21 Grammy awards, 14 top-ranking US albums, a multi-million dollar record label and a seat in the Hip-Hop hall of fame; it’s not fair to talk about US Rap music without mentioning Shawn Carter.
You’ll probably know him better from his stage name, Jay-Z, or his showbiz marriage with fellow music industry superstar, Beyonce Knowles. Having released 13 studio albums, generating a number of hits throughout his 20 year career, in 2017, Forbes Magazine estimated Jay-Z’s net worth to be north of $800 million – making him the second richest US Hip-Hop artist of the year!
Since his street music days in the 1990’s, Carter hasn’t been shy about his love of an expensive watch, often name-dropping some of the world’s biggest brands within his music lyrics. From Hublot to Rolex, Jay-Z has been seen sporting some truly high end pieces, so let’s take a look at some of his favourites….
Rolex Perpetual Calendar – Franck Muller Configuration
Where else would we start this superstar’s outstanding watch collection than with the most popular, luxury brand in the world – Rolex. Whilst Jay-Z has been spotted wearing a range of Rolex models such as the classic Day-Date, the super-popular Daytona and a Yellow Gold Sky-Dweller, it’s his custom made Perpetual Calendar we’re the most interested in.
The model that Jay-Z can just be seen wearing below, whilst receiving the President’s Merit Award at the Pre-Grammy Gala 2018, features a black leather strap with a classic self winding movement and a unique, full calendar dial functionality. For the true watch experts among you, you may be looking at this Rolex with a puzzled look – here’s why…
Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to pick this one up in store or online as it’s a rather special edition. This one of a kind, custom configuration is the work of another superstar watchmaker – Franck Muller; bringing his own perpetual specialisation to the classic Rolex Datejust. It seems that Mr Carter himself has been able to pick up this incredible piece which we’re sure saw him dip heavily into this acclaimed wealth.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
The iconic Swiss brand Audemars Piguet is a lifelong favourite on Jay-Z’s, dropping their name in a number of his most popular songs including ‘Paris.’ Given his fondness towards the brand, it was only a matter of time until the two came together.
In 2006, AP released the Royal Oak Offshore 10th Anniversary ‘Jay-Z’ Edition to mark the special relationship between the two. With only 100 released as part of this special edition; 50 can be found in Stainless Steel, 30 in Rose Gold and 20 high-end Platinum pieces.
Easily recognisable by the custom engravement and signature on the back, the number 10 on the face is set with diamonds to draw the eye to the marking of that particular anniversary.
Given the sparsity of the collection’s release numbers, getting your hands on a 10th Anniversary Offshore can be tricky. A pre-owned version in Rose Gold can be picked up for around £40,000 with the Platinum model starting at £55,000.
Away from the special editions, the Royal Oak Offshore range features a huge number of different models with a styling to suit every taste. Prices for a pre-owned model start pretty modestly at around £5,000 giving the opportunity for many watch fanatics to have their very own piece of Swiss luxury.
Richard Mille RM 027
The next watch we are going to come onto now is truly special. If you’re a regular reader of the Watch & Bullion blog, you’ll know we recently took a look at one of the most avant-garde brands out there, Richard Mille. It seems that Jay-Z is a fan of this hugely intricate, luxury Swiss brand too.
Spotted out and about a number of times, Jay-Z seems to have got his hands on a 50 edition special of the Richard Mille RM027 model. Originally created in collaboration with tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, the RM027’s streamlined design and shock absorbent durability make it ideal for those working up a sweat on the court.
The RM027 follows the classic Richard Mille design, with it’s Formula 1 style, precision movements on full display. As part of this special edition, Rafael Nadal’s initials can be found at the number 9 position along with a rubber strap for comfort whilst playing sports.
As we have come to expect with Richard Mille, these watches are really hard to come by and a price for one of these online is purely on a request-only basis. Around the time of its release, the RM027 was valued at around $800,000 so you would expect a pre-owned deal to be a little cheaper than that guide price.
Shawn Carter by Hublot
A brand that Jay-Z is definitely big on is Hublot. Often referencing the luxury Swiss watchmaker in his songs, most notably in the 2011 hit ‘Otis,’ a dream collaboration was released in 2013 when the Shawn Carter by Hublot range was released.
Coming in two varieties, only 250 of the Black Ceramic model were ever produced with even less, only 100, of the Yellow Gold leaving production. Variations of the Hublot Classic Fusion range, the Shawn Carter edition pieces drop in at 45mm in diameter armed with the HUB1300 hand-wound movement. To mark the special edition, they are engraved both front and back with Shawn Carters branding and some classy, but minimal design twists.
Despite their relative rarity, both models can be found commonly online. Whilst all were sold when new, the Black Ceramic model can be picked up second hand for around £6,000 with the premium Yellow Gold model a bargain at £15,000.
Bonus Watch – Hublot Big Bang
Given Jay-z’s love of Hublot, it was only right that his wife Beyonce Knowles would surprise him with a very custom piece for his 43rd birthday. But what do you buy the man that has everything, well Beyonce pulled out all the stops with this watch – it really is a showstopper!
This special edition of the Hublot Big Bang took over 14 months to produce, with some of the highest-skilled jewelry cutters from around the globe being drafted in to incorporate all 1282 diamonds. It’s stunning look and feel may not be for everyone’s tastes, but it cannot be disputed that this watch is a true masterpiece of precision design. You won’t find this one on the market either as it’s reported that Beyonce paid a whopping $5,000,000 for this once in a lifetime gift – Happy Birthday Mr Carter!
To Wrap Up…
One of the kings of US Hip-Hop, Jay-Z really does have a thing for high class watches. Whilst he has delved deep into some well know brands such as Richard Mille and Hublot, it’s his love of customisation that really sets him apart from other watch enthusiasts, with some stunning pieces not anywhere else on the market.
With his massive accumulated wealth and no sign of him slowing down those album releases, it’s fair to say that if Jay-Z still does have 99 problems, having an amazing watch collection isn’t one of them!