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Throwback Sundays: Six Watches for Billions’ Bobby Axelrod, from Our Archives

Carte blanche.
by Robin Lim on April 21, 2019
Reviews

There are many brilliant programs on TV (and maybe, perhaps on the computer as well) these days, and Billions is one of the personal favourites of ours at Deployant. The show depicts a battle (and then collaboration) between two powerhouses – a hedge fund manager named Bobby “Axe” Axelrod and the (former) U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York named Chuck Rhoades Jr.

Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, is seen wearing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore “Camouflage”. Image courtesy of Showtime, taken from a screen grab in Season 4’s first episode.

Staying true to the nature of the industry, the attention to detail in the show is rather amazing. Bobby Axelrod can be seen wearing some rather fine watches in the show – ranging from an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, to the iconic Cartier Roadster. There are also some pretty fine references to watches too, such as Taylor Mason’s (former employee of Axe Capital) purchase of a Patek Philippe 5270R at Wempe in Season 3.

Now, considering Bobby Axelrod’s status and choice of dressing (typically casual, with a pullover or t-shirt and jeans), we have decided to come up with some interesting watch options for him. What have we selected for the billionaire? Let’s find out!

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

We begin the article with one of the perennial favourites of our readers at Deployant – the elusive Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

The 40mm Daytona is a brilliant tool watch. It is a very good-looking timepiece, with an extremely solid construction. The latest variation now comes with a hardy ceramic bezel, which we think adds a new dimension to the aesthetics of the watch. In addition, the Rolex is a reliable performer thanks to its in-house Calibre 4130 that boasts an accuracy of +/- 2 seconds a day.

There are many variants of the Cosmograph Daytona available, but we reckon the stainless steel version is perhaps the best for a daily beater. It is a very versatile piece, and it will surely look brilliant with Axe’s casual attire. The watch retails at S$16,660.

A. Lange and Sohne 1815 Chronograph

The exquisite and classy A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph.

For those who have been following the show, Axe isn’t particularly fond of wearing a dress watch (or at least a more formal-looking timepiece with a leather strap). We reckon the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph might just be the timepiece that he needs for a formal occasion.

The 1815 Chronograph is one of our favourites, and it is not difficult to see why. As compared to the Datograph, the 1815 Chronograph edges out with a cleaner dial layout. This is due to the lack of a big date indicator, as well as the power reserve display that is featured on the newer generation of the Datograph. The good stuffs, such as the impeccable movement and its finishing, is still retained. Talk about having the best of both worlds.

The 39.5mm 1815 Chronograph, cased in rose gold, is priced at S$70,400. The Datograph Up/Down has a premium of around S$30,000 – which is slightly hefty in comparison for the date and power reserve indicators. While prices certainly would not matter at such a juncture, but we reckon that 1815 Chronograph edges ever so slightly with a simpler and classier design.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary Edition

This is no ordinary Patek Philippe Nautilus – it is the 40th Anniversary Edition.

The Patek Philippe Nautilus is certainly one of the essential pieces in a serious collection, but perhaps the usual stainless steel version might not necessarily make the cut in this particular context. The 40th Anniversary Edition, however, might just be the special piece that will spice up any billionaire’s collection.

Launched in 2016, this particular timepiece was launched to celebrate the big Four-O of the icon. The limited edition timepiece features a 40mm platinum case, and it is matched with a hefty integrated platinum bracelet as well. The watch is also fitted with a unique blue dial with the “40, 1976 – 2016” marking on it, and its indices are replaced with 12 beautiful baguette-cut diamonds. The end result is a subtle, but special Nautilus for those who knows the true value of the timepiece.

Priced at S$149,300, the 40th Anniversary Edition is limited to a production of only 700 pieces. While it is certainly impossible to get one from Patek Philippe right now, but we reckon some pieces do float around the secondary market from time to time. This is a truly superlative timepiece, and one that will surely fit the status of a successful hedge fund manager.

MB&F HM9 “Flow”

Another wonderful creation from the effervescent Maximilian Büsser: MB&F HM9 “Flow”.

In the world of horology, MB&F has certainly cemented itself as one of the luminaries for independent watchmaking.

