As a teenager discovering the inner workings of the adolescent male mind in the 1980s, it seemed there was actually very limited thoughts in most of them. But one image that was almost universally adopted by those with a Y chromosome was that of supermodel of the decade Cindy Crawford. Every woman (and, of course, man) of a certain age will remember her Shape Your Body workout video and its indelible cover shot showing the woman we all wanted to be, hands on hips, clad in a Baywatch-style scarlet swimsuit.

Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford's Shape Your Body work out series

For the latter part of the decade and throughout the 1990s, Crawford was everywhere — the covers of every top fashion magazine (when magazines still printed in their hundreds of thousands), the most exclusive catwalks and the top marketing campaigns, as well as providing the eye-candy in music videos for George Michael, Bon Jovi and Duran Duran. And, while other supermodels were misbehaving, throwing tantrums or refusing to get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day, the wholesome and ethereally beautiful Crawford won hearts around the world with her body, her mind and her reputation for professionalism.

During this pre-Internet era, the rites of passage from childhood to adulthood seemed a lot less demanding. Sure, we spent far too much time on the phone (landline, of course) discussing the hottest new productions on MTV or what to wear to the next edition of the Reverberation Club (the name of my hangout du jour), but trolling was yet to be invented and peer pressure to acquire the latest disposable goods was a lot less prevalent. As we turned 18, among my group of friends at least, the standard gift from parents was a piece of jewellery or a wristwatch, and the default brand for the latter was Omega. It, therefore, seemed a natural fit when, in 1995, the model of the decade became the first ambassador for the company that launched a bunch of wannabe Cindy Crawfords into the adult world.

Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford seen here in a mid-90s photography campaign for Omega (Image: Beatrice Lang)

Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann says of Crawford: “The relationship has lasted more than two decades. Omega is about passion and Cindy has passion and will always be someone we look to. People ask how I choose an ambassador and I always say that it is more about values than anything. In life, you have certain beams that light your path and your way and Cindy is one of those beacons.”

Cindy Crawford
Circa 1996 — Cindy Crawford working on the Constellation design at Omega's facilities in Bienne
Cindy Crawford
A 1997 Ad campaign for the Constellation featuring Cindy Crawford

Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann says of Crawford: “The relationship has lasted more than two decades. Omega is about passion and Cindy has passion and will always be someone we look to. People ask how I choose an ambassador and I always say that it is more about values than anything. In life, you have certain beams that light your path and your way and Cindy is one of those beacons.”

Cindy Crawford
Cindy with Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann at the "Her Time" event in Paris

The New Age

And indeed, twenty-two years on, Crawford’s parallel values, as well as her dedication and involvement with the company’s image and philanthropic activities have resulted in her becoming Omega’s longest-serving ambassador. She refers to the partnership as: “An incredible relationship — in fact, I’ve been with Omega longer than I’ve been married.” Along the way, the brand has entered the lives of Crawford’s entire family, with husband Rande Gerber and children Presley and Kaia joining her on official trips to the Olympics and Kaia visiting Peru to witness first-hand the work of the Orbis International Flying Eye Hospital that Omega sponsors. It, therefore, came as a natural progression when on 29 September this year, during Paris Fashion Week, Crawford’s children were announced as Omega’s latest ambassadors.

With a solid roster of long-term partners ranging from Nicole Kidman and George Clooney to Eddie Redmayne and Michael Phelps, 18-year-old Presley and 16-year-old Kaia are clearly charged with bringing a new generation of potential watch buyers to Omega. The hottest runway star of 2017, Kaia who matches her mother in terms of physical beauty, is set to be a leading light in modelling. Confident and articulate, she is also one of the more refreshing role models to have emerged from the fashion world in recent times.

Cindy Crawford
(From the left) Cindy with Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, husband Rande Gerber and kids, Kaia and Presley Gerber at the "Her Time" event in Paris

“Millennials have changed the planet,” says Aeschlimann, referring to the generation Omega hopes to seduce through the new ambassadors. “They change our lives because we have changed theirs. They were born with computers and mobile phones and are set up for social media. They adapt quickly and although we call them ‘Generation Y’, I think it is more ‘Generation Why?’ That is the way they are. They ask questions and they like true stories. They challenge all of us to be proactive and to share our stories. That is perfect for Omega as we love proximity. We live in a connected world, but you still need to have a backbone, a date line and a history and things have to be genuine – with Presley and Kaia, we are not simply working with them because they have a huge number of social media followers, I met them two years ago at an Orbis event and I loved their attitude. It is clear we have to take the young generation and speak to them and represent them, and it is good to attempt to share our values and partner with people who have these values.”

The announcement of the partnerships, was made by Aeschlimann and accompanied by a new set of portraits of the family taken by Peter Lindbergh. During torrential rain and an electric storm that lit up the skies of Paris, Crawford used the launch event to introduce the latest edition of Omega’s Her Time exhibition celebrating more than a century of women’s watchmaking by the Bienne-based manufacture. Highlights included the “Medicus” from 1935, specifically designed for doctors and nurses, several tiny Art Deco cocktail pieces, some crazy 1970s watches and jewellery and exquisite pièces uniques designed for the brand by Andrew Grima and Gilbert Albert.

Omega Moldavita from 1964
The Omega Moldavita from 1964 on exhibit at the Her Time showcase in Paris

Blast from the Past

Days prior to Omega’s announcement of the two new brand ambassadors, Crawford took to the same Milanese runway as her daughter Kaia when, in tribute to the late Gianni Versace, Crawford closed the Versace show, along with fellow 1980s/90s supermodels Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni. The event and its subsequent publicity brought back memories of the famous and game-changing, plunging red Versace dress that Crawford wore to the Oscars in 1991 when she accompanied her then boyfriend Richard Gere.

Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford in the plunging red Versace dress that she famously wore to the Oscars in 1991
Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen with Donatella Versace
(From the left) Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen walk the runway at the Versace show at Milan Fashion week 2017 with fashion legend Donatella Versace

Similarly, one particular poster in the Her Time exhibition references the year that Crawford joined forces with Omega and the new Constellation collection was launched – a collection that Crawford reputedly had input in and still feels bonded to today, despite owning an array of models, including the new Speedmaster 38. This, plus the brand’s strong focus on women’s watches, past and present, has led to obvious speculation of something interesting to come for women in 2018. With no confirmation from Omega, we can only wait, watch and hope.

Her Time is on display at the Hôtel de Sully from 30 September – 15 October 2017