I can’t tell what watch Joe Exotic was wearing during the Tiger King documentary series. The picture above is as good an image as I could find of the convicted polygamist’s timepiece. It sure as Hell ain’t no Rolex. Diesel Chrono? Dunno. But I do know that the show’s trailer trash ethos raises potential interest in a more exotic tiger watch. So here we go . . .
Zazzle Tiger-Face Watch – $49.95
Zazzle specializes in printing images on stuff, so there’s no impediment to offering an enormous range of tiger photos on the cheapest quartz watches known to mankind. I count eighteen exotic tiger watch variations, including the more upmarket stainless steel Gorgeous Bengal Tiger Face Wrist Watch (with bi-directional bezel) at $99.60.
And those are just the tiger-faced watches by designer Joel Traylor, whose Zazzle profile informs us that he’s into “celebrating the funny, weird and awesome!” So Tiger King must have inspired him. And props to the manufacturer for printing “assembled in China” on the caseback – unlike our friends at Timex. Speaking of which . . .
Youth Timex LSU Tigers Recruit Watch – $24.99
This LSU fan fave – one left! – takes a tiger licking and keeps on ticking. I’m curious why the photographer/photoshopper went with “happy hands.” I admit there were times when I wanted to cover my eyes while watching Tiger King. SPOILER ALERT! Like when the tiger attacked a keeper. Someone should have kept an eye on her.
Alfama Tiger’s Eye Watch – $299
“Our model made of walnut wood and mysterious Tiger’s Eye is dedicated the the old city of Lisbon and stands to inspire you for consistency in your daily life.” Joe Exotic had the least consistent daily life of any person I’ve ever seen: zoo keeper, breeder, lip syncher, presidential and gubernatorial candidate, polygamist, vlogger, entrepreneur and homicidal maniac. To name a few.
The ATEW captures the “eye of the tiger” spirit of the man, powered by a $9.50 Citizen-Miyota 1M12 quartz movement. At 36mm, it’s a small watch. And the timepiece lacks Joe Exotics’ taste for bling. But not all of us can pull off tassled jackets or rock a mullet. The Alfama Tiger’s Eye watch keeps the tiger blood spirit without projecting the trailer trash lifestyle.
Despite the name, Grossmann’s mob only made only one one-eyed exotic tiger watch. Back in 2019, Christie’s auctioned the [otherwise unknown artist] Jaroslava Werstler’s acrylic big cat horological homage for $20,961 to a Chinese customer (presumably born during the Year of the Tiger).
A bargain? Moritz Grossmann’s Glashütte workshop produces around 200 handcrafted timepieces per year, ranging in price from $28k to $186k. The Tiger THREE runs on their in-house caliber 100.1 . If you think high horology meets Holiday Inn art is weird, Grossmann made the first watch movement incorporating a human hair. That’s even exotic enough for Joe, I’d imagine.
Jaquet Droz Heure Minute Tiger watch – $30,300
If you think Joe Exotic is a strange character – and he is – the same can be said for Pierre Jaquet Droz. The 18th century French watchmaker was famous for his automata – the precursor to Disney’s Audio-Animatronics and, some say, the world’s first robots.
JD’s Tiger watch may not move like their Magic Lotus , but it’s easily the most beautifully rendered image of our selection. The tiger, tiger burning bright is painted on ivory enamel in a watch that’s got gold a’ plenty: hands, case, buckle and oscillating weight (spins and winds the watch). It’s pricey, but the pick of the litter.