Summer Rewind: Three Extraordinary Watches With Iconic Owners

Summer Rewind: Three Extraordinary Watches With Iconic Owners

We take a look back at the elegant timepieces that once adorned the most famous of wrists.

By Watchonista

Anyone who’s been interested in watches long enough has seen their fair share of extraordinary timepieces, at least digitally. One need only look to major auction houses around the world to find hundreds of rare, prestigious, and covetable watches available to the highest bidder.

Whether you fancy chronographs, tourbillons, military models, or unique pieces, the best of the best is often just a click (and a fortune) away.
 

Marilyn Monroe by Lawrence Schiller

However, crazy as it may seem, rarity and mechanical excellence only go so far. What sends certain watches into the stratosphere of desire and collectibility is their patronage. As enthusiasts, we see this in our own lives. Watches in our collections that may seem unremarkable to others are often imbued with the personal significance that comes from milestone celebrations, associations with a loved one, childhood dreams, or whatever the case may be.

The power of ownership certainly rings true when we look at notable auctions in watch collecting; for example, it’s not just a Rolex Daytona, it’s Paul Newman’s Daytona. It’s not just a beat-up GMT-Master, it’s Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master with his name hand-carved into the caseback. And it’s not just a yellow gold Day-Date, it’s the only watch that Jack Nicklaus has ever owned.
 

Iconic Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The examples we’ve chosen for this Summer Rewind follow that same spirit of personal prowess. They are extraordinary timepieces, no doubt, but it’s the wrists they once belonged to that seals the deal. To see exactly what we mean, take a look below.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Mythical Watch

Jacquline Kennedy Onassis is the closest thing we Americans have had to a princess. Her poise was known the world over, and she served as a cultural icon for many women during the Kennedy administration and beyond. Even the famous reservoir in New York’s Central Park bears her name, officially called the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Mythical Watch

It perhaps comes as no surprise that the embodiment of new American elegance would wear a Cartier Tank. The watch was gifted to her by her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill in 1963, and it’s the watch she wore during her years in the White House and on her exotic adventures around the world. Watchonista’s Editor-At-Large and vintage watch expert Rhonda Riche weighs in on the significance of this personal timepiece.
 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Mythical Watch
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Mythical Watch

Is this the watch that Sammy Davis Jr. was buried with?

The words “The Entertainer: He Did It All” mark the gravestone of the late great Sammy Davis Jr. This legendary crooner rose to icon status through his time with the Rat Pack, oozing cool with every note he sang and every joke he cracked.

For years, his gravesite in California was also believed to be the final resting place for a watch gifted to him by none other than Frank Sinatra shortly before Sammy’s death. However, rumors and mystery abound on just how Sammy Davis Junior’s gold Pasha resurfaced 19 years after he was (supposedly) buried with it.
 

Sammy Davies Jr.

The watch, a yellow gold Cartier Pasha, which Frank Sinatra had engraved with the words “Sammy, I Luv Ya, F.A.S.” on the caseback, suddenly appeared on Antiquorum in June 2009. Watchonista’s US Managing Editor Josh Shanks does a deep dive on this storied piece and the auction lot with suspicious provenance.
 

Cartier Pasha caseback with engraving from Frank Sinatra

Marilyn Monroe’s Watch: The Mystery Behind The Icon’s Blancpain Timepiece

Let’s start by pointing out that, given their feud over President Kennedy, Jackie O and Marilyn Monroe probably would not appreciate being on the same list. But, alas, here we are.

This blonde bombshell carried on her wrist her own symbol of desire in the form of a bejeweled Blancpain watch. The piece itself is fitting of the magnetism that Marilyn represented, and as any good seductress knows, a little mystery goes a long way.
 

Marilyn Monroe Blancpain Cocktail Watch

The riddle, in this case, surrounds who exactly gave Marilyn the watch. Watchonista’s own Viviana Shanks takes a look at the competing theories behind its origins and drops some big names in the process.
 

Marilyn Monroe Blancpain Cocktail Watch
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Marilyn Monroe’s Watch: The Mystery Behind The Icon’s Blancpain Timepiece

By Viviana ShanksSocial Media Manager and Editor
Over the years, many celebrities have worn beautiful timepieces that carry captivating stories and memories. Such is the case with Marilyn Monroe’s...

A Look Back at the Intriguing Tale of Sammy Davis Jr’s Cartier Pasha

By Watchonista
Frank Sinatra was a very giving person. Gifting numerous keepsakes to friends, family, and collaborators. One such heirloom is a peculiar Cartier Pasha given...

Is this the watch that Sammy Davis Jr. was buried with?

By Josh ShanksManaging Editor US
For this story, I got the opportunity to write about a subject close to my heart, The Rat Pack. Recently, during a late-night Wikipedia binge, I...

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ mythical watch

By Rhonda RicheEditor-At-Large
On the eve of Christie’s epic Rare Watches and American Icons sale, we explore the emotions the potential buyer must be going through. Eric Wind (Vice...