Woo! My personal favorite watch of the bunch is Prince’s Versace Medusa—which would be killer even without the association with Minnesota’s favorite son. The intricately engraved gold watch, with a Medusa head on the dial, comes on a well-worn black strap. “It exudes an air of Prince’s unique style,” Hoyt said, “and the band even comes with an extra homemade hole, presumably to better fit Prince’s small wrist.”
One thing about watch collectors? They love to fantasize about where a watch might’ve been. When I wrote a story on Phillips auctioneer Aurel Bacs in 2019, he dreamt up all sorts of scenarios for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Bulova, which was then set to come up for auction. “You hold the watch in your hands,” he said, “you close your eyes for a moment, and you say, ‘Gosh, please, tell me: Where have you been and what have you lived with General Eisenhower? Where? When? Battlefield or at home? Secret meetings? Amazing.’” That kind of speculation is, in part, what makes celebrity watches such powerful and irresistible objects for so many collectors. Much like Bacs, these watches make Hoyt’s imagination spin out. “I like to imagine Prince sitting at his dining room table or kitchen counter, grabbing something sharp out of a drawer to push through the leather to make the rough extra hole for himself,” he said. (OK, that’s the last time I’ll use the word ‘hole’ in this column. My apologies.)
Prince’s homemade hole (whoops!) watch isn’t the only highlight here, though. Most of Hoyt’s pieces would require the wearer to explain their celebrity connection, but Siegfried & Roy’s Piaget—featuring the latter in an unbuttoned tiger-print shirt on the face—speaks for itself. Plus, the full-gold dial is outrageously good.
I also can’t get over Jerry Lewis’s dainty Baume & Mercier, which has a similar shape to Cartier’s beloved Baignoire. The comedian was apparently ahead of his time, preferring to wear tiny wristwatches nominally made for women. “Jerry Lewis’ watch fascinates me due to Mr. Lewis’ preference for small ladies’ model wristwatches,” Hoyt said. “I’ve owned more than a half dozen of his, and this is my last one.”