Follow TV Tropes


Billionaire Wristband

Go To
"You see this watch? It's jammed with so many jewels, the hands can't move. What kind of watch do you have?"
Lloyd: Andrew Klein was once your close friend and mentor. Now go reminisce and enjoy yourself, because I'm not canceling. Maybe put on a cheaper watch, though, so he doesn't feel too bad?
Ari: (sighs, hands over his credit card) Run down to Geary's and get me a stainless Rolex.

When a creator wants to get across as quickly as possible that a female character has money and loves it, all they need to do is drape her in jewelry. It's a little trickier for male characters because a Sharp-Dressed Man and enormous quantities of jewelry don't traditionally go together. But that doesn't mean you can't distract people by the shiny just because you're a guy. All you need is a Billionaire Wristband.

A Billionaire Wristband is a watch that isn't necessarily better than any other watch at telling the time but is certainly more expensive and has a more prestigious brand. That brand will most likely be a Swiss one, although some Japanese and other European watch manufacturers might find their way into this trope occasionally. Look out for names like Patek Philippe, Bréguet, Breitling, and especially Rolex.note  The watch is likely made of gold or platinum and even if it's in the 2020s, it will be a mechanical watch with precision gears, an example of Older Is Better. note  Look out as well for its owner to be proficient in horological terminology, in case he finds himself in the company of others with Billionaire Wristbands and needs to prove that he belongs. In terms of its appearance, a Billionaire Wristband tends to be larger and brighter than a typical men's watch, just so you don't miss it.

A man in possession of a Billionaire Wristband is a Man of Wealth and Taste and usually wants you to know it. If he's Money Dumb, he may have selected a watch that's so absurdly fancy that he has difficulty using it to tell the time, but he probably doesn't care. On the other hand, if he really does have taste, he's wearing a Simple, yet Opulent watch and not bragging about it. He'll likely have inherited this one, but if he bought it himself, it's because the watch genuinely is very cool to him and has nothing to do with vanity.

Related to Clothing Reflects Personality, because a character with a Billionaire Wristband believes wholeheartedly in the notion that you can tell everything about a man by his watch. Not to be confused with Gadget Watches, which were designed specifically to do things other than tell time and signify badassery more than wealth — although the lines may be blurry thanks to the rise of smartwatches. A Spear Counterpart to Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry, a common form of Executive Excess, and very popular with a certain kind of rap musician.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 
  • GTO: The Early Years: Hiroshi Abe wears an extremely expensive outfit to look cool and pick up girls. His watch alone is worth 2.4 million yen (USD$21,300).
  • Played with in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War where Papa Shirogane is shown to own an Omega Speedmaster Professional, which is the only remaining sign of his former wealth after being forced to sell off all his other valuable possessions to support his kids. He gifts it to his son in the lead-up to the culture festival arc, telling him that it should be worn by someone who is "reaching for the moon" as a way of encouraging him to pursue his crush Kaguya (the model is colloquially referred to as the Moonwatch due to it having been used by the Apollo astronauts and Kaguya has a moon motif).

  • Dave Barry's column "In Search of Excellence" discusses the "excellence movement" of the 80s:
    An excellence-oriented '80s male does not wear a regular watch. He wears a Rolex watch, because it weighs nearly six pounds and is advertised only in excellence-oriented publications....(Starts to describe a fictional commercial) The Rolex Hyperion. An elegant new standard in quality excellence and discriminating handcraftsmanship. For the individual who is truly able to discriminate with regard to excellent quality standards of crafting things by hand. Fabricated of 100 percent 24-karat gold. No watch parts or anything. Just a great big chunk of gold on your wrist. Truly a timeless statement.

