With His New Tiffany Patek, Jay-Z Becomes King of the Hype Watch

If it's expensive, rare and controversial, he's probably got one

Jay-Z sitting courtside at a Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets NBA game at Barclays Center wearing a $3 million Richard Mille watch
Jay-Z sporting a multi-million-dollar Richard Mille watch at a Brooklyn Nets game in October.
Rich Schultz/Getty

The most coveted and controversial watch of 2021 is the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 that was released earlier this month. Coveted because it is likely the last of the heralded 5711, an instantly recognizable stainless-timepiece that has been near impossible to lay your hands on in recent months, unless you want to pay astronomical prices on the secondary market. Controversial because it was made in partnership with Tiffany & Co. and features a Tiffany Blue dial, a pairing some watch fans feel is more about hype and exclusivity than integrity. 

Only 170 of these timepieces were made, a reference to the 170-year partnership between Patek and Tiffany, which begs the question: who would be lucky enough to get one? As Hodinkee recently spotted, Jay-Z was wearing the watch just eight days after it was released at an event for The Harder They Fall, a movie he’s producing. Here’s the proof:

How did rapper-turned-mogul Shawn Carter get his hands on one of these? It was up to Tiffany to choose the clients who would be able to purchase the $52,635 watch, but as Hodinkee notes one of the 170 pieces was auctioned last weekend for $6.5 million to a “New York” based buyer. Jay-Z also has an in as he and wife Beyoncé have recently starred in a massive ad campaign for the luxury jeweler. 

No matter what strings he pulled to get it, the addition of the Tiffany Nautilus to his collection officially crowns Jay-Z as the king of the hype watch. The 52-year-old has a documented affinity for extravagant timepieces going back to the beginning of his career (they even frequently make appearances in his lyrics, like on 2011’s “Otis,” “New watch alert, Hublot’s, Or the big-face Rollie I got two of those”), but in recent years he’s been upping the ante even among the diamond-encrusted, precious-metal-plated, one-off world he moves in. 

Case in point: Jay-Z’s increasing devotion to Richard Mille, a Swiss watchmaker known for crafting six-figure bespoke pieces that always seem to be at the center of arguments about taste. Earlier this year, Jay-Z one-upped himself by wearing a $3 million Richard Mille RM 56-01 Tourbillon that features a green sapphire case, which surpassed his measly $2.5 million blue sapphire RM nicknamed “The Blueprint.”

Some watches in Jay-Z’s collection, like the timeless Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with an engraving of Carnegie Hall, are unimpeachable. These Richard Milles on the other hand are expensive, rare and prone to discussions about the differences between covetable watches and overpriced wrist candy. Diddy made a case for the latter this summer when he said people were “getting tricked by the Richard Mille.” 

“The Richard Mille is like a Timex or some shit like that,” he said, per Complex. “Y’all, it’s not hot. It’s not hot. It’s not hot! I have, like, two or three. I never pull them out. They ugly. I don’t even wanna hate. I don’t even know Richard Mille but fuck it. I’m on some Black shit. Black men, save your money and go buy a house.”

If you have to make the decision between buying a million-dollar watch and buying a house, the choice is obvious. But Jay-Z doesn’t need to make those kinds of decisions. He just seems to be happy being at the center of the watch debate, buying the timepieces everyone else only dreams of owning and leaving the haters to fight it out in the comments section and, like Diddy, on Instagram.

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