By Rebecca Doulton
With Father’s Day just around the corner, football watches may just be their idea of the perfect gift. And with the final of the UEFA Champion’s League, pitching Italy’s Juventus against Spain’s Barcelona, marking the end of the 2015 season, a football watch may just placate the withdrawal symptoms. Let’s take a look at some of the most outstanding football watch alliances.
It is estimated that around one billion people watched the FIFA World Cup 2014 final between Argentina and Germany, and guess who was plugging its brand on the sidelines? As the Official Timekeeper, Hublot watches - the Swiss brand with lots of bang that loves a crowd - became a household name across the globe. This was not Hublot’s first time at the rodeo as, since 2006, the brand has fostered partnerships with some of the world’s leading players and clubs. Hublot has made official club watches for Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Juventus, and are sported by legendary football players such as Pelé, and trainers such as José Mourinho - aka The Special One - and Roy Hodgson of the England football team.
The King Power automatic chronograph Hublot watch - calibre HUB4245 - in a commanding 48mm case is the centre-forward player and has been customised for each football club. With its central 45-minute counter, it is specifically designed to time the two halves of a match. Presented in a range of high-tech materials, from titanium to carbon fibre, these men’s watches also feature ceramic cases with hallmark black rubber details, which have marked the brand since its inception. Eager to cover all fields, Hublot even managed to strike a deal with the Dallas Cowboys football team - the first luxury brand to ride the wave of the lucrative world of American football. To celebrate the alliance, Hublot released three custom-designed limited-edition timepieces, including Classic Fusion ladies’ watches, with the Lone Star of Texas set in diamonds.
Once Jean-Claude Biver got his Hublot team secured in first division, he was asked to work some of his marketing magic with TAG Heuer watches, recruiting fresh, attractive talent to promote the brand. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese superstar, joined the TAG Heuer team in 2014 and has inspired this sporty green and black 42mm Formula 1 CR7 chronograph. The green details on the TAG Heuer watch dial and the NATO strap, like the green grass of a football pitch, look good against the matte black titanium carbide bezel displaying the tachymetre. The chronograph, which is accurate to a tenth of a second, displays the precision elapsed seconds in a small counter at 6 o’clock, while the current seconds counter at 3 o’clock is decorated with the CR7 logo.
Gunners fans will no doubt have spotted the trio of JeanRichard watches dedicated to the legendary Arsenal football club. All three men’s watches, with the iconic 44mm cushion-shaped cases that characterise the brand, have been decked out with the club’s canon emblem and red kit colour.
Roberto Mancini, ex-Manchester City trainer and now head of Inter Milan, joined forces with Richard Mille watches to create the ideal partner to help him direct his team from the bench. Mancini wanted an instrument to time the exact number of minutes remaining during stoppage time - a period of time decided by the referee when important tactical decisions must be made. The RM11-01 flyback chronograph is, like all Richard Mille watches, a feat of high-tech engineering and materials and, in addition to calculating elapsed times, features a month and date window on the skeletonised dial.
Argentine Leo Messi, four-time Golden Ball Ballon d’Or winner and highest goal scorer in Barcelona’s history, has been an ambassador for Audemars Piguet watches since 2010. Three 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph limited-edition football watches in steel, rose gold and platinum will delight both fans of the player and devotees of Audemars Piguet’s iconic Royal Oak watch. Designed by Gérald Genta in 1972, this Audemars Piguet watch was the first luxury sports watch housed in an imposing stainless steel case, with an eight-sided bezel and exposed screws, which cost more than the gold model. But I don’t suppose that would ever have been an issue for footballers of the stature of Leo Messi, who is esteemed by many to be the world’s best football player.