    Comic Strips 

  • Die Hard: Holly Gennaro receives a gold wristwatch upon being promoted to the Nakatomi Corporation's executive board. Office weasel Harry Ellis sniffs, "Of course, it's a Rolex." This watch proves to be a Chekhov's Gun during the climactic scene.
  • Doctor Strange (2016): As part of his glamorous lifestyle as a genius neurosurgeon, Stephen Strange is shown to own an entire drawer of luxury watches, all kept on rotating self-winders. It's suggested that as part of his desperate attempt to regain the function of his hands after injuring them in a car crash, he sells all but one: a $30,000 Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual, which was broken in the crash and is kept unrepaired as a Tragic Keepsake as it was a gift from his ex-girlfriend Christine Palmer. It reappears in the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where one of the final scenes shows him finally repairing it, as a sign that he's moving on from her.
  • Enemy of the State: Wealthy labour lawyer Robert Clayton Dean is shown wearing an Omega wristwatch, a gift from his wife. This becomes a plot point when the villains replace it with a replica that contains a tracking device, so they can follow Dean's movements.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Christian wears two different Omegas, a $7,200 Seamaster Aqua Terra Chronograph and a $26,500 Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Chronograph. These are two of the many expensive watches kept in a special organizer in his dressing room.
  • The Game (1997). Nicholas is drugged and dumped in Mexico, so he goes to the US embassy with a story about being mugged. The official, clearly thinking Nicholas just gotten drunk and lost his wallet, points out that the 'muggers' appear to have forgotten the expensive watch he's wearing, which Nicholas then sells to get back home.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross: Blake, as part of his blistering monologue to the team at Premiere Properties, boasts of his Rolex to Dave Moss:
    This watch costs more than your car. I made $970,000 last year, how much did you make? You see, pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing.
  • James Bond: Bond generally wears a high-class diver's watch as a nod to his background as a naval intelligence officer. Rolex Submariners were common in the early films (the first one seen on Sean Connery's wrist in Dr. No belonged to producer Albert R. Broccoli, for cost-effective reasons), while more recent ones generally show him wearing various models of Omega Seamaster.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles: The movie opens with Neal Page glancing at his Piaget Polo watch, which he frequently looks at throughout his trip home. After a car fire incinerates his credit cards and he doesn't have enough cash to pay for his motel room, he trades away his watch to cover the costs.
  • Trading Places: After being disgraced by the Duke brothers' bet, Louis tries to pawn his sports watch for some money, but despite explaining that the watch is worth $6,955 retail, the shop owner (likely believing that Louis just stole it) tells him "In Philadelphia, it's worth 50 bucks.", with Louis glumly accepting before buying a gun also on display in the shop.
  • Triangle of Sadness: European billionaires Dimitriy and Jarmo offer Abigail their luxury watches (a Rolex and a Patek-Philippe) worth over a hundred thousand Euros in exchange for a night sleeping on the lifeboat. The next day, Abigail is seen wearing both watches on one wrist.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: Among the many things Jordan Belfort boasts about is his "$40,000 gold fucking watch." Turns out it's actually gold-plated and cost only $1,000 in real life at the time of its release.
  • One of the signs that Fletcher from UHF is a grade-A jerkass is when he berates his son for not getting him a Rolex for Father's Day. As part of a Humiliation Conga at the end, the bum he'd unknowingly given an extremely rare penny to flashes a fancy new watch he got with the money from that penny: a Rolex.

  • American Psycho: As part of the book's copious Costume Porn, several characters (generally high-earning account managers in prestigious Wall Street firms) are described as wearing luxury watches like Rolexes.
    Patrick: Don't touch the Rolex!
  • Casino Royale: James Bond creator Ian Fleming proclaims in his first novel that "A gentleman's choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Savile Row suit." Accordingly, Bond wears a Rolex in this installment.
  • Crazy Rich Asians:
    • Trope Namer Richie Yang spends nearly three full pages of the second novel bragging about his Richard Plumper Tourbillon (based on Richard Mille, whose watches start at $100k).
    • Eddie keeps a vast collection of expensive Swiss watches in a customized display cabinet. His favorite is a bespoke Roger W. Smith that had a nearly year-long waiting list.
    • He expects his royal Thai uncle Taksin to arrive in Singapore wearing a Billionaire Wristband of his own. Taksin shows up wearing an Apple Watch, much to Eddie's disgust.
    • Nick wears a rare vintage Patek inherited from his grandfather.
    • Choice of watch is the second-most important criterion for Wandi Meggaharto when judging a man, behind hair density.
  • In the first of the Track novels by Jerry Ahern, the title character arrests his future love interest, arms dealer Desiree Goth. She notes his Rolex Submariner and asks if he takes bribes, as it's expensive watch for a law enforcement officer. The actual reason is that it holds up well under tough conditions and he likes the look of it. John Rourke from Ahern's The Survivalist series has the same watch, for the same reason.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: To celebrate her newly awarded doctorate and offer of a high-paying pharma job, Bernadette buys a Rolex for Howard. She won't tell him how much it cost, assuring him it's now her responsibility to "worry about the money."
  • The Dropout: As part of her Evil Makeover, Elizabeth trades an inconspicuous watch of indeterminate brand for an $8,950 Rolex Datejust that appears to have been sized for men.
  • Entourage:
    • In one scene, Lloyd suggests to Ari that his current watch — a gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, which retails for $50,000 — is too ostentatious for the current situation and he should switch it for something cheaper. Ari's idea of something cheaper is a stainless steel Rolex.
    • In another episode, Israeli investor Yair Marx gifts Vince, E, and Billy Walsh with gold Rolex Day-Dates. Billy flippantly turns his down, explaining that he already has one—but that doesn't stop him from eyeing Yair's Patek.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Discussed in the episode "Malcolm's Money". When Hal and Lois discover that Malcolm unknowingly got a "genius grant" worth several thousand dollars, Lois says that they should use the money to re-pipe the house while Hal wants to put a down payment on a boat. When Dewey finds out about how his parents want to steal his brother's money, he says he won't tell Malcolm on the condition they buy him a Rolex, since, near the beginning of the episode, Dewey said he could keep track of time if he owned a watch but Lois responded that they couldn't afford to buy him a watch.
  • The Office (US): Subverted: Michael is so proud of his Seyko that he keeps the Certificate of Authenticity in a frame on his office wall.
  • Person of Interest. Team Machine receives a two-million-dollar wristwatch from a grateful billionaire they save. Harold Finch, being a billionaire himself and Properly Paranoid about surveillance, smashes it to disable the watch's GPS locator.
  • The digital version appears in The '70s series The Professionals. In "Blackout", Bodie brags about his expensive Heuer Manhattan watch, only to end up breaking it while smashing down a door to rescue a hostage. He broke his arm as well, but was angrier about the watch. At the end of the episode however, he's happy to hear the lads at CI5 have all chipped in to buy him a new watch...which turns out to be a cheap Superman watch.
  • WandaVision: According to a commercial for the Strücker watch, "They say a man is never fully dressed without two important accessories: his special lady and his Strücker."

