EDITOR’S PICK: Sex, Drugs and…Watches? Seven of the best watches in rock ‘n roll EDITOR’S PICK: Sex, Drugs and…Watches? Seven of the best watches in rock ‘n roll

EDITOR’S PICK: Sex, Drugs and…Watches? Seven of the best watches in rock ‘n roll

Felix Scholz

EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of Time+Tide’s recent website revamp, our tag-line changed to “The Home Of Watch Culture”. But this was no retro-fit job. That slogan reflected what Time+Tide has always done, which is to explore watches in the context of their broader cultural milieu. To prove it, have a read of Felix’s story from 2014 that examines the wristwear of a bunch of musical icons from John Lennon to Mick Jagger. 

The common adage would have us believe that the rock ‘n roll lifestyle is all about sex and drugs, but we’ve discovered that, at a certain level it’s also about some serious watches. It would appear that after enough gold and platinum records, you start getting platinum Pateks to match. We’ve put together (in no particular order) the seven best dressed wrists in the pantheon of popular music.

Elvis Presley and his Hamilton Ventura.

Elvic-HamiltonImage courtesy of Conde Naste

Elvis Presley is almost as American as apple pie, so it seems only appropriate that his favorite watch is made by one of the (then) great American watch firms, Hamilton. This iconic and easily recognizable Hamilton is the Ventura – launched in 1957 the Ventura’s space age looks were matched by its then revolutionary technology – it was the worlds first electronic watch.

Mick Jagger and his Heuer Carrera.


Image courtesy of onthedash

The venerable strutting bantam and (great) grandfather of rock n roll, Sir Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones seems to have more than a passing interest in Heuer. The sleuths over at onthedash have found photographic evidence of Jagger wearing Carreras, a Monaco and an Autavia. We can’t speak for some of the fashion choices, but the watches have gotten better with age, and Mick – well, he seems to defy it.

John Lennon and his Patek Philippe triple date chronograph.

John-Lennon-PatekImage courtesy of Jake’s Patek Philippe World

Now, if you asked the average Joe off the street what sort of watch John Lennon wore, the chances are slim that anyone would pair the symbolic father of the hippie movement with the ultraconservative and aristocratic Patek Philippe, but here he is, on his 40th birthday wearing a gold Patek triple date chronograph. Imagine.

Sammy Davis Jnr and his Heuer Monaco.

Sammy-Davis-Jnr-HeuerImage courtesy of chronocentric

Ratpack founding member and icon of cool, Sammy Davis Jnr sports a suitably iconic and cool watch – the Heuer Monaco. While Steve McQueen might be the most famous wearer of this watch, we reckon that Sammy, pairing it with fatigues during a USO tour of Vietnam in 1972 wears it better.

Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash and his Rolex Submariner.

Stephen-Stills-Rolex-SubmarinerImage courtesy of Jake’s Rolex World

Say you’re part of a folk rock supergroup – what sort of watch do you wear to express your humble everyman roots AND the fact that you’ve made it? Well, Stephen Stills from Crosby Stills and Nash went for the Rolex Submariner. We reckon that’s a pretty good choice – after all, if the Sub can handle the extreme depths it should have come through Woodstock pretty unscathed.

Eric Clapton and his mega collection of Patek Philippe and Rolex.

Eric-Clapton-PatekImage courtesy of onthedash

While he’s most well known for being a ridiculously talented guitarist with some haunting tunes, Eric Clapton also happens to be a very serious watch collector. Watches from his collection (which leans towards vintage Rolex and Patek) have been auctioned off over the last few years, including a rare Platinum perpetual calendar from Patek Philippe that sold for $3.6 Million. Just further evidence that, when it comes to style and taste, the English do it better.

John Mayer and his Patek Philippe Chronograph (and the rest).

John-Mayer-Patek-Philippe-ChronographImage courtesy of thebillionaireshop

Most of the musicians from this list date from the golden age of rock’n’roll, but some of the younger guys are holding their horological own too. A prime example is John Mayer; who has a quite the collection skewed like Clapton towards Patek Philippe and vintage Rolex. Mayer’s collection is big news right now, as only very recently it was revealed Mayer is suing a prominent watch dealer and ‘expert’ for selling him dodgy Rolexes. Mayer is seeking to recover over $650,000 for these watches. We’d recommend this article on Forbes for excellent analysis of the Mayer suit.