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.
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.
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.
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.
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.