The Unlikely Watch Collector: Alice Cooper
Watchonista takes a look at the rock star’s timepieces. And in the immortal words of Wayne’s World, “We’re not worthy!”
Alice Cooper is a true legend of rock. Cooper first gained notoriety in the 1970s for stage spectacles that were both glam and gory. Over 50 years later, and with canonic songs such as “Elected,” “I’m Eighteen,” “Clones,” and “Poison,” the singer has outlasted most of his contemporaries (and the younger bands that his music inspired).
The 73-year-old Cooper even has a new album called Detroit Stories coming out on February 26, and it seems like the perfect opportunity to examine Cooper’s collection.
In anthropology courses, teachers also talk about hunter-gatherer societies – nomadic groups that gather most or all food is obtained by collecting wild plants or hunting wild game. This description also applies to the type of watch collection Cooper has.
Cooper is constantly on tour and like many road warriors fell into a life of debauchery to fight the boredom. After several trips to rehab (captured on the album From the Inside), he refocused his addictive energies to new passions: golfing and hunting for watches.
“I collect old watches,” Cooper told the New York Post in 2008. “I have about 300 or 400 watches at home – old Hamiltons and Elgins from the ‘30s and ‘40s, Breitlings, old Bubblebacks. I don’t care how they work. I just like how they look.”
When Watchonista’s Editor-in-Chief, Josh Shanks, interviewed KISS’ Eric Singer a few years ago, the drummer revealed that he and Copper would prowl pawn shops and vintage vendors in every city they toured. And while Singer was more selective, he reports that Cooper would pick up a new watch every day.
When he’s not on tour, Cooper lives in Arizona. According to The Essential Insider’s Guide to Scottsdale, Ariz., Cooper’s favorite place “to get weird” is the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall. The owners say that the shock rocker also gathers pocket watches and fobs and chains for pocket watches.
Billion Dollar Babies
Cooper’s collection is just as eccentric as he is. The oldest wrist shots we could find of the musician were from the early 1970s when he was wearing mod-acrylic pieces. You know, the kind of watch with a one-jewel Swiss movement assembled under various brand names in the US.
But just because Cooper is an eclectic collector, it doesn’t mean he’s not a discerning one.
He’s been spotted wearing a customized Rolex Datejust made by Dark Triumph – a watch that was in production for over 30 years, making it almost enduring as Alice.
For many collectors, provenance adds extra value to any timepiece. But since Cooper has connections, he often gives his watches their own experiences. For example, he told listeners of his radio show Nights with Alice Cooper that he knows some astronauts (because: of course, he does) and talked them into taking his Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch into space.
Likewise, on an episode of American Chopper, Cooper revealed that he wore his Rolex Daytona on the legendary track at Daytona. You gotta love a guy who takes his timepieces on field trips! Dark Triumph also has a fascinating backstory on their website about Cooper's custom Rolex Datejust.
Muscle Car of Love
Now a bit of a side trip. Like most collectors, Cooper doesn’t stick to just one lane; he is also an enthusiast of classic automobiles. It makes sense. After all, he was born Vincent Furnier in Detroit. And while his family moved to Arizona when he was a youth, he relocated back to the Motor City with his bandmates in the 1960s.
Unsurprisingly, his fleet is just as diverse as his taste in timepieces. Some of the vehicles he has possessed include a 1966 Hertz Mustang (autographed by American automotive designer Carol Shelby), a 1974 Ford Mustang Boss, and a 1974 De Tomaso Pantera.
“I love muscle cars. Being from Detroit, there’s times when I go through probably 20 cars a year,” Cooper told the New York Post. “I’ll buy something and drive it for a month and go, ‘Wow, that was fun. Let’s get rid of this and get something else.’ I just sold a 1963 Studebaker Avanti, and right now I’m restoring a 1966 Fastback.”
Detroit loves Alice too. In 2019, Cooper appeared in ads for the Dodge Durango Hell Cat SRT, but his interests expand beyond the West. Cooper’s cabinet of curiosities has included the infamous 1995 Honda NSX. Keeping it quirky and Japanese, he is often spotted sporting a white Casio G-SHOCK while volunteering at a food bank.