An unhealthy Sunday afternoon, guilty pleasure of mine, in recent days, has been to mindlessly scroll through the Instagram Discovery page, creeping on the more eventful lives that the world seems to live, while I toil away on my couch.
In the middle of this very ritual over the past weekend, I came across a rather peculiar looking timepiece. Clicking through, on said watch, I realized what I was looking at was a very recent picture of a very fabled watch that’s been missing from the light of existence for quite some time now. What I was looking at was the piecé unique, 16238 Rolex Perpetual Calendar that was created as a modified watch by none other than the master of complications, Franck Muller — set on a bark finished President’s bracelet.
The story goes that round about in 1987, just before Muller broke out on his own, he took a perfectly functional 16238, yellow gold Rolex Datejust with the 3135 movement and modified it to become this — the Rolex Perpetual Calendar. Muller’s modifications included a month and leap year indicator at 12 o’clock, a date counter at 3 o’clock, a moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock and, lastly, a day indicator at 9 o’clock.
Skip now to why the Instagram account, on which I discovered the watch, is important. Alex Todd, of Todd Jewelry Co. is known to be the man that many a well-known name in the entertainment industry, defers to for their horological pursuits. Some of his clients include the likes of comedic behemoth, Kevin Hart and rap mogul, Jay-Z.
Now, Jay-Z appeared earlier in the weekend on the debut of CNN’s new show hosted by news commentator, Van Jones. He was sporting his new grown out hair, a vest and rolled up sleeves, which then made it easy enough to recognize that he had a gold, Rolex Oyster cased watch on his wrist. The coin edge further suggesting that it was either a Datejust or Day-Date.
So, while looking at the Franck Muller modified Rolex on Alex Todd’s feed, it was difficult not to wonder: Could Jay-Z have been wearing this piece of horological history at the interview with Van Jones, having bought it off of Alex?
A quick bit of snooping around and before you know it, more and more blurry images of Jay-Z’s wrist turn up on wristwatch spotting Instagram accounts suggesting that he was, in fact, in possession of the Rolex Perpetual Calendar.
These days, though, it’s tough to believe anything you see on social media (#fakenews). But, of course, if you see a bit of information, repeated and verified several times, it becomes easier to believe.
Then today, at the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-Grammy Gala and Grammy Salute to Industry Icons ceremony, honouring Jay-Z, when Jay-Z got up to receive his award it became unquestionable that the rap mogul was, in fact, sporting the Rolex Perpetual Calendar modified by Franck Muller.