They call it fashion’s biggest night, but increasingly, the Met Gala is becoming a venue for pretty serious watch spotting.
The best-dressed men (and women) on the red carpet at the 2023 Met Gala wore some impressive timepieces—and we say that despite having been blinded by all manner of sparkly, well-tailored, and seriously out-there looks. This year’s Costume Institute exhibition is dedicated to the late, controversial Karl Lagerfeld, who designed for both Chanel and Fendi to great fanfare for decades. The timepieces on display were no less stylish than the clothes. They ran the gamut from brand new (see: Roger Federer wearing a Rolex that debuted at the end of March) to the highly coveted (a la Stormzy’s nearly impossible-to-get gem-set Patek Philippe) to the kind of piece you have to be a horological historian to even know it existed (Nicole Kidman’s 1955 Omega dress watch).
It almost makes you wonder when the Met Gala might have a theme that directly references the passing of time. For now, take a look at the best watches we saw on fashion’s biggest night, below.
Nick Jonas’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
Given that his wife was wearing a $25 million necklace, it makes sense that Jonas would want to wear a watch that stands on its own merits. And his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph, crafted from hardworking stainless steel and outfitted with a self-winding movement, does just that.
Stormzy’s Patek Philippe Nautilus
The British rapper has a serious watch collection, including a number of gem-set pieces from the likes of Rolex and AP. But for fashion’s biggest night, only one of the most coveted models in the world would do: the ultra-rare Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711, seen here in a factory version set with a diamond bezel.
Roger Federer’s Rolex 1908
Federer is a Rolex ambassador, so it’s fitting that he’d be among the first people in the world to wear one of the Swiss brand’s newest watches publicly. The new 1908, set in a white gold case, is a throwback to the dress watches of yesteryear, and its sassy small-seconds subdial had more than one industry insider dialing their authorized dealers to find out its availability.
Jeremy Strong’s Richard Mille RM 07-04
Strong’s colorful red carpet look is about as far away as his Succession character Kendall Roy would dress at a major society event—and so was the spirited watch he paired with it. Richard Mille’s candy-colored RM 07-04 comes in a number of color combinations, but the green shade of this ceramic dial matches Strong’s ruffled shirt perfectly.
James McAvoy’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
James McAvoy wore a high collar and carried a fan in an homage to the evening’s honoree, Karl Lagerfeld, who no doubt would have approved of the Scottish actor’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph. It only debuted about a month ago, but it’s a compelling update to a time-honored classic—not unlike Lagerfeld’s work for Chanel.
Rami Malek’s Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
As one of the new faces for Cartier’s watches, Malek likely could have chosen anything in the Swiss jeweler’s product assortment to wear to the Met Gala. That he went with a relatively simple Tank Louis Cartier (and didn’t wear a jacket or tie) is a convincing argument in favor of minimalism—even at fashion’s most maximalist event.
Michelle Yeoh’s Richard Mille RM 07-01
Yeoh had been a Richard Mille ambassador well before she became an Oscar winner—and there’s no sign of her loyalty changing now. For the event, she wore a diamond-set RM 07-01 on a rubber strap, an elegant choice for a seasoned actress who knows her way around a dojo.
Patrick Mahomes’s Cartier Santos
The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is known for his love of Rolex, but he chose a skeletonized version of one of Cartier’s most beloved watches, the Santos, for the Met Gala, which he attended with his wife Brittany Matthews.
Pusha T’s Rolex Day-Date 40
Seeing Pusha T decked out in luxury goods always makes us smile—and not just because he once immortalized this publication in song. His ultra-rare gem-set Rolex Day-Date 40 is a factory-issue timepiece that’s simultaneously elegant and eye-popping.
Nicole Kidman’s 1955 Omega Sapphette Jewelry Watch
Kidman, who wore a Lagerfeld-designed dress she made famous in a commercial for Chanel No. 5, also chose a teeny Omega Sapphette jewelry watch made in 1955. And given how important the number five was to Chanel’s mythology (and how cool it looked on her wrist), we’d say she made a great choice.
Jackson Wong’s Cartier Tank Cintree
Fresh off his stint as the first Chinese solo act to play Coachella, the Hong-Kong based rapper came back to New York and paired a banger of a watch, Cartier’s skeletonized Tank Cintree, with his all-black drum-corps look.
Simu Liu’s Vacheron Constantin Overseas
The Marvel star is no stranger to fine watches, having worn Vacheron Constantin at a number of high-profile events. This time, he donned the brand’s 41 mm Overseas model on the sharp leather strap, one of three that comes with it, including the steel bracelet and a sportier rubber number.
Eileen Gu’s IWCs
If you’ve won two Olympic gold medals and two world championships in anything, one piece of horological excellence may not feel sufficient. Gu, an IWC ambassador, chose two of the house’s pieces: she carried an IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years” pocket watch and a Portofino Automatic Day & Night 34 on her wrist.
Taika Waititi’s Cartier Santos Dumont
The actor and director, who attended with his wife Rita Ora, chose a deep red Santos Dumont watch to offset the pale blue hue of his floor-length evening coat.