There is a mutual respect between professional athletes and watchmakers. Athletes are deemed winners or losers based on the fractions of a second that click by during competition. And watchmakers turn to athletes to put their newest timepieces through the ultimate real world performance tests. The relationships—with individual athletes as well as professional sports teams—are fueling some of the most exciting new watches from such luxury brands as Hublot, Richard Mille and Zenith. All are available at Westime’s boutiques in Southern California.
Team Spirit: Hublot has been the official timekeeper of the Los Angeles Lakers for two seasons, and now the NBA franchise has a 50-piece limited edition Hublot watch created in its honor. The King Power Los Angeles Lakers is a 48mm chronograph with a black carbon fiber case. To correspond with the four time periods of an NBA basketball game, the watch’s sapphire dial is divided into four zones of 12 minutes each, and demarcated by the team’s official black, gold and purple colors. There is also a Lakers logo at 3 o’clock, as well as on the sapphire case back. Each watch comes with two straps: black alligator backed with rubber and stitched with gold and purple, and the Lakers gold jersey material backed with black rubber and stitched with gold and purple.
Individual Athlete: Lakers captain Kobe Bryant has earned the nickname Black Mamba throughout his impressive NBA career. Hublot created the King Power Black Mamba 250-piece limited edition in tribute to its brand ambassador. The 48mm black ceramic chronograph subtly displays a silver-colored snake around the counter at 9 o’clock, and the inclusion of Kobe Bryant’s jersey number “24” at six o’clock on the dial. Kobe’s own signature is etched into the sapphire case back. Naturally, the watch comes with a black python strap sewed on black rubber.
Team Spirit: Zenith has long been a friend to adventurers and extreme athletes, and its role as official timekeeper of the Spindrift professional sailing racing team is the latest incarnation. The three-year-old team has already set 10 records with its maxi trimaran, and this season it will race in the legendary solo transatlantic competition, Route du Rhum, from France to Guadeloupe. Zenith created a special edition in its El Primero line equipped with a chronograph function in tribute to the adventure. The El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing features an opening in the dial at 10 o’clock for the first time, and the inscription “Spindrift Racing” at 12 o’clock on the dial as well as on the rotor. Available in rose gold with black DLC titanium, or all black DLC titanium, the watch also features a robust strap comprised of rubber with a structured fiber fabric insert.
Individual Athlete: Zenith’s new brand ambassador – via Haute Living Magazine, is NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook. He is not only highly regarded for his prowess on the court as point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is also acclaimed for his sense of style. The top player teamed with Zenith to design its five-piece limited edition, the Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar Tribute to Russell Westbrook. Available exclusively at Westime, the watches feature Westbrook’s signature and silhouette in action on the blue dial at 3 o’clock. An orange seconds hand, two counters and stitching on the strap accent the color of his signature. Westbrook’s image and signature also appear on the caseback of the 48mm watch, while a plate bearing the inscription of the limited edition adorns the side of the case.
Team Spirit: Since its inception, Richard Mille has looked to the architecture, technology and materials used in Formula 1 racecar design as inspiration for its remarkably light and strong watches. Therefore, it is fitting that the watchmaker became the official timing partner of one of the sport’s most storied teams: Lotus. In tribute, the RM 011 Lotus F1 Team automatic flyback chronograph special edition incorporates the very latest lightweight materials: an NTPT carbon case, and a titanium baseplate. Displaying the logo and colors of the British team on its dial, the timepiece can be seen in action throughout the Grand Prix season on the arm of Lotus’s driver, Romain Grosjean.
Individual Athlete: Top-ranked tennis player Rafael Nadal has overcome any number of physical obstacles to make spectacular comebacks in his sport. Richard Mille has created four watches that represent the horological incarnation of the innate strength and will of its phenomenal brand partner. The most recent timepiece in the Rafael Nadal line is the RM 35-01 Rafael Nadal, a manual winding watch with an exceptionally light NTPT carbon case, a skeletonized titanium movement treated with black PVD, and a design proven to resist shocks exceeding 5,000 G’s. It captures the spirit of the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal Tourbillon that the champion wears while playing all matches. Look out for the next Haute Time print magazine, out this December, featuring an exclusive interview with Rafael Nadal.