There's possibly no modern profession that seems like it could put watches' functionality and durability features to better use than that of professional cooks. Think about it: one is constantly timing things and faced with everything from extreme heat and cold to banging pots and pans to all manner of liquids and substances found in a kitchen.
There are pilot's watches, diver's watches, racing watches (none of which are any longer professional tools)... so why aren't there chef's watches? The answer is probably obvious: plunging your hand into batter or a turkey is just too messy — especially with watches you'd want to wear later, say, to dinner. I mean, you don't want some shrimpy water getting stuck in your watch's many hard-to-clean nooks and crannies, right?
Most cooks remove their watches when they're really going to be getting their hands in food, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy the charms of watches the rest of the time. That's true of your favorite celebrity chef personalities, too, and these stars can often afford some interesting choices. From "Iron Chef" Morimoto and Alton Brown to Gordon Effing Ramsay, here are some culinary masters you might not know also have an eye for horology.
The famously foul-mouthed chef can have a loud presence, so it kind of fits his persona to regularly see the flash of a yellow-dialed Breitling on his wrist. Many an internetter has taken a random stab at IDing it, but it appears to be a Cockpit Chronograph (ref. A30012) from the '90s with a smaller diameter, rounded case edges and the brand's signature "rider tabs" on its bezel. It's possibly the watch he's most associated with, but Ramsay has a full collection.
He's been seen with a vintage Rolex Submariner, an Omega Seamaster and others, but his choices are sometimes less expected. It's hard to tell if he's a full blown watch enthusiast, but wearing more niche brands point to either a collector mentality or simply choosing watches for personal reasons. For instance, this recent Instagram video shows him at a drive-through wearing a watch from Icelandic brand JS Watches.
The "Iron Chef" has most often been spotted wearing a beefy (insert your own pun here) Panerai Luminor. According to an interview in Haute Time, however, Morimoto has a serious collection and varied tastes that include Rolex and Franck Muller. Interestingly, he seems to be one of those collectors with a focus on a certain brand, and for Morimoto that is Grand Seiko.
As a Japanese chef primarily active in the United States, perhaps he feels more inclined toward pride in his home country's horological superstar — or perhaps he simply recognizes the value and quality of Grand Seiko, as the rest of us do. He does, however, relate a story of saving up for his first Seiko watch in junior high school. In his collection are now everything from the likes of Grand Seiko Sport chronographs to elegant Heritage models.
Here we have a polymath, intellectual and all-round interesting dude who is also serious about his watches. So serious that he's given interviews specifically on his collection and appeared on Hodinkee's Talking Watches series. In addition to being a celebrated chef, Alton Brown is also a pilot and apparently a "watch guy" since the age of 4, starting with a Timex.
His tastes tend toward vintage and smaller diameter watches, and he likes his "patina." Since he's so open about his collection you can see it evolve and change, but he has a clear predilection for tool watches. He's also got his watches with stories like a Nivada Chronomaster from his birth year and his father's Omega Chronostop that was stolen and recovered. Eclectic to say the least, he can even be spotted on Instagram calling Hamilton's PSR (remake of its vintage Pulsar LED watch) "hands down (or hands gone) the coolest watch of the decade." In short: he's the kind of watch guy we can relate to.