LeBron James Sat Courtside in a Preposterously Rare Royal Oak

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Photographs: Getty Images, Audemars Piguet; Collage: Gabe Conte

The Lakers might’ve had a disappointing end to their postseason, but that hasn’t stopped LeBron James from finding big moments to strap on some of the best and rarest watches in the world.

During Game 4 of the Celtics-Cavs’ series, Bron was spotted courtside decked out in a prodigious amount of gold, the pièce de résistance of which was a supremely special version of Gérald Genta’s famed Royal Oak luxury sports watch. Carrying reference number 26521OR, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41 Tourbillon Extra Thin is the RO you buy after you’ve exhausted all the more typical fare that most mortals still can’t buy—even if they can afford it. Housed in a 41mm 18K rose gold case, its bezel is set with 32 baguette-cut blue sapphires; its dial, meanwhile, ditches the classic Grand Tapisserie pattern found on many Royal Oaks in favor of a mesmerizing Tapisserie Evolutive pattern with baguette-cut ruby hour indices and rose gold hands.

<h1 class="title">Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four</h1><cite class="credit">Nick Cammett/Getty Images</cite>

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Featuring a tourbillon set above 6 o’clock, the watch is powered by AP’s automatic Calibre 2924 movement with 69 hours of power reserve and 216 components. Beautifully decorated, it measures just 4.5mm tall, making for a total watch case height of only 9mm—and this despite the automatic winding rotor and tourbillon complication. Paired to an integrated rose gold bracelet with an AP-signed folding clasp, the 26521OR isn’t the type of timepiece you can stroll into a boutique and walk out with—even if you have the several hundred thousand dollars needed to secure one.

King James, of course, is no stranger to Audemars Piguet: Previously a brand ambassador, he’s even worked with the maison on a limited-edition model, and he’s worn plenty of notable watches during press conferences and courtside—this diamond-studded Offshore, for example; or this openworked Offshore; or this yellow-gold Royal Oak. (If we look beyond AP, the array of wild pieces is even more striking: a Richard Mille RM 11-03; a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 126509; a flashy Yacht-Master with an iced-out dial.) Heck, one could conceivably found a museum of high-end horological hits and special-edition watches based solely on the man’s collection.

But back to the Royal Oak for a moment. It’s certainly come a long way since its 1972 debut following a conversation between famed watch designer Gérald Genta and AP’s then-managing director George Golay, who told him that a distribution company required a sports watch that “had never been seen before.” Though it took some time for the public to come to terms with its price tag—it cost CHF 3,300 at launch—the Royal Oak has since become a bona fide icon, inspiring legions of copycats but few (if any) equals. Certainly, it speaks to the enduring quality of Genta’s original design that even when stuffed with rubies and equipped with a tourbillon, one glance at James’s watch will tell you, “Yup—that’s a Royal Oak. That’s one of the coolest watches in the world.”

<h1 class="title">"Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" (Furiosa: Une Saga Mad Max) Red Carpet - The 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival</h1><cite class="credit">JB Lacroix</cite>

"Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" (Furiosa: Une Saga Mad Max) Red Carpet - The 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival

JB Lacroix
<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Chopard</cite>
Courtesy of Chopard

Chris Hemsworth’s Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 Frozen

At a photocall for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Chris Hemsworth donned a watch we’ve seen making the rounds recently: the Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 in its ‘Frozen’ guise (meaning it’s positively dripping in diamonds). Unlike Usher’s version, this one features a bezel set with blue sapphires. It’s still, however, housed in white gold and powered by Chopard’s automatic, ultra-thin L.U.C 96.41-L movement with micro-rotor and a 65-hour power reserve. And it’s officially our new favorite watch to pair with a white dinner jacket.

<h1 class="title">2024 Disney Upfront</h1><cite class="credit">Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images</cite>

2024 Disney Upfront

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Cartier</cite>
Courtesy of Cartier

James Marsden’s Santos de Cartier

Once a brand ambassador for IWC, for many years James Marsden was only spotted in Schaffhausen-approved designs. These days, however, the Jury Duty star has taken a liking to the solid-gold Santos de Cartier, a watch inspired by the Parisian maison’s partnership with Brazilian aviator Alberto-Santos Dumont at the turn of the 20th century. The watch, which Marsden wore to the Disney 2024 Upfront Presentation, is the brand’s medium-sized model, meaning it’s outfitted with the automatic-winding Caliber 1847 MC movement and comes paired to a matching 18K yellow gold bracelet with “SmartLink” adjustment system. Measuring 35mm, it’s even water resistant to 100—should you decide to take a dip in $32,200 worth of horology.

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Cincoro Tequila</cite>
Courtesy of Cincoro Tequila

Michael Jordan’s Greubel Forsey GMT SPORT Tourbillon Titanium 45mm Limited Edition

Just a few weeks after stepping out in a $2 million stunner, Michael Jordan unveiled yet another grail-level timepiece in his collection. At an event for his Cincoro tequila label, MJ wore the Greubel Forsey GMT SPORT Tourbillon Titanium 45mm Limited Edition, a wildly complicated piece from two of the masters of haute horlogerie. Featuring an integrated bracelet like the Royal Oak or Nautilus, it boasts an inclined tourbillon; a GMT hand with day/night indicator and a resolving world timer glove; and a power reserve indicator. The price for such a contraption? A cool $600,000. The clout you’d gain by rocking one while sipping your very own tequila? Priceless.

<h1 class="title">"IF" New York Premiere - Arrivals</h1><cite class="credit">Nina Westervelt/Getty Images</cite>

"IF" New York Premiere - Arrivals

Nina Westervelt/Getty Images

Steve Carrell’s Omega Speedmaster ‘Snoopy’

Carrell is a noted collector with an affinity for tool watches like the Rolex Submariner, Rolex Daytona, and the Omega Speedmaster—stuff no self-respecting watch guy can argue with. But that doesn’t mean The Office star takes this whole tool watch thing too seriously: This week, he was spotted at the premiere of IF wearing the Speedmaster Moonwatch Anniversary Series Silver Snoopy Award, a piece with everyone’s favorite beagle in its running seconds counter. The Award, long given to NASA employees and contractors for special achievements in mission success or safety, has led to a growing collection of special watches.

Originally Appeared on GQ