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Valuable Time: Celebs Like Jay-Z Are Flashing Watches Worth Millions Their Wrists

By Xinyi Luo

 A TikTok video showing watches worth millions of dollars on celebrities’ wrists, including Jay-Z and Tom Brady, at billionaire Michael Rubin’s recent star-studded White Party has gone viral. 

(Photo: Instagram, @michaelrubin)

In it, timepiece content creator Chad Alexander Kwiatkowski identifies wristwatches worn by celebrities at the event on July 5 in New York’s Hamptons. The video gained more than 4 million views on TikTok and over 25.6 million views on Twitter as of July 6. @chad.alexander 

Watches at Michael Rubin’s White Party ✨ Celebrities like Tom Brady, DJ Khaled, OBJ, Jay Z, Lil Baby & more wore some insane watches at the party in the Hamptons from Rolex to Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Urwerk & more. #michaelrubin #whiteparty #fourthofjuly #rolex #richardmille #watchtok #watchesoftiktok ♬ original sound – CHAD 

The watches range from a $18,250 two-tone Rolex date with a Wimbledon dial to a Richard Mille RM 40-01 worth more than a million dollars, and includes a yellow gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with a rainbow jeweled bezel.

A watch by Swiss manufacturer Richard Mille is displayed on the opening day of the 28th International Fine Watchmaking Exhibition SIHH, on January 15, 2018 in Geneva. Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Although Kwiatkowski said Jay-Z was wearing a vintage Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 in yellow gold, and noted that a rose gold version was sold by Sotheby’s in 2022 for $7.7 million, other watch experts believe that the watch Jay-Z wore was actually a Patek Philippe 5004R with diamonds—which could sell for up to $1.5 million.

Even a chef shown at the party, later recognized as pizza maestro Mark Iacono of Lucali, was spotted wearing a steel Rolex Daytona with a black dial, which is sold at $23,352 at Jomashop, according to the video.

Other watch experts, however, say that not all those watches are worth the prices suggested by Kwiatkowski.View this post on Instagram 

A post shared by Michael Rubin (@michaelrubin)

“I think they’ll generally be lower. What someone lists it for is not what necessarily sells for—especially these really high-end pieces. It’s just an asking price,” says Craig Karger, founder and owner of Wrist Enthusiast. 

“There’s not really a set market for these watches,” he continues. “You may get a couple sold a year on the secondary market. Some of these—like Richard Mille—there’s so few of them floating around. Anyone can ask whatever they want for one of these watches.”

Eric Wind, the head of Wind Vintage, a dealer based in Palm Beach, Florida, agrees: “Maybe in reality, they’re 10% to 20% lower for some of those pieces, but it’s not that far off. People are just excited to see what these things are that people are wearing.”

Many celebrities at the party seemed to pick Richard Mille, rather than Rolex, as their wrist decoration. James Harden was wearing a Richard Mille RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail watch, which sold above $1 million, according to the video. Travis Scott was spotted with a Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon in the value of $850,000. Lil Baby wore a Richard Mille RM 055, which is named after professional golfer Bubba Watson, currently asking $350,000 at JomaShop.

“So rich, rich people don’t wear Rolex is what I’m understanding,” posted a commenter. The Rolex watches tended to be the lowest price-point timepieces in the video, and appeared less frequently than ones by Mille. 

“Richard Mille watches have the nickname ‘the Billionaire’s Handshake,’” explains Wind. “It’s essentially a way that wealthy people can tell other people that they’re wealthy—by wearing an RM. That’s not a surprise to see many people wearing those watches.”

Even the cheapest Richard Mille watch will cost six figures.

“It’s more of a status thing. Like a superyacht on your wrist,” Karger says. “Richard Mille has become kind of this ultraluxury brand in a way that even Rolex isn’t. Rolex is still something that everyday people strive to buy, even though they’re really hard to.”

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