Watches are status symbols and rich men love nothing more than to afford expensive watches. But what do the richest men in the world wear on their wrists?
Paradoxically, many of the richest men in the world don’t own particularly lavish watches – or at least the watches they wear aren’t nearly as lavish as one might expect. When you’re a household name worth billions of dollars, you don’t need to flex your wealth with flashy candy on your wrist.
It’s the same reason politicians rarely wear expensive watches: at some point, you want to minimize your wealth; seem more approachable.
But among the 0.01%, there are still a few cool watches worth talking about. We take a look at five of the richest men in the world and what their choice of watches says about them.[Watch our guide to the world’s richest men’s watches above.]
First, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Despite his insane personal wealth (and penchant for fancy superyachts), Bezos has a relatively restrained taste in watches. The watch he wears most often is his Ulysse Nardin Dual Time (ref. 243-55-7/91), a watch he’s owned for at least a decade. It’s a sleek yet understated piece from a reputable but somewhat obscure brand – not quite ‘stealth wealth’, but close enough.
Bezos also wore an OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch on a custom Velcro strap during Blue Origin NS-16, the controversial sub-orbital spaceflight mission he embarked on last year.
Like Bezos, Elon also owns an OMEGA: a Seamaster Aqua Terra. He was also spotted rocking a bit of Richard Milles forward. But truth be told, Musk — like many of the world’s billionaire tech giants, including Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg — doesn’t normally wear a watch.
His favorite piece is, unsurprisingly, his TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 1887 “SpaceX” Chronograph (ref. CAR2015.FC6321). Limited to just 2012 pieces, this retro piece was built not only to celebrate Musk’s enterprising aerospace venture, but also to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a Heuer watch’s first voyage into space – aboard John’s wrist. Glenn during the 1962 Mercury-Atlas 6 mission.
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Bill Gates’ name may be shorthand for insane wealth, but the Microsoft founder is known for his supremely humble taste in watches. He’s usually spotted wearing a Casio Duro 200M (ref. MDV106-1AV) – a super-cheap quartz dive watch you can buy on eBay or Amazon for $100 or less.
Gates clearly knows a good thing when he sees it: the Duro has somewhat of a cult status among watch collectors for its exceptional quality at a bargain price. You don’t need to spend a lot to get a good watch.
Gates was also spotted wearing G-SHOCKs as well as a TAG Heuer Professional 2000, which he allegedly gifted to an employee after a conference in the Philippines.
Now for a little bling. Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and the so-called “Oracle of Omaha” is known for his frugality – notably, he lives in the same house in Nebraska that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. His only indulgence, it seems, is his wristwatch: a Rolex Day-Date “President” 36 (ref. 18038).
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The Rolex President isn’t the most expensive watch on the planet, but few watches scream “power” or “money” more than this iconic solid gold timepiece. Buffett has had this watch for decades, so we reckon he got a lot out of his watch investment.
If you thought Buffet’s Rolex was flashy, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of luxury conglomerate LVMH and the richest man in Europe, might just have the most valuable watch on the planet. Talk about being an exception to the rule that the richest men in the world don’t normally wear expensive watches…
The Frenchman was recently spotted wearing a unique variant of the already coveted Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-018 ‘Tiffany & Co.’, the first example of which sold at Phillips’ 2021 New York watch auction for the eye-watering sum of $6,503,000 last year.
Unlike this watch, Arnault’s is white gold, not stainless steel, and features a perpetual calendar complication (and is also a unique piece). Of course, LVMH owns Tiffany, which is why Arnault was able to get his hands on (or rather order) such a crazy watch. The damn thing is nearly impossible to price and it will probably never sell, but we’d say with enough confidence that it’s one of the most expensive watches of all time, if not the most expensive. Phew!
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