Longtime pals John Mayer and Ed Sheeran share two great passions in life: music and watches. And when the duo linked up on Tuesday night in Los Angeles—to play a benefit gig for Mayer’s Heart and Armor Foundation, which aims to protect the health of veterans—they harmonized beautifully in both domains, dueting on Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” and a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” while donning matching wristwear.
Both stars were wearing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man,” a 42mm, titanium and ceramic limited edition of 250 pieces. At $215,0000, this is a watch firmly in haute horlogerie territory—though its depiction of a web-casting Spidey on the dial is divisive in the watch community, to say the least. (Best comment on Hodinkee? “Getting serious Franklin Mint vibes from this.”) It’s also not the first time that AP has depicted a comic-book character on its dial; its “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon, also an LE of 250 pieces, completely sold out upon release in 2021.
All superhero-related silliness aside, this is a serious piece of craftsmanship: creating the Spider-Man character on the dial required 50 hours of work; having him “float” above the openworked, hand-wound Calibre 2974 movement—which includes a tourbillon—was no less challenging. Overall, this watch leans more art than watch, and should be appreciated as such before everyone gets out their torches and pitchforks. (Also: watches these days are meant to be fun; nobody needs one.)
Mayer is a known Audemars Piguet aficionado—though not a “brand ambassador” in the traditional sense, he owns many an AP and works closely with the maison. Sheeran, of course, is also a noted collector with excellent watches. (Listening to the two of them chat about collecting would probably be a real treat for any watch head.) Indeed it’s all the more fun to see them sporting such irreverent (yet high-end) pieces given their mutual esteem for one another’s music and artistry.