If you’re not already familiar with Bethenny Frankel, you should be. She just recently retired from Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of New York, on which she was a main cast member for seven non-consecutive seasons dating back to the show’s 2008 premier. As a fan of both Frankel and the show, I wish I could say I was chill about sitting down in her Soho apartment to talk watches, but I wasn’t. The truth is, I have been watching Bethenny on the Real Housewives of New York (or RHONY, as we fans so lovingly call it) since its first season. In fact, she was one of my favorite people on the show for her razor-sharp wit (hysterical), brutal honesty (refreshing), and her fearless entrepreneurship (boss-lady).
Bethenny originally started her career selling pashmina scarves in Los Angeles, but over the last decade and change, she built an empire on “Skinny Girl Margaritas,” her brand of low-calorie cocktails and wines. The Skinny Girl brand has expanded into a $100 million lifestyle titan that includes food products, lifestyle accessories, and a full suite of clothing. Her business has been covered by the likes of AdWeek, she graced the cover of Forbes magazine in 2011 as the headliner of the new celebrity money-makers, and she was included in Variety‘s 2019 Power of Women New York Impact List. She has made an appearance as an investor on Shark Tank and helped a number of businesses grow successfully. Frankel is also tirelessly dedicated to charity work, including her own non-profit, B Strong, which provides “real-time emergency assistance to people in crisis,” like those affected by the Paradise Fires in California, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and most recently, the wildfires in Australia. And yes, she is often the one rolling up her sleeves to help people in need. As I said, she’s a BOSS.
Along the way, Bethenny has picked up a love and appreciation for watches. She loves collecting them, wearing them, and hunting for them. Most of her collection is modern, and focuses heavily on Rolex and Audemars Piguet (a girl after my own heart!). She is just as fearless about her watches as she is in real life, and buys only what she likes. She doesn’t buy to buy, she finds her next dream piece and hunts for it with tenacity until it’s the right time and the right price. I found her collection refreshing – she is a good reminder that everyone collects watches differently and that it is ok to like watches because they are “pretty” or to dislike a watch because winding it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle. This is something the community often forgets, which makes it less inclusive than it should be. Another thing you will notice is the girl has got the hookup, with several impossible-to-get pieces in her collection including the Hulk and the green Daytona. I’m really excited to share her collection and her enthusiasm with you. It is rare to meet someone like Bethenny Frankel. She’s smart, savvy, and wickedly funny, and I was honored to sit with her and talk about our favorite thing – watches.
Rolex Daytona Ref. 116515LN
Bethenny has a lot of Rolex watches. And not just any Rolex; she has a lot of Rolex Daytonas, one of which was the reference 116515LN in rose gold with an off-white dial. You usually see this model with an Oysterflex bracelet, but Bethenny has it on an alligator strap. She spotted it on another woman’s wrist in Aspen one winter and decided she had to have one too. After hunting for a bit, she found one that suited her needs and it hasn’t left her collection since. As a Daytona lover myself, I was excited to see this unusual color combination– you most often see this reference with a matching rose-gold dial, not the creme color you see here. This is a great example of Bethenny buying what she likes and sticking to it.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 7010R
Bethenny collects based on what she likes, whether it’s the watch as a whole, or one particular detail. For this one, it was the grey dial. You would be hard-pressed to argue that the Patek Philippe Ladies’ Nautilus ref. 7010R is not a grail ladies’ watch. Bethenny’s 7010 is in rose gold with diamond-set bezel and anthracite dial. This is the earlier 32mm version with caliber E23-250 S C (quartz) that has since been followed by the automatic reference 7188R that measure 35.6mm with wavy dial released at Baselworld last year.
Rolex Daytona Ref. 116505
My personal favorite watch from Bethenny’s collection should come as no surprise: The Rolex Daytona ref. 116505 in rose gold with diamond indexes (swoon). I have been eying this watch in boutiques a lot lately, so I was really excited to see that someone else loves it too! Bethenny enjoys it specifically for the unusual diamond indexes, which you so rarely see, and I couldn’t agree more. You can find Bethenny wearing this watch often on her Instagram feed.
