If money can’t buy taste, best not to flaunt it, or so the adage goes… But clearly, nobody told LaMelo Ball that – with the young basketball phenom flaunting what we’d comfortably call the ugliest watch we’ve ever seen.
The 21-year-old superstar, who currently plays as a point guard for the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA, loves a bit of bling. He’s spent well over half a million bucks on his chains, grilles and bracelets, including a whopping $150,000 USD on a UFO-shaped chain that weighs over a pound.
He also loves watches – hell, he’s even launched and designed his own signature watch with Hong Kong-based luxury watch brand Memorigin. Featuring a red and white graffiti-inspired design, it’s… Not very pretty. Or tasteful. But it is expensive, at $6,813 USD.
But it’s got nothing on his latest piece of wrist candy, however: a customised Cartier Santos de Cartier Chronograph that isn’t just ugly, but impractical and a complete waste of money.
Customised by celebrity jeweller ZoFrost, this Santos Chrono has been completely iced out, including the dial. The normally snailed chrono subdials have been swapped out for iridescent numbers and the ‘Cartier’ logo at 12 o’clock has been swapped out for a ‘MELO’ logo.
But it’s the spiky, diamond-topped bezel that’s particularly hard on the eyes. (The bracelet also has spikes all the way down, too.) It looks like a riff on Takashi Murakami’s art style – but it’s totally impractical and unbelievably garish. But it gets worse.
Something most watch aficionados are well aware of is that aftermarket customisations of a watch, generally speaking, actually devalue a watch rather than increase its value. That might seem counter-intuitive – how can adding diamonds to a watch decrease its value? It’s all about provenance.
“Beyond the quality of the actual gemstones themselves, there is still the issue of originality and factory-intended condition that can affect the prices of diamond-set watches,” Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of leading watch marketplace Bob’s Watches explains.
“In the same way that a serious collector would rather have an entirely original, completely unpolished vintage Rolex Submariner than one that had been fully restored, a diamond-set Rolex is only of additional value to the purist collector if it was Rolex who supplied and set the diamonds.”Paul Altieri
“In some extreme cases, custom-set diamonds can detract from a watch’s overall value. If someone were to alter the original dial and bezel of a vintage Rolex Daytona, for example, by setting it with a slew of poor quality, low-carat diamonds, the end result would be a timepiece that was worth significantly less than what it was before the modifications had ever taken place,” Paul says.
WATCH our guide to the best watches in the NBA below.
“Additionally, customizing or modifying a new watch will void its factory warranty, and in certain cases, make it ineligible for future factory services to be performed… While this is completely irrelevant to some [watch] owners, it can be of significant importance to others, especially if their watch was recently purchased and still has multiple years left on its warranty period,” Paul points out.
In this case, we think Melo’s watch is so goddamn ugly that he’d struggle to find a buyer for it if he ever wanted to sell it, no matter how many carats of diamonds it’s got. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we suppose.
We don’t hate all custom watches, though. Michael Jordan’s Bamford Rolex Daytona is lovely, for example. Now that’s a man with taste…