In 1986 a man had a genius idea to wear a clock around his neck. That man was Mr. William Jonathan Drayton Jr. otherwise known as the musician Flavor Flav. This remarkable idea became a signature look of his on and off-stage persona. So much so that one today cannot separate the man from the clock. In 1984 Flavor Flav was part of the new musical group Public Enemy. Who, in the latter part of the 1980s helped usher in the era of hip hop and rap into the mainstream through socially aware songs and a energetic sound which offered a suitably fascinating contrasting sound which complimented rock and roll as the music of choice for an entire generation.
Unbeknownst to himself, Flavor Flav is a frequent topic of discussion and reference point in the watch lover community. His large, neck-worn timepieces offer a fantastic comparison point when attempting to phrase, in real-world terms, the hyperbolistic size of a large wrist watch. Without this cultural icon, watch lovers everywhere would be ill-equipped to comment on their love or disdain for wristwatch sizes. It was a blessing to have met this man in person, and it has allowed me to cross off a huge neck-worn-sized check off my life’s bucket list.
It was not difficult to recognize Mr. Flav. The clock worn around the man’s neck was one that I had recognized from numerous performances and videos. Indeed, he was a vintage clock lover such as myself, with this piece clearly being a 1980’s original. I had to wonder where he acquired it. Such a device was extremely rare in that time, whereas comparatively today, large novelty-size clocks meant to be worn around one’s neck are easily available at your local timepiece emporium (or so I hear).
Currently in his 50’s, Flavor Flav still comes across with the charm and innocence of a younger man. Despite his popularity having been part of Public Enemy, reality television, and pop culture, he is still what I would consider a shy man with a quick and genuine smile. On each of his wrists was a watch. He is truly a supporter of the timepiece cause it seemed. Interestingly enough he doesn’t describe himself as a watch aficionado. Flavor Flav has yet to be educated on high-end timepieces for serious timepiece appreciation. I found this to be a curious fact given the man’s long and enduring history with timepieces.
One watch he pointed out to me was a gold-toned Invicta. He didn’t know much about it aside from the fact that it was a gift. He proudly wore it enjoying its large size and loud-style that complimented his own unique fashion sense. On the other wrist was a watch constructed from a mix of steel and wood parts. Few watch lovers are brave enough to “double wrist it,” yet fashion bravery is nothing new or unwelcome to Flavor Flav.
Seeing an opportunity to educate this legendary man on something he was clearly passionate about I pulled over a nearby gentleman who was wearing a limited edition Hublot timepiece. Lucky for me it was a particularly interesting model that gave me a lot of talking points. While I was at an event for Hublot, not all the people there were guests of the brand. Mr. Flav does go where he pleases. The watch was the gold version of the Hublot King Power Red Devil limited edition watch for Manchester United. Flavor Flav was not familiar with the brand, but that is OK – at least he keeps time very close to him. My mind began to wander with possibilities on who might prove best to partner with Flavor Flav as a brand ambassador. Hublot was far too obvious a choice. It needed more bite, more of a connection to Flav’s own story and status as a legend. It would have to be Vacheron Constantin and none other.
Flavor Flav did not believe me when I told him that the King Power Red Devil watch contained hour markers made with actual grass from Manchester United’s stadium in the UK. However, upon being assured of the accuracy of my statement by those around me, I could see a sparkle in Flav’s eye that told me there might be a high-end watch lover inside of him yet.
It dawned upon me that Flavor Flav may have played an instrumental role in the success of the “large watch” that has popularized the last decade by so loyally showcasing a truly “oversized” timepiece. A man such as himself is more often than not, ahead of his time. In all likelihood he is not even aware of the influence he has had on the watch industry and timepiece enthusiast community. To Flavor Flav I once again say. It was a distinct pleasure to have met you, and thank you.