No New Watches: John Mayer's Personal Royal Oak Offshore
And some Watches & Wonders Takes
Something a little different today. Obviously, news this week was dominated by the new releases coming out of Watches & Wonders and elsewhere.
I attended some of the virtual sessions and did some Big-J Journalism cozying up with a few brands in hopes of developing some unavoidable conflicts of interest down the road. I dropped my Takes and favorites over on Highsnobiety, so check out that article if you want.
But reporting on breaking news and releases isn’t really what this particular inbox-based weekly emag is equipped to do, so I thought I’d do something different.
Let’s call it No New Watches (#nonewwatches, if you’d prefer). Every day this week, I’m going to send out a short ‘sletter featuring a vintage or pre-owned watch that’s up for auction/sale (or that recently sold) that has nothing to do with the new releases coming out of Switzerland last week.
First up: John Mayer and Audemars Piguet.
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
This one comes courtesy of Eric Wind and Wind Vintage. Sure, Wind is mostly known as the vicar of vintage™ (and Vulcain Crickets), but today we’re chattin contemporary by featuring an AP Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph. But not just any Offshore. It comes from noted Travis Scott backup guitarist John Mayer.
First up, the John Mayer part: It’s got Mr. John C. Mayer’s signature engraved on the case back. As the proud owner of a Continuum World Tour t-shirt signed by the man, I can verify it is indeed his signature, and that Continuum does indeed slap harder in person.
Wind explained that Mayer wore the watch during a performance for a 2011 benefit for NYC charity Matt’s Promise, then AP and Mayer donated the watch for auction that night where it sold for over $56k (it’s available now for slightly less).
As for the watch itself: It’s an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph “Volcano”, measuring an explosive 42mm in diameter and 14.3mm in thickness. Inside ticks AP’s chronograph caliber 3126, which, as integrated-chronograph snobs will yell at you, uses a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module.
Of course, in Mayer’s 2019 Talking Watches we heard him talking about his appreciation for modern AP concept watches, but this shows he also appreciates an everyman’s Offshore Chronograph as much as the next guy too.
Funny enough, it looks like fellow pop star-slash-watch-nerd Ed Sheeran also owns a Volcano and/or Lava Offshore Chronograph (of course, at Rescapement HQ we prefer his Enicar Ultradive).
The watch comes complete with a AP box, letter from Matt’s Promise confirming its provenance, and correspondence from AP confirming their Archives show the watch being for Matt’s Promise.
Added bonus: unlike a certain AP release yesterday, the hands on this watch are notably un-phallic. Stay tuned for another exclusive No New Watches pick tomorrow.
Through the Wire
Okay fine, a few Watches & Wonders Takes:
Speaking of Mayer. I’m also squatting on the Take that John Mayer is responsible for the green dial thing. Read my Highsnobiety article above for the full explanation, but…remember when he started showing off his personal Patek 5164A Aquanaut Travel Time with the standard black strap swapped out for a green rubber strap? Then, in 2019, Patek released the platinum Aquanaut 5168G with a green dial and strap. Hodinkee posted a Mayer wristshot featuring his Aquanaut Travel Time with green strap and the caption, “the watch that inspired the 5168G.” So Mayer clearly inspired Patek there. And Patek inspires pretty much everyone else.
Oh, Mayer also single-handled blew up the yellow gold Daytona with a green dial.
I was going to go with the spicy “I love the two-tone Explorer” Take (I say so in my Highsnob piece, and it’s kind of true), but then Hodinkee also decided to drop a piece with the same bit of contrarian wizardry (“In defense of the two-tone Explorer”, as if Rolex needs help defending, well, anything) so can something really be a Take if the boys from Soho endorse it?
I read every single introductory post written by Jack Forster, and hardly any others. If I were a brand, I would legitimately pay him whatever he asked to announce my releases. His write-up for the Vacheron Split-Seconds — one of the best releases of the week, by the way — is a clinic:
There would be nothing that a watchmaker from 1950 wouldn't understand about the Split-Seconds Chronograph Ultra-Thin, but there would be much they would admire and find fascinating. A watch like this is at least as much a cultural artifact as it is anything else – a statement piece, but not one merely of affluence, but also of the retention and nurturing of the methods and values that have made Vacheron a continued success, after more than a quarter millennium.
(More on this one also in my Highsnobiety piece.)
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