Bradley Cooper Wears Watch To Oscars, Creates Instant Auction Bait
The best, most valuable watches have fairy tales and action-flick plots baked right into them.
The list is long: the long-lost Omega Speedmaster worn by Buzz Aldrin on the moon, the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman gave to his daughter’s then-boyfriend, the Patek Philippe owned by legendary guitarist Eric Clapton.
When these watches sell for a bundle at auction, it’s almost always decades in the making, a combination of serendipity and a long timeline that allows the piece’s value to simmer.
Watchmaker IWC is well aware of all that—but would rather not wait decades to create a legendary piece. What if you give a watch killer provenance in a single night?
That’s what happened on Sunday.
If you spotted Bradley Cooper on the Oscars red carpet this weekend or watched his, uh, stirring performance of “Shallow” with Lady Gaga, you may have noticed the actor/director’s watch. (OK, maybe you noticed some other things first.) For the ceremony, Cooper paired his classic black tuxedo with a special-edition IWC Big Pilot watch with a navy blue dial and red-gold case. There’s even an engraving on the back from the book The Little Prince: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly." (IWC makes an entire line of Le Petit Prince watches.)
If you saw the watch on Coop’s wrist and wondered how to get your hands on it, you’re in luck: the watch went immediately from red carpet to Sotheby’s auction room.
Cooper, who became an IWC ambassador last year, coordinated with the brand to wear the watch to the Oscars for the express purpose of auctioning it off for charity.
This is not uncommon—watch houses typically create special-edition pieces for charity auctions—but giving this Big Pilot the ride of its life on Cooper’s wrist to Hollywood’s biggest night adds an extra wrinkle.
Basically, IWC gave the piece all the elements it needs to crush at auction.
IWC Big Pilot's watch.
A watch’s value comes down to a long list of factors—the intricacy of the mechanics, the scarcity, materials used, condition—but nothing sends a piece’s value soaring like a great story.
That Paul Newman Daytona, the most expensive wristwatch ever moved at auction, isn’t worth $17.8 million without its relationship to the Hollywood legend. And if collectors are after watches that tell a story, how much better does it get than an instant-classic performance at the Oscars?
Online bidding for Cooper’s IWC Big Pilot watch is already heating up. The price started at $16,000 and was estimated to finish somewhere between $20,000 to $30,000. With almost a full week left until the auction closes on March 4th, the bidding is already up to $38,000.
We are far from the shallow now.