It’s been a hectic football season in America, where many teams played in empty stadiums or near-empty stadiums due to Covid-19. As is customary there are the big NFL and AFL championship games to determine who goes to the Super Bowl in February. On January 24, the American Football League teams Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills ran hard in the AFC game, and in the National Football League, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came up against quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. In the end, the Buccaneers prevailed and will be heading into the big Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021, playing against Kansas.
With all of this winter excitement around American football, it seems a good time to take a look at top players, the watches they wear, and the brands that affiliate themselves with this fantastic sport. We know there are a lot of great football players out there who love watches, including Odell Beckham Jr. who likes to buy blinged out watches, and has purchased a customized diamond-adorned Breitling and Jacob & Co watches and who even wore a $200,000 Richard Mille out on the field. Then you have the European equivalent of football: soccer. Even the legendary soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus recently showed off his unique totally diamond-encrusted Franck Muller Cintree Curvex Tourbillon with baguette-cut diamonds that retail for upwards of a million dollars.
However, today we are taking a look at watch brands that are highly involved in the game of football, either by sponsorships of teams or with brand ambassadors from the sport. To liven it up a bit, we are also looking at both American football and European football, AKA: soccer.
Zenith and Aaron Rodgers
Just this week, Zenith watches announced its partnership with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Zenith says that Rodgers will be the face of its new El Primero Chronomaster Sport watch launched last week and that he is a great representative of the brand’s Time to Reach Your Star marketing campaign.
IWC and Tom Brady
IWC Schaffhausen has Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady on its friend of the brands’ list. The star quarterback recently led the Buccaneers to victory, with Brady making history as the first quarterback to win seven Super Bowl rings. He has gone to the Bowl 10 times so far, with most of those played during his role as the star quarterback for the New England Patriots. Brady used to be an ambassador for TAG Heuer. However, he joined the IWC roster a couple of years ago and even starred in a movie produced by IWC for its “Born of a Dream” campaign.
Hublot Loves Football
Hublot is a brand that has gone deep into the football world. In America, the brand has teamed with the Dallas Cowboys as the Official Timekeeper and has even created several limited edition watches in the team’s blue and silver colors. However, it is in Europe, in soccer, where Hublot really reigns supreme. Since 2006, when the brand became the first luxury watch brand to join the sport in a big way, it has grown its involvement almost immeasurably. The brand is not only the Official Timekeeper of the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup, but also it is the Official Watch of a host of prestigious clubs, including Juventus, Chelsea, and more. It also has a host of famous soccer-playing celebrities on its roster of brand ambassadors, including Pelé, José Mourinho, and Kylian Mbappé. Hublot is the Official Watch of the UEFA competitions, as well, and has even created special timing boards and watches for the matches. Because of its far-reaching involvement, Hublot has coined the term “Hublot Loves Football.”
In 2020, the Premier League announced a new partnership with Hublot as the official timekeeper. Previously, this role belonged to a sister company under the LVMH umbrella, TAG Heuer.
Tudor and Beckham
Another soccer legend, David Beckham joined Tudor several years ago and has been one of the biggest names behind the brand’s “Born To Dare” campaign. Sister company of Rolex, Tudor says that Beckham was born for a purpose. As a child, he always said he wanted to be a football player. He never held back and always pursued his goal with a unique style. The saying “Bend it like Beckham” demonstrates his daring pursuit of perfection. His watch of choice is a Tudor Black Bay Bronze 43mm diver’s watch.
TAG Heuer and Manchester United
It was just a few years ago, in 2017, that TAG Heuer welcomed Mats Hummels of German Bundesliga to its Manufacture. At that time, the brand was the official timekeeper for the Premier League’s Manchester United and others. Today, TAG Heuer remains the Official Watch and Official Timekeeper for Manchester United, the most successful team in the Premier League. The Red Devils, as they are called, wear their colors proudly, and TAG Heuer has created special edition Manchester United watches with that bold red as a signature accent.
Ritmo Mundo and Oscar Emboaba
Another player in the soccer world is American-based Ritmo Mundo who has signed on Brazilian superstar Oscar Emboaba as a brand ambassador and co-designer for a watch that sports his colors. The Shanghai SIPG Football club center back, formerly a Chelsea star and Brazilian national player, has been a friend of the brand for more than a decade. The Oscar Special Edition watch is a Racer chronograph with Oscar’s number 8 taking a prominent placement in white.
Richard Mille and Roberto Mancini
It was just a couple of years ago that Richard Mille created a new nearly $200,000 watch in collaboration with Italian soccer coach Roberto Mancini. The six-time Italian champion and Best player of the Italian championships, Mancini went on to coaching. In the collaboration, Richard Mille created the RM 11-01 and RM 11-04 watches in 2013 and 2019 respectively for the coach who has to make split-second decisions.
Backes & Strauss and Dani Alves
Backes & Strauss have just announced a new partnership with Brazilian football legend Dani Alves. They will work together on a series of timepieces celebrating his journey from his humble start to his success today. Dani Alves is one of the greatest football players of all time. He has won a record 42 trophies for both Brazil and some of the greatest clubs worldwide, including Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain. The 37-year-old is currently the captain of Brazil’s most successful club, São Paolo.
Even Audemars Piguet had a soccer relationship back about seven years ago when the brand teamed with soccer legend Lionel Messi and created a Leo Messi Limited Edition Royal Oak watch. One might be lucky enough to find one of these on the vintage market. Suffice it to say that the concept of watch brands and football relationships lives on and prospers.
About the Author
Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.