The Story Behind John Mayer’s New Emoji Rolex

Back in March, at the Watches & Wonders trade show in Geneva, Rolex unveiled one of the year’s most talked-about watches: a Day-Date with a jigsaw puzzle dial and—most controversially—emojis instead of numbers on the date wheel. Ever since, the watch has been a lightning rod amongst watch enthusiasts, with collectors either defiantly loving it or absolutely loathing it. John Mayer, arguably the most influential watch collector on the planet, was a fan of the Day-Date “Puzzle Dial” from the jump.

Russell Kelly, CEO of the Carmel, CA-based Fourtané Jewelers, recalled speaking to Mayer about this particular piece backstage at one of the musician’s concerts shortly after the gonzo Day-Date debuted. “We were sitting around talking about all the new stuff that came out,” Kelly said over the phone Tuesday. “We both thought that watch in particular was interesting and that it was cool that Rolex did that.” So when Rolex allocated a Day-Date “Puzzle Dial” to Fourtané—one of the first to be delivered in the world—Kelly knew exactly who to call.

“[Mayer] was pretty much in on the first phone call,” Kelly said. “Not just because it’s such a fun and special launch, but it speaks to a generation. And we give John so much credit for opening the world of watch collecting and appreciation up to the new generation.”

Just a few days after that initial call, Mayer flew to Carmel to pick up his new purchase. Kelly and Fourtané owner Josh Bonifas fetched him from the airport and brought him back to the store, where they spent over an hour together. Mayer, who was sporting a Tiffany-stamped gold Rolex Daytona 6263, first spent some time browsing Fourtané’s new and vintage watches. “Watch geeking out a little bit,” Kelly said. Finally, the moment came to present the piece to Mayer. “We put it on his wrist and he was thrilled,” Kelly said. Like everyone else who tries the “Puzzle Dial” on, the first thing he did was spin through the watch’s set of 31 emojis (which appear in the date window at 3 o’clock) and seven different sayings (in place of the days of the week at 12 o’clock).

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