Since I first spoke to Ryan Gosling about joining team TAG Heuer in the fall of 2021, he’s expressed, to me, a close personal friend, his preference for simple watches. Even complications (the extra bells and whistles, like the stopwatch-esque chronograph feature) was a bridge too far for the man born to play Ken. However, all the rules are going out the window for the upcoming Barbie movie. At the movie’s Canadian press day, Gosling wore TAG Heuer’s new Carrera Date with a Barbie pink dial.
The marketing plan for Barbie is unprecedented. Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice rapped over Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ hit, there’s an actual Barbie dream house available to rent on Airbnb, and there seemingly isn’t a brand in existence that doesn’t have some sort of pinkified product on offer. This Carrera isn’t a Barbie collaboration, but it’s as if the movie’s pull is now so massive that it’s bending products into its orbit. The watch’s pink dial is a perfect match for Gosling as he promotes the movie.
This is a new version of the Carrera Date that was only announced in March, at Watches & Wonders, and it exemplifies the boldly-coloured dials that have been trending the past few years. Rolex’s line-up of (now-discontinued) orange, yellow, blue, and pink Oyster Perpetuals were so in demand that the Crown put out a cheeky “bubble” watch this year featuring every color from that collection. Omega has its own line of Aqua Terra watches with shades plucked from a Crayola box, and the likes of Zoë Kravitz a fan, so TAG Heuer's slate of pieces that includes Ryan Gosling’s pink Carrera, royal blue and minty green dials are all part of a bigger, more playful wristwear trend.
The combination of this hot pink watch and the unstoppable Barbie marketing machine has pushed Gosling into experimenting with new watches. It’s fun to watch his evolution as a collector since signing with TAG. At first, he didn’t want to wear anything but the brand’s plainest pieces. When I asked him (again, my close personal friend) about diving deeper into the catalog at an event last July, he blanched. “You mean like the complications? You know, I have not been to the factory yet, so I don’t know about the watch to get into the minutiae.” But just a few months later he was wearing a piece with a complication in London. Now, with a little push from a plastic doll, he’s embracing his most out-there watch yet.