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Up until about a decade ago, collecting luxury watches was a hobby that was predominantly the interest of very wealthy people with penchant for fine watch making. This hobby does not come cheap and as you begin to get a better understanding and knowledge of high end watch brands, you realize how much technology and thought goes into the design. That, or get yourself a dealer to guide you in traversing the wonderful but sometimes confusing (for the novice) ways of Swiss horology. In recent years though, high luxury watch brands started signing up sports legends as brand ambassadors as part of million dollar endorsement deals. Exclusive models from several top watch brands also begun appearing in Hollywood movies although its significance is lost to all but a few luxury watch enthusiasts in the audience. In recent years, well known celebrities started talking, and showing off, their latest Swiss watch acquisition. Although far from being mainstream, watch collection is slowly getting the attention it deserved. Here are 10 celebrities who are known to be a legit WIS - that is Watch Idiot Savant in horology lingo.
Eric Clapton #EricClaptonwatches
The man is a legendary guitarist with as much passion for music as he has for well-made mechanical timepieces. His emotional attachment to fine Swiss watchmaking is such that he named one of his albums "Timepieces" and mentioned the beloved high luxury watch brand, Patek Philippe, in his autobiography. Mr. Clapton's specialty are vintage and rare masterpieces and being an ambassador for Rolex, he had access even to prototypes like the Rolex Yachtmaster Daytona. He was seen wearing a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 Oyster Albino, a Rolex Milgauss Ref 11640GV, Rolex GMT Master II with Ceramic bezel Ref. 116710LN, a very rare Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in Platinum, Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar ref. 5004J, and Patek Philippe ref. 5970P Perpetual Calendar with Chronograph.
John Mayer #JohnMayerwatches
Another great guitarist and lady’s man, John Mayer, is famously known as a big luxury watch aficionado. It is a surprising fact that he doesn't just acquire luxury timepieces but he is also well-versed in the art and science of watchmaking. I actually remember being blown away when I stumbled upon one of his watch reviews in Hodinkee - a site devoted to luxury timepieces. Who would have known? His collection is varied and includes a Patek Philippe 5164A Aquanaut Travel Time and Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 5970G. He also has IWC Big Pilot Reference 5002, IWC Aquatimer Jacques Cousteau along with several Rolexes: GMT-Master 116710 BLNR, Submariner Ref 1680 Issued To COMEX, Military Submariner Reference 5517, and a Cosmograph Daytona 6263.
Sylvester Stallone #SylvesterStallonewatches
Sylvester "Sly" Stallone has brought iconic albeit fictional characters to life such as Rocky Balboa and John Rambo. As it turns out, this actor/screenwriter/director who exudes a larger-than-life aura has an equally huge interest in high end watch brands, particularly Panerai. In fact, he is largely credited for single-handedly putting the Italian brand in the map. It all started when he sported a Panerai Luminor Marina Submersible in the 1996 film Daylight. He's also known to have strapped on a 60mm Panerai Pam 341 Egiziano in titanium, and a Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta Rattrapante as well as a Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronzo for The Expendables. Besides Panerai watches, he was also seen wearing a Rolex Submariner, a Rolex Day Date, Carl F. Bucherer Patravi TravelTec GMT, and a Jacob & Co Skull Five Time Zone. And oh, last I've heard he now also produces his own line in partnership with Montegrappa.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger #ArnoldSchwarzeneggerwatches
Another larger than life personality also dabbles in luxury watches when he is not busy with politics, doing charity works, producing or directing movies. He is often photographed, along with good buddies like Sylverster Stallone, wearing hefty pieces from high end watch brands. He was filmed wearing a Panerai Luminor Marina in the movie Eraser, and Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days BRONZO (most probably influenced by Sly). He also have an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Arnold Schwarzenegger Legacy of 2011, an Audemars Piguet ROO as seen in Terminator 3, Lасо Beobachtungsuhrenr, and a couple of U-Boat watches that matched his massive stature perfectly: U-Boat Classico and U-Boat 1942 Limited Edition Watch.