  • The video for Chamillionaire's "Good Morning" — an entire song devoted to his significant and enviable wealth — notes that his designer watch costs $55,000.
  • In "Black and Yellow," Wiz Khalifa brags that he's "sippin' Clicquot and rockin' yellow diamonds / So many rocks up in the watch I can't tell what the time is".

    Video Games 
  • Hitman (2016): One of the Elusive Targets, Dylan Narváez, owns a one-of-a-kind, platinum-plated wristwatch. He gloats about it to his twin brother, Gonzales, as often as he can, having purchased it before Gonzales could even get a chance to.

    Web Video 
  • Danny Gonzalez: In "Slime", Danny sings about being rich and dripping in wealth symbols, including "that Rollie on the wrist."
  • Kurtis Conner: Parodied in one video. After seeing a joke picture with him and his "Roles Royce" (actually a Toyota) put up as legit on a website, he said he'll take more pictures to give the website more material. The first is him and his "Rolex"... which is actually just a digital watch photoshopped onto his wrist.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Omniverse:
    • Ben 23's Omnitrix is this in comparison to the main Ben's despite being a Palette Swap of the original Omnitrix thanks to its gold accents.
    • The alternate Argit seen in "And Then There Was Ben" is even blingier on account of appearing to be all gold.
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied in "Crimes of the Hot" when Farnsworth attends an emergency scientist conference and is treated like a celebrity on the red carpet. Joan Rivers' head mentions what he's wearing, including that "His watch is a Casio" (which is not a glamorous brand at all).
    • In "Godfellas," Bender is lost in space with nothing but a bag of expensive loot. After dropping some loot to gain momentum, one of his last possessions is a Rolex watch, which he flaunts for nobody but himself.
      Bender: Hey, universe, check out the dude with the Rolex!
  • The Simpsons: Also Parodied in the Season 14 episode "C.E. D'oh". Stark Richdale, the showy business guru and teacher of "Successmanship 101", owns a watch studded with so many gems that its hands can't move (this being the current page image).
  • Wish Dragon: Starving Student Din wishes he were a wealthy man in order to talk to Lin Na, his childhood friend, whose father owns a large company and works as a model. Din imagines himself as one of the wealthy guys who wear designer suits, travel in chauffeured cars, and wear Rolex watches.

    Real Life 
  • Former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy was widely criticized in February 2009 for wearing a Rolex at the height of the global financial crisis. In response, French advertising mogul Jacques Séguéla infamously defended Sarkozy by declaring "If by the age of 50 you don't own a Rolex, you're a total failure!"
  • Jay-Z, like many rappers, is a particular fan of this trope, and took it to the extreme by purchasing a custom-built Richard Mille watch with a blue sapphire crystal case, at a cost of $2.5 million.
  • Luxury jewelers Jacob & Co. created a timepiece literally called the "Billionaire Watch", priced at a cool $18 million because the strap and case are mostly made of diamonds. It's a favorite of boxer Floyd Mayweather.
  • Watches are a favorite topic for many men's magazines, particularly the UK edition of GQ, which has an entire section devoted to the subject on the top navigation bar of its website.
  • John Mayer is a noted wristwatch aficionado, with a collection worth tens of millions of dollars.
  • If you've had an email account in the early 2000s, you've probably seen spams advertising "Rolex replicas", trying to sell you the ability to look rich and successful.