Pitch, Track & Court: Sport Stars & Their Watches

Pitch, Track & Court: Sport Stars & Their Watches

There’s an unbreakable bond between elite sport and world-class horology. The relationship began way back in 1932 when Omega timed the Olympic Games to incredible accuracy using its split-second chronograph. Today, it shows itself through mind-blowing sponsorship deals in the world of racing, tennis, swimming, golf, football and mountaineering.

The lines between the industries are unsurprisingly blurred, with so many sports lovers also cheering for luxury watches. Then come the athletes. Watchmakers know these highly-aspirational humans build an emotional connection between brand and consumer. If someone like Tiger Woods or David Beckham wears your watch, you’re onto a good thing. And that’s how record-breaking sponsorship deals are born.

Richard Mille for Charles Leclerc

A sponsorship that’s so far spanned more than a decade is one between Richard Mille and F1 driver, Charles Leclerc. Considering Richard Mille watches are dubbed “racing machines on wrists”, this seemed like a natural partnership from the get-go.

Leclerc famously wears a custom-made RD 67-02 while on the track. It’s a thin, lightweight, automatic watch that’s positioned to take on sporting challenges, and worn on Charles’ wrist to help RM test new technical solutions for future models.

Last year, Charles also became the proud owner of the new RM UP-01 Ferrari watch. The thinnest watch ever made (clocking in at 1.75mm) is also thin on supply—Richard Mille only made 150 pieces. The timepiece born from a Ferrari partnership can withstand forces up to 5000 Gs and will set you back $1.9 million.

It’s estimated that Charles earns $2 million from his collective sponsorship details from Richard Mille,Scuderia Ferrari and Giorgio Armani.

'Since his early days in karting, I have closely followed Charles’ progress. Noted for his times, and his speedy qualifiers, the driver attracted my attention and enthusiasm, immediately convincing the brand to support his budding talent.'


Rolex for Carlos Alcaraz

Its roots might spread to golf, sailing and motorsports, but none go as deep as The Crown and tennis. Rolex sponsors all four Grand Slams. Last year, 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz joined Roger Federer and Jannik Sinner as a global ambassador.

Carlos held up his championship trophy at Wimbledon this year, and his rare Rolex Cosmograph Daytona almost outshone the trophy. The 18k yellow gold timepiece with black Cerachrom retailed at circa £27k and is now worth around £75k and boasts a distinct meteorite dial that was only produced for 2 years, and an Oysterflex bracelet.

SportsManor reports that “Carlos Alcaraz can potentially earn $8 million per year with his Rolex deal.”

Audemars Piguet for Serena Williams

A brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet since 2014, Serena Williams showed new levels of courage when she wore her diamond-clad Royal Oak Offshore Quartz 37mm during all of her US Open matches.

The stainless steel case topped with glare-proofed sapphire crystal is set with no less than 32 brilliant-cut diamonds and featured with a black rubber strap for the tennis superstar.

This year, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has been seen wearing the most expensive timepiece in women’s tennis history — the $650,000 AP Royal Oak Black Panther. 

It’s estimated that Serena earned $45 million in sponsorship deals alone in 2021, through her collaborations with Audemars Piguet, Nike, Beats, Subway, Gatorade and Pepsi —to name just a few.

TUDOR for the All Blacks

Why sponsor one sports star when you can sponsor a whole team? New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, wear the Black Bay Chrono, a watch that has been field-tested to the extreme. The timepiece is powered by the self-winding Manufacture Calibre MT5813 with a column wheel and vertical clutch.

It represents the purest edition of the sports chronograph, specially made for “those who are up for anything.”

Right now, TUDOR is in the midst of its 7-year deal with World Rugby. Since 2019, it’s been the Official Timekeeper of the Rugby World Cup, alongside its ‘Born to Dare’ campaign that hosted the All Blacks sponsorship.

Richard Mille for Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has worn super-light tourbillons during all of his Grand Slam matches since 2010. 

The latest edition in his collaboration with Richard Mille is the RM 27-04 manual-winding tourbillon, which weighs just 30g (yup - including the strap) and costs an estimated $1 million. Not only does Rafa wear his Richard Mille during games, but he works closely with the brand’s designers and engineers to create timepieces he can play tennis in.

‘Rafa and I have a life-long commitment. We are there come rain or shine. It is more than just watchmaking – it’s life!’RICHARD MILLE

Rolex for Mercedes Gleitze

You already know about Rolex’s connections with Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Conor McGregor (who wore a solid platinum Rolex Day-Date 40 with a factory diamond dial as he unleashed on the reflex bag). But did you know about the OG Rolex sports sponsorship with English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze?

She wore a waterproof gold Oyster around her neck in 1927 as she attempted to swim the English Channel. The event became a testament to the watchmaker’s ability to create tough, reliable and incredibly waterproof timepieces. 

Today, Rolex has largely moved from water to land. It’s estimated that the brand paid tennis star Roger Federer $15 million over a 10-year sponsorship, and renewed the deal in 2016 with an $8 million per year payment. 

As of 2023, it’s estimated that Rolex pays as much as $45 million to sponsor Formula One.

Bremont for Kristin Harila

Mountaineer Kristin Harila needs a way to keep track of all her world record-breaking escapades.  As part of her sponsorship by Bremont, Kristin wears the S300 watch, described as “trustworthy, sturdy and accurate” and “Everything you demand from something you wear while pushing your limits to the extreme.”

The watch that has conquered the world’s highest peaks is available at around £4000.

Bremont happened to be Kristin Harila’s first sponsor, helping to fund her goal of summiting the world’s highest peaks in less than 6 months.

Join the league: Make a sport star-approved watch yours

Collaborate with Trilogy Jewellers to source almost any luxury timepiece. Whether you’ve seen a watch you love here, or your favourite athlete sports a beautiful piece you just can’t track down,  we can usually help.

Just ask about our same-day sourcing service. Call 0203 9298227.


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