Most watch enthusiasts get creative when they have to move with their watches. On a recent afternoon, Henry Golding brought his growing collection to a coffee shop in Venice, California, rolled inside ankle socks, tucked in a branded toiletries box Tumi hidden in an Arc’teryx tote bag. It’s not entirely surprising that the 34-year-old actor is a former travel show host whose watches must be kept while walking the Mekong River. In fact, the presenter’s gig sparked his profiling watch obsession — Golding spent an entire season’s paycheck buying his first luxury watch, the Cartier Pasha. “I wasn’t too proud of that at the time,” he said. And then he got his big break, a lead role in Crazy Rich Asians, and bought a Cartier Tank.
You have a very Cary Grant-esque personality, and all of your watches make me consider top men’s watches. Are you conscious of that when building your collection?
You know what that is? That’s the classic. We are talking about an era where leading men are stoic, brave, masculine, but not malicious. Refined. In terms of watch selection then, these are the ones that will stand the test of time, which I will still wear for another 30 years. I mean, the flashiest watch I own is [Patek Philippe] Nautilus. A lot of people see that and are just like, “Eh.” But the watch collector said, “Oh, damn it.”
Do you have to think about what it means to wear the Nautilus before you put it on in the morning?
It sucks to say this, but sometimes wearing that watch is a motivator. If you’re attending these big meetings with CEOs, your watch is a statement. But the taste in watches is much stronger than the price of a watch. So, for me to catch up with these crazy hedge fund guys and I’m wearing my Nautilus, I feel it’s getting more attention than having some crazy diamond encrusted thing on your wrist.
You also get a Cartier Tank, arguably one of the most classic designs of all time.
The tank goes with everything. You can wear it casually or you can wear it with a tuxedo — it’s completely timeless. This one I got for Crazy Rich Asians premiere. I have always wanted this particular watch and a chance to wear it. It’s not too bold, it’s not too in your face. It’s a gold watch, but it doesn’t say, This look at me. I was wearing a gold watch. It’s classic.