Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
The new Audemars Piguet Black Panther watch—with a pricetag equal to a piece of Stark technology—seems designed to bring a whole new audience into the world of collecting—a client less concerned with technical specs than lionizing their favorite Marvel hero. And the number-one member of that new group should have been obvious. We already noted you can draw a line from LeBron James’s collaborative watch with Audemars in 2013 to this new Marvel piece. Both represented off-the-beaten-path thinking from the brand. Also, in attendance for the new watch’s unveiling? None other than LeBron. Plus, there are few people closer to real-life superhero status than James. So it wasn’t all that surprising to see him sitting on the Lakers bench Thursday night wearing the damn thing. Also this week, another stunning pair of Rolex Daytonas.
LeBron James’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon
The watch is made of titanium, has a ceramic bezel, and a tourbillon nestled near the 6 o’clock position. But who are we kidding? The showstopper feature is obviously the white gold figurine of the Black Panther. Good news for LeBron: this is only the first piece in an ongoing partnership between Audemars Piguet and Marvel.
Russell Wilson’s Rolex Day-Date
There’s something about super couples and the Rolex Day-Date. In March, Russell Wilson and Ciara made up one-third of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue cover stars. Alongside them were Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, who geeked out about her beloved Day-Date in a video. Now, while hosting a vaccination awareness special with his wife, Wilson also brought out his own Day-Date with a black dial. This is the kind of watch that stirs lifelong commitments and pledges of undying love and loyalty.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Rolex Daytona
Well, well, well, look who’s becoming a watch collector after all! For the first phase of his career, Antetokounmpo hardly wore anything besides Nike sweat suits. Then, while signing his behemoth new contract last year, the Greek Freak showed off a new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. He checked the first box in collectordom: start with one iconic watch, the sort of piece that’s so timeless and immune to trends you can convince yourself it’s the only watch you’ll ever need. But as most watch collectors will tell you, you don’t usually just stick with the one. Now, it looks like Antetokounmpo’s caught the bug. He appeared in the tunnel this week wearing a highly coveted Rolex Daytona with a black-and-white Panda dial. We’ve seen NBA superstars accumulate extremely impressive collections over the years—James, Chris Paul, and Anthony Davis just to name a few. Here’s to hoping Antetokounmpo will join their club.
Andrea Pirlo’s Rolex Daytona
Andrea Pirlo, Juventus’s supremely stylish sideline stalker, has the suits, the hair, and the watches you’d expect from a man in his position. A couple of months ago, he was spotted wearing a one-of-one skeletonized Rolex Submariner that was custom made for him over the course of two years. This watch isn’t necessarily on that level but among Daytonas actually made and produced by Rolex, Pirlo found a unique specimen. This version comes with a deep chocolate-colored dial, black numerals, and a matching black bezel. What’s most unusual is the watch’s leather strap—the Daytona almost always comes on a steel bracelet, or Rolex’s rubber Oysterflex band—which turns the iconic sports watch into a handsome dress piece.
Hideki Matsuyama’s Rolex Submariner
Masters champ Hideki Matsuyama, the first Japanese man to win a major golf title, also waded into a long-running battle over two-tone watches. Opinions on two-tone pieces have long divided watch enthusiasts into two separate factions. And the argument picked back up again after Rolex debuted a steel-and-gold version of the Explorer. While some collectors cried foul—The Explorer is a pure tool watch that should only come in steel!—others simply appreciated the new look. Meanwhile, Rolex hasn’t been afraid to remake any of its professional watches in two-tone steel-and-gold. Exhibit A: Matsuyama’s blueberry version of the Submariner.