Guest article by Tobi L. Sigona, Avi & Co. NY
One of the best tennis players and most famous professional athletes, Serena Williams, has won 23 Grand Slam titles, more than any other woman or man. Together with her sister Venus, she has also won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, the second-most for pairs. Serena has played tennis since she was four years old, and she participated in her first professional game when she was just 14. Her serve is considered the greatest in the history of women’s tennis.
Serena believes in standing up for oneself, not losing focus, getting back up after you fall, and never giving up. Her views on racial equality and strong bodies are an inspiration to young women everywhere. “Tennis is a small play in the whole scheme of things,” she said. “In this society, women are not taught or expected to be that future leader or future CEO. The narrative has to change. And maybe it doesn’t get better in time for me, but someone in my position can show women and people of color that we have a voice, because Lord knows I use mine. I love sticking up for people and supporting women. Being the voice that millions of people don’t have.”
It’s no surprise that someone as fashionable as Serena joined forces with luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet as their ambassador in 2014. In her first year, she sported classic adaptations of the Royal Oak Offshore. In 2017, the tennis champ was seen wearing an 18K rose gold Millenary after winning her final Grand Slam award. This timepiece features a black mother-of-pearl dial, diamond cut accents, and a white alligator leather strap covered in 65 carats’ worth of diamonds.
Serena’s effortless style extends beyond the tennis court as well. The Diamond Outrage was spotted on her wrist at the 2017 Met Gala. Worth $1.25 million, this Audemars Piguet is made of white gold and encrusted with 65 carats’ worth of precious stones. The watch is powered by the quartz caliber 2701. At the 2019 Met Gala, Serena and her husband turned heads with matching AP watches; she wore a diamond set Royal Oak, and he wore a CODE 11.59 Automatic Chronograph.
The latest version of the Royal Oak can be seen in AP’s 2022 ad campaign, featuring none other than the famous athlete herself. This self-winding Royal Oak has a black ceramic case with iridescent rainbow details on the dial. Powered by the self-winding caliber 5800, this timepiece is embellished with 28 jewels and boasts a 50-hour power reserve. The mirror effect enhances the reflections and color, while small squares drawn onto the surface of a sapphire disc pay tribute to the iconic tapisserie design.
World-famous golfer Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods is considered one of the greatest golfers of our time, and he has managed some impressive comebacks over the years. From as young as six months, Woods would watch his father hit golf balls in the garage, and he started to play with his dad at 18 months old. After being the only man to win the US Amateur Championship three years in a row (1994-1996), he turned professional at 20 years of age. At 24, he became the youngest golfer to win the Career Grand Slam. He collected 46 PGA Tour wins in his 20s and has since won 15 major championships. Remarkably, he was the world’s first billion-dollar athlete and is an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
In 1996, Woods started the Tiger Woods Foundation, providing education to students in underrepresented communities to stay in school and succeed. The foundation’s website states, “TGR Foundation equips young people with the tools and support they need to discover their interests, enhance their knowledge, and build their own path to personal and professional success.”
In 2011, he became a Rolex ambassador. Though his career had several shaky years, Rolex never dropped him as a sponsor. Lucky for them both, Tiger Woods made a stunning comeback in 2019 with his 5th Masters title. When he initially signed with Rolex, he was seen wearing a 40-mm white gold President Day-Date with a fluted bezel. Woods was also spotted occasionally wearing a 40-mm Rolex Submariner on more formal occasions, as it’s thinner and more elegant. Fans have speculated about whether the professional wears his Rolex watches to sleep, to which Woods has replied, “Yeah.”
While the professional golfer can usually be seen with a Rolex around his wrist on and off the course, his favorite is the Sea-Dweller “James Cameron” Deepsea. Something that many people may not know about Woods is his second passion: surfing and diving. The Deepsea is the ideal watch for water adventures, as it’s designed to withstand high pressures and is versatile enough for both the golf course and a night out on the town.
The Rolex Deepsea’s highly durable 44-mm Oystersteel case features a unidirectional bezel, which enables divers to precisely monitor their dive and decompression times. An Oysterlock clasp helps prevent accidental opening, and the two-color gradient helps illuminate even the darkest places on Earth. These watches are powered by the self-winding caliber 3235 with a 70-hour power reserve. The watch is water-resistant to 12,800 feet, which is perfect for exploring the Mariana Trench, if Woods so desires.