The brand’s latest creation under the Horological Machine creation – HM9 “Flow” – continues from where Maximilian Büsser had left off previously. The HM9 draws its inspiration this time from classic cars and planes, most notably the Mercedes-Benz W196 race car and the sleek De Havilland Venom plane. The end result is an organic-looking sculpture, which admittedly look more like a piece of art than a device that tells the time. We are certainly not complaining about this exquisite masterpiece though.

The titanium-cased HM9 “Flow” powered by an in-house manual-winding movement. The movement also incorporates two fully independent balance wheels with planetary differential, as well as a vertical timing display. The HM9 “Flow” is priced at US$182,000 (approximately S$246,519), and is a good option for any wealthy individual with a discerning taste for art.

Ferdinand Berthoud FB1L

The FB1L from Ferdinand Berthoud is in a class of its own.

Following the HM9 “Flow”, we have yet another horological masterpiece from another brilliant independent watch manufacturer. Cue the sublime Ferdinand Berthoud FB1L.

The FB1L is the latest novelty from the Chopard-backed manufacturer, and it now features the additional age-of-the-moon complication. The mechanism for this complication was adapted by the system for displaying the equation of time – which earned Ferdinand Berthoud the title of master watchmaker in 1753. The mechanism allows the moonphase to be extremely accurate (it only requires an adjustment once every 577 years), and it also provides an unusual interpretation of the complication as well.

We are huge fans of Ferdinand Berthoud, for its aesthetics and the attention to detail. The FB1L lives up to its namesake, with an impeccably finished movement and dial (such as the three-dimensional moon). The price for the 44mm white gold watch is slightly steep though, at a cool CHF 265,000 (approximately S$353,795). However, we do think that the FB1L is almost peerless, and this is probably one timepiece that is literally the embodiment of handcrafted perfection.

Richard Mille RM50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1

The RM50-03 combines the passion of cars and watches nicely.

We round up the selection with the Richard Mille RM50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1.

The RM50-03 is quite a natural choice, considering Axe’s love for supercars as well. This particular Richard Mille, as its name suggests, is produced in partnership with McLaren to create watches inspired by the British manufacturer’s road and racing machines. The tonneau-shaped watch is cased in Graph TPT (Thin Ply Technology), a material which combines the base of Carbon TPT but uses a supercharged resin containing graphene. This allows the watch to be extremely lightweight (only 38 grams), yet sturdy simultaneously.

Richard Mille’s obsession with lightweight did not just end with the case itself. The movement, produced in collaboration with Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi (APRP), weighs a mere 7 grams despite featuring a split-second chronograph and tourbillion. This is all thanks to the use of titanium and TPT Carbon for its base plate and bridges, as well as the fact that the entire movement is skeletonised. The finishing is pretty solid as well.

This outrageous timepiece certainly comes with a hefty price tag, at CHF 980,000 (approximately S$1.31 million). Notably, it is limited to a production of 75 pieces. For someone who loves his watches as much as his car, the RM50-03 is certainly a compelling choice for a casual-dressing billionaire.

Concluding Thoughts

There are certainly many nice watches out there to consider, especially when there is virtually no limitations in terms of budget. However, for someone with a discerning taste, “nice watches” simply doesn’t make the cut. The watches have to be spectacular, in one way or another.

We begin the selection by including some quintessential pieces for a collection – which naturally gravitates us towards selecting the stainless steel Rolex Daytona as a daily beater, before including a dressier watch (in the form of the 1815 Chronograph) and another iconic sports watch (Patek Philippe Nautilus). For the Nautilus, we decided to select something much more special, and we henceforth eventually culminated with the exclusive but subtle 40th Anniversary Edition.

From then on, we decide to spice it up a little. That was how the last 3 pieces were selected. The MB&F and Ferdinand Berthoud were selected for its merits, as well as the fact that they transcend beyond their function of serving as a time-telling device. These machines are simply wonderful works of art, and we do think that any sophisticated collector would love to have either pieces in their extensive collection. We finally round it up with a Richard Mille – because, why not? Axe loves his cars, and the RM50-03 allows him to share his automotive passion on his wrist as well. In addition, the Richard Mille doubles up as a sign of wealth and opulence, and that ties in with his character dynamics nicely as well.

What are your thoughts on our selection? What are some of the watches that we have missed out? Let us know in the comments section below.

P.S. Also, do let us know if you’d like to see more of such articles. We thought that we had quite a bit of fun helping the characters on “expanding” their watch collection, and we will surely love to explore such articles again in the future if it is popular with our readers.

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