Thursday, October 17, 2013

Luxury Watch Companies That Scored Big with Winning Ambassadors

Companies score when chosen ambassadors rise victorious over competitors.  In the world of sports the champion is glorified by millions of fans in a spotlight of concentrated media attention and plunged into that spotlight is the champions clothing, accessories, toiletries, food and WATCHES.  

The first company to utilize this publicity was Rolex back in 1926 - when the first "waterproof" wristwatch  ,Rolex Oyster, was placed around the neck of Mercedes Gleitze as she attempted to swim, for the second time, across the English Channel. The fanfare and publicity surrounding this swim hurled Mercedes Gleitze  into the limelight with the "first Waterproof Rolex Watch" around her neck.  

 The choice of sports ambassadors have become common practice.  Listed are some of the most decorated sports ambassadors and the luxury watch companies who chose them.

1.  LeBron James - Audemars Piguet

 LeBron James nicknamed "King James", undoubtedly the best American pro basketball player, is an ambassador for Audemars Piguet since 2011.  Latest achievement -  LeBron James brought his team, Miami Heat, to victory in the 2013 NBA Playoff for the second year in a row earning the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award for 2012 and 2013.  

 On September 27th, 2013 Audemars Piguet celebrated the outstanding achievements of LeBron James with a  Limited Edition LeBron James Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph.  LeBron James actually helped design the $51,500 timepiece.
The automatic watch caters to LeBron James more formal attire rather than strapped around his arm during a basketball match.  A titanium bezel adds a sense of rugged strength against a backdrop of an 18k rose gold case and  18k gold numerals and indices soften the look of a gray “Méga Tapisserie”dial. A gray crocodile strap definitely adds a unique touch to watch.  Limited to 600 timepieces, this watch is a collectors or basketball fans dream.

RM 027-01
2.Rafael Nadel - Richard Mille

 Rafael Nadel , considered one of the greatest tennis players of all times is an ambassador for Richard Mille since 2010.  His greatest achievements include winning an Olympic gold in the Beijing Olympics; Most consecutive titles at a particular tournament inclusive of smashing 5 tennis world records - Grand Slam, Monte Carlo Masters, French Open, Barcelona Open with 8 men's singles titles and the Rome Masters with 7 men's single.  He has risen to World No. 1 in the latest ATP tennis ratings winning ten titles including two majors.

The highlight of the union between Richard Mille and Rafael Nadel occurred at Wimbledon 2010, when Richard Milles ultra light 20g RM 027 Tourbillon accompanied Rafael Nadel on court.  The shock absorbency of the $525,000 watch was put to the test in a high impact environment and past with flying colors. This year Rafael Nadel has sported a Richard Mille watch at every tournament including a new an improved model to the RM027 -  the even lighter  19g $690,000 Richard Mille RM027-01 tourbillon comprised of complex carbon composites and titanium, which he wore at the US OPEN.

Michael Phelps wearing an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
3.Michael Phelps-Omega

The swimmer Michael Phelps  is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning a total of 22 medals, of which 18 are gold.  Michael Phelps is an Olympic icon and he is on Omega's team.  Omega and Micheal Phelps are intrinsically intertwined in the Olympics breaking barriers and creating legends. Both display Olympic Triumphs - Michael Phelps in competing and Omega in Timing. Omega entered the Olympic games in Los Angeles 1932 assigned to the entire task of timing the games.  Michael Phelps joined Omega in 2004, the  year he won 8 medals at the  Athens 2004 Olympics.

Tiger Woods & Lindsey Vonn
4. Tiger Woods - Rolex (Not Tag Heuer)

Tiger Woods is the No. 1 Golf Player in the world.  His latest victory is winning the Presidents Cup this past Sunday in Dublin Ohio.  Strapped to his wrist was a Rolex Deepsea.  Rolex commissioned Tiger Woods as an ambassador  in 2011 -   Not long after Tag Heuer dropped Tiger Woods from its watch endorsement. Tag Heuer was still quite mortified by a certain Tiger Woods incident that occurred in 2009, and felt the golfer could not shake his less than perfect image.  Rolex felt otherwise, and today Rolex proves the wiser with a Top Golfer and plenty of winning Rolex imagery. The Rolex Deepsea, unveiled in 2008, is an extraordinary timepiece with a water resistancy of up to 12,800 feet.  Tested in a stainless steel hyperbaric chamber, the Rolex Deepsea is the same watch that accompanied James Cameron 6.9 miles on the 2012 deepest record-breaking Mariana Trench Solo Sub Dive.

