If we think about famous watch collectors, we often think of wealthy and flashy individuals. People who ‘made it’ and want to show their status on their wrist.
Today’s subject isn’t the first person you think of when talking about the capitalistic hobby of collecting luxury watches. We are talking about the pope.
We are not talking about one specific pope, but the most recent popes, and what watches these holy servants of God wore.
Pope John Paul II: Rolex Datejust Steel-Gold
Pope John Paul II had a thing for Rolex. There isn’t much known about where his watch comes from, but he was often seen wearing a two-tone Rolex Datejust ref. 1601 with a champagne dial and a two-tone Jubilee bracelet. This watch was seen on his wrist during his 27-year reign.
An odd choice for someone who devoted his life to helping the poor, and certainly a flashy choice for the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Pope Pius IX, Patek Philippe Pocket Watches
Pope Pius IX had a very subtle silver Patek Philippe pocket watch from the year 1876 with a white enamel dial. The dial was completely plain, so you could only see on the movement that this watch was a Patek Philippe. The back of the silver pocket watch has an engraving: the coat of arms of the 255th Supreme Pontiff. This pocket watch resurfaced in Geneva in 2019 at a Christies Auction.
This pope was known to have a passion for haute horology. Next to this Patek Philippe pocket watch, he also owned a Patek Philippe quarter repeater in yellow gold. This was gifted to him in 1867.
Pope Pius IX was the longest reigning pope, with a pontificate of 31 years.
Pope Francis, Casio MQ-24-7B2
Over the last 200 years, over a dozen piece unique Patek Philippe timepieces have been produced for a number of different popes.
Pope FrancisI, our current pope, is less interested in haute horology. He is often seen wearing a Casio MQ-24-7B2, a quartz watch with a black plastic case and white dial. The watch is still in production and can be purchased for around €20.
Casio confirmed a few years ago that they have never had any communication with the Vatican. This means that watch was chosen and purchased by Pope Francis himself, even when he had the option to pick a Piece Unique Patek Philippe. This shows how humble and down to earth our current pope is.