The biggest manufacturers of horlogerie are easily drawn to the finer things in life. They partner with football clubs, top footballers, luxury carmakers and even fictional superheroes, but in the real world, nothing gets finer than a glint of gold around the neck of a winner; some would say the only thing to go with that is a glint of gold around their wrists.
Thankfully, some watchmakers are more than happy to oblige. So, here are some of the top watches and the Olympics champions for whom they were made.
“I am the greatest,” proclaimed Usain Bolt after collecting his third Olympic medal at his third Olympic games, having collected the exact number at two previous games – completing the triple-treble. The world’s fastest man sports an eponymous watch from Hublot called the Big Bang Unico Usain Bolt.
As a nod to the serial gold medallist, the limited edition Big Bang Unico Usain Bolt is available in gold or black and features a Jamaican flag embossed on the strap, a lightning bolt as its second hand and Usain Bolt’s signature winning pose on the dial.
Bolt’s compatriot and fellow gold medalist in the Men’s 4x100m relay may find it difficult to step out from under his shadow, but Yohan Blake is no less flashy when it comes to his timekeeping choices. Blake’s newest watch was hand delivered by Richard Mille himself in Rio.
Blake actually wears his watch in competition, putting the timepiece through the kind of stress few other watches may ever face. Although little is known of his new watch, his previous RM 59-01 Yohan Blake tourbillon survived many a race and has earned its retirement.
Although the King of Clay couldn’t follow his feat at the 2008 Olympics and pick up a gold medal in the men’s single event, Rafael Nadal did his country proud by winning the Men’s Doubles with Marc Lopez, all while showing off a sleek Richard Mille RM 27-02.
Nadal has a whole series of watches with Richard Mille, including the RM 027, RM 27-01 and the RM 35-02 alongside the RM 27-02. Like Yohan Blake, Nadal wears his watch while playing, putting the strength of the Swiss made timepieces to the test.
Although Bubba Watson could have put another feather in Richard Mille’s cap, it was Justin Rose who picked up the first gold medal in men’s golf following its return to the Olympics. Although Rose kept his wrist bare during competition, he does have his name on a Hublot.
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Justin Rose doesn’t throw any curveballs in terms of design, but its cool balance of gold and black ceramic complement the understated Briton who golfed his way to gold in one of the more surprising sports at the Rio Olympics.
There is nothing surprising about Michael Phelps racking up gold medals, except when he missed out on one to young Joseph Schooling. Even Phelps’ return from retirement to collect another 5 gold medals didn’t surprise as he now ends his Olympics career with 23 gold medals.
Although Phelps clearly doesn’t take his watch into the pool, the Omega ambassador is known to be a fan of the Olympics official timekeeper’s Seamaster series, aptly so. The American may be swimming off into the sunset, but Omega can now look forward to Tokyo 2020.
(photos: respective brands and www.rio2016.com)
She may not have ranked on this list, but out Bright Young Thing, Pandelela Rinong certainly did her country proud. Read about her road to Rio.