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The takeover of the independent watch brand has reached a fever pitch over the past month. It started a few weeks ago, at an auction entirely dedicated to beloved watchmaker FP Journe, where many watches were shipped for over $1 million. It continues this week, as the first watch goes up for auction from Rexhep Rexhepi—the watch maker Rumor has thousands of people waiting list to own one of his items—sold for a final price of $924,000, nearly three times the original estimate. But the latest case may be the most powerful to bring independents completely into the mainstream: This month, John Mayer was spotted wearing the costume on tour. lègante by FP Journe in titanium.
We have fully documented Mayer’s influence in the watch world. Almost all new, hardcore collectors mention him talking clock video as part of a downward spiral into a full-blown viewing obsession. (Ronny Cheng just mentioned to me earlier this month!) Dealers buy any Audemars Piguet Royal Oak reference he wears. A single sighting on Mayer’s wrist would increase the value of an unloved Rolex Daytona model. Now, naturally, Mayer is part of a wave that has brought independent watchmakers to the fore.
Throw a wind-up tool in Geneva and you could potentially knock out a successful watchmaker leading their company to glory. But few are hotter than Journe right now. In the eyes of the brand’s elite collectors, none has been more successful than combining traditional watchmaking with modern taste. Mayer’s Èlègante was originally conceived as a watch for women. “It was a request for a client’s wife who wanted a women’s watch, not a smaller men’s watch.” narrative journey Hodinkee when the watch came out in 2015. Two years later, it was the husbands who made the request for Èlègante. Journe obliges with this 48 mm version of the model.
Will Ferrell’s Zenith Defy Revival
“I met Will Ferrell and helped him express Ricky Bobby with the new Zenith Defy A3691!” wrote Lorel Monroy of Feldmar Watches, who passed by @watch_mamma_ on Instagram, just a few weeks ago. The caption is below a photo of her and Ferrell grinning with a new Defy, which debuted a few months ago at LVMH Watch Week (It’s one of my favorites from the little show.) Ferrell clearly had big plans for the watch: he rocked it on the red carpet at Cannes this week.
The Weeknd . Rolex Daytona “Jack-O-Lantern”
The Weeknd is on the verge of great success. he wears a Piaget “lady” arrives at the Cannes premiere of his new HBO show Idol, then continued the next day with a “secret release” Rolex — meaning a model that was never included in the brand’s catalog or shown to the public. It doesn’t matter that you’re Weeknd. This version of the Daytona is fitted with an orange sapphire ring around the bezel. Thanks to its orange and black color profile, it is known as “Jack-O-Lantern” by collectors. Happy!
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak by Tyler Herro
Basketball writer (and regular GQ collaborator) Alex Vuong tweeted one of the funniest lines I’ve seen in the NBA playoffs so far: “everything of tyler herro’s outfit looks like he’s challenging silver adam to bring back the dress code.” Given that the dress code was made by the late former NBA commissioner David Stern to keep Allen Iverson from being matched, I’ll take Wong’s point as a compliment. Since getting injured in the first round, in my opinion, Herro has killed it on the sidelines after this season. Supporting his suit is an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak—the Follow players who aspire to become NBA superstars.
Kyle Kuzma’s Patek Philippe Nautilus
Another week, another guy with a super chic Tiffany blue Nautilus. There are only 170 of them in the world and I feel like we’re getting closer to discovering them one by one. The hype for this watch hasn’t abated since it was originally released in December 2020. It sells for a hefty price. Auction sooner this month for 2,223,000 Swiss francs (approximately $2,456,600)—a total ludicrous figure for a modern stainless steel sports watch.