Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
This week, in partnership with king of excess Jacob the Jeweler, Off-White and Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh released a jewelry collection entitled “Office Supplies.” The range of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets look simple at first glance: a loop or string of paper clips. But each is made out of 18-carat yellow, white, or rose gold. Both the source objects (paper clips) and the name give a started-from-the-bottom veneer to the incredibly luxe collaboration. And while showing off the collection, Abloh wore a fittingly ostentatious “watch” that treats the idea of the timepiece the same way “Office Supplies” approaches paper clips. That is to say: it is gratuitously slathered in luxury. Abloh’s Jacob & Co. Caviar Flying Tourbillon comes with a shocking sticker price of $1.8 million and only three of this particular model exist in the world. It is covered in 424 baguette rubies, and the strap is alligator leather. We’ve seen watches eclipse or reach the $1.8 million mark before, but those figures are typically driven by after-market effects like scarcity, provenance, or how a certain piece has aged in just the right ways. What’s shocking about the Caviar Flying Tourbillon is that it comes out of the factory with that sky-scraping price. (Although it’s worth noting new versions of the watch can be found for around $900,000 on the aftermarket.) Also this week, Jay Z wears a custom Rolex and Chicharito is back with an anniversary-edition Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Virgil Abloh’s Jacob & Co. Caviar Flying Tourbillon
Jacob & Co. is officially back! The brand’s proprietor thrived in the gaudy days of the ‘90s and early 2000s, serving a clientele that included Notorious BIG, Diddy, and Jay-Z that eventually swerved to subtler Rolex and Patek Philippe watches. But over the past couple weeks, the brand’s watches have shown up on Drake, ASAP Rocky, ASAP Ferg, and now for a second time Abloh, at least briefly. A rep for J&Co. notes that Abloh doesn’t actually own the watch, he was merely trying it on during his meeting with Jacob the Jeweler. Clearly, Abloh is a man of caviar-grade taste.
John Krasinski’s IWC Portugieser Chronograph
Consider Krasinski’s Portugieser the palate cleanser to Abloh’s atomic timepiece. The elegant black-and-gold watch is absolutely the right piece for Krasinski’s current press tour for his now-postponed film A Quiet Place Part II. Maybe next he can make A Quiet Place Part III, which will obviously focus on the whisper-quiet luxury of his watch.
Jay-Z’s custom Rolex Datejust with perpetual calendar by Franck Muller
In its illustrious history, Rolex has never produced a watch with a perpetual calendar function, the super-technical complication that will keep the correct date and day of the week until the year 2100. So, you might ask, what is the deal with the Rolex Jay-Z is wearing, since it clearly features a perpetual calendar?
As legend has it, the watchmaker Franck Muller took a Rolex Datejust in the late ‘80s and modified it to include the complication and indicators for days of the week, months, and the moon phase. The watch was a gift for a friend but eventually made its way to the jeweler Alex Todd, who has sold other incredibly rare and expensive watches to Jay-Z in the past. The most popular kind of watch customization these days involves blacking out or busting down watches are more prevalent today. Sticking a perpetual calendar into a Rolex is next level.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s Patek Philippe 40th anniversary Nautilus 5976/1G
In the April issue of GQ, we wrote about the folks who endure long wait times to get their hands on their grail watches. I spoke to an investment banker named Edward who bided his time for five years until he was able to get his hands on a Patek Philippe Nautilus. He said it required persistence and checking in with his dealer every couple months to make sure the wheels of progress were still moving forward, if only by inches. Hernandez has an ever rarer version of the Nautilus: a 40th-anniversary edition with a chronograph function and inscription reading “1976-40-2016” on the dial. The other notable name who owns this watch? Diddy. I bet neither of them had to wait too long to get theirs.
John Legend’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
A good lesson here from John Legend: a super watch can save or jazz up otherwise normal outfits. Jeans, sneakers, and a sweater isn’t much to write home about—but toss a yellow-gold Royal Oak with a white dial into that mix and you suddenly have something pretty special.
Ozuna’s Patek Philippe Nautilus “Phoenix” 5720/2g-001
In 2012, Patek Philippe opened a new boutique in Shanghai and commemorated the event with a series of watches featuring enamel-painted creatures soaring over fully diamond-set watches. Thanks to Patek Philippe’s celebratory mood, there are a handful of factory-made Nautiluses painted with dragons and phoenixes. Ozuna was probably in an equally celebratory mood while wearing the watch after taking home a bunch of trophies at the Premios Tu Música Urbano award show.