Evolution of a Collection: Idris Elba’s wrist wear is as versatile as his performancesD.C. Hannay
British actor/director Idrissa “Idris” Elba certainly has a long list of accomplishments on his CV. Since bursting onto the scene in the early ’90s, Idris has made a career of playing confident, stylish characters with a commanding physical presence, served alongside a deftly mixed cocktail of gravitas and nuanced humour.
Suave and charismatic, he’s lit up both the big and small screens with roles in HBO’s The Wire, BBC One’s Luther, the Ridley Scott films American Gangster and Prometheus, and he’s even kitted himself out in golden armour to play Heimdall, the protector of Asgard in Marvel’s Avengers and Thor movies.
Even in his ridiculously deadpan role as the super-serious Charles Miner, Steve Carell’s corporate nemesis on the American version of The Office, Idris can’t shut down his natural magnetism. For some time now (even at 49 years old), Idris has been a major contender for one of the most prized leading-man roles in the world, James Bond, keeping company among a list of candidates that includes Tom Hardy, Henry Cavill, Tom Hiddleston, Regé-Jean Page, and Richard Madden. And while Idris is the new spokeswrist for Gucci, I can easily see him as the next 007, slipping into the newest weaponised Omega lurking in Q’s arsenal. But let’s put speculation aside for the moment, and take a look back at some of the marquee-worthy timepieces in Idris’s watch box.
In this 2017 Esquire shoot, Idris looks the business wearing one of IWC’s most iconic pilot’s watches, the Mark XVIII in stainless steel. The no-nonsense black dial, 40mm brushed case, and high-visibility sword handset make it the perfect choice for the man of action.
Here’s Idris at a star-studded 2018 Cartier event in San Francisco, making his entrance sporting the big steel square that is the large Santos 100 on the matching bracelet. The bezel and end links feature prominent screws, and the watch boasts 100 metres of water resistance, perfectly blending sport and elegance without breaking a sweat.
To show he hasn’t forgotten his roots, Idris has been spotted several times rocking a classic Gold-Tone Casio A168WG-9MV that retails for a whopping $65 USD. It takes me back to my youth, when budgets were important, and a digital Casio was de rigueur.
It just goes to show that value is an important value itself, and you don’t have to be rich to have a timeless sense of style.
Moving along from value to highly valued, Idris has a few tasteful Rolex pieces in his watch box, including this classic Day-Date in solid yellow gold with a black dial.
You can never go wrong with such an iconic piece, and Idris wears it well. It’s a near-perfect example of the sporty dress watch, going from workday to weekend with equal ease.
And while Idris has other classic Rollies in the collection, including vintage Datejusts and a tasteful white gold/silver dialled Day-Date, he’s not afraid to go cutting-edge. Here he is during London Fashion Week, wearing a stealthy, murdered-out Datejust II, finished in a sinister black DLC.
A limited edition of 35, it’s available from custom house Black Venom, and it retails for 17,400 euro.
Today, Idris is the new face of Gucci timepieces, shown here executing a textbook “Blue Steel” pose in a ’70s-tastic pink tux, and damn, if he doesn’t make it look easy.
There are some pretty tasty references in the new integrated-bracelet Gucci 25H lineup, in both quartz and automatic flavours, including quartz models with brightly coloured dials of aqua, pink, and blue.
Here’s one of the 40mm automatic versions, which to my eyes has a case reminiscent of both Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut and a classic Rolex Oysterquartz. It’s a real looker, and will set you back just under $10K USD.
The absolute stunner of the line is the 8mm thin Skeleton Tourbillon version, proving that Gucci has seriously stepped up their watch game. It’s an impressive package, and looks like it will be available in both yellow and white gold, on either bracelet or rubber strap. Price is “TBD”.
It should be apparent by now that Idris Elba is not only a master of his craft, but an absolute style legend. And with a versatile timepiece collection that could be the dictionary definition of casual elegance, his taste is impeccable as always.