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Over the past few years, Kanye West’s most notable wristwear has been the Cartier Crash. His personal choice has been a Crash Paris from 1991, from a limited run of 400 pieces. As I’ve documented, his wearing of the Crash has no doubt helped prices explode over the past few years, from something like $30k to north of $100k (for this 1991 Paris edition).
During the DONDA rollout, Kanye seemed to largely eschew wristwatches. On DONDA, he even has an entire song devoted to bragging about wearing “Junya Watanabe” on the wrist, a reference to the legendary Commes de Garcon’s designer (presumably a reference to Junya’s leather bracelets).
But Kanye’s long had a love for watches (my overview of his collection here), so it’s no surprise he’d eventually go back to them. In a recent post from Chris Smoove featuring Ye, it’s no surprise a watch takes center stage (click to watch the full video):
Ye takes part, kind of, in the popular TikTok segment, “how much your fit cost?” Usually, guys brag about $650 Chrome Hearts tees and after-market iced-out Pateks, but Ye’s goes a little differently.
Chris runs through Ye’s fit, asking how much everything costs. “I don’t know.” Ye mumbles to each.
Until he gets to the watch. “How much the watch cost, Ye?”
“200,” Ye responds.
From the grainy video, it’s hard to tell what Ye’s wearing. But, it’s pretty clear it’s not a Cartier Crash.
Instead, it looks like An Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Watch, probably in white ceramic. The closest match seems to be the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon (ref. 26580IO.OO.D010CA.01, for the SEO bots), which retailed for about $200k when it was launched before SIHH in 2013.
A taste of some of the tech infused into the Concept GMT Tourbillon: It features a twin-barrel, 10-day movement with tourbillon and GMT, with a white ceramic upper plate. The white ceramic bezel is almost totally scratchproof, and AP said it required special diamond-tipped machines to cut (taking 8 hours to cut and create the bezel alone). The rest of the 44mm case is made of anodized titanium.
The watch is well known to watch enthusiasts. John Mayer stanned a couple of AP Concept watches on his 2019 redux of Talking Watches, saying they’re the watches he’d worn the most over the last 5 years.
Think of AP’s concept watches, first launched in 2008, as the moonshots coming out of the manufacturer’s super technical R&D arm, with movements often developed by Renaud & Papi, the legendary training ground for some of watchmaking’s most influential and avante-garde creators (think Gronefeld, Gruebel & Forsey, Richard Mille), which AP eventually acquired.
Since John actually owns these watches and can explain their appeal better than I ever could, I’ll let him take it from here (courtesy of his voiceover on Talking Watches):
“[Audemars Piguet Concept watches] get their power from being a little different. The white ceramic GMT has probably been on my wrist on stage with the Dead & Company more than any other watch.
AP right now is on it with these watches. Much the way Richard Mille is, but with like another 100 years behind it.”
I think of these AP Concept watches as a sort of “thinking man’s Richard Mille.” To the question how could you wear that thing on stage with a classic rock band like the Grateful Dead, Mayer added:
“The first thought is ‘you’re so different how could you do that? But the second thought is, well Grateful Dead was so different to everyone around them, so you’re keeping up with the concept of being yourself and being different.’
We’re only looking to become more truth versions of ourselves.”
Honestly, I couldn’t have better articulated why an AP Concept watch just works on Kanye better myself, so we’ll leave it at that.
One of my favorite quotes from Kanye explaining his own music comes from this Zane Lowe interview, where he says: “My music is the code to self-expression, the code to who you are. If you’re a fan of Kanye West, you’re not a fan of me, you’re a fan of yourself. I’m just the espresso. I’m just the shot in the morning to get you going.”
Speaking of Kanye’s fit, can someone get me details on that Porsche hoodie too?
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