Tyler, The Creator’s thoughts on Patek, Cartier, and collecting. But first: this week’s newsletter is short because (1) it’s a holiday weekend, and (2) I’ve been busy publishing articles elsewhere:
Borgel - Master Casemaker of Geneva, A Collected Man.
I’ve wanted to do this article for a while, so I’m glad I was able to publish it with ACM. Francois Borgel (later Taubert & Fils) was one of the most important casemakers of the 20th century, pioneering waterproof innovation and then supplying them for brands from Movado and Mido all the way to Patek Philippe. Most notably, it supplied the cases for Patek’s ref. 1463, the only waterproof chronograph from the brand’s vintage era, and the ref. 565 which is, objectively speaking, the most beautiful watch of all time. But I love Borgel cases because you can collect them not only at these ultra-high price points, but also all the way down to those $500 Movados and Midos.
The Santos-Dumont has always been my favorite Cartier. But just as interesting is Cartier’s re-invention of it amid the Quartz Crisis and the excess of the 80s to create the Santos de Cartier.
While the iconic two-tone iteration may not be my particular flavor of choice, Cartier produced a handful of beautiful Santos references over the years. This article highlights two of them: a reference 2961 with a rare sterile gray dial and the Santos Galbee 2002 Limited Edition.
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'Cartier so light thought I floated here'
Tyler, The Creator’s new album CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is dripping with tasteful brand drops. In the first 30 seconds of the album, he blusters “Geneva water the best,” so it’s also pretty clear Swiss excellence is on Mr. The Creator’s mind. So one might expect a litany of references to Patek, Rolex, or AP, the way one often does in a rap album such as this.
But Tyler’s luxurious references aren’t the ones you might find on a typical album. No, he’s already seeing around the next corner, and then the next one. No iced-out Nautiluses to be bragged about here.
“Keep your Patek, I spent that on art,” he raps on LEMONHEAD, hinting that he couldn’t care less about those hyped Pateks.
Tyler’s showing that the most thoughtful people in the room aren’t even buying Pateks anymore. Listen, with all the grumbling around waitlists, watches selling at 4x retail, etc. etc., sometimes all it takes is a guy like Tyler to tell it like it really is. Spending $100k on a Patek that sells out of the boutique for $30k is stupid, full stop. It’s not an investment, it’s not long-term thinking, it’s not anything. Tyler brags about being a “true connoisseur,” and the real ones like him are opting out of the system entirely.
Guys like Tyler, they spent that on art. It’s a real Jay-Z “I bought some artwork for one million…3 years later, that sh*t worth 8 million” energy (or, “I’m not a business man, I’m a business, man!”), where the real flex isn’t flexing at all, but investing.
But! Tyler’s also been spotted wearing his Cartier Crash (and a more subtle Must Tank) all over town, and in the video for LUMBERJACK.
“The Cartier so light on my body, thought I floated here,” he raps on HOT WIND BLOWS, after bragging that he just landed in Geneva.
So, he’s still boasting about watches after all, just not the big, bold watches you might associate with a celebrity like Tyler. For him, it’s small, elegant Cartiers that are worth bragging about.
Cartier’s been on a real heater lately, and an endorsement by Tyler, The Creator is only going to push it into another stratosphere for the foreseeable future. Further, Tyler’s endorsing it not just as a watch, but as something more akin to an investment, or part of a lifestyle, like art.
The smart guys, the ones that are also collecting art, furniture, and other rich-people things? They’re wearing Cartier, according to Tyler.
What happened to Fossil?
This ‘sletter has probably never mentioned “Fossil” before, but this video takes a fascinating look at the fashion brand that has been absolutely decimated by the Apple Watch. It’s also interesting because part of the narrative is about how, on the other hand, high-end mechanical watches are thriving for all the reasons you surely recognize: the strong community and websites around them; a general consumer interest in craftsmanship, quality, and storytelling; a desire to have something that’s decidedly anti-tech.
And, watch people are rational…
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