James May Watch Collection

James May, known for his knowledge of automobiles and for being a member of the illustrious trio who broadcast “Top Gear” and later “The Grand Tour,” is a man with many interests. Few people are aware of the depth of his admiration for the finer details of horology, even though fast vehicles and complex mechanics may be his most well-known loves. May’s watch collection combines accuracy, tradition, and aesthetics, much like his criticism of autos. The line reflects a trip through time, repeating moments of mechanical brilliance and design innovation for enthusiasts of both automobiles and clocks. 

This article goes into the histories of James May’s watches and decodes his watch collection, each of which has its own story and reflects the character and style of a man who, quite appropriately, has invested decades collecting them.

The Grand Tour of Watches: James May’s Horological Journey

James May Watch Collection Infographic

1. Omega Seamaster Chrono Quartz watch

James May wearing Omega Seamaster Chrono Quartz watch

The Omega Seamaster Chrono Quartz was initially unveiled during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, as James May noted in his tweet, and it served as the company’s flagship chronograph at the time. Furthermore, the timepiece above is the first digital-analog chronograph to be introduced to the watch world.

Of course, quartz technology is utilized in the Omega Seamaster Chrono Quartz. It has a digital display on the left and an analog display to the right. A 32 kHz quartz crystal oscillator powers both. The analog display’s 3 o’clock position also has a date function. The bracelet and rectangular case of this Omega watch are made of stainless steel. Only 15,000 pieces were made, but it should be no surprise that this watch is now one of the most sought-after collectibles among watch collectors, considering its historic accomplishments and distinctive appearance.

  • Price:  unknown
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters
  • Diameter: 36 mm
  • Release Date: 1976

2. Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400WO

James May wearing Rolex Milgauss ref. 116400WO

Apart from various luxurious brands, James May also owns a stunning piece from Rolex. The anti-magnetism of this Rolex Milgauss is a standout feature, helpful for people working in electromagnetic fields. Such a design is especially useful for people working in institutions like power plants, hospitals, and research labs where electromagnetic waves could interfere with a watch’s time mechanism. Back in 1988, Rolex Milgauss’ manufacture was halted. But in 2007, it was brought back with some upgrades.

Moreover, a self-winding mechanical movement powers the Rolex Milgauss. It is constructed with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a polished steel oyster bracelet, and a stainless steel casing. Additionally, it is waterproof for up to 100 meters.

  • Price:  From $10.000
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Release Date: 1956

3. IWC Portugieser Chronograph

James May wearing IWC Portugieser Chronograph

Another watch worn by James May is an IWC Portugieser Chronograph rather frequently. Additionally, this watch is powered by an automatic self-winding caliber 79350 movement with a 44-hour power reserve. It is constructed with a sapphire crystal, a blue crocodile-textured leather strap, and a polished stainless steel casing. With blue accents and chronograph subdials, the dial is silver. The IWC Portugieser is a watch that can be worn in almost any setting, including business meetings, formal dinners, and casual get-togethers, thanks to its svelte and timeless design, and James May- the top gear guy has carried just that in style. Surprisingly, Jamie Foxx also has the same piece in his watch collection. 

  • Price:  From $4,244 – $48,128
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters
  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Release Date: 1998

4. Rado Ceramica

James May wearing Rado Ceramica

Rado is another luxurious brand that James May owns and can be seen wearing often. Moreover, Rado watches have become well-known as emblems of sophistication, originality, and everlasting elegance in the field of horology, whether due to their classic minimalist styles or their daring methods of form and function. The watch that James owns is the Rado Ceramica, which stands out as one special model. As implied by the name, both the case and the stainless steel are constructed from black ceramic. It boasts a sapphire crystal that resists scratches and a rectangular black dial with an analog display. His Omega watch, is quartz-powered, just like this Rado wristwatch. 

Moreover, because this timepiece is made of high-tech ceramic, it redefines contemporary sophistication with its sleek and simple style. The bracelet and the rectangular case were painstakingly crafted from a single piece of ceramic, resulting in a smooth and flowing shape that easily fits the wrist. The watch’s monochromatic dial, which is accented only by discrete indices and the Rado emblem, is a perfect example of the company’s dedication to understated luxury. 

  • Price:  From $1.600
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Diameter: 28mm
  • Release Date: 1990

5. Vintage Seiko 5 

James May wearing Vintage Seiko 5

In Top Gear, James May is often spotted wearing extraordinary, stunning watches. In one such incident, he was seen sporting a Vintage Seiko 5. 

The Vintage Seiko 5 watch beautifully captures the ageless spirit of horology from the middle of the 20th century. This timepiece effortlessly conjures a sense of nostalgia while still being relevant in today’s society because of its timeless design and understated elegance. A dial that reveals more than simply time is housed inside the stainless steel case, striking the ideal mix of size and wrist presence. 

The Vintage Seiko 5 features day-date functions, which was a sign of era-appropriate practicality. The worn, cream-colored hands and indexes have a warm patina that gives them a beautiful vintage appearance. Its automatic movement, a symbol of Seiko’s expertise, is a throwback to a time when mechanics were expertly crafted. This watch is more than just a piece of jewelry for the wrist; it is a historical relic that honors the watchmaking tradition. A tribute to a time of timeless design and the craftsmanship of practical simplicity is wearing a Vintage Seiko 5.

  • Price:  From $220
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Diameter: 42.5 mm
  • Release Date: 1963

What Watches James May Own? 

In examining the intricate details of the Top Gear star James May’s watch collection, we are presented with the best watches of craftsmanship, design, and engineering prowess that mirror his lifelong fascinations. Each piece, whether a classic vintage like the Omega quartz watch or a modern marvel, is a testament to May’s profound appreciation for things built with passion and precision. As we’ve journeyed through the watches he owns, it’s evident that they’re more than mere instruments of timekeeping; they’re chapters in a story of admiration, history, and a connoisseur’s pursuit. Just as James May has etched his mark in the world of motoring, the watches in his collection bear witness to pivotal moments in horological evolution. Through the lens of these watches, we gain insight into the evolution of timekeeping and a deeper understanding of the man himself.

From the Writer 

James May’s watch collection is like a time capsule that can be peeled back to reveal a journey through history and craftsmanship, including masterpieces like Rolex and the quartz watch. The watches worn by him tell stories of invention, creativity, and a man’s taste for the extraordinary with each click and tock that indicates more than just the passage of the hours. Lastly, May’s choices, which incorporate mechanical wonder and historical relevance, provide a window into his complex relationship with design and detail. 

Similar Posts