By Rebecca Doulton
The Roland Garros final marked the beginning of a relationship between Stanislas “Stan the Man” Wawrinka and Audemars Piguet watches. It also marked the beginning of a new era for the Swiss player who upset the world’s number one Novak Djokovic in a gripping match that few will forget.
Watch fanatics were treated early on in the French Open to a glimpse of the Rafa Nadal watch that had been made specially for him - the brand new RM 27-02 tourbillon from Richard Mille - and will no doubt have spotted an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph on Wawrinka’s wrist in the final on 7 June, timing his sensational victory in just three hours and 12 minutes. The 30-year-old player hit 60 winning shots, twice as many as Djokovic, and used his one-handed backhand to devastating effect. During the enthralling match, Wawrinka’s Royal Oak Offshore was caught over and over again by the cameras, igniting curiosity among watch fanatics.
The imposing 42mm chronograph from Audemars Piguet watches packs all the angular might of the resilient Royal Oak Offshore family. First introduced in 1993, the octagonal bezel and bold styling, including the hallmark Audemars Piguet chequerboard pattern on the dial, are the stuff of legend. The engine of this formidable player is an in-house AP automatic movement with a 55-hour power reserve. The stainless steel case, with black ceramic chronograph pushers, is water resistant to 100 metres and is presented on a grey hornback alligator strap, although Wawrinka opted for a more practical rubber strap on centre court.
Ironically, Novak Djokovic was an Audemars Piguet ambassador until 2013 when he changed sponsors. He is now part of the Seiko team. The Astron GPS Solar Chronograph - the world’s first GPS solar-powered watch that receives satellite signals - is very much in line with Seiko's brilliant trajectory as an innovator, starting with the 1969 quartz watch, which signalled a revolution in timekeeping. With the Serbian tennis star on board, Seiko launched the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Novak Djokovic Limited Edition, fitted with a chronograph calibre that automatically adjusts to the time zone of the wearer at the touch of a button; a very convenient function for men like Djokovic who travel incessantly. The 44.6mm stainless steel case, pushers and crown of these men’s watches have been coated with rose gold and are water resistant to 100 metres. The state-of-the-art technology crammed into its movement allows the watch to perform countless functions with an accuracy rate of +/-15 seconds a month. Limited to 2,500 pieces, the caseback features the signature and name of the tennis player.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Novak Djokovic Limited Edition watch is solar-powered and can locate your precise GPS position anywhere on Earth.
Unlike many professional athletes, who slip on their endorsement watches for the photo call or press conference, Richard Mille watches are taken to the heart of the action and designed to take as much of a hammering as Nadal's opponents. Image: Stefano Galuzzi.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Novak Djokovic Limited Edition Chronograph automatically adjusts to the time zone of the wearer at the touch of a button.