Rolex Daytona Ref. 116508 ‘Christmas Dial’
I remember when this watch came out and literally no one cared about it. Then John Mayer said it was a “sleeper” on Talking Watches and now no one can get it. Except for Bethenny. She had been on the hunt for this watch for a few months after first seeing it and was surprised by her boyfriend (a fellow diehard watch lover!) with the ref. 116508 as a gift. Ms. Frankel loves this watch for the beautiful green dial and small red detailing. Like all of us, she’s in it for the little things, or as she likes to say, “the angels are in the details.”
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 67654OR.ZZ.1264OR.01
You may be familiar with the Frosted Gold Royal Oak, but that was too much for Bethenny – she finds the frosting to be too heavy for her taste. Cue this 33mm rose gold Royal Oak with asymmetric diamond-setting throughout. First released in 2017, this watch is gorgeous in person, with each stone varying in size and appearing to cascade down the case, dial, and bracelet. It’s elegant, understated, and just a little bit frosty. Once she had the seal of approval from her friend (and F.P. Journe’s righthand man) Pierre Halimi, it was a go.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 15400
Continuing with the Royal Oak theme, this 41mm Royal Oak ref. 15400 in yellow gold has a prominent spot in her collection. Both sporty and stout, this watch was a gift from her boyfriend on their second date. She loved the watch so much that he let her wear it at dinner and the next day said she could keep it as a memento.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak In White Gold with Diamonds And Emeralds
One of the few vintage pieces in her collection, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is from the 1980s. It’s made of white gold and completely set with diamonds with small emeralds as the indexes. Unlike a lot of celebrities these days, Bethenny is completely against aftermarket stone setting (as she should be!). I love how she wears this watch with jeans and a t-shirt and isn’t too precious about her things despite having a great appreciation for them. Watches are meant to be worn!
F.P. Journe Élégante 48mm In Titanium With Diamonds
As mentioned before, Bethenny is close friends with Pierre Halimi, President of F.P. Journe North America, so it should come as no surprise that the Élégante is part of her collection. The Élégante was Journe’s first ladies watch and first quartz watch. It was released back in 2015 and was one of the first watches that I reported on here at the ‘dink. The cool thing about this piece is that it “sleeps” when you aren’t wearing it to save battery. Pretty cool. Frankel went with the oversized titanium and diamond-set version, and I’m not going to argue one bit.
Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610LV (aka ‘The Hulk’)
THE HULK. This goes along with the green Daytona above as one of the harder-to-find pieces in her collection. The best part about this watch is the story behind it. An ex-boyfriend gifted it to her on his birthday. After they broke up, he asked to buy the watch back, which I’m pretty sure you can’t do. Bethenny held onto it though and it’s still in heavy rotation.
Bell & Ross And Tiffany & Co. Watches
Two of the more sentimental watches in the collection are this Bell & Ross and this Tiffany & Co. watch, both left to Bethenny by her father. Their relationship was strained over the years, and these (along with his dog tags) are some of the few belongings she has from him. He was a horse trainer and received both of these watches through his profession (note the inscription on the case-back of the Tiffany & Co. watch). Almost all of Bethenny’s watches have a story, and these carry some of the more sentimental ones.
Cartier Tortue In Yellow Gold With Diamonds
We all have regrets in our collections, and this mid-size Cartier Tortue is that for Frankel. While this watch is absolutely gorgeous, the regret comes with the loss in value and the fact that it is manual-winding! In her own words, Bethenny says that “winding it is like a never ending story.” I found this funny because I hear many women complain about winding their watches, and, if I’m being totally honest myself, I much prefer the ease of an automatic watch versus a manual one. I get where she’s coming from.