Denzel Washington Is the Patron Saint of Affordable Watches

Denzel Washington and a Black Casio g shock watch

Photographs: Getty Images, Casio; Collage: Gabe Conte
The legendary actor wore a watch that costs less than $400 this week. 

Imagine you’re Denzel Washington: S-tier acting god and one of the coolest dudes on the planet with unfettered access and nearly unlimited resources to procure basically any timepiece in existence. Which watch do you wear? A Tiffany-dial Patek Philippe Nautilus, like Leonardo DiCaprioOr maybe you’re into Brad Pitt’s Vacheron Constantin’s 222? No, actually, it turns out that Washington prefers a watch many of us could get for ourselves: the $380 G-Shock Mudmaster GGB100-1B

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Despite retailing for less than $400, Washington’s G-Shock Mudmaster is a heavy-duty accessory. The listing on the brand’s website promises this piece can survive in “extreme environments scattered with rubble, dirt and debris.” That’s good: sometimes people courtside at arena get hit with an errant pass and their beer goes flying! This watch also tracks your route and “altitude data” and tracks it in a Mission Log, which is useful when you want to know how high up your penthouse is. 

This isn’t Washington’s first foray into the land of relatively affordable timepieces, either. A few years ago, I clocked him wearing a Montblanc Classique that’s available for less than $2,000.

Maybe when you’re minted at the level of someone like Washington the need to signal status with your watch evaporates completely. Guess who else wears a watch you could have two-day shipped to your house pronto? Fellow Lakers courtside staple Jack Nicholson, who rocks a $33 Timex Easy Reader. Good proof that there is no watch that will ever make you cooler than simply being Denzel Washington or Nicholson will. 

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Will Ferrell’s Rolex Explorer 

Ferrell is coming out of his shell as a watch collector. Over the many years I’ve been doing this column, I’d hardly spotted the funnyman visibly showing off a timepiece. But in the past few months he’s been putting out hits at Ice Spice speed. In November, it was a Zenith El Primero, and he followed that up a few weeks ago with Rolex’s white-gold Yacht-Master. This week, Ferrell broke out another Rolex: the understated Explorer. The more we learn about Ferrell’s collection the more his preferences are revealed. It seems that he’s not exactly after the blue-chip celebrity collector greatest hits—the Rolex Submariner, the Cartier Tank, etc.—so much as the watches that are just a few ticks more unpredictable. You don’t see a ton of celebrities wearing Explorers, but you also don’t find many A-listers sitting courtside in Indiana at a Pacers game like Ferrell. 

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Maluma’s Jacob & Co. Five Time Zone 

The dial on the standard Five Time Zone from Jacob & Co. uses  a series of colorful shapes to display the time in places like Tokyo, Paris, and Los Angeles. The watch was a go-to for rap royalty in the ‘90s and 2000s—and parties like A$AP Rocky and Supreme have helped  return the piece to something like its former glory. Maluma, though, didn’t simply dig the watch out of the archives—he found a massively upgraded version. On the singer’s Jacob & Co., the quirky primary-colored shapes are gone, and replaced with a map laid out in vibrant diamonds. Not so useful for telling the time, maybe—but it scores off the charts when it comes to wow factor. 

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Elton John’s Rolex Yacht-Master “Haribo”

John might quietly be the king of secretly released and blinged-out Rolex watches. This one is known unofficially as the Haribo, a nod to the candy-hued selection of diamonds around the bezel. There are 38 sapphires in total—and that’s before we get to the fully diamond-set dial. The watch is a good reminder that sometimes Rolex can be like the quiet kid at school who secretly throws the biggest ragers: its best-publicized watches are subtly tweaked versions of the classics (downsizing the Submariner a couple of millimeters, for example), while its secret releases treat diamond setting as a competition. You may not be able to get John’s Haribo, but a standard-issue Rolex, a bag of mini gummy bears, and a glue gun might get you in the neighborhood. 

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Wolfgang Puck’s Panerai Luminor Submersible

Big flavor, big watch—or at least I imagine that’s the thinking with Puck’s Luminor. Or maybe Puck took inspiration from his fellow Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose ribeye-sized wrists helped put Panerai on the map in the ‘90s. We’re used to seeing the Italian brand on action stars like Schwarzenegger, but it fits right in next to a beef Wellington and a glass of a deep red, too. Yes, chef!


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