FOOT­BALL

In most parts of the world, this past sum­mer was markedly dom­i­nated by the FIFA World Cup. As the world’s most vis­i­ble sport­ing event in terms of sup­port­ers, fans, au­di­ence and fees om­manded by play­ers, lux­ury watch­mak­ing was nat­u­rally not far be­hind in t

Plaza Watch International - - Contents - WO RD S EL­IZ­A­BETH DO­ERR

In the year of the FIFA World Cup, we look at the con­nec­tions be­tween watches and the beau­ti­ful game.

Por­tuguese su­per­star Cris­tiano Ron­aldo is the world’s high­est paid foot­ball player; Forbes es­ti­mates that he earns US$80 mil­lion per year in salary and en­dorse­ments. The Real Madrid for­ward is nat­u­rally not with­out watch en­dorse­ments and has been as­so­ci­ated with three dif­fer­ent lux­ury watch brands over the course of the last 12 months. The limited edi­tion Franck Muller Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar BiRetro Chrono­graph was made es­pe­cially for him in 2012, a showy, com­pli­cated watch that goes well with his fash­ion style. Just be­fore Baselworld, he was in­volved in a mas­sive ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign for Ja­cob & Co.’s Ghost Watch. Fi­nally it comes to light that Ron­aldo is now an of­fi­cial am­bas­sador for TAG Heuer; he re­port­edly wears the 50th An­niver­sary Chrono­graph Car­rera.

Ar­gentina’s star player Lionel (Leo) Messi is of­ten called the world’s best soc­cer player, though he comes in be­hind Ron­aldo in sports earn­ings ac­cord­ing to Forbes: in fourth place to Ron­aldo’s sec­ond with US$64.7. As FC Barcelona’s star for­ward since 2005, he has led the Span­ish league cham­pi­ons to cap­ture three Cham­pi­ons League and five Span­ish cham­pi­onship ti­tles.

Aude­mars Piguet has made a limited edi­tion Royal Oak model in hon­our of the man who joined the company’s am­bas­sador ranks in 2010. The Royal Oak Leo Messi Limited Edi­tion, limited to just 1,000 pieces, is avail­able in three case com­bi­na­tions: stain­less steel/tan­ta­lum, rose gold/tan­ta­lum, and plat­inum/tan­ta­lum. Com­ing on a high-qual­ity al­li­ga­tor skin strap, it is de­liv­ered with an ad­di­tional sporty rub­ber strap.

Ac­cord­ing to Forbes, the third-high­est-paid re­tired ath­lete is David Beck­ham with an­nual in­come of US$37 mil­lion. Surely this has some­thing to do with the 38-yearold’s great fash­ion sense and good looks. In­deed, he re­mains one of the world’s most fa­mous foot­ballers even if he re­tired from pro­fes­sional soc­cer in 2013.

His per­sonal in­ter­est in watches is widely known and he has been seen wear­ing a va­ri­ety of time­pieces over the years such as a Rolex Sea Dweller and a num­ber of 47 mm Ja­cob & Co. mod­els. He be­came the of­fi­cial spokesper­son for Bre­itling in 2012, and cur­rently sports a Bre­itling for Bent­ley B05 Unitime in the Swiss brand’s ad­ver­tis­ing. This par­tic­u­lar model is pow­ered by the au­to­matic in-house B05 cal­i­bre, an of­fi­cially cer­ti­fied chronome­ter, which in­cludes a chrono­graph and world time. It comes in a 49 mm case avail­able in stain­less steel or red gold.

Brazil­ian soc­cer legend Pelé comes in tenth on the Forbes list of high­est-paid re­tired ath­letes with an­nual earn­ings of US$15 mil­lion. No won­der, for the 77-year-old was in hot de­mand this past sum­mer as a spokesper­son for a host of prod­ucts dur­ing the World Cup month. In­clud­ing Hublot, the main spon­sor of the World Cup, who cre­ated limited edi­tion watches for foot­ball play­ers, teams and as­so­ci­a­tions far too nu­mer­ous to men­tion here. Hublot has nat­u­rally cre­ated sev­eral soc­cer-re­lated limited

edi­tions cel­e­brat­ing soc­cer’s big­gest event, in­clud­ing the of­fi­cial watch of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: the Big Bang Unico Bi-Ret­ro­grade Chrono­graph. This time­piece was es­pe­cially de­vel­oped so that the wearer can time each 45-minute half of the game.

