The month of November started on a high note for Canadian multimillionaire rapper and singer Aubrey “Drake” Graham. He celebrated his 35th birthday with a bang, purchasing a Sh 600 Million ($5.5 million) watch.
The artiste’s birthday is on October 24, and he reportedly splurged on the day, throwing a huge party and buying himself the luxurious designer gift.
“Despite the cost – and Drake’s love of all things bling – there are no diamonds encrusted in the one-of-a-kind timepiece. But it is said to be encased in sapphire crystal and uses the incredibly complex tourbillon movement technology,” The Mirror wrote about Drake’s new Richard Mille watch.
The timepiece was designed by the luxe Swiss brand known for its pricey pieces that range in millions of shillings.
Diamonds By Raymond Lee, a Florida based jewellery shop says through their blog that it’s no surprise the wealthiest celebrities are spotted wearing the expensive brand.
“Entry into the Richard Mille club will run you around Sh8.9 million ($80,000). That’s for a brand new RM 005, which is their “cheapest” model. If you go pre-owned, you may be able to get it for 20% less than retail. From there, the watches go up and up. Prices for Richard Mille watches range from Sh8.9 million ($80,000) to Sh220 million ($2 million),” the jewellers write.
The website adds that the brand is endorsed by many notable personalities, including Brazilian race-car driver Felipe Massa, singer and producer Pharrell Williams and Italy national soccer team coach Roberto Mancini.
“While the brand may enjoy celebrity endorsements, the key to the price tag of Richard Mille watches really is in the core elements of the timepieces: the design, the materials, and the technical elegance of the movement,” an online luxe watch and jewellery shop, Luxury Bazaar writes on its website.
It adds: “It’s easy to spot a Richard Mille watch: if it looks like a cross between a Formula 1 race car and a high-end timepiece, you’ve found one. This idiosyncratic look has helped build the Richard Mille brand.”
That being said, the hefty sum Drake spent on his latest gadget can make huge purchases back here in Kenya. From real estate, to development projects, here is what the Sh 600 million Drake used to buy a watch can afford:
1. Nairobi’s ‘most luxurious’ mansion in Magnolia Hills, Kitisuru
Real estate developers Zana International contracted one of Kenya’s most renowned architects, Mehraz Ehsani to construct the massive Sh 600 million six-bedroom, all ensuite mega-mansion.
The house, which is near the International School of Kenya can accommodate up to 250 guests and features swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, extensive balconies, and two staff quarters.
“Known as ‘House 12’ in the estate, the five+ bedroom home, which is a popular tourist attraction, sits atop a hillock offering great views and an endless array of luxury amenities on each of its three floors. From landscaped lawns with cascading water fountains to glistening marble floors, mahogany doors, indoor-outdoor jacuzzis and swimming pools, this home is truly one of a kind,” Livin’ Spaces, an African design and architecture website reports.
2. An acre of land in Nairobi’s Upperhill
Last year, Hass Consult Real Estate released a report that listed Nairobi’s most affluent neighbourhoods to include Muthaiga, Gigiri, Nyari, Kileleshwa, Kilimani, Lavington and Karen.
“Upperhill has the most expensive land at Ksh525.7 million per acre while in the satellite towns an acre in Ruaka is now commanding a Ksh89.8 million asking price,” the 2020 Land Price Index Quarter 2 report read in part.
Riverside, Parklands and Spring Valley are other notably pricey suburbs, ranging between Sh 170 million to Sh 360 million per acre as the standing price of land.
An acre of land in Gigiri will cost up to Sh 233 million, one in Kileleshwa Sh 360 million and Sh 418 million for an acre in Westlands.
3. 10 of the most expensive Rolls Royce Cars
Car and Driver, an American car review website praises Rolls Royce as the maker of ‘some of the best luxury cars one can buy’, writing that the brand has had a reputation of exemplary engineering since its introduction in 1906.
“The most expensive Rolls-Royce is the Phantom; Phantom pricing starts at more than Sh 50 million ($450,000). For the ultimate in top-down motoring, there is the Rolls-Royce convertible, the Dawn; the Rolls-Royce coupe is the Wraith. There's also a SUV, the Cullinan. It's named after—appropriately enough—the largest diamond ever found,” Car and Driver report.
Early this year, Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platnumz celebrated purchasing his dream car, a Rolls Royce Cullinan Black Badge 2021 that cost him a whopping Sh 59 million ($553,019).
Inclusion of statutory taxes and other fees place Diamond’s new ride at over Sh 70 million.
The amount of money Drake spent on his watch can afford him ten Rolls Royce Phantoms, easily.
4. Constructing a kilometre of a major road or highway
Kenya’s most expensive road at the moment, the Nairobi Expressway, which runs from Mlolongo through to Westlands costs Sh2.7 billion per kilometre.
The Standard reported in October that the general cost of constructing roads in the country has nearly doubled over the last decade, going from Sh 51 million per kilometre in 2013 to Sh 96 million.
“Thika Road’s upgrading into an eight-lane road, with four service lanes, cost Sh32 billion, thus about Sh600 million per kilometre for the 50km road,” The Standard’s report, ‘the making of Kenya’s Most expensive roads’ read in part.
It added: “However, a lot may have changed, with costs such as labour and materials going up. The exchange rate is also a factor, with the shilling having since weakened significantly against the dollar and other major world currencies.”
With the pretty sum he spent on the luxury timepiece, the celebrated Hotline Bling singer afforded to construct a kilometre of the Thika Super Highway or any other similar development project, like a footbridge.
5. A private jet
Drake’s Sh 600 million splurge could have also afforded him a private jet. Not that he needs it, the wealthy artiste already has one.
Simple Flying, an American aviation news website confirms that the rapper and singer owns a Sh26 billion ($242 million) jet, fondly named ‘Air Drake’.
“When it comes to long-distance trips, Canadian rapper Drake has opted for his own private transportation- a Boeing 767-200 with a completely customized interior,” the website writes about the aircraft that can fit 30 passengers.
It adds: “Appearance-wise, the cabin is a mix of smooth gold and wood surfaces, with carpet and furniture taking on either a beige or light purple colour. One bulkhead is fitted with a large television and a full-mirror wall.”
But not all private jets range in billions of shillings, a rich person can scoop up his own private plane for as low as Sh334million ($3 million).
BankRate, a New York-based Financial Institution notes on its website that private planes range from Sh334million ($1.1 million) to around (Sh 10 billion)$90 million.
“Though secondhand jets are cheaper, they still cost millions of dollars. For perspective, a pre-owned Gulfstream G450 costs around Sh 1.7 billion ($14.75 million) on the Gulfstream website. With extras and customization, the price can soar to hundreds of millions of dollars,” BankRate writes.
There are currently over 400 privately registered planes in Kenya.
Aero Club of East Africa, a lobby group of private aircraft owners said in a 2014 interview that the rising number of registered planes can be attributed to Nairobi’s rising status as the region’s business hub and a growing number of wealthy individuals with the means to own and maintain an aircraft.