It’s a given that the A-list crowd are fans of fashion, cars, property, art…
But you may be surprised at a few of the names who buy into the horology hypebeast. Below, we round up the celebrities you might not expect to have seriously impressive watch collections.
Body-con dresses and that television show are a couple of things that come to mind when you think of this Kardashian sister. However, she is also a watch collector. It was apparently her mother Kris Jenner, not soon-to-be ex-husband Kanye, who ignited this particular spark in her daughter. Kim has been spotted sporting a yellow-gold Rolex Date, just as well as an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Skeleton. Solid choices, but maybe it’s time to branch out? The Richard Mille 037 Automatic White Ceramic comes to mind as a potential next purchase for Kim K.
With his pretty boy looks and balladeering, the John Mayer who broke onto the music scene in the early 2000s didn’t seem like the type to nerd out over vintage watches. Fast forward to 2021 and he has become one of the most influential watch collectors on the planet. He increased the price of a Rolex Daytona with a green dial by nearly $20,000, simply by talking about how much he loved it on watch site Hodinkee. Mayer is a genuine fan. His vintage Rolex collection is second to none, but he also has an eye for a concept Audemars Piguet, likes a Patek Philippe and is partial to an IWC. He is fascinated by mechanics and has said that wearing a watch gives him a feeling of home wherever he is. It’s one expensive home – his watch collection is reckoned to be worth $10s of millions.
In contrast to John Mayer, Ellen DeGeneres doesn’t like to talk about her watch collection. Her love of watches has, instead, been discerned by the eagle-eyed of the internet. The scanning of press images and stills from her talk show reveal a love of Rolex, both new and vintage. In 2019, this was confirmed when Jasper Lijfering, of Amsterdam Vintage Watches, posted a picture of Ellen on his Instagram feed with her new purchase – an extremely rare yellow-gold Paul Newman Daytona. This particular watch is known as the John Player Special, because its black-and-gold colourway is reminiscent of the brand’s cigarette packets, and is thought to have set DeGeneres back $750,000. She is also a fan of Patek Philippe, Omega and Audemars Piguet. In keeping with her laidback style, the timepieces she chooses tend to be sporty rather than flashy; the ideal way to spend some of her reported $500m fortune, without attracting attention.
After a few stints in rehab, the rock legend finally kicked the cocaine and alcohol and developed another addiction instead – collecting watches from the 1930s and 1940s. Apparently, he has around 300 to 400 watches, comprising Hamiltons, Elgins, Breitlings and Rolex Bubblebacks. He has customised a vintage Rolex with Gothic-inspired customiser Dark Triumph; talked some astronaut friends of his into taking his Omega Speedmaster into space; and was a fan of watch shopping in pawn shops with Kiss drummer Eric Singer while they were on tour together. The mix of lower-end vintage with Rolexes and Omegas suggests a watch collection as eclectic and hard to pin down as the man himself.
Given the myriad different personae she has tried on over the years, from hennaed yogi to tweed-wearing British landed gentry, it isn’t surprising that Madonna’s watch collection is incredibly diverse. She has been photographed in the diamond-encrusted excess that is Jacob & Co.’s Angel watch and, at the other end of the sartorial scale, the understated Cartier Panthère. She’s also been seen in the iconic Hermès Cape Cod on a double tour strap and, somewhat randomly, a Takara Kronoform Robot Time Machine, which she wore on the cover of People in 1984. This watch was made by the Japanese toy manufacturers for the Transformers franchise and transformed into a robot. You have to hand it to Madonna – in everything, including her watch collecting, she never fails to surprise.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
The first-ever wrist watch was made for our first Queen Elizabeth, so there’s a pleasing symmetry to Liz also having a penchant for a well-made watch. The jewel in her horological crown has to be the gorgeous Jaeger-LeCoultre Ligne 101 that she wore for her coronation, which retains the record for having smallest mechanical movement 92 years after it was made. It is estimated the Queen has around 14 watches in her collection and those she has been seen in suggest a woman who prefers more feminine styles. She has a serious line in cocktail numbers. She owns a Vacheron Constantin 4481, gifted to her by the Swiss Federation in 1974, which she passed on to Diana when she married Charles. For state occasions the Queen favours the diamond-and-pearl extravaganza that is her Patek Philippe Ref. 4975/1G. While her daytime styles show a more understated femininity – vintage Omega Ladymatics and a gold bracelet Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars.
Solid, reliable, considered the best in the world. Descriptions that could refer to Tom Hanks as well as his watch brand of choice – Rolex. In keeping with Hanks’ persona, he isn’t a flashy collector – no gold bracelets or rainbow precious-stone set bezels here. His Sea-Dweller, Explorer and Milgauss are all in dependable steel. When he does experiment with other brands, they possess that same no-nonsense tool watch sensibilities. His dress watch of choice is a Bell & Ross BR Vintage 123 and he also has an Omega. A Speedmaster, naturally.
Fabulously successful pop stars often collect watches, so Ed Sheeran doing so isn’t what makes him unlikely. What does is his choices. This man is into seriously complicated watches, with a penchant for grande complications. He’s certainly come a long way from the kid who thought it was cool to customise a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726A by turning the hands red and putting his initials on the moonphase dial. He has been seen in three different Richard Milles – a Richard Mille RM 38-01 Tourbillon G-Sensor Bubba Watson White Quartz TPT, 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal and the RM26-02 Tourbillon Evil Eye. He has a selection of Patek Philippe’s including a 5004 Grand Complication (uncustomized, thankfully), a smattering of Audemars Piguets and a few Hublots and Rolexes. He also seeks out unusual names, such as the Icelandic brand JS Watch Co. and the Sturmanskie Gagarin Vintage from Russia. Perhaps not the calibre of haute horlogerie you’d expect to see on a man who appears not to own an iron.