the past was great and I had fun, but I also want the present to be great and the future to be great. So it’s about embracing where you are today, and what that is about, and not only being nostalgic for the past.

Who are the women who inspire you?
I’d have to say that my mother and my sisters are my biggest role models. It’s funny because, when I was young, I did not think much of my mother as a role model because she didn’t work. She was a housewife, whereas I knew I wanted to work. But then, when my brother eventually passed away, she did go to work. My mother had bumps in her life, losing a child and getting divorced from my father. But she is the type of person that would always make the best out of everything and I used to say, “You’re such a Pollyanna.” Only when I became an adult did I realise how incredibly strong my mother is. She always chose to see the good side of things and the good side of people. And that doesn’t come naturally. That’s a choice. I remember when I was young, she wasn’t like an executive woman who had a power suit on and a briefcase. Her power was in how she chose to deal with the life that was handed to her. How she approached life. And I think that’s a great quality. My sisters are very similar to her. They’re both great moms and they’re both teachers. If I didn’t become a model I probably would have been a teacher as well.

What’s your favourite watch?
I’m the most sentimental about the Constellation.When I started working with Omega, I went to Switzerland and I met with the watchmakers and they were redesigning it at the time, and I actually got to have a little bit of input. So I’ll always feel connected to the Constellation. As I said, I love having more than one watch. At night, I wear the Ladymatic a lot. There are so many great ones, it’s fun to have a little bit of choice to play with.

Omega The Ladymatic “Luxury Dial”

Which of Omega’s values really speak to you?
What I’ve loved about Omega from the very beginning is its quality, and seeing how much pride the watchmakers have and their attention to detail. It gave me a whole new appreciation for watchmaking and quality timepieces. Omega also stands for legacy, history and a timelessness. Even though it’s about time, there’s a timeless thing about the Omega brand. But also their innovation, and the moon, and their involvement with the Olympics. They just do a lot of cool stuff. And their other ambassadors, I know most of them. They’re all really nice people as well as being at the top of their fields.

So, for my kids, legacy will be the most important thing, because they grew up with Omega. I grew up in a time when you had to wear a watch to tell the time. For kids now, it’s different. It’s only about the statement they’re making. It’ll be interesting for Kaia and Presley to be a part of redefining why a quality timepiece matters to their generation. It’s like, why do we love vintage cars? I guess it’s that sense of understated luxury.