Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
On Tuesday afternoon, Lionel Messi departed from Barcelona, the club he called home for more than two decades. He boarded a plane to Paris and emerged in the window of Le Bourget Airport to wave to his fans. This was…new. Messi has been nothing but loyal throughout his career: 21 years with Barcelona’s academy and squad is proof of that. He’s been mostly the same with his watches—you’d call his wrist an exemplary team player. For years, after he got an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as a gift after winning his first title with Barcelona in 2005, he wore the brand frequently. He became an ambassador in 2010, and then collaborated on a watch with the house in 2012. For the past few years, he’s worn a hulking Jacob & Co. with a dial in blue and white, to reflect the colors of the flag representing Messi’s native Argentina. That watch is the result of another collaboration and partnership Messi solidified in 2019. But Messi is clearly up for trying new things, and his team loyalties aren’t the only thing that’s shifted. As he popped out of a window at the airport to greet the fans of his new team, Paris St.-Germain, he was wearing a new watch: a Rolex Yacht Master.
Lionel Messi’s Rolex Yacht-Master
The Yacht-Master is certainly not the most obvious choice for Messi. Among Rolex watches, it’s not the universally lusted-after Daytona, or the pristine and elegant Day-Date. I suppose it’s a good choice for an athlete, though, equipped with a rubber strap and a durable ceramic bezel. But watches are so immune to the slightest shifts in the headwinds that this could be the immortalizing moment for the Yacht-Master. It’s not hard to imagine this as the start of a new legacy for this watch. Collectors should familiarize themselves with this picture of Messi greeting his new fans in the window. It’s the one an auction house will inevitably promote decades from now, if Messi ever decides to part with this watch (for charity, of course!). The Yacht-Master will forever be the timepiece one of the greatest soccer players in the world wore while marking a momentous occasion in his career—and in the watch world, that’s big time.
Russell Westbrook’s Rolex Datejust
Messi and Westbrook are in agreement: if you’re going to change teams, you must mark the occasion with a Rolex. While Messi went slightly out of the box with his Yacht-Master, Westbrook, for maybe the first time ever, is squarely inside the box. He’s wearing the very classic Datejust made out of both steel and gold—a combination the Crown calls “Rolesor.”
Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980
Stallone is a kingmaker in the world of watches, thanks to his idiosyncratic taste. He helped mint Panerai and ushered in the age of Big Watches in the ‘90s. So when he wears a Patek Philippe Nautilus, he doesn’t wear the one everyone else wants. The watch was originally designed to be a simple sports watch in stainless steel. The 5980 on Stallone’s wrist betrays those ideals. For starters, this model, first introduced in 2006, was the first with a chronograph. Also, the watch’s claim as a casual sports watch goes out the window when made over in rose gold.
Taika Waititi’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
The movies Waititi makes are charmingly goofy, but clearly the man is deathly serious about his watches. The Daytona in its simplest form is an absolute darling among watch collectors, and Waititi turns the volume up here. The case is solid 18-carat gold, and the indices and subdials come in matching champagne. The red accents help the watch maintain a pinch of its racing roots.
Abraham Ancer’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
We’ve certainly seen some nice watches paired with the green jacket, but nothing quite compares to this timepiece. The ceramic openworked Royal Oak is a prize even for those who treat watch collecting as seriously as bloodsport—a favorite among folks like Kevin Hart, Draymond Green, and LeBron James. Ancer casually wears his out on the links.