My Three-Watch Wardrobe: Stylist Mr Tom O’Dell
Mr Tom O’Dell knows all about the big impact of small details. “Details are what make a difference, whether that’s a lapel, tie pin, trouser length – or a watch,” says the stylist, film costumier and menswear brand consultant. “I love getting my teeth into those details.”
When it comes to styling watches on set, particularly for the period films that are O’Dell’s forte, he homes in on the details, ensuring the right size, type and style of watches for the mood. “They help build detail into period films, rather than just a blanket vintage feel,” he says. “You can really set the details for the 1950s versus 1960s, even between 1962 and 1968. A watch also tells you a lot about a person’s character – their wealth, upbringing or their tastes.”
He applies that same attention to detail in his own life, helped along by a watch collection of some 30 pieces (most of which are vintage). “Each time I put on an outfit, I think of all the details: the shoes, type of jacket or tie, plus what types of watch will suit the event,” he says. “I really enjoy that. I like the fact that I have a few watches to pick from, to really feel as if I’ve put in that special extra five per cent.”
He’s particularly fond of vintage Omega, such as a 1966 Seamaster he bought to mark the death of his grandfather. It’s still his favourite watch. “It has a lot of sentimental value and gets a lot of wear,” says O’Dell, who tends to bring it out for special events, big meetings, “or when I need good luck. It’s still my go-to special watch.” There’s also one of the first electronic Omega watches from 1971 and a 1969 gold Constellation with a date, a gift from an actor he’d worked with.
Every watch in his collection tells a story, whether that’s the quirky transparent Swatch Big Bold Jellyfish from 1995 that he’d always coveted as a child, or the vintage dress watch he bought in March when he was in Los Angeles for the Oscars (and wore for the after-party). “They all have a memory and I hope to remember each watch, where and when it came from,” he says.
Breitling Premier B01 Automatic Chronograph
This watch reminds O’Dell of a 1960s Breitling chronograph he bought in January to mark the birth of his daughter. “It’s very similar, with the same sort of detailing on the side,” he says, adding that this modern, more practical version makes for a great day watch, especially with its slightly larger size. He’d wear the watch with a lovely piece of knitwear and wool high-waisted trousers paired with loafers or Converse. “It’s a great day or weekend watch that you would reach for all the time, not only because it’s beautiful, but has a great size and is just a classic,” he says.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Moon-Phase
This watch nods to a moon-phase watch that O’Dell’s mother wore when he was a child. “It was a women’s watch with a small face – it wasn’t expensive – but I always remember being fascinated with the watch and its little drawing of the moving sun and moon,” says O’Dell, who today has a similar late-1950s moon-phase watch in his own collection. “I can imagine reaching for this when you don’t want to dress up in black tie, instead going for a lovely draped suit with a sharp tie and crisp white shirt,” he says. “It’s the perfect watch for an evening in town – at The Wolseley or something – going out for a birthday or an anniversary with my partner. It would be a super special watch.”
Junghans Max Bill Automatic 38mm
O’Dell is drawn to this watch’s clean and fresh “Scandi, mid-century, relaxed aesthetic”, he says. Against the backdrop of his vintage-heavy collection, this Junghans would be a perfect, modern workhorse for a big day on set. “A lot of the time you’re busy and active, running around and preparing things for the actors,” he says. “So sometimes it’s good to have a simple, modern watch to go with what you’re wearing, which for me is usually jeans and a sweatshirt or a T-shirt with white chinos,” he says. “This watch is timeless. I can imagine having it for a long time and it becoming more of a classic over the years.”