The perks (and pitfalls) of celebrity watch endorsements
Many watch brands form associations with sports stars and celebrities. Undoubtedly, one of the most well-known is Omega, which has sponsored various James Bonds down the years and has a roster of other top film stars – including George Clooney – and sports personalities. IWC also has its fair share of celebrities, and it looks like they have recently scooped up Lewis Hamilton and Bradley Cooper as part of its latest advertising campaign. Another good example is Rolex. For a long time it sponsored one of the all-time tennis greats, Roger Federer, and coincidently also sponsors the Wimbledon.
Like so many around the world, I watched Andy Murray’s historic win at this tournament in 2013. While I was transfixed by the match, my wife was far more interested in who was in the crowd. I’m specifically talking about Bradley Cooper sitting next to Gerard Butler, and I think this shot (excuse the pun!) was more publicised than Andy Murray lifting the championship trophy. I didn’t pay it much attention at first, but then I noticed there was a problem with this picture, the fine suits notwithstanding and it was something that perhaps not too many would notice – Bradley cooper’s watch. He was wearing an IWC Big Pilot.
Now, please don’t assume that I think Big Pilot is not a great watch, because it is and looks fantastic with the right sports casual outfit. The problem is that it’s huge – 46mm – and for a man who was otherwise so well dressed, he should have known that pairing it with a relatively formal summer suit is just not the done thing. I can only presume that the watch was part of some sort of sponsorship agreement with IWC (or should I say “friend of the brand” as seems to be the terminology these days. You have to agree that it sounds so much nicer doesn’t it?)
Having said this, I am sure Bradley Cooper really likes IWC watches, especially the Big Pilot. But there are some great watches in their lineup that would look much better with a suit. I think a better option would have been something from the Portofino line. But maybe Bradley’s more into his bigger watches and, as I always say, each to their own. If this is the case, the fantastic 44m Portuguese minute repeater ref 5449 in platinum would have looked perfect. IWC, if you’re listening, please let a 5449 grace his wrist as it would bring a smile to many watch addicts’ faces.
Similarly, Lewis Hamilton has also been spotted in post-race interviews wearing the IWC big pilot. Surely a sports chrono from the Ingenieur range, such as the titanium Double Chronograph would be more fitting for a man who drives a very high tech F1 car rather than a World War Two spitfire plane.
Even though I could not see what Gerard Butler was wearing that day, I know that he is friend of Roger Dubuis and I just hope he was wearing something from its La Monégasque collection, which is a particular favourite of mine. If he was wearing one of the super duper triple tourbillions, I would have again been slightly disappointed as it’s not the right watch to be worn with a suit for all the same reasons as above.
And now onto the star of the match: Andy Murray. When Andy lifted his championship trophy, I saw that he was wearing a Rado, which is not one of the brands we normally talk about. But what a move by this company – it backed an underdog and got its product on every website, sports and news channel around the world. I just hope the guy who signed up Andy got a big thank you! Djokovic may have donned his far superior sponsored Audemars Piguet after the match, but it was Andy who was the better player. Rado, we salute you for blindsiding brands more commonly associated with sports. The watch in question was a Rado Hyperchome XXL. It’s a 45mm automatic chronograph with Rado’s signature ceramic coated steel case and a black rubber strap. Priced at around Dhs15,000, I have to say that it is a watch worth checking out.
Soon after the match had finished, the channel was swiftly switched over to re-runs of Keeping up with the Kardashians – not by me I have to add. Even though this show is nowhere near as gripping as the tennis (well, in my eyes), the show’s watch spotting potential is second to none – in particular, Scott Disick’s choice of arm candy. Kourtney K’s other half is often seen sporting a trademark yellow gold Rolex Daytona and I have to say he can pull off a yellow gold watch with the best of them.
It appears that Scott has an assortment of yellow and rose gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Offshore models, and in addition, it seems he is quite keen on Richard Mille. To me, this man has his own style and wears whatever he wants, when he wants, and has the confidence to pull it off. Mind you, he often wears a chunky watch with a suit, which I find odd. Unlike Bradley Cooper he isn’t restricted by sponsorship so you’d think he might wear a nice dress watch; perhaps even a Patek. But maybe big watches with more formal wear are acceptable these days and it’s just me who is not keeping up with the times?
On that note, I have one final request. I’d like IWC to have Scott Disick as friend of the brand as I would absolutely love to see to see him out of control at one of their black tie events!