Wrist Watching: Rolling Stone Charlie Watts (A Discreet Watch Collector) Knew It Was Only Rock And Roll (But He Liked It)
Charlie Watts passed away yesterday, August 24, 2021, at the age of 80 after having been hospitalized for heart problems. He had been the beat-keeper for the Rolling Stones for half a century.
Unlike his bandmates, the famed drummer of the Rolling Stones kept a low profile. So low in fact that the gossip rags never gossiped about him: it was hard to know what his likes and dislikes were, and we rarely knew whether he particularly fancied any certain brands – aside from Chittleborough & Morgan, his Savile Row bespoke tailor.
Once asked about his favorite brand of car, he answered diplomatically, “Many, but I don’t drive.”
“I own 25 or so watches; I usually wear Bucherer,” he said. In that, he has something in common with our GaryG, who famously started his watch collecting journey with a watch from Bucherer’s Lucerne boutique.
The only clear wristshot with an identifiable watch Nick was able to find of Watts was the example above from 2005 when the Rolling Stones announced its “Bigger Bang” world tour in New York City on May 10, 2005.
In this photo he is wearing the Bucherer Archimedes Perpetual Calendar. And do note that this model is the 35 mm “Bucherer” model and not the 37.5 mm “Carl F. Bucherer” version that was released after the retailer established the sub-brand of the same name in 2001. Bucherer established Carl F. Bucherer exclusively for the manufacture of high-quality Swiss watches in honor of company founder Carl Friedrich Bucherer.
In classic 1990s Mechanical Renaissance style, the three-part case, which I believe to be a light pink gold, has a stepped bezel and a screw-mounted exhibition case back. The 35 mm size is very classic and rather countertrend for the 1990s, to be honest.
The choice to wear this belies a very classic style sensibility, though I might have thought he would have preferred yellow over pink gold. Which is why I’m not 100 percent sure that it’s not yellow gold, a metal that would have still been readily available as a choice for a luxury watch in the mid-1990s.
The dial, whose design was primarily determined by the ETA caliber with (what I am sure is the) Dubois Dépraz perpetual calendar module powering it, features typical apertures for calendar and moon phase and luminous lance-style hands.
Watts very likely bought this in Switzerland as the Bucherer stores at that time were not as widespread as they are today.
Nick and I had a hard time finding any wristshots whatsoever, and in the few that we were able to find, it is impossible to clearly identify what he was wearing. However, what you can see is that these watches are all distinctly classic in size, shape, material, and functionality.
Classy, just like the man was. RIP, Charlie, thanks for all that great music.
Quick Facts Bucherer Archimedes Perpetual Calendar Ref. 2892-004
Case: 35 x 10 mm, pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA 2892-2 base, most likely with Dubois Dépraz perpetual calendar module, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; perpetual calendar with date, day, month, leap year cycle, moon phases, moon phase
Approx. years of manufacture: 1994-2000