Synonymous with success and personal achievement, Rolex watches are frequently the timepieces of choice for many of the world’s most famous and influential individuals. While the majority of celebrity Rolex owners opt to adorn their wrists with the manufacturer’s latest offerings (or depend on a watch stylist to find them the right timepiece,) there are others – usually, those with a strong interest in timepieces – that choose to wear vintage Rolex watches.
From musicians like John Mayer and The Weeknd to TV personalities like Gordon Ramsay and Ellen DeGeneres, along with actors like Ryan Gosling, and even famous families like the Beckhams, you may be surprised at just how many celebrities have picked up the vintage Rolex bug. And it’s not just the famed vintage Daytona “Paul Newman” chronographs that these A-listers are after — there’s plenty of vintage Submariner, Day-Date, GMT-Master, Explorer, and Datejust references to admire too. If you’re curious to find out which celebrities wear vintage Rolex watches, here’s a round-up of some of our favorites.
Click here for a closer look at some of the most important vintage Rolex watches.
John Mayer’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
As an avid watch collector, John Mayer owns a number of remarkable watches – both vintage and contemporary – from a wide variety of manufacturers. Amid the numerous vintage Rolex pieces in his collection, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter owns a reference 5517 Military Submariner, several vintage Daytona chronographs (including a few Paul Newmans), and a reference 1680 Submariner that was issued to COMEX and has the dial to prove it.
John Mayer has been on two Talking Watches episodes on YouTube where we can see part of his expansive watch collection. Between these two videos, some standout vintage Daytona watches include a ref. 6265 with an Omani Khanjar dial, a ref. 6265 with a UAE dial, a steel ref. 6263, a yellow gold ref. 6263, a ref. 6264 “Paul Newman,” and a ref. 6264 with a pulsation dial. He also shows us some truly sublime vintage Submariner watches including a ref. 5514 made exclusively for COMEX and a ref. 6200 with an Explorer-style dial.
Among all the various celebrity collectors, John Mayer is no doubt the biggest champion of vintage Rolex watches with the most influence in the community.
Click here for a look at more celebrities that wear Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona watches.
Ellen DeGeneres’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
Although it is primarily male celebrities that are widely reported as wearing vintage Rolex watches, Ellen DeGeneres has a truly impressive collection of some of the rarest and most desirable vintage Rolex timepieces in existence.
In addition to a reference 1655 Explorer II and a “Blueberry” GMT-Master, DeGeneres also owns a Paul Newman Daytona ref. 6241 with a three-color dial, a 1970s yellow gold Daytona ref. 6265 with a black dial, and a yellow gold Rolex Daytona ref. 6241 “John Player Special” (among many others).
Click here for a closer look at Ellen DeGeneres’s Rolex watch collection.
Eric Clapton’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
Another well-known watch collector and vintage Rolex aficionado, Eric Clapton has either owned or presently owns some of the rarest and most collectible Rolex watches ever manufactured. The legendary guitarist sold most of his incredible vintage pieces at several auctions a few years back. For example, in 2003, Christie’s auctioned 25 of his timepieces including the following vintage Rolex watches:
– Triple Calendar with Moonphase Reference 6062 – one in steel and one in yellow gold
– Triple Calendar Chronograph Reference 6236
– Submariner 5513 with an Explorer dial
– Steel prototype Yacht-Master Daytona, ref. 6239
It is believed that only three of these Yacht-Master prototypes were ever manufactured; one resides inside the Rolex safe in Geneva, and the other is part of John Goldberger’s collection. In 2008, Eric Clapton sold the incredible Daytona 6263 “Albino” chronograph for a record-breaking $505,000 – and to be clear, this watch would command a much higher price in today’s robust vintage Rolex market!
Gordon Ramsay’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
Like many celebrity chefs, Gordon Ramsay appreciates a fine timepiece, and can frequently be seen wearing one while cooking in the kitchen or filming one of his many television shows. During his early days on TV, Gordon Ramsay was almost always seen wearing a yellow-dialed Breitling watch. He still owns and wears that watch; however, the Hell’s Kitchen star now alternates it with some very sought-after Rolex watches too—including some awesome vintage pieces.
