Whoa, you wouldn’t know it just from looking at him, but John Mayer is deeply passionate about watches.
The New York Times’ Men’s Style section explored Mayer’s vast relationship with watches in this profile by writer Alex Williams, who interviewed Mayer while he was in New York City for a Late Show with David Letterman taping. It’s a gem of an interview and a master class in pretentiousness in which we learn that:
1) Watch blogger John Mayer is a highly regarded figure in the watch world—the Times describes him as a “champion of horology.”
2) John Mayer keeps his watches in bank vaults. Their estimated value is “in the tens of millions.”
3) John Mayer’s ex-girlfriends think this shit is crazy and they’ve called it a “syndrome.”
Enjoy a few excerpts from the article, titled “John Mayer’s Wrist Is A Wonderland,” below.
On being born this way:
“I think you’re born a watch person. Even if you don’t own a watch for a while, you either get it or you don’t.”
“You take it home and you study and you wear it, and the first thing you notice is, ‘Whoa, this thing is heavy.’ You’ve never felt weight shift like that on your wrist. It’s heavy in weight, but it’s also heavy in the sense that all these pieces are working together. It’s what I call the ‘density of design.’ ”
On owning a watch as a kid:
“When you’re a kid, you don’t have much, so you are building these imaginary, macrocosmic worlds out of these really small things. I remember looking at it, and it was my friend. It was one of the biggest things I ever owned in my life, if you were to amortize it in terms of where you were in your life and what it meant to me.”
“You take it, and it becomes your thing. You go: ‘You’re my one and only watch, you’re my Rolex. I got a Rolex.’ It’s like a Cadillac. Rolex transcends watches as a name. It’s ‘the Rolex of’ something, ‘the Cadillac of’ something.”
On a very important feeling:
“I remember thinking — and this is a very important feeling — that I could go anywhere with this watch, because I couldn’t be lost. I could get lost in Paris, but I had my watch. Now, on its face, no pun intended, it doesn’t make sense. All your watch does is tell the time. But why do you feel strapped? Why do you feel equipped? It would take a lot of poetry to explain it.”
(I mean, these previous musing are rather poetic, so he shouldn’t undercut himself.)
On the Apple Watch:
“We’re all going to end up with the Apple Watch, I don’t care what you say. Even if you have to wear it on your right hand. Even if you wear it as a pocket watch, because I have a concept that you can slot the Apple Watch into a pocket, as a pocket watch. I think it’s a cool device, but there’s got to be another place to put it. I can’t give up precious wrist space for an Apple Watch.”
On the watch community’s superpowers:
“The watch community gets its power from being esoteric. We don’t want everybody to be involved in it.”
On what’s great about watch collecting:
“Here’s what is great about watch collecting. You don’t have to own a watch to be part of the conversation. In fact, most people who are commenting on the dial of the last iteration of the 5270” — the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph coveted by collectors — “don’t own a 5270. But that’s like saying that most people who talk about the Chicago Bulls aren’t on the Chicago Bulls.”
Before you go giggling and saying, “John Mayer can’t possibly be this obsessed with watches,” chill. Others have confirmed it, too. Benjamin Clymer—the founder of the watch blog Hodinkee, where watch blogger John Mayer has blogged—says:
“John is something of a watch-nerd icon. I think, in a lot of ways, John made it O.K. to really go deep into watches and not be embarrassed about it. I can’t tell you how many guys have come up to me at events and said, ‘My wife or girlfriend thought I was crazy for caring about watches so much until I told her John Mayer was the very same way.’”
John Mayer made it okay.
Image via Instagram
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.