Eric Clapton is not only a music legend, but also avid watch collector. He is best known for his collection of rare Patek Philippe and Rolex watches. Let’s take a look what some key pieces from the 3-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s collection.

Apart from being one of the most influential and talented guitarists of all time, Eric Clapton has an enviable collection of watches, especially vintage pieces. Over the years he has successfully put them up for auction and achieved some extraordinary prices for them, with the proceeds going to his Crossroads charity.


Eric Clapton sporting a Rolex Milgauss at one of his performances

As discussed, rarity is usually the key driver for prices in the secondary market, and there is no doubt that Eric Clapton owns/owned some of the rarest. Never heard of the “Yachtmaster Daytona?”, that’s probably because it was a prototype produced by Rolex in the 60’s and 70’s, and eventually morphed into the modern Yachtmaster we see today.


The Yachtmaster Daytona prototype

Then we have his “Albino” Daytona that sold for USD$500,000 (AUD$550,000). This watch from 1971 is different to most Daytona’s where the main dial and subsidiary dials are contrasting colours. It wasn’t a popular watch in the period it was released as buyers often preferred constrasting dials to make reading the smaller dials easier. Note to self; unpopular sometimes means rare.


The “Albino” Daytona

In Japan where Rolex is immensely popular, they have even written an article on him and his style. Something I found quite unexpected is Eric Clapton’s custom PVD’d watches. We wouldn’t have taken him for someone who would customise a watch in that way (especially a vintage Paul Newman Daytona) given that usually the best watches are ones that come as they are from the manufacture.


Eric Clapton’s PVD Paul Newman Daytona

He is also a Rolex Ambassador.


Eric Clapton featured in a Rolex advertisement

The man they call “Slowhand” also once owned one of the rarest Patek chronographs. The Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in the ultra rare platinum case was one of only two ever made. On the 12th of November 2012, this went to auction at Christie’s and ended up selling for USD$3.6 million (close to AUD$4 million). The matte silver dial and gold hands make for a stunning combination. The Ref. 2499 is the quintessential Patek reference and is highly sought after by collectors. This more recent platinum cased one was probably never intended to fall into private hands as it was commissioned by Mr. Stern himself and probably for the Geneva museum.


The platinum cased Ref. 2499 that went under the hammer

Obviously as a result, we are big fans of Eric Clapton. Not only is he a musical genius but he also shares a strong passion for watches. It would be a dream to be able to sit down with Eric Clapton and go through his watch collection.

Stay tuned for our future article on another successful musician’s impressive collection.