When watch collections owned by celebrities hit the auction market it piques interest beyond the higher list prices they often attract. After all, it’s the closest most of us will ever get to rummaging through the wardrobes of our heroes, and what they choose to wear on their wrist offers a deeply personal glimpse into their aesthetic and lifestyle. So, then, what more fabulous a collection to delve into than that belonging to Elton John?
From 21 February 2024, a series of eight sales will take place at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, auctioning an extraordinary range of items from the musician’s recently sold Atlanta home. The American city holds a unique place in Elton John’s journey; after purchasing the luxurious condo in 1992, he found a true home in the local community after becoming sober, and throughout his recovery. In the decades since, the residence has evolved into an incredible showcase for Elton John’s eclectic tastes, from art and interior design to fashion.
Almost akin to a gallery, the walls of his home were lined with works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon and more. Speaking to his incredible influence in the creative world, this includes unique works such as a Damien Hirst piece dedicated to Elton John and his husband, David Furnish. Also on sale are some of the singer’s most iconic fashion pieces, from custom-made stage costumes to those unforgettable metallic platform boots.
While his love of watches is perhaps less well known, his horological leanings offer an intriguing balance between refinement and the avant-garde style for which he is renowned. A perfect example is a rare 18ct gold Cartier Crash (circa 1991, estimate £55,000-78,000), its asymmetrical case recalling the surrealism of Salvador Dalí. The maison presents a running theme throughout Elton John’s collection, including a particularly fine, and possibly unique, rectangular Cartier watch set with baguette-cut diamonds (circa 2000s, estimate £16,000-24,000), along with a diamond-set Tortue Monopoussoir Ref. 2396G (circa 2000s, estimate £12,000-20,000).
Alongside more classic choices such as a petite 33mm white-gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (circa 1990s, estimate £7,900-12,000), sit outlandish examples befitting of Elton John’s larger-than-life public persona. These include a Rolex Daytona with a dazzling bezel set with orange sapphires, complete with leopard-print dial and strap (circa 2001, £32,000-47,000), and a limited-edition Cartier Pasha with an intricately decorated cloisonné dial. Meanwhile, a unique Chopard automatic chronograph is the ultimate definition of a “statement watch”, with two diamond-encrusted skulls keeping watch of time at the top and bottom of the bezel (circa 2010s, estimate £7,900-12,000).
The live auctions will take place from 21-28 February, with a selection of items on public display at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries from 9-21 February; christies.com