There is no shortage of celebrities, many of them celebrity athletes, who serve as “brand ambassadors” for watch brands, appearing in ads and attending events wearing their watches. However, a few of these stars go the extra mile, giving input and often even becoming involved in the design process, for special celebrity watches to which they lend their names. Below is a list of 13 celebrity watches developed in honor of, and named for, their famous representatives.
Richard Mille has developed several watches in collaboration tennis star Rafael Nadal, including the RM 035 Chronofiable® certified, the RM 027 Tourbillon, and most recently the RM 27-01 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. Nadal often wears (and occasionally loses) his Richard Mille watches during his games. The RM-027 worn by Nadal was donated to the Only Watch auction in 2011 to fund research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A subsequent model, the RM 27-01, debuted as the “the world’s lightest tourbillon” at 19 grams.
Richard Mille also designed a watch for professional golfer Bubba Watson, the RM 038 Tourbillon Bubba Watson. As Watson golfs while wearing a watch, Richard Mille designed the watch with an emphasis on shock resistance, so that the tourbillon could endure the force of a golf swing. The RM 038 Tourbillon Bubba Watson is a limited edition of 38 pieces priced at $525,000. Click here for more details.
After partnering with the L.A. Lakers, Hublot made NBA star and known watch lover Kobe Bryant its newest brand ambassador. The brand subsequently unveiled the King Power Black Mamba, named for Bryant’s NBA nickname. The watch, priced at $25,200, is a limited edition of 250 pieces, of which part of the proceeds will go toward the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. The watch features gold and purple details as an homage to the L.A. Lakers’ uniform colors. More on the watch, and the partnership can be found here.
Hublot previously partnered with another NBA player, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, to create the Hublot King Power “D-Wade.” Wade collaborated with the brand to design the watch, which features a dial resembling a basketball and a strap with a basketball net-like pattern. The watch also has the color scheme of the Miami Heat uniform. Proceeds from sales of the watch — a limited edition of 500 pieces — went to Wade’s charity, the Wade World Foundation. (Click here for WatchTime’s interview with Wade about the watch. Hublot has also produced a special Miami Heat “team” watch; you can read about it here.)
Ulysse Nardin produced a watch in honor of official “friend of the brand” and baseball legend Randy Johnson, aka “The Big Unit.” The Ulysse Nardin Big Unit Chronograph features several baseball-related details, including the number “51″ on the bezel — Johnson’s number — where the “50″ would normally be, as well as a small baseball icon as the counterweight of the seconds hand. The watch has a retail price of $15,500. Each of the 100 watches in the limited edition comes with a baseball autographed by Johnson. Click here for more on the Ulysse Nardin Big Unit and its origins.
Audemars Piguet has produced a series of watches for a longtime friend of the brand, actor and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, an avid watch collector. Their collaboration resulted in several special editions, all with Schwarzenegger’s design input, most recently the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger The Legacy Chronograph. (Click here for audio excerpts from WatchTime’s exclusive interview with Schwarzenegger about his partnership with AP and his love of watches.) Schwarzenegger has subsequently announced plans to launch his own watch brand, some details of which can be found here.
In 2013, yet another NBA superstar got his own personalized watch, also from Audemars Piguet. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James limited edition, designed with the input of “King James” himself, combines a rose-gold case with a brushed titanium bezel for a more understated look than that of his former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade’s Hublot. (Click here for details on the LeBron watch.)