In November, shortly before the end of the NBA lockout, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade joined Hublot at the opening of the Swiss brand’s new boutique in Bal Harbor, Florida to introduce his own Hublot watch, the King Power Dwyane Wade, to the U.S. market. Wade is donating part of the proceeds from sales of the watch — a limited edition of 500 pieces — to his children’s charity, the Wade World Foundation.
Wade, a seven-time All-Star who has won both an NBA Championship and an Olympic gold medal, took a few moments to speak with WatchTime about his contributions to the new timepiece, his appreciation of watches as a fashion accessory, and his off-court competition with other watch-loving hoopsters.
WT: How long have you been into watches and what is it you look for in a watch?
DW: I’ve always been a fan, but I think when I was younger I didn’t really get into “timeless” pieces, I was looking more for bling. But as I got older I started to understand more how much these watches really mean, how if you buy the right ones they can appreciate in value. [Collecting quality watches] became a thing that I wanted to do and now the opportunity to have my own watch is something I can’t even describe; it’s surpasses my dreams. So, I’m having fun with it.
WT: When did you first discover the Hublot brand?
DW: Around 2008 it just kind of came up in conversations, about how Hublot was an up-and-coming brand, how it was starting to make a splash over here in the U.S. I took a look at some of the product, like the Big Bangs, and said, “Ooh, I like it!” Eventually we got to the point where my team took a meeting with [Hublot CEO] Jean-Claude Biver and his team, and it was as if we’d known each other for years and we had some of the same things we believe in, especially with our foundations. Obviously, Jean-Claude is the man who took Hublot to where it is, in the sense of re-creating the brand. So I have actually been a part of the company for a few years behind the scenes before I came out with my own watch.
WT: Did Hublot approach you about the idea of having a Dwyane Wade-branded watch?
DW: It was something that both sides agreed on immediately when our teams sat down together in Miami. Probably, the hardest thing was thinking up a name. Finally, after so many different ideas, we settled on “Hublot King Power by Dwyane Wade.” The excitement of having a watch named after you, that you helped create, is just amazing.
WT: You said you used to be into bling and you’ve kind of moved on from that. What is it that you look for in a watch now, and how did those preferences influence the design of this watch?
DW: I think for me, as someone who puts on a jersey and also as someone who dresses up in a suit a lot of the time, I wanted a watch that was versatile. I think of myself as a versatile player, versatile when it comes to my personality and in the things that I’ve been associated with. So I wanted a watch that I could wear with shorts and a t-shirt and also something that, as a businessman, I could put on every day to go to work and feel just as comfortable with it.
WT: This watch has some really cool details: it’s got your jersey number (3), a basketball pattern on the watch face and another a basketball-net pattern on the strap; how many of those design touches came from you?
DW: We wanted to put some Miami Heat, some basketball, and some Dwyane Wade into this watch, but we also wanted to keep it classy. So we just added little bits like on the strap, which you see has that pattern like a basketball net. On the watch itself, we decided to put my number on the dial and then someone came up with making the whole dial look like a basketball, and I was good with that. The one thing a lot of people will see for the first time on it is my new logo, the Dwyane Wade brand logo. This was the first place that it’s been used [on a product], and it’s inside the watch as well, so there are a lot of different components.
WT: Have you ever been to the Hublot factory in Switzerland, and did you see any of the design or the production process?
DW: The conversations actually started when I was visiting the Hublot boutiques, first in Miami then in places like New York and Paris. When I did get over to Switzerland I didn’t go to the factory, but it was a back and forth process, with me looking at different designs and discussing them. I’m looking forward to being even more involved in the next watch; at least, that’s the plan right now. I’m very interested in that watchmaking process.
WT: You’re regarded as one of the more stylish guys in the NBA. Do you put a lot of thought into pairing certain watches with certain outfits, or do you keep it kind of casual?
DW: I definitely put thought into it. I’m the kind of person who always needs to coordinate, but not “all the way” coordinate. So when I put on an outfit, I make sure that the watch that I wear — and I have quite a few Hublots, as well as some others of different sizes and colors, so I don’t have to wear mine every day — stands out in the right way. The watch is one of the last things I put on, and it can make or break the outfit. I want to make sure the outfit is completed.
WT: I know that your teammate LeBron James is an Audemars Piguet ambassador and there are other NBA players who are into watches, as well. Do you guys ever talk or compare watches in the locker room?
DW: Yeah, we do! A lot of guys are into watches, always talking about pieces from different brands. Obviously, with LeBron and I being the faces of two different brands, it’s almost like being competitors, in a sense. It’s good to have those conversations, because we have a chance to check out each other’s watches and see what other brands are up to. Sometimes you’ll get “Oh, man, my watch is better than yours,” and stuff like that, but mostly we just respect each other’s choices.
WT: Do other players come to you for watch advice?
DW: I don’t think so. If anything, they mostly want to look and see what’s on my wrist. We all do that. I’ll look at people who I respect, and who I know are fashionable, and check out what watch they’re wearing.
WT: Jean-Claude Biver is a huge soccer fan. Have you managed to convert him to a hoops fan?
DW: That’s going to take a lot of work! You should see how excited he gets when he talks about soccer and the watches that Hublot has done [with soccer players]. We’ve gotten him to watch a few games, come out to a few events. If you know him, you know it’s easy to get him excited, but soccer is still his number one sport.
WT: Thanks for your time and good luck with the season.
DW: Thanks… I appreciate it.