5. Lionel Messi - Audemars Piguet 

Lionel Messi and AP Royal Oak Chronograph Lionel Messi Limited Editiom
Lionel Messi holds the title in soccer of "World Player of the Year " four years in a row.  Lionel Messi is  a soccer legend with all eyes riveted on an Argentian Victory at the World Cup 2014. Lionel Messi joined Audemars Piguet back in 2010.
As Phillipe Merk, CEO of Audemars Piguet said, “ Lionel Messi is an exceptional man, the greatest player of his generation. This young and talented athlete not only embodies pure sporting genius, but also the courage and determination of a man who fights against all odds to pursue his dreams. Above and beyond his intrinsic value, we are welcoming a big-hearted man with valuable human qualities into the Audemars Piguet family.”
In 2012, Audemars Piguet  unveiled the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Lionel Messi Limited Edition to 1000 pieces. (500 in steel, 400 in gold and 100 in platinum).

6. Usain Bolt - Hublot

Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, is the undisputed fastest runner in the world. His nickname "Lightning Bolt" is almost a given as he runs past the naked eye in a frenzied blur. He broke his own 2008 world record at the 2012 summer Olympics winning the 100m dash in a mere 9.63 seconds. He joined Hublot in 2010.

 Chairman of Hublot - Jean Claude Biver - could not have said it any better "For a watchmaker it is a fantastic symbol to see his watch worn by the fastest man in the world. The concept of time is as sacred for him as it is for us. We measure it; Usain always manages to win it!”

For Usain Bolt, Hublot created a Hublot King Power Bolt Watch Limited Edition.  A striking feature of the watch is its unique strap.  The strap is actually crafted from identical gold colored synthetic leather as the shoes Usain Bolt wore when he sprinted to victory in Beijing 2008 and broke the world record.

7. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg- IWC 

The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg teamed up with IWC in May of 2013.  This partnership ,or should I say foursome, (Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, IWC and Mercedes AMG) is a testament to precision in performance.  Lewis Hamilton (former  Tag Heuer ambassador) won the 2008 Formula One World Championship becoming the youngest winner ever to achieve this victory.   In 2013, Lewis Hamilton left McLaren and joined the Mercedes-Benz work team.  German Racing Driver Nico Rosberg joined Mercedes in 2010 and is currently holding at 6th in Formula One World Championships.  Nico Rosberg holds the title for youngest driver to set the fastest lap in the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix at the age of 20 and 258 days.  Both drivers are 28 years old and although they have accrued an outstanding record, they still have record-setting years ahead of them.  Question is will Michal Schumacher - the greatest F1 driver of all times winning  Formula One 7 times and recently appointed Mercedes Ambassador - join the IWC team as well. 

8. Steven Stamkos - Tissot

Canadian, 23 year old Steven Stamkos is a professional ice hockey center and alternate captain for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL.  His speed and wit on the ice ensures a tough job for an opposing goalie. In 2008, after 2 highly successful season in Canada , Tissot commissioned Steven Stamkos.  It was early in his career and full of promise.  That same year he was selected in the draft for the NHL; playing for the Tampa bay Lightning.  In 2010 he was the winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy - for the most goals scored in an NHL season. On March 13th, 2012, he broke a record by becoming the 6th player to score his 50th goal before his 23rd birthday. In March 2013, he scored his 200th goal.  His latest win was on October 10th, 2013 when the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 7-2.  

Tissot honors Steven Stamkos outstanding career with the Tissot PRS 200 Steven Stamkos 2013. 

 The white watch face etched with gray lines resembles skate marks on an ice rink. A 0-20 gradient on the bezel is another ice hockey touch and indicates the momentum build-up for every period in a hockey game. The decisive goal is indicated on the bezel atop the 12 'o'clock with an image of a puck. The watch is limited to 1091 pieces - "91" being his team number.  Steven Stamkos is young and a forging ahead at lightning speeds, no doubt his future victories will be plentiful.  

Footnote: Tom Brady - Movado (Former Ambassador) Movado no longer lists Tom Brady as an ambassador, but as Tom Brady with the New England Patriots name is echoed across football fields this NFL season, anything with Tom Brady's name is a highly coveted possession like the Tom Brady Limited Edition 800 Series Chronograph Collection (crica 2008). No longer a Movado ambassador, but victories still effect sales. 

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