Charlie Sheen #CharlieSheenwatches
Charlie Sheen may not only be controversial, funny and a little over the top, but after seeing him in the movie, Platoon many years ago it’s a shame to see him self-destruct over the years. However, we may have been left with one saving grace: his impressive watch collection. Thanks to Twitter, and no thanks to him, we became privy to his less than stellar behavior and his more than remarkable watch collection. His collection includes the $700,000 Patek Philippe Re. 2438/1, and a Patek Philippe Chronograph Perpetual Calendar 5970 which he apparently lost. In an interview to TMZ he was quoted as saying he only has 7 watches in his collection which I seriously doubt, but if it includes the rare Patek references, then 7 is more than enough. In any case, he later posted his entire collection on Twitter and its clear he has way more than 7 luxury watches.
Tom Cruise #TomCruisewatches
Tom Cruise is another infamous celebrity and if people are not too keen on discussing his Scientology beliefs or his recent rumored relationship with his 22 year old assistant, we can spare some time to focus on his impressive and wide ranging collection of high end watch brands. He has been documented wearing an Anonimo San Marco, a Panerai PAM 63 GMT for the movie Tropic Thunder, an Omega Speedmaster X-33 for Minority Report, a Tudor Heritage Chronograph for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, an IWC Vintage Ingenieur Automatic IW3233 for Collateral, and an IWC Mark XV that his character wore for Vanilla Sky. In addition, he also has a Bremont ALT1-C, a Royal Oak Offshore GP Singapur , and several watches from U-Boat , Anonimo Firenze, and Locman.
Orlando Bloom #OrlandoBloomwatches
This English actor whose notable film career includes Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, is also a well-known luxury watch enthusiast. So much so that he was one of the targets in a series of robberies orchestrated by The Bling Ring which costs him several of his precious watches. Fortunately, these were recovered. His collection includes: IWC Pilot’s Watch – Classic Chronograph Automatic, IWC Fliegeruhr doppel-chronograph, IWC Mk, Rolex Milgauss Ref 6543, Rolex Explorer 1 Reference 1016, Rolex 1969 Explorer, Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 – “Steve McQueen”, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II, Explorer 1 circa 1968, and Panerai Luminor 1950 PAM127. Orlando's obviously a big fan of IWC, Rolex, and Panerai and as cheesy as it sounds, he is a member of "Friends of IWC" along with Chris Tucker, John Mayer, Jason Statham, and many more.
Robert Downey Jr. #RobertDowneyJrwatches
Robert Downey Jr. has a remarkable life story of success, downfall, and redemption. His colorful autobiography is in fact rivaled only by his enviable luxury watch acquisitions that he wore in and outside of filming. He was caught wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Master Compressor for his movie, The Judge as well as a Hublot Bigbang and Bvlgari Diagono Sport as Tony Stark in Iron Man. While doing international press of the 3rd installment of the movie, Robert was captured wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX5 World Chronograph and a Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph.
Leonardo Dicaprio #LeonardoDicapriowatches
When he's not charming Victoria's Secret Models, Leonardo Dicaprio keeps himself busy shooting films, venturing into hotel business, and speaking his mind about environmental issues such as global warming. Apparently he has another hobby that of collecting refined timepieces. As the face of Tag Heuer, he was seen wearing several models like the Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 Titanium Racing Chronograph, the Aquaracer 500m, a limited edition TAG Heuer Link Calibre 16 Chronograph which he himself helped designed, Carrera Automatic WV211B.BA0787 as seen in Inception, and a Tag Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Calibre 36 Chronograph. Besides the Tag Heuer timepieces, he also owns a Breitling Chrono Avenger and several Jaeger-LeCoultres: Master Compressor Extreme Lab, Reverso Gyrotourbillon , Master Minute Repeater.
John Travolta #JohnTravoltawatches
A lot of people know that John Travolta is a brilliant actor, many are aware that he is just as skilled as an aviator, but only a few know of his interest in high end luxury watches. John Travolta got his pilot's license at a young age of 16 and his passion for flying made him the perfect ambassador for the Swiss watchmaker, Breitling. On top of sporting such iconic Breitling timepieces like the Navitimer, John was also seen wearing a Rolex Submariner and a Rolex Datejust.
There a few more runner ups to this list like Kanye West and Jay Z and the number is on the rise as many regards this hobby as more than just a status symbol. Anyway, it's a weird coincidence that I happen to be listening to John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change" while writing this piece and I can't help but think that these guys are pretty darn lucky to be able to watch the passing of time through the dials of the most exclusive watches out there.