No family on TV has as much drip as the Roys. In a typical episode of Succession, the Roy kids can be seen wearing multiple ensembles that add up to more than a lot of people make in a year. Even Roman, who often looks like his parents dressed him for an elementary school picture day thanks to his love of short-sleeve linen shirts, is rocking Brunello Cucinelli. That’s a shirt that will easily set you back a grand.
Take that in… a short sleeve shirt… that costs… over $1000. Madness.
While a lot can be said about Shiv’s impeccable style choices (she is Succession’s best-dressed, period) the person who has the most to prove in his wardrobe choices is, unsurprisingly, Kendall (he has the most to prove everywhere and is the most prone to floundering wildly to do so). As such, Kendall’s outfits aren’t just smart set dressing that reflects his insane wealth, they are a core representation of his character. Jeremy Strong, the actor who portrays Kendall, says as much. Strong collaborates closely with Succession costume designer Michelle Matland for Kendall’s look, and he gets pretty granular with the details.
Speaking to GQ on the customized Loro Piana jacket and Richard Mille watch Kendall wears in the newest season, Strong explained “Those are all things that I do on my own because those details just feel really important to me, and so I take initiative in that area.” Does any of this stuff truly matter? We think it does (so does GQ, which posted a great article breaking down every character’s watch) and because we find it all relevant to TV’s most unpacked show, we’re about to get really nerdy. Brace yourself.
Prior to this final season, Kendall has worn all sorts of rich-dude watches, from a Vacheron Constantin to a Traditionelle World Time. These are both well-respected statement timepieces, but there are some reasons Strong likely opted for a Richard Mille watch this season and they speak to Kendall’s journey as a character. Let’s break it down. But first…
SPOILER WARNING FOR SEASON 4 EPISODE 3 — In order to talk about this we’re going to have to lay down a gigantic spoiler and this article about watches is not the way you want to find out about it. Fair? Let’s roll…
Why does Kendall Roy start wearing a Richard Mille watch?
1. Kendall Loves Hip-Hop
First and foremost, before we really get into the deeper symbolism, we have to go with the most obvious reason for Kendall rocking a Richard Mille watch this season. Kendall Roy loves hip-hop and hip-hop loves Richard Mille. While a lot of timepieces are works of quiet, understated luxury, a Richard Mille is the opposite. It’s a watch that flaunts its status which is why the biggest rappers love to represent the brand.
Pharrell shouts out Richard Mille in “Can I Have It Like That,” the opening track from his In My Mind album,
“She knows the time, she sees the Richard Mille. Plat-double skeletal, Tourbillon.” And Jay-Z made headlines two years ago when he showed up at Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin’s house party rocking a green sapphire Richard Mille RM 56-01 Tourbillon, a watch worth $3 million. Drake loves them so much that in addition to regularly wearing Richard Mille, he gifted Future an ultra-rare 1-of-1 piece.
It is, without a doubt, the watch of hip-hop’s finest. And, as a product, it’s ostentatious (literally showing its gears and cogs in a way that screams: “See how complicated and valuable this is?!?”). That’s in line with how rappers floss, not with how the Roy family typically does.
It tracks that Kendall would love Mille watches, of course. Don’t forget that our first introduction to him in the pilot episode is of him offering a tone-deaf rap along to the Beastie Boys track “An Open Letter To NYC.” Of course, it’s easy to laugh off the idea of this nepo baby aligning with the race and class struggles that birthed rap. But on another level, struggle is something that is core to Kendall as a character — something he’s constantly at war with throughout the entire show’s run.
The struggle with his addiction, the struggle to push Waystar Royco into the future, the struggle of his feelings about his father — he has just the right type of arrogance to quote a classic rap bar without any irony and fully think it applies to his life. Can’t you just see Kendall asking for whatever brand of watch Jay-Z wears because he considers them to be self made contemporaries?
2. Kendall’s Daddy Is Dead
Here is that spoiler! Our first glimpse of Kendall’s Richard Mille (from what we can tell, a RM 67 Extra Flat) is in episode four during Logan’s wake. Our boy Kendall has just lost his dad and because of the complicated feelings surrounding that, we can assume he was in need of some serious retail therapy. Which might explain why he’s now wearing a $185,000 watch (according to Chrono24).
But let’s dig deeper — how does this differ from Kendall’s old watches? It’s not just that the watch is insanely expensive, all of Kendall’s watches are, but the Vacheron Constantin and Traditionelle World Time are understated, well-respected “timepieces.” The Richard Mille is a polarizing brand in the watch community and it’s just the type of ultra-flashy watch Logan Roy would’ve hated.
I can imagine Logan Roy, in the midst of yelling at Kendall, saying something along the lines of “and take your fancy fucking bullshit watch and stick it up your ass!” God, just read that in L to the O-G’s voice in your head — it works.
The idea of buying something ostentatious when your dad is sure to make you feel like it’s an idiotic choice in public is scary. But once the old man dies? Call the jeweler, bro!
3. Richard Mille Represents The Future
Aside from being beloved by rappers and new money spenders (Kendall isn’t “new money” but he’s just the type of rich guy to say “Everyone thinks I’m successful because of my dad but I actually worked my ass off for this!”), Richard Mille watches are distinctly futuristic. The watches are made from NTPT carbon (a new material for the watch community), which is a composite material that is used in F1 vehicle chassis. The materials used in a Richard Mille are adapted from the aviation, automotive racing, and sailing industries, and are equal parts utilitarian, sleek, and lightweight.
Kendall has always sought to push Waystar Royco into the future and sees himself as the person to do it. “FUCK THE PATRIARCHY!” Now, as he looks to take over the company, he’s quite literally wearing the future on his sleeve. Altogether this is a stunning amount of detail to hide away in a few passing shots. The typical viewer isn’t going to pick up on these things, and the show isn’t any worse for it, but it does reflect the amount of genius and attention to detail that goes into making Succession work.
We’re going to miss it when it’s gone.