Luxury watches and tennis go hand in hand—in fact, Rolex has been the official timekeeper for Wimbledon since 1978. Since the early 2010s, every other major tennis pro has landed an endorsement deal with a luxury timepiece brand, from Roger Federer and Rolex to Serena Williams and Audemars Piguet.
Most recently, you may have gleaned top tennis player Rafael Nadal’s blue stunner on his right wrist at the French Open (no, we’re not talking about his sweatband)—the lightest tourbillon in the world by Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, the RM27-04 that is priced at a cool USD$1.05million.
Ahead, all the tennis players who have donned the sleekest of timepieces on court:
A Rolex ambassador since 2011, tennis ace Roger Federer is never spotted without an impressive timepiece on his wrist when he takes the court—more so when he lifts his winning trophies. The former World No. 1 has repped the latest and classic pieces from Rolex throughout his nine-year-long relationship with the brand—from a rose gold Day-Date II during the 2012 Wimbledon to the Sky-Dweller in steel and white gold when he took home his 20th career Grand Slam title in January 2018.
Back in 2008, it took a lot of convincing from watchmaker Richard Mille for tennis pro Rafael Nadal to wear a watch on court. What transpired from the successful partnership was the creation of the lightest tourbillon in the world at that time.
“Richard came to my house and showed me a model saying : ‘this is the watch that we made for you’. The watch was in platinum so very heavy, I was very confused and didn’t realise that he was joking. As soon as I tried the real watch on, I loved it. We were on the same wavelength. The watch is now like a second skin for me,” said Nadal.
The King of Clay has partnered with Richard Mille for a decade now, most recently making headlines for sporting the Richard Mille RM27-04 Tourbillon on his right wrist when he earned his 20th Grand Slam title at the French Open. A technical marvel that weighs only 30 grams and is able to withstand shocks up to 12,000 g’s, the tourbillon’s construction is inspired by the strings on a tennis racquet.
It’s only fitting that former World No. 1 in women’s single tennis Serena Williams would partner up with one of the Holy Trinity of haute watchmaking, Audemars Piguet. The successful tennis icon has worn the brand’s most extraordinary watches since their partnership was made official in 2014, from the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in rose gold as she took home her 22nd Grand Slam victory, to the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in stainless steel with a diamond bezel at the 2019 Wimbledon.
Fun fact: Williams wore her watch upside-down during the match—perhaps to prevent the crown and pushers from poking into her wrist.
The current World No. 1 of men’s single tennis has been endorsed by Japanese watchmaker Seiko since 2014, a few years after the brand introduced its groundbreaking Astron Solar GPS watch. Shortly after, Seiko has launched exclusive “Novak Djokovic” limited-edition Astron timepieces. This partnership has seen Djokovic wearing a selection of different watches from Seiko according to his lifestyle—from Seiko’s Sportura Chronograph when he is training to the Premier Kinetic Perpetual for formal functions.
A three-time Grand Slam singles champion and the current No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, 23-year-old Naomi Osaka is also the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Reportedly one of the most marketable athletes in the world, Osaka is the brand ambassador of Japanese watch brand Citizen since 2018—first sporting the Citizen Eco-Drive Bluetooth during the game-changing US Open finals in the same year. Osaka has since worn the same model during the 2019 Wimbledon and Australian Open.
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