Sydney, Australia—Conventional wisdom says truly rich people don’t flaunt their wealth. While especially true of old money—notoriously understated—but a recent article in Business Insider revealed that neither are the top power brokers in the business and finance world flashing six-figure timepieces even though they’re the ones who can most easily afford them. (Left: Michael Bloomberg, media mogul, philanthropist, and former New York City mayor. Image: Bloomberg Philanthropies)
Among the top 18 leaders in global business and finance, 12 regularly sport watches well under the $10,000 mark—and of those, five wear watches with price tags just in the hundreds, not even thousands. Most notably, Mark Carney, the Canadian governor of the Bank of England, wears a Swatch that retails for roughly $100, while American billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg favors a Swiss Army watch by Victorinox, also retailing for around $130.
Michael Bloomberg wears a $130 Swiss Army watch--even though he could probably afford to buy the whole company instead.
Apple CEO Tim Cook (below left) wears—what else—an Apple watch, whose retail prices start at $399. But then so does Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart. McMillon also has been photographed wearing a Citizen (estimated retail around $500.) And David Solomon, the new chairman and CEO of the powerful investment bank Goldman Sachs, wears a Shinola Runwell chronometer (below right, approximately $750).
Meanwhile, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, sports a relatively modest Ulysse Nardin. The brand’s GMT Big Date, which is what Bezos has often been photographed wearing, retails for about $7,700 new and $3,200 used—entry- to mid-level luxury for most jewelry stores, but pocket change for Bezos.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, likes Ulysse Nardin watches.
At the other end of the spectrum, Sergio Ermotti, the Italian CEO of Swiss bank UBS, sports a $23,000 Rolex Daytona, while Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, has been pictured wearing a Jaeger LeCoultre Master Perpetual Calendar. A used one was listed for $19,500 on Crown & Caliber LLC. And the only big-name executive to sport a diamond watch is Ginni Rometty, the first female chairman and CEO of IBM. She favors a Rolex Cellini with a mother-of-pearl face and two-row diamond bezel (below).
Finally, Warren Buffett, the famously frugal billionaire whose Berkshire Hathaway Corp. owns Borsheims, Ben Bridge, Helzberg Diamonds, Richline, and more, also wears a Rolex. Despite still living in the modest Omaha, NE home he bought for $31,500 in 1958 and reportedly driving his cars until they're "embarrassing," he is quite proud of his gold Rolex Daytona, which retails for about $27,943. And not surprisingly, according to reports, he tried to buy Rolex, the company--alas, without success. But what inquiring minds really want to know is, did he really pay retail for his watch? He has a few connections that could get it for him at wholesale, after all!
Below: Warren Buffett wearing his gold Rolex Daytona. His good friend Bill Gates does not appear to be wearing any watch.