If ever there was a man who was the personification of the word “flamboyant”, it’d be Sir Elton John. It comes as no surprise then that his watch collection is one of the most extravagantly over the top we’ve seen in some time.
From some of the rarest Cartier pieces on the planet to a Rolex that could have been designed by Sir Elton himself; and diamond-studded wonders from the likes of Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Piaget, here’s a man who has truly collected it all.
With Elton John’s upcoming Christie’s auction “Goodbye Peachtree Road,” it’s the perfect opportunity to sneak a rare peek into the legendary entertainer’s personal collection, and highlight several watches that once sold, we may never see publicly again. If you don’t like diamonds, we’d advise looking away now, but if you’re someone who appreciates a little tasteful bling, let’s get into it.
The Cartier Crash needs no introduction, with its status as a true connoisseur’s watch cemented after being spotted on the wrists of Jay-Z; Tyler, the Creator; the artist formerly known as Kanye and beyond.
This example dates back to 1991 and was an edition of just 400 pieces, with Sir Elton’s being number 150.
Rolex “Leopard” Daytona
Easily one of the most outrageous Rolex releases of the last two decades, this sapphire and diamond-set Daytona in yellow gold is about as subtle as a sledgehammer smashing through drywall.
With a dial and leather strap adorned with a matching leopard-print motif, this is surely the mother of all Saturday night (alright!) watches.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
We see stainless steel Royal Oaks with blue dials all the time, but this modestly proportioned 33mm example in white gold with a blue mother-of-pearl dial and sapphire-set bezel is truly left-field.
Produced in the 1990s and listed in what appears to be excellent condition, this is a sleeper in the hotly contested world of Audemars Piguet collecting.
Anyone who’s shown even a fleeting interest in watches will know the Cartier Tank, but this white gold example features baguette-cut diamonds set into the case and a dial set entirely with sapphire baguettes.
Another watch that’s as rare as hen’s teeth, this is one of only a handful known to exist.
It doesn’t get rarer than a piece unique in the world of watch collecting, but that’s exactly what Sir Elton has here in the form of a yellow gold Piaget Tanagra: set with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.
In fact, we don’t know if you can tell just by looking, but it’s so flooded with precious stones that there isn’t a single spare millimetre to fit even one additional gem.
Compared to the other watches on this list, the aesthetic of this Cartier Tonneau is so relaxed that the watch is practically comatose, but as you might expect of a collector like Sir Elton, there’s more than meets the eye.
The straightforward-looking white metal case is in fact platinum, while the dial has been expertly engraved with a guilloché pattern.
Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques
Another watch with a trick up its sleeve, this diamond-encrusted Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques features a vertical shutter system that protects the dial and can be opened to reveal the time.
Another breathtaking timepiece from one of the world’s most storied watchmakers.
Franck Muller Perpetual Calendar
Today, Franck Muller watches are best recognised thanks to their tonneau case shape and brightly coloured dials; but early on in the Patek Philippe alum’s career, he created several more traditionally inspired masterpieces.
This watch is one such example: cased in pink gold (that has started to oxidise) and powered by an enormously complicated movement — equipped with a chronograph and perpetual calendar.
The Cartier Pasha uses one of the brand’s most conventionally shaped cases, but this specific reference features a dial that is about as far from ordinary as watchmaking gets.
The dial here has been finely enameled, with a depiction of an Asian-style dragon rising out of the ocean. Framed by a diamond-set bezel, this Pasha is yet more evidence that when it comes to watch collecting, Sir Elton’s taste is suitably elevated.
Last, but not least, is this incredibly rare (and “possibly unique,” according to Christie’s) Cartier Tank in platinum. The lugs and case are set with a ransom’s worth of baguette-shaped rubies and diamonds.
Originally made in the 1980s and powered by a mechanical movement, this is a watch that we like to think puts the ‘Rock’ in ‘Rocket Man’.