When famed award-winning actress Kate Winslet was asked to narrate a documentary several years ago, her life changed. Little did she know at the outset that her role in that film would lead her to co-found The Golden Hat Foundation, dedicated to honoring the intellectual capabilities of those with autism.
Kate Winslet Discusses Her Design Input for the New Flagship Heritage by Kate Winslet Watch
In an exclusive interview on Saturday June 10 with Kate Winslet, Ambassador of Elegance for Longines, the eloquent award-winning actress discussed her design influence on the newly unveiled Flagship Heritage by Kate Winslet Watches that are currently up for auction. She also talks about her secret style, how time plays a role in her life, and about the Golden Hat Foundation.
Newsweek: Which aspects of the design of this watch were you most excited about?
Kate Winslet: “Well, honestly, being let loose in a Longines factory and being allowed to just pick and choose and tailor make this piece, that was the most exciting part. And, it ended up being something I don’t think I originally imagined it was going to be. I am quite a functional and practical kind of a girl. I need something to do what it says it is going to do; I’m that kind of a chick. I want everything to function in a simple, straightforward way, and I think imagined that the watch would be more basic and masculine than it ended up. I imagined a dark brown strap that would wear really well and a flatter face, but then when I went into the factory in Saint Imier, which is really extraordinary, I had no idea how beautiful some of the older timepieces in that museum would be. They had an incredible watch with a rich beige leather strap, and almost as an aside, as a joke, I said it would be so lovely to have a strap like that, and he said ‘Well you can then.’ And suddenly I really did feel like I was designing something special and something that had touches of my own secret taste and style in there. So that was the strap, and I prefer gold to silver always. My engagement ring is gold, my wedding ring is gold and I thought if I were going to wear this watch I would wear gold. It also looked unusual putting the gold next to the beige; it looks very elegant and yet incredibly chic at the same time. For the dial, I wanted the same dial as the Flagship Heritage has because it is so simple, you can read it really simply; it is just classic and without any other embellishment. I liked the simplicity and the honesty of it, and that is how it all came together.”
N: Now that you see it finished, what do you think?
KW: “I only saw it today for the first time and I am very proud of it, and it is nice to see my signature on the back. It is more than I thought it would be; it looks very classy and I wouldn’t consider myself to be particularly classy and to have something that is so fancy. It makes me feel it is very special.”
N: What is it about Longines that attracted you to the brand initially?
KW: “When they first approached me I actually had a Longines watch already that I had bought at a vintage watchmaker in South London. It is a watch from the 1930s and I love it and wear it all the time. So when I was approached by Longines, I thought it was nice because it feels in keeping with something that I am wearing; it didn’t feel like I was stepping away from my own style to collaborate with them. Then, the more I talked to them and understood what they stood for, it seemed to go hand in hand with my own beliefs about family, tradition and simplicity and function. I admire the way they work; they are incredibly loyal to their employees. When I visited the factory, there was a woman working there who had worked for them for 37 years, since she was a teenager.
She took the same journey every day, over the hill and down the valley, and she clocks in every morning at 7 am and she clocks out everyday at 4, and she goes home and buys fresh bread on her way back. There is something about that and about how the company is so steeped in tradition that I admire. It feels small, it feels bespoke, it feels very specific and particular and unique, and I admire all of those solid qualities.”
N: How does time play a role in your life?
KW: “I always feel like I don’t have enough of it during the day. I still find myself constantly trying to teach myself how to relax and make the most of my time chilling, just chilling out with my family with my kids and settling into that and not feeling like I have to jump, I have to do something, I have to read that script. As I am getting older, I find myself trying to get better at finding ways to carve out more down time for myself. Time is really important and I wish I had more of it just to do all those things. I think I am getting better at that now, and I am in less of a hurry now than I was when I was in my twenties. I feel like I rushed my way to being 35. And so much has happened in that time. Even when I look at the list of the films I have been a part of, when I have to check a bio or a program or something, and I think, ‘wow I have done so much; almost an abnormal amount for someone who is 41 and with three kids.’ So, yes, I am learning to take my foot off the gas a little bit.”
N: What is the most important thing you want people to know about The Golden Hat Foundation?
KW: “It is really not about the foundation. The most important thing I want people to know is about what we are trying to do. We want to break down the barriers that surround autistic individuals, whether they are non-verbal or verbal. People know little about autism; they don’t know about the condition or what it means, and there are different forms and levels, and the most important thing for us is to try to break down the barriers and create an environment where we can talk about the world of autism. These individuals have a normal, if not higher than normal, level of intelligence. Not enough is known about the condition, and we want to help these people realize their dreams and help them support their families. So we have to open up that discussion, and not shy away from it. Children can’t fundraise for themselves; adults can do this and that to me is very important.
Whatever can be done, even if it is just opening up he discussion so that you don’t shy away from that child in line at a grocery store because he is making strange noises and involuntary physical movements because they are autistic. You know, let’s not back away, let’s not move to the other line, let’s not make faces, and let’s not stay silent. Those are the important things.”