Swiss brand Carl F. Bucherer spon­sored both Swiss na­tional goal­keeper Diego Be­naglio as well as the whole Swiss Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (SFV) dur­ing World Cup play. In their hon­our, the Lucerne-based brand turned the ro­bust Pa­travi ScubaTec into a trib­ute watch sport­ing a num­ber of sym­bolic soc­cer-re­lated el­e­ments: red and black for the as­so­ci­a­tion’s cor­po­rate colours, en­graved soc­cer play­ers grac­ing the dial, and the SFV’s logo at 6 o’clock on the bezel. The case back is en­graved with a soc­cer ball and the name of the Swiss na­tional soc­cer player that is the watch’s re­cip­i­ent.

In pre­vi­ous years, IWC spon­sored Ger­many’s na­tional team with of­fi­cial spe­cial edi­tion DFB (Ger­man foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion) watches in 2008, 2010 and 2012. As the DFB de­cided to stop the of­fi­cial part­ner­ship for “strate­gic rea­sons,” some of the Ger­man play­ers de­cided to or­der un­of­fi­cial “2014 edi­tions” for them­selves any­way. They chose the Por­tuguese Yacht Club in stain­less steel, which they pur­chased and had per­son­al­ized them­selves as a sym­bol of sol­i­dar­ity. World cham­pion Ger­many’s na­tional coach Joachim ( Jogi) Löw very vis­i­bly wore his as he di­rected the team from the side­lines.

A num­ber of the world cham­pion team’s play­ers are part of London’s Premier League foot­ball club Arse­nal F.C.: Me­sut Özil, Per Merte­sacker and Lukas Podol­ski to be ex­act. Thus, they also get the chance to wear JeanRichard’s Aero­scope Chrono­graph Arse­nal. JeanRichard is the global part­ner and of­fi­cial watch part­ner of the world-fa­mous club and has made two spe­cial edi­tions: the first is an Aero­scope chrono­graph limited to just 250 pieces housed in a 44 mm black ti­ta­nium case with a red dial and match­ing red rub­ber strap. The Arse­nal Gun­ners’ canon forms the hand for the run­ning seconds, a quirky, in­ter­est­ing de­tail. The sec­ond is a 44 mm stain­less steel Ter­ras­cope fea­tur­ing the Arse­nal Gun­ners’ canon logo at 6 o’clock.

Lionel Messi’s club, FC Barcelona, also has an of­fi­cial watch part­ner: Mau­rice Lacroix. Three spe­cial edi­tions in hon­our of this big part­ner­ship have just been re­vealed in the Eliros, Pon­tos S and Master­piece Squelette lines. They are avail­able at re­tail from Oc­to­ber.

The tim­ing part­ner of Manch­ester City is none other than Richard Mille. Above and beyond that, the cut­tingedge Swiss brand also boasts soc­cer legend Roberto Mancini as an am­bas­sador. In cre­at­ing a spe­cial edi­tion watch – the Richard Mille RM 11-01 Roberto Mancini – Mancini chose to col­lab­o­rate on a new de­sign for the RM011. The tech­ni­cal mod­i­fi­ca­tion al­lows it to dis­play match time based on two 45-minute halves. If there is over­time (and there al­ways is), the fly­back chrono­graph can han­dle that too.

Speak­ing of leg­ends, Haut­lence in­tro­duced for­mer French na­tional player Eric Can­tona as its new am­bas­sador. Can­tona and Haut­lence are cur­rently de­sign­ing a spe­cial-edi­tion watch to­gether, which will likely have blue on the dial and is des­tined to be pre­sented at the brand’s ten-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion in Neuchâ­tel.

Mark­ing the World Cup in Brazil, Parmi­giani Fleurier be­came the of­fi­cial watch spon­sor of the CBF, the Con­fed­er­ação Brasileira de Fute­bol: the Brazil­ian foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion. And it cre­ated a col­lec­tion of 42 mm Per­sh­ing chrono­graph mod­els as trib­ute to the cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary of the CBF en­graved with the as­so­ci­a­tion’s em­blem on the case back and clad in its of­fi­cial colours: gold, blue, and green. Highly un­usu­ally, there is also even a ladies’ model among the col­lec­tion.

L e f t to r i g h t: J e a n R i c h a r d ' s T e r r a s c o p e wi t h G u n n e r s c a n o n ; t h e C a r l F . B u c h e r e r S c u b a T e c SF V ; R i c h a r d M i ll e R M 11 - 0 1 R o b e r t o M a n c i n i ; H u bl o t ' s B i g B a n g U n i c o B i - R e t r o g r a d e C h r o n o g r a p h , t h e o f f i c i a l wa t c h o f t h e FIFA Wo r l d C u p 2 0 1 4 ; A u d e m a r s P i g u e t R o y a l O a k L e o M e s s i L i m i t e d E d i t i o n

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