The Elton John Watch Auction, Ranked From Hubba Hubba to AWOOGA

Photograph: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte

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In February, Elton John will auction off a massive trove of his personal effects—921 lots in total!—in an auction with Christie’s. Relevant to us: 31 of the legendary musician’s stupefyingly cool, flamboyant, and quintessentially Elton John watches are up for grabs. The auction comes after John sold his Atlanta home last year; Christie’s is calling this the “Goodbye Peachtree Road” sale. The auction series, which kicks off online February 9th, is divided over eight different themes and includes John’s house decor, photography, paintings, boots, sunglasses, dinnerware, and a neon David LaChapelle sign that reads, “HORNY?!” I’ve gone ahead and ranked all 31 watches in the auction, based on my personal and totally correct tastes.


31. Cartier Santos (High estimate: $20,000)

Perhaps you’re thinking, “If this is the ‘worst watch in the auction’—a stunning Cartier Santos covered in diamonds—then it’s setting an incredibly high bar.” You’d be right. But one piece had to sit in the 31st spot, and nearly every watch in this sale features factory-set diamonds, so the aftermarket bling dings this watch just enough.


30. Roger Dubuis Easy Diver ($18,000)

About as fancy as you can make a diver watch: white-gold case, champagne dial, and a tourbillon.

29. Hublot skeletonized Big Bang ($12,000)

28. Hublot Big Bang ($12,000)

As we continue on our journey, you’ll see John has better Hublots in his collection.


27. Cartier Ballon Bleu ($12,000)

26. Cartier Ballon Bleu ($18,000)

Pretty, but I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Ballon Bleu, and stacked up against the rest of John’s collection these watches are relatively bland.

25. Franck Muller chronograph ($15,000)

John was a downright Muller fanboy at one point. “I called him the Picasso of watches,” he once told journalist Nick Foulkes. “Men’s watches were nice but they were boring. Suddenly Franck enabled men to go forward to more daring watches.” This would certainly fit that description.

24. Franck Muller Perpetual Calendar ($15,000)

Although Muller’s brand was plagued by accusations of watches filled with cheap, mass-made movements from Russia, the man himself was known as an ingenious watchmaker. This piece shows off that mastery with a perpetual calendar, chronograph, moon phase, retrograde month, leap year, and 24-hour indication all stuffed inside.

23. Chopard Happy Sport ($10,000)

This is a great watch but pales in comparison to another Chopard further down the list that holds me a little closer. Hard to argue with the diamond ‘E’ and ‘J’ inside the crystal, though.

22. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control ($18,000)

What’s so terrific about John’s collection is how everything is unmistakably Elton-ized. The singer uses the base of beloved watches and adds diamonds, gems, prints, or even just unusual straps to zhush them up. Like this Master Control, which gets a diamond-set bezel for John’s wrist.


21. Hublot Big Bang Tutti Frutti ($12,000)

I’m a sucker for this red-and-gray color combination and sporty rubber strap.

20. Chopard “Mille Miglia Elton John” ($12,000)

In the ’90s and 2000s, John partnered with Chopard to create watches that would raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The gem-setting on this watch is particularly good, evoking the pattern of a delicate lace doily.


19. Cartier Santos Octagon ($10,000)

Welcome to the Octagon, Santos.

18. Cartier platinum Tonneau ($18,000)

Long, elegantly curved, platinum Cartiers are having a minor moment. This watch made me think of the reissued Cintrée that landed last fall. Collectors would rightfully freak out if Cartier brought this one out of retirement. John’s vintage Tonneau from the ’90s even has the desirable ‘Paris’ stamp on the dial.

17. Cartier Tank Américaine chronograph ($15,000)

16. Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir ($25,000)

Cartier isn’t known for its chronographs, but these ones do the brand’s heritage justice. “Sure, you Americans,” I can imagine the Parisian executives snarling, “you can time your silly laps and eat your massive puffed-up pancakes, but we’re going to stick the chronographs inside a long, elegant Américaine or in a piece brimming with diamonds.”


15. Hublot Big Bang Tutti Frutti Caviar ($12,000)

Need this to be Black Panther’s daily watch ASAP.

14. Chopard piece unique chronograph ($15,000)

Another piece made with Chopard to benefit the Elton John Aids Foundation. The musician didn’t play it safe with his money-raising efforts. This watch is just silly: covered completely in white diamonds and a pair of skulls biting into the watch dial. Phillip Plein could never.

13. Cartier Tank Divan ($18,000)

Remember: These are the watches John is parting with… imagine what he’s KEEPING. Try to dream up a dimension where you own a diamond-set Cartier dual time and it is not a prized possession on par with (or bypassing) the family pet.

12. Cartier Crash ($100,000)

I know! This seems dastardly low for one of the most desired watches on earth. But John has all the most desirable pieces in the world, often customized to his particular and delightfully ridiculous tastes. This is a great Crash, but it doesn’t have enough of that special John sprinkling to rank higher.

11. Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques Jalousie ($15,000)

Speaking of that special Eltonification, this Vacheron Constantin features sparking blinds that treat the time like a sexy secret.

10. Chopard Imperial ($12,000)

9. Chopard Imperial ($18,000)

Besides his obvious appreciation for rare Cartiers and absurdly bejeweled watches in general, John’s taste for sapphires specifically stands out.

8. Cartier Tank ($25,000)

If you think this ruby- and diamond-set Tank is cool, just wait until you scroll a little further down.

7. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ($15,000)

The dreamiest version of the Royal Oak. The luxury-sport watch is one I associate with a strain of handsome manliness—the chiseled Chad jaw of timepieces. This Royal Oak inverts that idea with a mother-of-pearl dial that reads like a soft, romantic puff of clouds.

6. A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia ($25,000)

I certainly didn’t have this one on my bingo card: a Lange produced as part of the German brand’s initial offering in 1994. That’s already a rare treat, but John’s is even more esoteric with a diamond-set bezel.


5. Cartier Pasha ($25,000)

4. Cartier Pasha ($25,000)

The enamel work on these two Cartier Pashas is exquisite. Still not enough for John, who decked the bezels out in diamonds, naturally.


3. Cartier Tank Normale ($30,000)

The most fabulous Tank Normale in the universe? Probably.


2. Rolex Tiger Daytona ($60,000)

Stop yelling at me! I know: This would have been the obvious choice at #1. But while I appreciate a leopard-print, blinged-out, sapphire-set Rolex Daytona more than most, I kept coming back to one thing with this watch. While it captures John’s élan, it is not totally unique and made specifically for him. Which brings me to my top spot…

1. Piaget Tanagra ($18,000)

Maybe I’m huffing the Piaget vapors too much these days, but there’s something about this Tanagara that takes my breath away so completely I couldn’t even put out a candle in the wind. The watch is dipped from tip to tail with a Skittles bag of gems that are intricately sequenced so all the colors get to pal around with one another. This is a piece made bespoke for John, so besides the instant spit-take it evokes, it’s easy to imagine him selecting this brand, this shape, these gems, and then spreading them out so playfully. That kicks this watch up a notch for me.

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Originally Appeared on GQ