Wrist ‘n Roll: Guitar heroes and their watch collectionsD.C. Hannay
For a business full of millionaires, surprisingly few rock stars are conspicuous about wearing a luxury watch. Rappers and pop stars seem to have cornered the market on wrist candy, but what about guitar heroes? Turns out that there are fans of high-end timepieces among the world’s elite guitarslingers, with stashes that rival their vintage guitar collections. Let’s plug in and turn it up.
Saul Hudson, better known as Slash, needs little introduction. Suffice it to say, if you were to put a guitar next to a top hat, he’d be the person you’d immediately think of. Rising to fame as the lead guitarist of Guns ‘n Roses, he brought a fiery melodicism to their brutal brand of bluesy hard rock, as the band blazed a trail of substance-fuelled destruction through a scene dominated by hair metal. Here’s one of his finest moments, crashing a vintage Shelby Mustang off a cliff (and throwing his guitar off moments later). It’s a miracle he survived, but he went on to found Slash’s Snakepit, guest star on albums with artists ranging from Lenny Kravitz to Michael Jackson, team up Avengers-style in the supergroup Velvet Revolver, and release several solo albums.
He’s a brand unto himself, for God’s sake, with his own line of Gibson and Epiphone signature Les Paul guitars, and was even a playable character in the Guitar Hero video game series. So it’s not surprising that along with his guitar collection, he’s picked up a few watches along the way.
Slash seems to favour chunky tool watches, notably his Rolex Submariner “Hulk”, with its bright green dial and Cerachrom bezel. It’s a longtime fave that can often be spotted on his wrist when he’s onstage standing in front of a wall of Marshall amps. Along with his Hulk, Slash has worn several Breitlings (including a Chronomat Evolution with a UTC module), and he’s also been known to rock a Hublot Big Bang.
It’s 2022, and Keith Richards is nearly 79 years old. It’s time we all started thinking about what kind of world we’re going to leave him. All kidding aside, music’s ultimate survivor has beaten heroin, eluded hard time, and literally cheated death. One could say he’s pretty much seen it all (and played a gig there, too). The Rolling Stones guitarist can rightly claim the title as one of the architects of riff-rock, having come up with several songs making up the foundation of that blueprint. Along with being a keeper of the flame for British blues, he and the Stones are an astounding example of longevity in the music business, just marking their 60th anniversary as a group. A style icon as well, he’s influenced countless rockers with his vagabond pirate fashion sense, even providing the direct inspiration for Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (in one of the most meta bits of casting ever, Richards played Jack Sparrow’s father in three of the sequels). The Notorious K is something of a watch lover as well, having worn a disparate range of timepieces on his supple, soulful wrist.
Richards’ taste seems to be as whimsical as his on-again/off-again partnership with lead singer and main foil Mick Jagger. He’s worn everything from an original ’70s solid gold Pulsar LED watch, to an IWC Portugieser chrono, and he’s even been spotted with some rando, skull-dialled quartz watch, but he’s most associated with his gold Cartier Panthere on matching bracelet. A smaller reference compared to modern tastes, the rectangular-cased model was spot-on for Richards’ louche fashion sensibilities, the perfect accessory for his wardrobe of loose buttondown shirts, silk scarves, and bangly jewellry. Musical and style icons for the ages, Richards and the Stones even had a line of limited-edition Zenith El Primero and Pilot Type watches created for them.
Dave Navarro, virtuoso guitarist for alternative legends Jane’s Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a musician’s musician. Navarro is one of hard rock’s most accomplished guitarists, effortlessly blending staggering technique with a truly soulful feel, and brings it to bear in a compelling package that collides monolithic stomp, deep funk, and punk rock energy. He deserves every accolade thrown his way, and belongs in the same conversation as such musical titans as Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, and Jimmy Page. He’s also one fashionable mofo, decked out in all-black finery, chunky silver jewellry, and some serious tattoo work (he’s also the host of the Paramount Network’s Ink Master). But did you know that Dave is also a serious watch guy?
He boasts a collection of lustworthy Rolexes, including Submariners, an all-gold Day-Date, and a Batman GMT-Master II.
Not a slave to The Crown, he also has some other choice pieces, including a solid gold Omega Speedmaster, and a Patek Philippe Nautilus, shown here accompanying Dave to an Ink Master event.
But Rolex seems to garner most of Dave’s wrist time, with his white-dialled Daytona a particular favourite. Who can blame him? And if you’re reading, Dave, might I suggest branching out with a blacked-out Chanel J12 GMT as a pure evil piece of wrist candy?
Classic rock guitar hero Mark Knopfler, the Scottish-born leader of Dire Straits and a prolific solo artist, has had a rather remarkable career. After bursting on the scene from the English “pub rock” band circuit of the late ’70s with their unlikely hit, Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits had an acclaimed career with albums that showcased his elegant fingerpicking style and Dylanesque songwriting. Then, in 1985, they scored a monster hit with the MTV staple Money for Nothing, leading to universal acclaim and massive stadium tours. After the band’s dissolution, Mark released several solo records and film soundtracks, settling into a comfortable second act. For someone with his decidedly un-rockstar image (he was, in fact, a junior reporter and college professor before his music career took off), it’s been quite a ride.
And in his later years, his hobbies have included vintage motorcycles, and yes, some pretty great wristwatches, with Omega being a particular passion of his. He’s been spotted with several primo Speedmaster references, including vintage Speedy Pros and a gold ’57 reissue. Other watches he’s worn include a Heuer Autavia “Jo Siffert”, and vintage mil-spec watches from WWII.