BY NOW, WE KNOW THAT Tyler, the Creator is a watch guy—there’s no mistaking his penchant for acquiring hard to find/source/buy timepieces. But here’s the thing: Tyler isn’t just any watch guy with just any watch collection. The American rapper has truly amassed one of the coolest, most unique watch collections we’ve ever seen, most of which is made up of vintage Cartier timepieces.
They’re all incredibly small—teeny-tiny, in fact—and all posses a vintage charm that is seldom seen in today’s oversaturated watch market, new or vintage. Yet, somewhere, somehow, the 32-year-old of ‘See You Again’ fame has found and added yet another vintage gem to his already-coveted collection, and in the process, has caused a serious ripple affect that will make mere watch mortals excited yet frustrated all at once.
Recently, Tyler was spotted with the Louis Vuitton Monterey II on his wrist; a small, round quartz watch that, on paper, isn’t an expensive buy. It was designed in the ’80s by the renowned Italian architect, Gae Aulenti, and assembled by IWC. Cool, right? Well, here’s the kicker: this timepiece is now nowhere to be found, and if you do happen to stumble across a Japanese or Chinese auction house selling one, you’re likely to pay anywhere from four to five times its original asking price.
Alas, we’re not here to criticise Tyler’s influence on the vintage watch market, but rather celebrate it—here are the artist’s absolute best timepieces from his uber-cool watch collection.
Louis Vuitton Monterey II
What is one of the almost-forgotten first watch designs of Louis Vuitton, the Monterey II is a quirky, incredibly rare quartz watch from 1988. It’s also one of the very first ceramic watches ever to be produced, with LV commissioning expert Swiss watchmakers IWC to assemble this special watch. Good luck trying to find this piece on the secondary market; since this TikTok went viral—coupled with Tyler’s clear approval for the vintage piece—tracking one down has become an extremely arduous task.
It’s fair to say that pop cultural icons like Tyler and Kanye West have helped resurrect the now iconic Cartier Crash. First created in the late ’60s, the story goes that the Cartier Crash was inspired by a Baignoire Allongée watch that was deformed in a car crash, hence its name. Unlike any other Cartier timepiece you’re to find, the Crash is now only available to VIP clientele with only a handful made per year. Tyler’s version is a vintage piece from the ’90s that he is likely to wear on the daily. “I perform in my watches,” he said. “I’ll jump in the water. I’ll bike with them. I sweat in them. I’m not spending all this money on these things that I claim I like and not enjoying them. I’m living in all of it.” If you were to find an original Crash from 1967, you can expect to fetch a price as high as $1.5 million.
The Cartier Pebble, which resembles that of a baseball, was designed in 1972 and takes all the classic design feats of previous Cartier watches to make one unique, eye-catching shape. Tyler has been seen performing wearing this special piece in recent times, like at Coachella earlier this year. A total vibe.
While more a jewellery statement than a watch itself, the Cartier Coulissant allows its wearer to obstruct the watch dial by sliding a piece of yellow gold over the face of the dial. The whole design and aesthetic of the Coulissant harks back to the 40s and offers clear Art Deco inspiration, which is likely why Tyler loves this piece.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
If the aforementioned watches present as quirky or odd, then the Cartier Tank Louis Cartier will even out Tyler’s unique taste in watches. This classic timepiece is one of the most collected timepieces in the world, and here Tyler has a stunning yellow gold version with a date and likely powered by quartz—perhaps reference. 2441.
So Tyler is a mere mortal, after all. While his extensive vintage watch collection would fetch millions on the secondary market, there is one watch in his collection that any watch collector can easily buy today: the Casio MQ24-9B, a watch neither sexy or cool but one that definitely won’t break the bank (it retails for around $25 on Amazon).