There are many reasons to buy a watch, whether it’s to celebrate milestones like a birthday or to mark career achievements. (You can also, of course, just spot something under a display case and immediately know you must have it.) But selling watches is as much a part of being a collector as it is acquiring them. So we asked a group of well-known watch enthusiasts, from the novelist Gary Shteyngart to the award-winning chef Thomas Keller, to disclose the timepiece they will never have, never separate…at least during their lifetime. And after taking a look at the matching references below, you won’t blame them.
Novelist, Rolex “Pepsi” GMT-Master Ref. 1675
“I bought my beloved 1675 gold-dial GMT half a decade ago. It has accompanied me on my book tours of Europe, from Ireland and the UK to Switzerland , Italy, Germany and France. Therefore, he saw me the most drunk, including the traditional Bavarian breakfast of beer and white sausage. The watch belonged to a NASA administrator who would have served as Nixon’s White House liaison at the time, so he also saw some very, very strange things.
President of Cloudblue and Ingram Micro Cloud, Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT
“Most watches are simply mechanical works of art that have a soul but don’t say much about the owner. My Panerai Tourbillon Skeleton is more an extension of who I am: it embodies audacity and strength mixed with charm and refinement. This piece is never far from my wrist and travels the world with me. I will never part with it, because it is truly a part of me.
Global Vice President of Assouline Publishing, Cartier Tank Louis Ref. 2441
“This watch is particularly sentimental to me, as it was a present from my father to celebrate my 18th birthday and my acceptance to university. He had to stop school at 14 when he left Morocco, in order to to be able to work and support the family. At the time, he held assistant positions in Parisian fashion houses and magazines. At 18, he found himself in the elevator of Paris Match with the artistic director, an elegant and successful man, who wore a gold Cartier Tank Louis with a brown bracelet. My father thought his definition of success was to one day give this watch to his own son. I am very proud to own this watch.
Power Forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rolex “Big Red” Daytona Ref. 6263
“A lot of my art, wine and watches reflect my personal life and are kind of autobiographical. Once I saw that extremely clean Rolex ‘Big Red’ Daytona 6263 reference on my wrist and I understood its historical significance, [Palm Beach-based dealer] Eric Wind and I agreed this was the perfect start for my vintage collection. This is a piece that I intend to pass on to my loved ones.
Seven-star Michelin chef, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116506
“The element that makes this Rolex Daytona extremely unique is its color, which is very distinct: a baby blue dial and a brown bezel. It took me a while to get it – and it was delivered by one of my best friends, which makes it particularly memorable – so it’s definitely one of my most cherished watches.
Lung Lung Thun
Chief Investment Officer at China International Securities Limited, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Openworked Double Balance Wheel
“I can say with confidence that the Royal Oak Openworked will never leave my collection. The watch encapsulates everything I admire about the brand: its classic 37mm Royal Oak case design and its desire to break the rules by experimenting with the frosted gold finish by jewelry designer Carolina Bucci. What is more significant, however, is the fact that it contains special memories of the factory visit I had in Switzerland, where I described my dream watch – exactly this watch – before his exit.