Some of the vintage Rolex watches we’ve spotted Gordon Ramsay wearing include a Submariner 1680 in stainless steel, a yellow gold Submariner 1680/8 with a “Nipple” dial, and an Explorer II ref. 16550 with a once-white dial that has turned into a creamy shade of perfection. He also owns a vintage Submariner 5513, which is rumored to be manufactured the same year that he was born. If that is true, hats off to him for getting an epic Birth Year Rolex watch!
Adam Levine’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
Joining the list of celebrities who choose to wear and collect vintage Rolex timepieces is musician and television personality Adam Levine – and he has a superb range of both dress and sports pieces.
We’ve spotted the Maroon 5 frontman wearing several vintage Daytona watches, including a steel 6265 with a reverse panda dial, a steel 6241 Paul Newman, and a yellow gold 6241 Paul Newman. His collection also includes a vintage Submariner 6538 “Big Crown,” an Explorer II 1655 “Steve McQueen” and a yellow gold GMT-Master 1675 with a “Nipple” dial. Additionally, Adam Levine also appears to be a fan of vintage Rolex President watches, with at least two “Stella” dial variants including the yellow gold Day-Date ref. 1803 with a pink dial and a white gold Day-Date ref. 1803 with a turquoise dial.
Ryan Gosling’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
Though he’s one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Ryan Gosling is pretty low-key when it comes to his style, opting for minimal classics rather than over-the-top trends. His watch choice reflects that understated vibe too, and many of Gosling’s favorites are some of the least-expensive vintage Rolex watches currently available.
Ryan Gosling wears a simple vintage Rolex Air-King ref. 5500 with a 34mm case that houses an off-white dial with 3, 6, and 9 numerals. Not only is this one of the most discreet vintage Rolex watches to own, but it is also one that is still relatively affordable in the collector’s market. Illustrating the versatility of a straightforward old-school Rolex, this Golden Globe winner’s Air-King looks just as great with a white dinner jacket on the red carpet as it does with a simple white tee and jeans outfit.
The Weeknd’s Vintage Rolex Watches
Let’s be honest, discontinued Cellini references are not the most popular vintage Rolex watches, by far. However, that’s precisely the unconventional watch that singer-songwriter superstar, The Weeknd (a.k.a Abel Tesfaye), has been spotted wearing, which fits right into his current retro aesthetic. He opts for the asymmetrical Cellini Midas with a five-sided yellow gold case, black dial, and black leather strap.
Another vintage Rolex we’ve seen him wearing is a yellow gold Datejust ref. 16018 with a black onyx dial, three-link President bracelet, and fluted bezel. One interesting thing to note is that both of these vintage Rolex models feature yellow gold cases with minimal dials, so that may be a good indicator of The Weeknd’s preference when it comes to Rolex watches.
Click here to see some of the other A-list celebrities that wear Rolex Datejust watches.
The Beckham Family
The Beckham Family’s Vintage Rolex Watches:
For the Beckhams, it seems that watch collecting is a family affair. Husband and wife David and Victoria, along with sons Brooklyn, Romeo, and Cruz, have all been seen wearing some fantastic timepieces, including a slew of vintage Rolex classics.
David Beckham’s love of high-end watches has been well documented; not only has he been photographed wearing plenty of top-notch timepieces but the former Manchester United midfielder traded his Breitling ambassadorship to sign with Tudor in 2017. His vintage Rolex collection is enviable with pieces such as a two-tone GMT-Master “Root Beer” with a brown Nipple dial, several older Submariner references (one in gold and a couple in steel), and an all-gold Datejust 36.
Victoria Beckham’s vintage Rolex picks are noteworthy too; she’s been seen wearing a solid 18k yellow gold vintage President with a classic champagne dial as well as a highly collectible 1970’s Day-Date with a turquoise/aqua green “Stella” dial.
Brooklyn takes after his famous dad’s watch style by wearing a vintage no-date Submariner on a wide leather ‘bund’ strap. Whether this is his Rolex or one of his dad’s is unclear; however, when your parents have a collection like Posh and Becks, it’s only natural to want to borrow a watch from them every now and then!
Click here for a closer look at how celebrities choose their Rolex watches.
It’s clear that some of these celebrities are serious about their vintage Rolex watches. It’s one thing to want to buy the latest and greatest Rolex model but picking a great vintage reference typically requires a little more effort and knowledge on the part of the buyer. Collecting vintage watches is a fascinating pastime, and many enthusiasts will admit that once you jump in with that first vintage acquisition, you’ll always be on the hunt for the next one!