John Mayer on the Sparkling Royal Oak He Designed: “I've Created Something That Will Outlive Me”

Debuting a starry ‘Crystal Sky’ dial while signalling the final chapter for the OG self-winding Calibre 5134 movement, it’s an horological feat of firsts and lasts. “It’s an honor to send off the calibre and the reference this way. It’s also really clever and unique to turn the idea of discontinuing a reference on its head. We normally think about discontinuing something as we don’t need it anymore. This is sending it off in a way that you normally see this kind of celebration for the beginning of something,” says Mayer.

“It speaks to the power of what this watch has done – turning sports figures, heads of state, musicians, artists to perpetual calendars who would never have otherwise wore one. So for me to have the opportunity to be the swan song for it, handing over the baton from a calibre to a new dial process, is an honour.”

All that considered, perhaps it will go down as one of the watch world’s future greatest hits. Here’s what Mayer has to say on the matter.

GQ: What turned your interest in watches into legit watch-nerd status?

John Mayer: I started collecting when it was crazy to own more than one watch. Probably 2001 was when I bought my first watch. I was in my twenties and for a long time, it was this freaky thing that I did. It took me on this journey of learning, knowing, and then fully understanding things through collecting them. Now there’s a bit of an understanding that this is a reputable passion, and it just so happens I have 15 years of collecting and knowledge under my belt that I can help other people very quickly skip over traps that I’d fallen into as a collector. I’ve actually met more young musicians through their love of watches than I have through playing music, and Ed [Sheeran] has taken on that role as well now. I know people that Ed’s onboarded. Ed is now getting other people started, which I love to see. He’s advising other people on what to get.

In the spirit of you liking to be caught off guard, where does putting on your watch come in daily grooming routine – after you’ve moisturised?

Home is where the majority of scratches happen on your watch, not out in the world. In my house in Montana there’s a lot of exposed stone, so putting on my watch is actually the very last thing I do before I go out. And winding a watch has become a ritual of gratitude. I stand there, I close my eyes and wind the watch. It’s like an affirmation for the day.

How have your watch tastes evolved over the years?

I’ve become more selective because of the way my collection’s grown. It’s actually now about appreciating things and going back to them. The return of smaller diameter watches means I can go back to things that I’d already started collecting and wear those and appreciate them more than I did before.

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