Like fine wine, Cardi B’s watch collection is becoming more refined with age Like fine wine, Cardi B’s watch collection is becoming more refined with age

Like fine wine, Cardi B’s watch collection is becoming more refined with age

Zach Blass

Within the hip-hop community the prevalence of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille is abundant. In a scene where competitive flair and one-upmanship is a key component, many rappers’ initial step into watches is to buy “buss-down” watches – whether iced out by the factory or aftermarket. But as this market matures, what we are beginning to see is a greater awareness of value, both fiscal and horological. Artists like J Balvin, for example, have articulated greater respect for all factory original watches and expressed why sometimes less is more when it comes to timepieces. It would seem that rap queen Cardi B is following a similar path – going from completely diamond-smothered sports watches to complicated Patek Philippe pieces.

Cardi B
Image: The Boom Box

The ice age…

Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5980/1A-019 customized with aftermarket diamonds

Cardi B
Image: SuperWatchMan

The Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5980/1A-019 is a stainless-steel chronograph configuration of the highly sought after sports watch. It is yet another example of a stainless-steel watch reconfigured to have a bit more pizzaz and blinged-out flair. What seems to be the giveaway here in terms of aftermarket customization is the mother of pearl chronograph register at 6′. Short of the aesthetic being a bespoke commission, I have to infer this was in fact a stainless-steel watch later customized.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak customized with aftermarket diamonds

 

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A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib)

It is no secret that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one of the most desired collections in the world, second to only perhaps the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Both of the Genta designs are among the most sought-after references today, with waiting lists only getting longer and premiums on the secondhand market higher and higher. This is why purists often cringe when they see a coveted stainless-steel trinity watch blasphemed with aftermarket diamonds. Cardi B’s watch here appears to be a three-handed automatic Royal Oak with a black dial, in either 37mm or 41mm,  that’s been covered with aftermarket diamonds to within an inch of its life. I assume this is an aftermarket configuration due to the inner bezel being paved with diamonds – something I do not believe AP does in their factory based on their current catalogue. Whether or not the diamonds are factory, ultimately what we see is a taste for buss-down watches that are set off by a snowstorm of diamonds.

The beginning of the factory era…

Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980/1R

 

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Recently Cardi B shared a photo of a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5980/1R, but noticeably left in its factory configuration. This is the second 5980 in her collection and an interesting foil to her customised stainless steel 5980/1A.

Cardi B

Whether she later customises the watch remains to be seen, but based on her next acquisition below I think we may be in a new era of acquiring/purchasing timepieces left in their original state.

Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5230G New York 2017 Limited Edition

 

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A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib)

The most recent Patek Philippe reference spotted on her instagram is the Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5230G New York 2017 Limited Edition of 75 watches, As an artist who jet-sets around the world touring for all of her adoring fans, this world timer is probably the most useful complication in her collection.

Cardi B

The New York limited edition factor also ties into her Washington Heights, NYC roots, making this arguably the most fitting Patek Philippe she owns. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues, and if the pivot away from iced out aftermarket creations is long lasting or if there is a relapse towards flashier pieces that include extra glitz.