What Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones can teach you about wearing a watchLuke Benedictus
Everyone knows Charlie Watts, who died last week, was the most dapper member of The Rolling Stones. If he wasn’t banging the skins onstage, the mild-mannered drummer was always immaculately turned out in Savile Row’s finest threads. Watts admitted to having more that 200 suits at his London home alone, many of which were specifically tailored to complement the upholstery in his collection of vintage cars. He wore them well, too. Even in his 70s, he retained his eye for rakish tailoring and quiet panache.
As a result since news of Watt’s death last week there have been an avalanche of stories paying rightful homage to his sartorial flair. There have been hundreds and hundreds of photos published showing Watts’ suited and booted, his skinny frame bisected by a pair of elegantly notched lapels.
But what about the man’s watches? In the photos of Watts, he’s often shown to have a watch on his wrist, but it is very rarely entirely visible. At best, you just see the faint edge of a dress watch dial protruding from a tailored cuff on a leather strap. And that is pretty much that.
Having waded through dozens of images of Watts in all his bespoke finery, I’m forced to conclude this isn’t a coincidence either. He simply prefers not to flash his wares. There are literally only a couple of pictures that I came across that show Watts wearing a distinguishable watch. In the image below, he’s wearing what appears to be a Cartier Tank.
And in this picture, watchspotter extraordinarie @niccoloy surmises that Watts was wearing a Carl F. Bucherer Archimedes Perpetual Calendar.
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Even this limited sample size confirms what you’d expect: that Watt’s fine taste extended to his wristwear, too. But what’s more interesting is the way he chooses to wear his watches. Rather than flaunt his timepieces to the world he wears them with deliberate restraint. You know those endless videos of Conor McGregor brandishing his latest diamond-encrusted purchase with glee? Well basically it’s the opposite of that.
This shot of Watt in a natty blue double-breasted number is typical of the photographic evidence. Sorry watchspotters, there are no wrist rolls here. All you’re getting here is the barest conceivable whisper of a crown.
Watches may increasingly be more about status than telling the time, but for Watts they remained a private pleasure. Yes, he was the lynchpin of the biggest rock band in the world and had a personal fortune estimated at $250 million. But he didn’t like to make a song and dance about it. Charlie Watts was far too cool for that.