For more than 40 years, Geddy Lee’s inimitable voice, athletic bass guitar, and even occasional synthesizer work were the sonic cornerstones of prog-rock trio, Rush. The Canadian group was both the highest profile and most influential prog band of its generation, and truly integral to the writing of prog-rock’s second chapter. Despite crafting music that was uncompromisingly intellectual, musically complex, and in many ways, downright nerdy, Rush became a massive success and cultivated a deeply obsessive and passionate fanbase. For the uninitiated, we highly recommend checking out the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage for an entertaining and enlightening primer on the band, complete with testimonials from notable Rush superfans like Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan.
Rush recently had what is presumed to be its final curtain call as resident drum deity and lyricist, Neil Peart, has retired from drumming altogether. Citing increasing difficulty in performing Rush’s dexterous music as he ages and trouble recovering from the rigors of touring, Peart has decided he’d rather hang ‘em up than perform those songs at a level that fails to meet his immensely high personal standard.
While this has sadly effectively ended Rush, it has afforded Lee the opportunity to both spend some quality time with his beloved Norwich Terriers and indulge in the passions that fall outside of the limelight — namely collecting.
Over the years, Lee’s developed into a noted connoisseur of wines, a fanatical trawler of baseball ephemera, and even recently released a brilliantly well-crafted coffee table book cataloging his incredible collection of over 250 vintage bass guitars — aptly titled Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass. As it turns out, Lee’s collector’s muse is also very much taken with fine vintage wristwatches.
The musical icon has amassed an eclectic collection of some 40 pieces that includes Canadian-market exclusive Rolexes and Tudors, classic Heuers, intriguing early examples from Longines, and even the odd dress watch. Lee has wholly thrown himself into a self-education on the minutia, idiosyncrasies, and overall history of wristwatches, crediting the Instagram watch community as a major source of fuel for his ever-growing fascination with watches.
In the following conversation, Worn & Wound chats with Lee about some favorites from his collection, his entrance into the watch collecting hobby, his ongoing education as a self-described watch geek, and even glean a bit of collector’s advice from a restless man that’s applied such wisdom to the pursuit of a great many things.
“I like watches that draw you in rather than shout at you — things that possess a beauty and an elegance and intricacy, but don’t scream from your wrist.”