Modern Times: The Cars’ Elliot Easton Wears His Heart Under His Sleeve

August 21st, 2014

This is an excerpt from the all-new SEPT/OCT 2014 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine. For the rest of this story, plus features on the Gretsch Custom Shop, a Fab Four collection of guitars, Ron Wood, Elliot Easton, Alton Brown and much more, check out the SEPT/OCT 2014 issue of Guitar Aficionado, which is available now at our online store.

Modern Times: The Cars’ Elliot Easton Wears His Heart Under His Sleeve

By Scott Hickey | Photo by Ari Michelson

A watch not only tells you the time—it also tells you a lot about the person wearing it. That’s especially true of Cars guitarist Elliot Easton, whose Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Taille is an expression of his deep affection for the mod style he grew up with in the early Sixties.

“I love that it looks like something Paul McCartney could have worn in 1966 during the Beatles’ final tour,” he says. “For me, designs from that era will always be timeless, which is why I live in a midcentury-modern ranch house, wear Beatle boots, collect Schwinn Stingrays, and play Gibson Firebirds. This watch fits neatly into my world.”

But it wasn’t the Master Grande Taille that converted the rocker into an avid horological enthusiast. That seed was planted when he was a child and his parents gave him a toy Davy Crockett watch. “It’s one of my earliest memories. I was fascinated by it,” he recalls from his home in California. However, it wasn’t until the Cars gained traction in the Seventies and Eighties—conquering both radio and MTV—that he was finally able to indulge his passion for watches.

Through the years, the southpaw guitarist has road-tested numerous timepieces, including models by Panerai and Rolex and the Hamilton Ventura made famous by Elvis. But like so many serious collectors of objets d’art—be they watches, cars, or guitars—he eventually progressed beyond the “buy anything” phase as his taste became more focused. “Ultimately, I’d rather have one great watch than a drawer full of stuff I hardly look at. But before I could understand that, I had to try a lot of watches. It’s the same with guitars—you know what’s right when you find it.”

Easton finally met his match in the Nineties when he discovered the Master Grande Taille. “I’d been searching for a classic dress watch and this had everything I wanted: thin bezel, dagger-shaped indexes, and a silvered sunray dial. I still wear it any chance I get—with a suit and tie, or jeans and a tee.”

Soon after, he began pruning his watch collection. Today, he is a dedicated Jaeger-LeCoultre fan to the exclusion of nearly every other brand, with one justifiable exception: the IWC Aquatimer Automatic. He calls it his perfect-getaway watch. “Again, it’s like guitars. Even guys with hundreds of them in their collection have a few go-to pieces for specific sounds, whether it’s a Telecaster, an SG, or a Les Paul,” he explains. “The IWC is my go-to watch for relaxing by the pool. That blue dial shining in the sun is irresistible.”

This is an excerpt from the all-new SEPT/OCT 2014 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine. For the rest of this story, plus features on the Gretsch Custom Shop, a Fab Four collection of guitars, Ron Wood, Elliot Easton, Alton Brown and much more, check out the SEPT/OCT 2014 issue of Guitar Aficionado, which is available now at our online store.

Reply

We welcome your comments!