Classic Watches for Classic Rockers:
The Timepieces of Rocks Most Legendary Frontmen

Article By: Logan Hannen

WATCH101 | Feb 12, 2019

It’s no secret that musicians tend to gravitate towards watches. In modern pop culture, we hear about this most with respect to rappers and their (typically) blinged out watches, but in the days of yore, this connection between music and horology was just as prevalent. Some of rock and roll’s most iconic stars have been seen wearing, and occasionally showing off, their prized timepieces, and today, we’re going to take a look at five of them.

1: Elvis Presley’s Hamilton Ventura in Blue Hawaii

Elvis on the set of Blue Hawaii with his Ventura
Source: Fratello Watches

Elvis has been seen in a wide range of timepieces over the years, a number of which are technically more valuable than this Hamilton from the 60s, but given the piece’s funky case shape and unique electric movement, this is the one that stands out. He was given it to wear as part of a product placement deal by Hamilton for the film Blue Hawaii, but it’s said he loved it so much that he ended up buying more variations over the years, and was notorious for gifting them to friends and bandmates. Hamilton still produces the Ventura to this day.

2: Mick Jagger’s Heuers

Jagger (left) wearing a Heuer Carrera (pictured alongside John Lennon & Yoko Ono)
Source: Bob Gruen

Mick Jagger, charismatic, flamboyant frontman of rock legends The Rolling Stones, has a relatively tame, if not thoroughly considered taste in watches compared to many of his contemporaries (even within his own band…we’ll talk about Keith in a second). For most of his life, Mick has worn Heuer chronographs, including the Carrera 1153N pictured above. This particular case shape is no longer produced by TAG Heuer, but they do offer a couple of vintage-inspired Autavias in their current collection.

3: Keith Richards’ Panthere de Cartier

Keith Richards wearing his Panthere de Cartier alongside Mick Jagger
Source: Revolution

Keith Richards plays guitar in The Rolling Stones. Keith Richards is one of the last true living legends in the rock world. The man has put himself through things most human bodies would fail to sustain, and done it all with a smirk…and he wore a Cartier Panthere de Cartier through much of the 1970s. The antithesis to Jagger’s utilitarian chronographs, Keith’s choice in watch brand is very much one of luxury, especially given Cartier’s reputation at the time thanks to guys like Andy Warhol. And for a watch that many might consider feminine (indeed, Cartier themselves classify it as a woman’s model), Keith pulls it off like nobody’s business. Cartier still produces the Panthere de Cartier line.

4: Sir Paul McCartney’s Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Sir Paul and his Aquanaut 5167A
Source: Esquire UK

Sir Paul McCartney, one of two surviving members of music icons The Beatles, has been known in recent years to wear a Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A. I’ve mentioned before how much I adore the Aquanaut, and something about knowing that so does one of my musical heroes is kind of nice. In fact, though, the other surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr, also wears an Aquanaut, albeit his is the original reference 5065A. While Ringo’s reference is no longer produced, Sir Paul’s is the current production reference. If you love the look of the watch, and want to capture the vibe of Sir Paul or Ringo, but on a budget, then check out my list of Aquanaut alternatives.

5: Slash and his Breitling Chronomat (w/ UTC Module)

Slash wearing his Breitling Chronomat featuring a UTC module on the bracelet
Source: Chronext

While not technically a frontman, Slash is arguably more iconic a member of Guns & Roses than even Axl Rose himself. Nowadays, Slash’s wrist can more commonly be seen adorned with a Rolex “Hulk”, but for a long time, it was this Breitling Chronomat, featuring a UTC module on the bracelet, that took up that real estate. A UTC module is essentially a second watch, smaller and located on the strap or bracelet, that displays a second time zone – think of it like a clutter-free GMT complication. Breitling no longer produces a Chronomat with the UTC module equipped, but the model line is otherwise alive and well.

Alright geeks, what are some of your favorite rock stars and their watches. Should I do a part 2? Let us know via email at info@theoandharris.com or on Instagram and, as always, keep it classy, watchfam.

MORE FROM THIS SERIES