Acclaimed soccer player David Beckham is one of the greatest and most recognizable midfielders of his generation. Beckham knew he wanted to be a soccer player ever since he was a little kid. He made his professional debut in 1992 for Manchester United at just 17 years old. He remained on the team until 2003, winning the Premier League six times, the FA Cup twice, and the Champions League once. Later, he played for Real Madrid, AC Milan, and LA Galaxy. He was the first British player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, USA, and France. Beckham was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008, as well as the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.
The title of the hit 2002 film Bend it like Beckham references the player’s uncanny ability to “bend” his free kicks to score. His fame wasn’t limited to soccer, however; in 1999, he married former Spice Girl Victoria “Posh Spice” Adams. Together, they have five children.
Even though Beckham retired in 2013, he is still idolized for his legendary soccer skills, men’s fashion, and philanthropic work. Since 2005, Beckham has worked as an ambassador for UNICEF UK, focusing on children and education. He founded the David Beckham UNICEF Fund in 2015 to continue helping vulnerable children reach their full potential. He also supports Malaria No More, a global initiative to raise funds and end the disease.
David Beckham’s watch collection has evolved over the years, and he happily joined Tudor as their brand ambassador in 2017 as part of the Born to Dare campaign. He is often spotted wearing the Tudor Black Bay Collection. His 43-mm Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze diver’s watch is valued at $3,500. Featuring a 70-hour power reserve, this timepiece has a screw-down crown and water resistance to 660 feet. The steel Tudor Black Bay Ceramic that he has also been seen wearing is valued at about $6,000. These watches are perfect for capturing his confidence and style without being too showy.
Spanish tennis sensation Rafael Nadal has been playing since he was four years old, guided by his uncle, retired professional soccer player Miguel Angel Nadal. He turned professional in 2001 after beating Grand Slam champion Pat Cash when he was 15 years old. He was one of the youngest players to ever win an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) match. His extensive list of accomplishments includes 92 ATP singles titles, with 63 of these on clay (a challenging type of tennis court made of a combination of unbound minerals). Fans have said he is the most intense competitor in tennis. It’s no wonder he’s known as the King of Clay! Nadal also has 36 Master titles, 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, and he is ranked third in the world for singles by the ATP.
In 2010, the tennis champ founded Nadal Educational and Tennis School in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Nadal knows how difficult it is to prepare for a life of professional sport while also maintaining your studies. He wanted to help children do both without the pressure of forgoing an education. There are currently 226 participants in the program.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Nadal was seen sporting a luxury watch on the court. “Rafa and I have a lifelong commitment,” Richard Mille says of his ambassador. “We are there, come rain or shine. It is more than just watchmaking – it’s life!” Their friendship grows constantly from their mutual trust, and they are both unstoppable in achieving the impossible. While Nadal never considered wearing a watch while playing, it didn’t take much for Mille to convince him. Together, they developed the lightest tourbillon in the world at the time, and now wearing a watch on the court is like a second skin to him. The special edition RM 27-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is limited to 50 pieces and boasts shock absorption technology. The orange tone represents the clay courts at Roland-Garros, in Paris, where Nadal dominated for so many years.
In 2017, Nadal was spotted wearing the RM 27-03 at the men’s singles final of the French Open. Nobody could stop marveling at the watch’s intensity when the cameras zoomed in on Nadal’s cramping hand during the game. Weighing just 0.7 ounces, the timepiece can withstand 10,000 Gs of force, which is perfect for a world-class tennis champ. Also limited to 50 pieces, the red and yellow Quartz TPT® case pays homage to Spain’s colors.
The RM 27-04 Manual Winding Tourbillon’s design was inspired by the process used to string a tennis racket. It is a limited edition of just 50 pieces, with a 38-hour power reserve and water resistance of 164 feet. The skeletonized baseplate and bridges made of grade 5 titanium are highly resistant to humidity and boast enhanced mechanical properties, making them perfect for high intensity sportswear. Including the strap, the watch weighs 1.05 ounces and can withstand 12,000 Gs, a new record for Richard Mille.