We have a strange relationship with infamous gangsters of the past. On the one hand, we understand that they were ruthless criminals that were responsible for a lot of deaths. On the other, we are intrigued by their stories and the power that they achieved. And sometimes examining parts of their lives can be sort of compelling.
As busy as they were, they had to keep track of time somehow. We detail a few of the most infamous gangster’s watches in the sections below.
Pablo Escobar is likely the most famous gangster of all time. He has an incredibly gripping story, which includes heartless cruelty toward his enemies, exporting cocaine all over the world, becoming a political player in Colombia, and much more. His journey is so compelling that Netflix recently produced a series about him and the law enforcement agents that took him down. To put his success in perspective, he amassed a fortune of roughly 55 billion dollars and managed around 80% of the cocaine market in the entire world.
What people talk about less is his penchant for gorgeous luxury watches. The most famous of them was his diamond-encrusted, yellow gold, Rolex Day-Date. As you can see, Pablo was not one for understated style. Instead, he sported one of the flashiest timepieces you could dream up. The whereabouts of this watch are not known today. The reason is that the Colombian government auctioned it off and the buyer chose to stay anonymous. Doing so was probably a good idea, given Escobar’s history.
Many believe that Al Capone was the most American gangster’s of all time. Like many others in this business, he orchestrated vicious crimes to get messages across to his enemies and bully others into compliance. Unlike most, though, he preferred to make those acts as public as possible. This habit allowed him to dominate the Chicago news scene and frequently put him under national scrutiny. What kept him going for so long, despite these public actions, was his relationships with government officials.
Once again, this ruthless gangster enjoys Rolex over all else. His most famous piece is a gold “Prince” piece. While a wealthy man wearing a Rolex is not particularly original, his choice of model is. The square-shaped Prince is not a common choice, as circular models tend to be much more popular. This piece is much less flashy than Escobar’s Rolex, but still gives off an elegant and expensive vibe.
When historians call someone the “father of organized crime,” you can be sure that he was a compelling individual. Such is the case with Charles Luciano, who came to be known as Lucky Luciano in the public space. His background is right out of a gangster movie, as he was an Italian immigrant that came to the United States at nine years old. The way he earned his fortune was through becoming one of the largest alcohol sellers in the prohibition era. Despite being a famous criminal, he ended up with a deportation to Italy, rather than a prison sentence.
Though we aren’t sure of what his watch collection looked like, we know about one famous gift he gave to a friend named Joseph Bonanno. Though you might not recognize that name, he was the basis of the book “The Godfather,” which became one of the greatest films of all time. The watch that was given to him was the Patek Philippe Calatrava (ref. 1516), which later sold for over $35,000. For this reason, it is safe to assume that Luciano’s collection featured a Patek.
Though you may not have heard of Jiro Yanagawa, you likely know about the infamous Yakuza gang, which is based in Japan. Jiro was one of the most notorious leaders of that gang, and has an unmatched reputation is the Eastern world. His origin story is that he was incredibly poor and joined the organization just to try and survive. He ended up having a knack for crime and rose through the ranks quickly. At his peak, he grew the Yakuzas considerably and set up a variety of relationships with people in high places. As many gangsters do, he became somewhat of a political player as an ambassador for Korea in Japan.
His watch of choice was the Patek Philippe Nautilus, which is a piece that influential people frequently wear. He seems to have had a penchant for flair, though, as his Patek is one of the flashiest and most expensive of all time. The reason is its materials, as this timepiece was made from solid gold and riddled with precious jewels.
As far as watches – no matter what, you can’t go wrong with the brands on this list. Patek Philippe and Rolex are two of the most esteemed Swiss brands in the world, which is why such powerful men chose to wear them at the height of their own power.