Professionals and amateurs alike know, golf is the ultimate precision sport, which makes it the perfect match for haute horlogerie. From Rolex to Richard Mille, luxury watch brands have cultivated ties to the golf world. Here, we’ve tracked down five of the best golf watches on the greens today.
Rory McIlroy recently won the British Open Championship, making the Irish golfer not only the current World Number 1, but also only the third player in history to win three Majors by the age of 25. After making two eagles on the final three holes, McIlroy collected the British Open’s US$8,000,000 purse while wearing his Seamaster Aqua Terra 150 M Omega Co-Axial GMT 43 MM.
This 43mm classic marine model features a sailboat-inspired dial decorated with a Teak Concept pattern. Functions include hours, minutes, and seconds, as well as a GMT hand that completes one rotation around the dial every 24 hours, and a date window at 6 o’clock. It is housed in a stainless steel case, and also features a stainless steel bracelet. This certified chronometer is powered by the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8605, which can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback.
The American golfer Gerry Lester “Bubba” Watson, Jr. turned heads when he took home the trophy at the Northern Trust Open this year. Watson celebrated his fifth career PGA Tour victory with the aptly-named Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 038 Bubba Watson Victory Watch on his wrist.
Part of a four-piece limited edition, this piece features an embellished green flange (a nod to the green Masters jacket that Watson earned at Augusta in 2012) and Watson’s signature engraved on the sapphire crystal caseback. Watson wore number 4/4 throughout the tournament, which was held at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
Arguably the most famous golfer in the world, Tiger Woods has partnered with Rolex since 2011 (when he parted ways with TAG Heuer following his cheating scandal). Although he has suffered professional setbacks (after the aforementioned scandal), Woods has come back strong in recent years. When he won the 2013 Players Championship, Woods’ Rolex Deepsea model was front and centre.
Introduced in 2008, the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea is a sporty 44mm diver’s watch. Although a diver’s watch may seem out of place on the greens, it was the rigorous testing this model undergoes that made the Rolex Deepsea so appealing to Woods; waterproof to a depth of 12,800 feet, each Deepsea is individually tested in a specially built stainless steel hyperbaric chamber in Geneva. “As a golfer I strive for perfection with every shot, and in every detail, just like Rolex,” Woods commented.
Rolex, which is an International Partner of the Masters and a partner of the USGA (which organizes the U.S. Open), also sponsors Phil Mickelson. When “Lefty” Mickelson—a nickname the golfer earned thanks to his left-hand swing—hoisted the trophy at the 2013 Open Championship, he was wearing a vintage Rolex Cellini.
Originally introduced in the 1940s, the Cellini was the first model produced in large quantities to obtain chronometric certification. This year, Rolex made a splash when it re-introduced the Cellini collection at Baselworld 2014. Inspired by the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini, goldsmith and sculptor to the popes, this collection features 12 new classically-inspired models.
Nicknamed ‘Iceman’, Henrik Stenson shot to fame with his rise from 230th place in the world rankings at the start of 2012 to world number three at the end of 2013. The Swedish golfer—who, as of press time, is World Number 4—wears one of Audemars Piguet’s six new iterations of the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, which were unveiled at the 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie.
The new ‘26470’ Collection still features the 42mm Royal Oak Offshore case and Audemars Piguet’s eight signature hexagonal screws on the bezel. Only a few subtle changes were made to this iconic model; black ceramic replaced rubber on the crown and push pieces; hours markers became more sculpted; the counters and date window were given polished decorative fillets and a luminescent coating; the engraved 22-carat gold oscillating mass was made visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.