Perhaps no one knows how to gift a killer timepiece — or pull one off — quite like a celebrity. Justin Bieber famously presented himself a $50,000 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in honor of his 2019 nuptials to Hailey Baldwin. Lil Baby got lucky twice in the last two years, receiving big-ticket tickers from both James Harden and Drake, who surprised the rapper this summer with a custom Rolex Day-Date featuring a Chrome Hearts bracelet. And when Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes drafted groomsmen in July for his upcoming 2022 wedding to Brittany Matthews, he sent them each a silver Rolex Submariner with the bid. (Score.)
Stylist Brian Coats, who regularly collaborates with Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel, thinks the time is right to take some of that star power home. “We have all lived through a pandemic that’s changed us,” he says. “So as long as you’re paying your bills, give him the thing that makes him really happy — watches do that.”
Coats helped Alexa think through gifting a great watch to the leading man in your life — whether his vibe is more splashy entertainer, rugged athlete or powerful mogul. We also asked for star-studded advice from Daryn Schnipper, chairman of Sotheby’s International Watch Division, whose expertise steers stellar timepieces to the rich and famous — and mere mortals alike.
For the CEO
When Amazon chief, Jeff “richest-man-in-the-world” Bezos soared into almost-space on the maiden voyage of Blue Origin, he did so strapped in a custom Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, a NASA-certified timepiece. For boardroom bosses back on Earth, Schnipper recommends some other heavenly options.
“I think of vintage Patek, [Ref.] 1518 or 2499. They are highly sophisticated watches that project power,” she says. “For a modern take, I would recommend the Patek 5016 or the Grandmaster Chime — any modern, complicated Patek with the bells and whistles all in one piece.”
Coats suggests narrowing the selection by considering the recipient’s wardrobe — is he a suit-and-tie banker boss, or a T-shirt-and-jeans tech CEO? “A watch should naturally follow his sartorial style,” he says.
“There are no hard and fast rules to what is cool. It all goes back to whether we like it or not, feel confident in it or not,” Coats says. “If you think he’ll love it and it’ll bring him joy, get the watch. ‘Happy’ is a great style.”
For the artist
For his red-carpet appearance at the Met Gala in September, multihyphenate Taika Waititi let his other half, Rita Ora, bring all the shine, while he cornered refined elegance in a Cartier Santos-Dumont in stainless steel with a leather strap. At the same event, Chance the Rapper sparkled in a Hublot Classic Fusion King Gold Pavé.
And so it goes for expressive types. If you’re shopping for an artsy guy, consider his specific personality. “A watch should reflect individual style more than anything else,” Coats says. “It is multifaceted and nuanced, just like people.”
So, if your fella is a sophisticated aesthete, opt for something stylish but quiet.
“A more contemplative artist, like an actor or director skilled in drama, wants to be discreet. A vintage Patek Philippe in platinum is very understated,” Schnipper says.
Meanwhile, pull out all the glittery stops for creative types who like to turn up the volume.
“Peacock artists, like certain rappers, would be happy in a Rolex or Royal Oak covered in diamonds or a harder-to-find encrusted Patek Philippe,” she suggests.
For the baller
In July, NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo sported a Rolex Sky-Dweller at the championship parade for the Milwaukee Bucks (above). The next month, soccer icon Lionel Messi scored with a Rolex Yacht-Master when he arrived at the airport to join his new team, Paris Saint-Germain. It’s no surprise to Schnipper that high-wattage athletes pick trophies from the It fit brand.
“I would go with Rolex almost all of the time, because it’s meant to be a rugged watch. A vintage or modern Daytona comes to mind. It’s an icon,” she says. “I’d suggest modern while playing and vintage for special occasions when you don’t want to kick around in your watch.”
All at London Jewelers, 2046 Northern Blvd., Manhasset, LI
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