Going beyond marketing, the relationship between watchmaking and football is built on mutual respect.

Watch brands have a colourful history of collaborations with other industries and crafts - like militaries and deep sea divers - that have pushed the envelope of watch design. However, few relationships could be more obvious than the one between watchmakers and football.

When you break each craft down to their bear bones or gears and rotors, the similarities can be uncanny. 

Both require skill, talent and lots of practice to excel at. When done well, both can awe their admirers with unmatched skill and style; both require an appreciation for detail and the ability to adapt. Perhaps most importantly, they both appreciate the value of time.

 It’s not coincidence, nor is it a marketing ploy that attracts some of the world’s top watchmakers to football and here we explore the watches and the footballers that have played their part in this special relationship.


Franck Muller

Cristiano Ronaldo is without a doubt one of the best footballers of his time but his reach beyond the world of football is equally impressive. With sponsorships and ambassadorial spots aplenty, there’s no wonder why CR7 is much sought after as a brand ambassador.

However, it is Franck Muller’s Perpetual Calendar Bi-Retro Chrono CR7 that stands out as having been inspired by the footballer and designed for him, complete with a diamond-encrusted number 7 along the black laquered dial.

Ronaldo himself would comment on the relationship between the crafts by proclaiming that his life “revolves around time and everything I do depends on it.” A sentiment Franck Muller very much respects.


Breitling

While David Beckham has managed more mileage for his brand off the pitch, there are few who can forget some of his brilliance on it. So iconic is his style that his method of striking a football would be immortalised in football lexicon as the world at large would try to “bend it like Beckham”.

Breitling, most likely inspired by Beckham’s balance of style and substance, chose the footballer to be the ambassador for its Transocean Chronograph Unitime, a watch with plenty of style to match its substance.


Hautlence

Even former footballers are not overlooked as brands search for the biggest icons to complement them.

Hautlence recently released the truly unique Vortex Primary, their second collaboration with former Manchester United star Eric Cantona. This piece is a tri-dimensional, colourful and technical work of art; attributes one could easily use to describe Cantona himself.


Hublot

Appreciating that football is about more than just talented and famous individuals, Hublot partnered with Juventus Football Club, the current Italian champions.

 This partnership was renewed, recently for its fourth year with the launch of the Big Bang Unico Bi-Retrograde Juventus.

 The star-studded affair saw the introduction of the polished black and satin ceramic watch that marries the best of Hublot’s craft with the Old Lady’s style. Going beyond just colours and logos, the watch is specially designed to time the two 45-minute halves of a football game.


Hublot

Hublot, in staying with the theme of searching for inspiration beyond the pitch created the Jose Mourinho, named after one of the best football managers in the world today.

Bold and strongly designed, much like “the special one” himself, the Jose Mourinho easily speaks for itself.


  

 (Photos: Respective brands)

For watches inspired by other crafts, check out Hublot's Bruce Lee watch