Actor Hannes Jaenicke: “Watches Are a Beautiful Cult”

In the interview Hannes Jaenicke talks about personal watch taste, watches on the filmset and clocks in use for the environment.

“Our seas need to be more protected,” was a conclusion on world Oceans Day, the world’s sea. On this day, Jaeger-LeCoultre, together with the German actor and environmental activist Hannes Jaenicke, drew attention to the preservation of the 47 maritime nature reserves in the world heritagelist. The Swiss watch Manufactory has been cooperating with UNESCO in this field since 2008. Hannes Jaenicke played among others in the films» Downhill «,» Bandits «and» Knockin’ on Heaven’s door «. Since 2008 he has been in the ZDF in the documentary series» in Use for… «To see. In these films he is committed to the extinction of animals. But what do environmental protection and luxury watches at Watchtutorials have in common? About it and about his personal watch taste, Melanie Feist, responsible online editor of, spoke with Hannes Jaenicke. Mr. Jaenicke, in some films you can recognize Jaeger-LeCoultre watches on your wrist. Does that mean you’re wearing your private watches or are those watch watches?

Hannes Jaenicke: Yes, these are my private watches and that has a very simple reason. I really don’t want to rant about costume artistry, but what’s being offered in some watches is so ugly that I just have to say ‘ no ‘. I’m thinking, of course, what fits the role. When I play a construction worker, I will not wear Jaeger-LeCoultre because it is simply not credible. But with many figures I play, the clocks fit. In addition, the game clocks are usually broken. But I also want to know how long we’ve been shooting, how long we’re going to turn, and especially when the lunch break is. Laughs) Which watches do you prefer to wear? Do you prefer certain materials or functions?

Hannes Jaenicke: Two things are important to me: I don’t like swanky watches, but simple and discreet design and they have to run 100% reliably. That’s why I wear watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre. I’m just not a person who loves loud status symbols. That’s not my thing. Which watches do you call your own?

Hannes Jaenicke: I usually wear the big dive watch (master compressor diving chronograph, Editor’s note) from Jaeger-LeCoultre. I am traveling a lot, that is, the clock must be quite a bit, and especially at night. Especially on long haul flights it has to shine so strongly that I can see without any problems what time it is. How do you choose which watch you are wearing in the morning?

Hannes Jaenicke: In the last six months I have only worn the dive watch because since January I have filmed the ZDF movie “in use for Orcas and dolphins”. Finally, in the Nuremberg Dolphinarium, we were also in the water with these poor animals, which have to present themselves several times a day. But if you are already holding dolphins, then please just like in Nuremberg, they give themselves great trouble. That means it’s time for some variation on the wrist?

Hannes Jaenicke: Yes, now I would wear something fit again, for example my chronograph (master compressor chronograph, Editor’s note). You just talked about it, on your last film project in the context of “in use for…” It was about orcas and dolphins. When will the documentation be visible?

Hannes Jaenicke: The film will be aired in ZDF at the beginning of August and then I’ll go back to work as an actor. I have to make money sometimes. Laughs) is a next film project already planned? Which animals should also be protected?

Hannes Jaenicke: Unfortunately, we are dependent on the odds of all TV makers. This means that if the quota is good, what it has always been in the last films, we will be working with the editors in a timely fashion and decide how to proceed. The list of animals that are in question is manageable. Rhino is a huge issue. There are just a few specimens of the white rhinoceros. These animals are hunted for their horn because Asians hold it for a potency remedy. But I would also like to do something about our native species of extinction. No German knows that 25 percent of our domestic animals are extinct. For example, the hare, the Cuckoo and the pheasant are threatened with extinction. How do luxury watches and environmental protection fit together?

Hannes Jaenicke: I have a very own attitude. One should spend a real money in life for a watch, a ski Anorak or even a jeans. Honestly, that’s worth it. I can get 50 t-shirts at Primark or even a really good one from Patagonia. I have Patagonian clothes that are already 20 years old. I’ve probably washed it 300 times and still wear it. I find this way of thinking ‘ that’s cheap and that’s why it’s awesome. And before I set up ten cheap watches for a collection of watches, I’d rather get a really nice and expensive one. Rather little and high quality rather than constantly new and cheap. This is not sustainable for me. At a watch like Jaeger-LeCoultre, you know where and how it is produced. I do not want to mention any brands now, but in others you know very well that you are producing somewhere in Asia under terrible working conditions. These are things that you should have as a consumer in mind. Chopard, for example, committed itself three years ago to the “Fairmined gold”, i.e. the sustainably won gold. What do you think of such approaches?

Hannes Jaenicke: A very good idea. In South America, gold is washed in open rivers with Mercury, and three kilometres further down the villagers drink exactly this water. Something has to happen. This also applies to all gemstones. I once shot Madagascar. There they drill the gemstone tunnels so large that only small children fit in. And a third of these children are coming in the tunnels. Even blood diamonds are not an issue for nothing. In my view, the corporations are in duty. And there are far too few who really get involved. Can you still remember your first watch?

Hannes Jaenicke: That was an old Kienzle watch of my grandfather. He died and my father gave it to me, I think, for the eighth birthday. That was a family heirloom. And you still have that today?

Hannes Jaenicke: No. Honestly, I don’t know where it came from. How do you think you’re going to pass a watch to the next generation? Is this what makes the fascination mechanical watch?

Hannes Jaenicke: Yes, that is actually the case. There is a market for antique and used watches that is mistaken. I once visited a fair for historic clocks, which was fascinating. How many people appreciate that there are still a lot of old clocks, I think that’s great. New is not automatically good. The Reverso from Jaeger-LeCoultre has been around for 85 years now and this is a beautiful, completely timeless clock in Art Deco design. Why change something about it? Which watch followed the Kienzle watch?

Hannes Jaenicke: At some point I bought a swatch from my very first theatre money. I did not know that batteries do not belong in watches. After that I owned a Certina. I’m sorry. And then I started with Jaeger-LeCoultre. I had a friend who owned a reverso and I found it totally beautiful. In addition to Jaeger-LeCoultre, are there any other watch brands that you value?

Hannes Jaenicke: From the point of view of robustness, the Certina was really great. I shot three months in the Sahara years ago. Because there were no hotels, we lived in mud huts. I shared the house with a makeup sculptor and we had to nail things to the wall, but had no tools. So I used the Certina for that. And that really kept the clock. But I don’t like the design anymore today. Still a nice brand that is discreet, not noisy, not Rolex. A friend recently sent me something: ‘ No matter how expensive your Rolex is, you still don’t have time. ‘ Good sentence, right? Time is the stuff your life is made of and you should deliberately deal with it. That’s why I think watches are a beautiful cult.

Tags: Certina, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaeger-LeCoultre Master, Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, Kienzle watches, Swiss watches