Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
Forget the 31-14 drubbing Tom Brady and The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs. Because, though that was the last game for Brady, who announced his retirement this week, it certainly doesn’t signify the end of his time in the spotlight. To wit, to the premiere of 80 for Brady—a movie about a group of older women fulfilling their dream of watching the quarterback play in person—the movie’s hero wore a watch harder to obtain than a Super Bowl ring: the IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Hand Wound Squelette.
For a long time, the Squelette was something of a mystery. It never appeared in IWC’s catalog, nor was it the subject of a breathless press release blasted out to watch journalists. Instead, the watches just…appeared in boutiques, and the secret slowly trickled out. Only 25 pieces of this particular watch were made; the skeletonized dial makes it totally unique in the Portugieser line. Literally: no other Portugieser comes with a skeleton dial.
Throughout his career Brady has used watches to mark occasions. He bought his first IWC shortly after winning his first Super Bowl, a full two decades ago, he told me back in 2020. (Brady is now an ambassador for the brand.) When he signed his contract with Tampa Bay, he wore an IWC with the eyebrow-raising name “The Longest Flight.” Now, for his first public appearance since announcing his retirement, he wore a watch that’s as rare as any IWC in existence. It’s hard to resist overanalyzing this choice: perhaps it’s Brady’s subtle reminder of how important it is to appreciate something rare and special, whether a watch or a one-of-one football career.
Michael B. Jordan’s Piaget Polo
This watch dares to answer the question: what if we made the whole watch out of the bracelet? Naturally, like most iconoclastic watches, this particular version of the Polo—the line has since expanded to include more traditional-looking watches—was a product of the ‘70s. That era produced a lot of great sport watches on beloved bracelets, including the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but Piaget took things one step further with a watch-bracelet fusion.
One funny thing: an early advertisement for the watch boasted about its “thin, electronic quartz movement that never needs winding.” Of course, it wouldn’t be long until the collecting community and many Swiss watchmakers turned on quartz, the very technology that threatened the health of the industry.
Russell Crowe’s Rolex Yacht-Master
Don’t judge a book by its cover: Crowe isn’t exactly the dude I expected to see wearing a totally gem-set Yacht-Master this week! But let’s not judge a man by his watch. This YM comes with more ice than a drive-thru soda and is one of those watches that Rolex doesn’t talk much about—it just suddenly appears on the wrists of folks like Crowe. Watches like these are why people turn their noses up at bust-downs: why get some jeweler to stick watches on a diamond when you can just have the Crown do it for you instead?
Nick Offerman’s Vacheron Constantin Royal Eagle Chrono
Vacheron Constantin might be best known for its elegant dress pieces, like the Patrimony, but its history of sport watches is underrated. Take the 222, which Brad Pitt wore last week, which Vacheron launched all the way back in the ‘70s. And in 2002, the brand released this Royal Eagle chronograph. It has everything collectors want from a sports watch—a killer steel bracelet, stopwatch function, and a steel case—even if the brand name on the dial is unexpected.
Sam Richardson’s Cartier Santos
Sam Richardson is no longer that guy from that thing! He’s Sam Richardson, Cartier Santos owner. What a crop of watches Richardson had to choose from, but he didn’t want another Tuna Can and, no, it can’t be Troll Boy. This is a timeless all-occasion watch, perfect whether you’re hosting a Baby of the Year ceremony, visiting from the wayyyyy future, or are simply attending the premiere for the new Alison Brie and Dave Franco rom-com Somebody I Used to Know.