Starting from a need for accurate timing of events, the relationship between watches and sport has a significant history, and continues to evolve to this very day. As the years have gone on a number of interesting and collectible watches with sporting connections have surfaced, especially considering certain complications (in particular the split-seconds chronograph) are perfectly suited to lap timing, among other things. Even now, luxury watch brands will sponsor sporting events, up-and-coming athletes, or entire leagues to help further the sport all while increasing their exposure to new and previously unreached demographics. This tight-knit relationship between these two industries is particularly widespread, giving us a healthy range of connections (and watches) to discuss from some of our favorite brands, including Jaeger LeCoultre, Richard Mille, and Omega.
Though this is yet another category where our list could become mind-numbingly lengthy, we’ve decided to limit things to a small assortment of watches that approach their connection to sport in a particularly unique fashion.
Unveiled this past October, we have to commend Hublot for their simple yet ingenious integration of a golf score counter into a wristwatch. Launched alongside the announcement of Dustin Johnson coming onboard as a Hublot brand ambassador, the new piece is cased in silver Texalium (hublot’s unique carbon fiber that has aluminum fibers woven into the material), and uses a set of three pushers at 2, 4, and 8 o’clock to advance the number of strokes, change the hole number, and reset the board to zero. Unlike other sport-themed watches that simply remind you of a brand’s sponsorship, this is the perfect example of a watch that not only is designed to take on a certain task, but also one that’s most likely to actually be used by its owners for its intended purpose.
The Olympic Games
Having already launched a trio of watches dedicated to the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Omega opted to unveil another collection of watches focusing in on their longstanding partnership with the Olympics as a whole. Omgea has been the timekeeping partner of the games dating all the way back to 1932, and this 10-piece collection draws inspiration from one of the stopwatches the brand designed for the Montreal Olympics back in 1976. A generally vintage aesthetic, contrasted by bright colors—a cream white as well as a black dial variant are offered, each with 5 accent color options to match the colors of the olympic rings. These new pieces are 39.5mm across and are fitted with Omega’s Master Chronometer calibre 8806 self-winding movements. While the black dial variants are available for purchase individually, the white dials are slated to be sold as complete 5-piece sets only.
It’s a safe argument to make that the Reverso is the epitome of watch innovation for the sake of sport. Back in 1931, robust sporting watches weren’t exactly “a thing” just yet, especially considering watch crystals were still being made of glass. After an experience on the polo pitch, hearing the gripes of one of the players who’d just had his watch ruined during play, Jacques-David LeCoultre set out to change things, eventually developing the glorious and still highly desirable Reverso—a watch whose dial side could flipped over during play, leaving a hard steel surface to bear the brunt of the wear-and-tear associated with the sport. The watch has seen much change throughout the years, including a number of dual-sided versions, multiple axis tourbillons, and the like, however the classic Reverso will always remain just that; an ultimate classic.
Though known for his fantastic career in Formula One, Alain Prost has also been a long-time fan of cycling, a passion brought to light by this recent creation by Richard Mille. Given the number of watches with motorsport associations that RM has created recently, we were both surprised and impressed by this funky, asymmetrical carbon creation. Designed to be particularly comfortable on the wrist when on a bicycle, the watch also features a unique complication in the same vein as Hublot’s golf score counter. The manually operated mileage counter is meant to be used as a logbook of sorts, allowing riders to add up their total miles (or kilometers completed over the course of a ride. One pusher is used to select the increment that one wants to increase, whereas the other advances the counter one unit at a time. While not entirely practical, as it forces its wearer to still complete basic math, it’s still an interesting and unique approach to adding task-specific functionality to the wrist.
Author: Justin Mastine-Frost