Celebrity Watches Suck

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celebrity watches - richard mille

If you’re a celebrity, the world is your Oyster. Alternatively, a $3m “one-of-a-kind Richard Mille RM 56-01 Tourbillon, decked out in green sapphire.” That’s according to hypebeast.com. dmarge.com pegs it at $2.5m. Truth be told, neither website gives a flying f*ck how much Jay-Z paid for his ugly ass watch. Or the fact that Shawn Carter probably paid zilch for “his” Mille. All the watch blogs care about is clicks and affiliate deals. That said . . .

What kind of person buys – or aspires to buy – a watch because someone “cool” wears it? There must be millions of them. People who care about whose watch they emulate, not celebrities. All celebrities care about is celebrity.

Duc d'Orleans Breguet Sympathique Clock

If wearing a clock around their neck like Flava-Flav kept a celeb in the limelight, they’d be climbing over each other to strap on a $6.8m Duc d’Orleans Breguet Sympathique Clock. (Don’t worry. They’d find a way.) Or, more likely, they’d get their people to call Breguet to score one for free.

To no avail. That’s not how Breguet rolls. Like their fellow purveyors of Swiss haute horlogerie, Breguet doesn’t deign to pay/comp celebrities with timepieces to promote their band. That would be jejune. Tasteless. Tacky. Demeaning.

Celebrity watches - LeBron James - Black Panther

Which is one reason Audemars Piguet is tipped to lose its position atop Swiss watchmaking’s Holy Trinity (Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet). Black Panther Marvel watches that they channel to NBA players? What’s AP trying to do, make money?

There is that. If a celeb wears a watch, people buy it. Must do. Otherwise, watchmakers wouldn’t pass celebrity watches out like Halloween candy. Cocaine at a post-wrap party? Something like that.

Benedict Cumberbatch Reverso Tribute Nonantieme

I addressed the “what’s in it for them” issue in Celebrity Watch Coverage – Who Cares? I return to the subject to flip the question at the top of this post: what kind of person isn’t interested in celebrity watches? Personally . . .

Celebrity watches don’t impress me much. In fact, they have the reverso effect. Benedict Cumberbatch’s snobby pimping for Jaeger-LeCoultre does nothing to endear me to a brand whose products I admire deeply, and much to make me think twice about owning one.

Cuervo Y Sobrinos color

I like high quality watch brands with integrity that you never see on the wrists of famous folk featured on Instagram and the usual blog whores.

At the lower end, I’m talking about Sinn, NOMOS, BALL, Grand Seiko and Cuervo Y Sobrinos. At the top end, H. Moser & Cie, F.P. Journe, Gronefeld and yes, Vacheron Constantin.

JLC, OMEGA, Breitling and other celebrity-sponsoring watchmakers make terrific watches. But I reckon they’re ignoring the one thing that separates great mechanical watches from lesser timepieces, and just about everything else for that matter (including music). Timelessness.

Celebrities. Here today, gone tomorrow. Great watches. Here today, cherished forever. Great watches speak for themselves. It ain’t necessarily so, but I like to think it is.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Film fan, so buying a watch that pops up in a movie (or TV series) can be a form of cosplay without drawing attention to one’s fandom, especially when the film or television series is “edgy”.

    Celebrities SHOULD wear ugly, gaudy watches. Dress “better” than the audience is the principle at work. Of course, I have ZERO interest in competing with or emulating whatever sportsball or music hero the kids are into these days.

  2. https://www.dancehallmag.com/2021/07/07/style/dancehall-artist-squash-gets-called-out-for-fake-600k-richard-mille-watch.html
    Literally who?

    I’m a Gen X-er that resists marketing. We can spot this not-so-stealthy marketing BTW. Any attempt to emulate someone is a tacit admission that you are below them, and hold them in esteem. I’m a humble man but too arrogant for that.

    Also countersignalling. The brand that can afford this level of placement is above those that can’t, but below those that don’t need to.

  3. Good try, Rob. You’re getting closer.

    Not pining after celebrity crap is a nice sophomore level understanding of marketing and our own tiny brains.

    The real level though is giving a f*ck what celebrities wear. Either way, makes no difference to any full grown adult with his own life. I wear a thing (or not) because I like it, that’s why.

    Speaking of stupid. That Black Panther watch is a homage to a shitty movie made for race pandering idiots on Twitter. Also it’s Barney purple. And it looks like a children’s toy … thought maybe that’s today’s theme, considering Reee-shart Millie and how soft pastels and giant rubber straps are the thing that’s cool now.

    Things made for narcissist children. It’s precious, really.

    Lastly whatever Cumbersnatch wears, nobody cares. God bless JLC, hopefully they can find some way to survive. Though odds stacked against them being that they have actual expertise and history and a great catalog of movements. That’s not the sort of thing looked upon kindly by today’s fascist youth and trending influencers.

  4. To me it’s show, amusement, seeing celebrities donning various watch brands. I’m amused at how much celebs will prostitute themselves, Richard Mille or not, makes no difference. I’m amused at manufacturers using celebs to promote product and agreed, makes me look askance at their need for this kind of self-promotion. Most amused at the suckers, which quite honestly I have not yet met, who place greater value on timepieces worn by celebs. Maybe these customers are above my pay grade and live among the stupid super rich, or maybe the dumb and dying middle class. Don’t know. Comedy and amusement nonetheless.

    • I’m reminded me that “brand ambassadors” must be perfectly faithful to their master’s brand and never be seen straying. Pretty sure Leo DiCaprio, because he needs more money, is a TAG-Heuer dude, and thus they had to use one of those for the super close up stuff in Inception.
      I may not get piles of cash and free Swiss watches tossed my way, but at least I can wear the brand of my choosing from day to day.

  5. Most of them are wearing apple watches, soooooo….

    Yeah, I don’t care what they’re wearing. I like what I like.

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