Jay-Z’s Sapphire-Studded Patek Philippe Might Be His Most Elegant Watch Yet


In the world of watchmaking, the “grand complication”—a timepiece containing several complications such as a chronograph, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, or more—reigns supreme. The epitome of haute horlogerie, these exquisitely sophisticated watches are powered by movements containing hundreds upon hundreds of parts, making them more akin to miniature mechanical computers than conventional time-telling devices.

American rapper and record producer JAYZ in attendance at the UEFA Champions League 202324 final match

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Jay-Z, one of the world’s most renowned collectors, owns several such pieces—especially ones from Patek Philippe, whose oeuvre contains a dedicated sub-collection of g “Grand complications. Spotted recently at the UEFA Champions League final, Hov rocked what is arguably one of the most drool-worthy such timepieces in the form of the ref. 5271/11P, a manually-wound perpetual calendar-chronograph set with over five carats of baguette-cut sapphires.

This particular combination of complications—the perpetual calendar with a chronograph—is a speciality of Patek’s, which launched the ref. 1518 in 1941. Since then, the maison has continued to innovate in this area, releasing watches that have taken on the aspect of horological lore: The reference 2499, for example, is considered by many collectors to be one of the finest, most beautiful references ever designed.

The 5271, meanwhile, is a contemporary extension of the 1518’s legacy. Housed in a 41mm platinum case, it measures just 12.7mm tall despite its incredibly complicated Caliber CH 29‑535 PS Q movement. Its lacquered blue with black-gradient rim, which features attractive white gold applied hour markers, provides a wealth of information to the wearer: In addition to the time, there’s a dual-register chronograph with a 30-minute counter; day and month windows; a moon phase display combined with a date indicator; a leap year indicator; and a day/night indicator. If wound daily, the watch will remain accurate until February 28, 2100, at which point it will require manual correction to account for a secular year that omits that month’s 29th day.

The standout feature of the ref. 5271/11P, however, is actually in the case itself: Set within its bezel and lugs—and within the fold-over clasp of its black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap—is a total of 80 baguette-cut sapphires totaling 5.16 carats. (The watch is also available with rubies or diamonds in place of the sapphires.) Striking and unique, the addition of precious stones takes the price of such a watch into the stratosphere, where it retails for (an oddly specific) $351,150.

Believe it or not, there are actually even more complicated watches than this in Jay-Z’s collection: The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300G contains so many complications that it requires two dials in order to display them all. That being said, the 5271—as an elegant evolution of a watch that debuted, unbelievably, during the throes of a world war—is arguably the more compelling of the two. (To be fair, both are fun watches to see worn casually in the wild, rather than kept behind glass like museum pieces, as their complication and price might otherwise warrant.)

NFL Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes  hoists the Vince Lombardy trophy with tight end...

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Patrick Mahomes’s Rolex Yacht-Master II

Kansas City Chiefs QB Mahomes joined several of his teammates at the White House to meet with President Joe Biden in celebration of the team’s latest Super Bowl win this week. On the noted collector’s wrist? A Rolex Yacht-Master II—a watch that was discontinued by the Crown this year. Measuring 44mm in the brand’s Oystersteel, it’s actually a fairly unique yachting chronograph: The bezel contains the patented Ring Command system, which is used to “program” the watch’s countdown feature to between one and 10 minutes. Entirely mechanically powered, this system was unique in the Rolex catalog, but must now, unfortunately, be sought out on the secondary market.

Mark and Donnie Wahlberg pose for a photo during the game against the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics

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Mark Wahlberg’s Patek Philippe Grand Complication ref. 5374/300P

There must be something in the air this week: Wahlberg, like Jay-Z, also stepped out in one of Patek’s grand complication watches—albeit one set with 228 baguette-cut diamonds and 13 baguette-cut sapphires, making for over 12 carats of precious stones. Powered by an automatic movement, the Caliber R 27 Q, it combines a minute repeater with a perpetual calendar. Housed in a 42mm platinum case with a lacquered blue dial featuring sapphire and diamond hour markers, it retails for close to $1.2 million.



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