DOES IT COME AS any shock that the world’s sporting elite, more often than not, have a penchant for showing off their pay-day ‘toys’ when it comes to public appearances? Naturally, one of the biggest flexes in the game is wrist wear, with many athletes, past and present, seeking to out-do each other with the latest trending timepieces.
Case in point: this week, international golfing sensation Viktor Hovland was seen with a highly-coveted Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, a watch he wore as he hoisted the silverware from his BMW Championship Cup win. If it wasn’t enough that the Norwegian superstar was netting a cool $28m from this historic win, he had to add some blingy AP to stoke the fire.
Seeing such athletes don rare, unique (and often intangible) timepieces before, during or post sporting pursuits does have one sporting fan wondering: which athletes wear the coolest watches in town?
Esquire investigates below.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ref. 26579CB
Winning The BMW Championship Cup this week—and giving one of the best-ever performances of his PGA Tour career— the 25-year-old celebrated his $28m win with an all-white ceramic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar with a blue “Grande Tapisserie” dial and silver subdials on wrist. This super rare timepiece has a current market value of over $450,000.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic
When Novak Djokovic defeated World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in a 3-set thriller in Cincinnati this week, it cemented the Serbian tennis star’s 39th Masters 1000 title win. On wrist to celebrate his big win? A 2021 Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic. Resembling Bumblebee from Transformers, if there’s anyone who can pull off this statement-making Hublot timepiece, it’s certainly Mr. Novak Djokovic.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph (ref. 5968G)
Lionel Messi—arguably the greatest living football player— has proven naysayers wrong once again, asserting his dominance in the American Major League Soccer for Inter Miami. The 36-year-old’s new team clearly suits him, running rings around his opponents as he scores goal after goal. Off field, his game is just as strong in the style department, as he sports a Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph in a recent post-game appearance.
Cartier Santos de Cartier (ref. WSSAA0048)
Golden State Warriors’ point guard Stephen Curry is clearly scoring points off court with his choice in Cartier timepieces. The NBA champ has been seen wearing the 2022 Cartier Santos de Cartier in recent times, and was on proud display after winning the 2022 NBA Championship.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea
Long has Tiger Woods been affiliated with Rolex. In 2011, he became an official ‘Testimonee’ for the luxury Swiss watch brand, and ever since, only wears Rolex timepieces. But there’s one watch that Woods is seen wearing a lot—it’s even rumoured he wears it is his sleep—and that’s the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea; a tool-purpose watch made for big adventures at sea. Woods wore this iconic timepiece at his Master’s win in 2019.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 “Tiffany-Blue”
While LeBron James’ watch collection is highly coveted, it’s his Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 with a “Tiffany-Blue” dial that he is seen wearing most in recent times — from nights out in Los Angeles to weekends at the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The watch that broke the internet upon its reveal in 2021, only a select few individuals (VIPs) were granted access to purchase the luxury timepiece; LeBron being one of them.
Jacob & Co Caviar Flying Tourbillon “Tsavorite”
It’s no secret that Cristiano Ronaldo is a fan of Jacob & Co — an American jeweller and watchmaker renowned for designing some of the world’s most expensive, extravagant and extraordinary pieces. Like this custom-made timepiece pictured on Ronaldo’s wrist; a Caviar Flying Tourbillon created in celebration of Ronaldo joining the Saudi Arabian Football Club, Al Nassr.
Rolex Day-Date 40 Platinum with diamond dial (ref. 228206)
UFC champion Conor McGregor is not only regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial arts athletes of our time, but he’s also regarded as the biggest pay-per-view drawcard in MMA history(he’s headlined five out of six of the highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events in history). With such titles comes serious paydays, and if we have learnt a thing or two about the jumping Irishman, it’s that McGregor likes to spend big… and he makes no exceptions for his watch collection, like this beautiful Rolex Day-Date 40 with Platinum case, President bracelet, ice-blue dial and diamond hour indicators.