Taylor Swift has a pretty reliable red carpet aesthetic: an elegant, all-American style with faultless gowns. Great, beautiful gowns, if you will. Which is why it’s so thrilling to watch when one of the world’s most famous entertainers takes some style risks. And better yet when it pays off. Her latest triumph, at the 2024 Grammy Awards, is a pretty high level styling move: a watch worn around the neck as a choker.
Swift kept her red carpet look relatively simple and positively old Hollywood in a custom white strapless Schiaparelli dress, black opera gloves, letting her jewels do the talking. The singer-songwriter turned to American jeweller-to-the-stars Lorraine Schwartz, who draped her neck with not one, not two, not three, but five strands of diamond necklaces reportedly totalling around 300 carats. The crowning piece, without a doubt, is the watch choker worn right at the top of the stack.
Watch sleuths online have determined that the timepiece itself is a vintage Concord, a Swiss watch brand that’s fallen out of favour in recent times—though with Taylor Swift wearing it on a major red carpet, who knows what miracles may happen? The emerald-shaped case was mounted by Schwartz on a triple-strand chain of black diamonds, giving the little timepiece a more than worthy second life.
As rare as seeing a watch worn as a choker is, credit has to be given to Rihanna for being ahead of this burgeoning curve. At Pharrell Williams’s debut show for Louis Vuitton last year, Rihanna rocked up with a custom Jacob & Co. watch—large and in charge with a 47mm case fully set with diamonds—strapped around her neck. A little later in the year, she wore a different diamond watch by Jacob & Co. as an anklet. Clearly an unconventional watch wearer, if ever there were one.
But back to Taylor Swift and her watch choker. It’s a cool move that’s put the superstar on the radar of watch connoisseurs and lovers around the world. As far as images of Swift in public go—and I’ve double-checked with Swiftie friends to be sure—the singer doesn’t appear to be a big watch wearer. Which makes this choice to wear what’s perhaps her first and most noticeable watch as a piece of non-functional jewellery on the neck a bold one. An easy critique floats to mind: “What’s the point? She can’t even tell the time with that!”
The point, of course, is style and pizzazz for others to see. A watch worn in a unique (or perhaps more familiar? Swift is no stranger to fabulous jewels!) way to cement a great outfit and a victorious night. After all, she did take home her fourth album of the year Grammy for her 2023 record Midnights, and dropped a surprise announcement for her new studio album The Tortured Poets Department.
And just as fashion can be used to convey and express a host of unspoken messages, so too can jewellery and timepieces worn smartly. Eagle-eyed Swifties will no doubt have caught on to the Easter egg cipher of Swift’s watch choker—its slender hands set firmly to the hour of the occasion: midnight.