If you’re a quality timepiece aficionado and a sportsman, you’ll likely wonder what watches are worn by tennis players at some point in time. After all, professionals have a lot on the line, and wearing the wrong wristwatch has the potential to literally ruin a game.
Dependability, shock resistance, weight, and the secureness of the band are all important aspects in selecting the ideal piece, which makes choosing one a difficult but important decision for someone whose career could well ride on making the right choice.
It’s for these very reasons that most sportsmen and watchmakers would agree that wearing a mechanical timepiece during play is totally out of the question, but a few manage to make it work. Here’s a quick look at what watches are worn by tennis players who have made a name for themselves and clearly have a keen eye for the finer things in life as well.
Rafael Nadal: Richard Mille
Rafael “Rafa” Nadal Parera, also known as the “The King of Clay” is currently ranked number-two in the world for men’s singles tennis. As the first professional to win one tournament 10 times and secure 50 career clay court titles, the Spaniard’s list of accomplishments is great and continually growing.
Nadal has a partnership with luxury brand Richard Mille, whose first model, the RM 001, was inspired by none other than the Ferrari and crafted by Audemars Piguet. Three different Richard Mille pieces have graced Rafa’s wrist on the court.
“I never used to wear a watch and hadn’t even thought about wearing one, but when Richard proposed to make me a watch that was light, robust and comfortable, I was interested in his initiative, although I was reluctant to wear it on the court,” says Nadal. “He came to my house in Majorca and we were on the same wavelength. As soon as I tried the watch, I loved it. It’s like a second skin for me.”
First on our list of what watches are worn by tennis players is the RM 27-03, which Nadal was wearing when he won his tenth French Open title in 2017. While many fine watchmakers boast that their pieces can withstand 5,000Gs, Richard Mille’s RM 27-03 is built to withstand 10,000Gs. Extra focus was placed on having the wristwatch perform well with pendulum testing, a process which involves striking the piece directly on the crown with a 4.5kg mallet.
Following being hit by 10,000Gs of force, the RM 27-03 continues to perform, ensuring it can withstand anything that happens on the court. Done up in vibrant orange and yellow, just 50 of these pieces were created for sale, each with an estimated initial sale price of $725,000.
Though not quite as flashy or shock-resistant as the RM 27-03, the RM 27-02 shares many of the same characteristics, ranging from vibrant orange hue through rugged durability. Like its predecessor, just 50 pieces were released.
Nadal began wearing the 27-01 in 2013. With materials such as titanium and aluminum-lithium, the wristwatch was designed to be ultra-durable, yet incredibly light. Weighing in at a mere 19 grams including its strap, the black-hued piece was named the world’s lightest tourbillon watch.
Roger Feder: Rolex
Presently ranked number-three in the world for men’s singles, Roger Feder has earned 20 Grand Slam singles titles, topping all other male players. Like Nadal, Feder has a long list of accomplishments, and is often considered the greatest tennis player of all time.
Most fans also agree he’s arguably the best sportsman of his time, always personable and charismatic. It’s no surprise then, that the Swiss pro prefers Rolex.
“I was going to Wimbledon trying to break Pete Sampras’ all time Grand Slam record,” recalls Feder. “When I did win and broke the record, in an epic five set match against Roddick, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t break the whole match until the last game, and that gave me victory.
When I was finally able to lift the trophy, I was wearing my Rolex on my wrist.” Because of this, Feder’s wristwatch carries significant sentimental value. “When I look at the watch, I remember that day very vividly,” he adds.
Oyster Perpetual Datejust II
Feder is not known for wearing his Rolex on the court, but he does put it on before he collects any trophies. Understandably so, as the Oyster Perpetual Datejust II is not designed to take a beating like the collection offered by Richard Mille. However, what the Rolex lacks in ruggedness, it surely makes up for in class and quality.
Datejusts have been part of Rolex’s line for decades and are arguably one of the most recognizable wristwatches on the planet. While the details of Feder’s personal piece cannot be confirmed, it appears to be a steel model, complete with white dial and classic Oyster bracelet. Similar models tend to retail for $10,000- $12,000
As the first Serbian player to have attained the number-one position with the ATP, Novak “Nole” Djokovic is presently ranked number One in men’s singles tennis. Though Djokovic has an impressive list of accomplishments as well, including holding all four major titles at once, the fact that he has gone head to head with both Nadal and Feder and has come out victorious, leading 26-24 and 23-22 respectively, speaks highly of his prowess too.
Unlike the others, Djokovic has not been loyal to a primary watchmaker, first representing Audemars Piguet beginning in 2011, followed by a switch to Seiko in 2014. “I have discovered a new passion for fine watchmaking and I truly admire both the traditional and modern aspects of the work accomplished by Audemars Piguet,” Djokovic explained when he was named ambassador.
Our list of what watches are worn by tennis players grows considerably as we move into Djokovic’s relationship with Seiko. As part of his partnership with the brand, Djokovic agreed to wear a number of timepieces marked with the company name. “We cannot help Novak win tennis matches, but we can help him manage time in every other aspect of his life,” a company spokesman declared.
“We have created a series of watches that Novak will be wearing in 2014, each selected to suit the different aspects of Novak’s life. When he is training, Novak will wear a watch he has selected from our Sportura chronograph collection. When he is at an evening function, Novak will wear a Premier Kinetic Perpetual watch.
When he is away from the tennis world and enjoying his passion for adventure sports, it will be a Seiko Divers watch that accompanies him. Lastly, and most importantly for us and for Novak, whose global schedule is so hectic, when he is travelling, Novak will wear the Astron GPS Solar watch that uses the GPS network and the power of light to adjust automatically to each and every time zone on earth.” Many of the Seiko watches Djokovic donned retail for only a few hundred dollars.
It was an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak on his wrist when Nole collected the 2011 Australian Open trophy. While the timepiece was not suitable for the court, it certainly brought an air of class to the ceremony.
Royal Oaks have been made since the 1970s, with numerous variants released. The timepiece is easily distinguished by its octagonal bezel, hexagonal screws, steel case, and black tapisserie pattern dial. Similar pieces retail for $11,500 new.
What Watches are Worn by Tennis Players?
While knowing what watches are worn by tennis players can help us replicate their style, it’s safe to say that countless models and brands have been worn by professional athletes throughout the years, and there’s no “right” choice. However, it’s worth noting that even brand ambassadors do not wear their Rolexes and Audemars Piguets during gameplay. If you’d like a luxury timepiece of your own for sport or everyday wear, view our pre-owned collection online.
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