Sponsorship in Hand, These Athletes Rely On Their Watches

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Athletes can make a lot of money when they win an event. But they can do even more – much more – when they get a sponsorship. first place on Forbes’ list of 2020 One of the highest paid athletes is tennis star Roger Federer, who earned $106.3 million that year—just $6.3 million in salaries and earnings and $100 million in turnovers.

For that money (usually much less than what Mr. Federer gets), athletes are paid to promote everything from pasta to champagne, cars to countries, and yes, watches.

“There are several kinds of partnerships in the world of watches and sports,” said Josh Shanks, editor-in-chief of the watch website. guard. “The most common is the ‘brand friend’ relationship, where an athlete wears a brand’s watch and appears several times. The other is the embassy, ​​a deeper relationship that enables the brand to use the athlete in advertising campaigns, newsletters and even limited edition watches.”

Sometimes these relationships involve genuine enthusiasm for the athlete and the brand. “Ninety-nine percent of all watch sponsorships with famous sports figures are purely commercial,” said Elizabeth Doerr, editor-in-chief of the watch website. QuillandPad.com“but only 1 percent combine the business aspect with genuine passion for true collaboration.”

Choosing an athlete who presents the right image for brands is crucial. “We want to ensure that each ambassador fits our brand values ​​perfectly and that we can interact with them on a personal level,” said Georges Kern, CEO of Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling, in an email.

For some athletes, a watch is more than a freebie, but it’s actually something they rely on. And as Jean-Claude Biver, an experienced watch industry executive, He told The New York Times earlier this year: “When you only have one contract, the effect is limited. But if you have a personal relationship and the apostle likes the watch, then one and one make three.”

Here are some athletes whose relationship with their watch goes beyond what ends up in their bank accounts.

Athletics

When Dina Asher-Smith ran the 100m in 10.83 seconds at the 2019 World Championships in Athletics in Doha, Qatar, she was it. fastest British woman in recorded history. But since she started sprinting 10 years ago, Miss Asher-Smith has won countless world titles and now on the way to Tokyo compete for the gold medal.

The Olympics have been a dream since he was little.

“After seeing Kelly Holmes win in Athens, I wanted to go to the Olympics,” wrote 26-year-old Ms Asher-Smith, referring to the two gold medals Ms. Holmes won at the 2004 Games. “I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics before I knew I wanted to be a sprinter.”

And so Miss Asher-Smith’s professional life revolves around the time she watches it on the Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium watch (she a friend of the brand). “As athletes, we are always watching the time… counting the seconds… hundredths of a second! But there’s something very satisfying about checking your wrist instead of the phone for the watch.”

And the watch’s modest 33-millimeter diameter fits his wrist, because at 5 feet 5 inches, “I’m pretty petite,” he added.

freestyle skiing

Freeskiing is often considered a subset of freestyle skiing and is pronounced something like “frisking,” involving two equally astonishing events and Thibaut Magnin a serious competitor as well as. “Big air is an activity where you do the most turns and hard hits you can do in one jump,” he said; In slope style, there is an obstacle course to navigate.

The 20-year-old athlete has been freestyle skiing since the age of 12. “I grew up in Switzerland,” he said, though he now skis for Spain and lives in Andorra in the winter and the Dominican Republic in the summer. both his intelligence in skiing and his respect for watchmaking.

When free skiing, Mr. Magnin wears the U41 Tourbillon Skeleton, produced by Swiss watch manufacturer Angelus. (Angelus CEO is an acquaintance of Bertrand Savary and is the brand ambassador for the U41. Angelus has also given him a special U40 Racing Tourbillon Skeleton model.) 

“Freestyle skiing isn’t really a racing sport; We are not racing against time. But during training I need to see what time it is and how long I have been on the hills.” The clock also ticks while he’s racing: “I need to know when my run is.”

When Mr. Magnin goes to the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, he will wear his Angelus.

Tennis

Donna Vekic has won two Women’s Tennis Association singles titles and is now heading to Tokyo to represent Croatia at their first Olympics.

The 25-year-old grew up in Croatia in a family of professional athletes: His father was a football player and his mother was a sprinter – even his grandmother taught physical education.

“I fell in love with tennis from the very first practice,” said Ms. Vekic at the age of 6.

He now wears the FP Journe Elegante Titanium Two Rows of Diamonds, an independent Swiss watch. François-Paul Journe (One of Ms. Vekic’s sponsors).

“I wear a lot,” he said. “Lightweight, functional and very useful. We have 25 seconds between points, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the time.”

triathlon

Jan Frodeno, who won Olympic gold in the 2008 triathlon, now competes in Ironman events and is a three-time Ironman world champion.

Born in Germany, the 39-year-old grew up in Cape Town, where he met Conrad Stoltz when he was a teenager – “my first Olympic athlete, a triathlete”. Inspired by his example, Mr. Frodeno began training for the tough sport and moved to Europe in 2002, pursuing “every opportunity I could find to compete”.

The athlete now lives in Girona, Spain, he said, so it’s a good place to start a family and train 40 hours a week, which is definitely one of the most strenuous sports: swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and a whole. the value of the marathon (26.2 miles) is running.

Mr. Frodeno is a member. Breitling’s Triathlon Teamintroduces the Endurance Pro Ironman watch. While she admits to not wearing her belt during training, she says she trusts him to “get me to practice on time and remind me of what I’m training for.”

The watch is also part of an unusual ritual: “Every time I win a world championship, I have a particular watch that I buy or gift myself,” he continued. “Each of these watches has an important meaning to me. This is a tribute to anyone who has made a dream come true.”

Even though the brand gave him an Endurance Pro Ironman, Mr. Frodeno said, “I don’t think it’s mine yet” – because he hasn’t won the next Ironman World Championship scheduled for October 9 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. If he is victorious, he said, “I will have deserved it.”

Freediving – depth

The World Underwater Federation is still trying to get free diving to be recognized as an Olympic sport, but 31-year-old Tolga Taşkın is not waiting. He set a world depth record last year.

Born in Germany, Taşkın Bey would visit his grandfather in Turkey and join his grandfather’s spear fishing. “Since I was 5 years old, I’ve spent most of my time underwater,” he said.

Maybe that’s the beauty of those memories – or the mammalian diving reflex when their heartbeat slows to conserve oxygen – but Mr. Taşkın said he found freediving therapeutic when battling attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “I felt an incredible sense of peace and relaxation.”

Mr. Taşkın set a world record last year by descending more than 74.8 meters or 245 feet into the ice-covered Weissensee lake in Austria and returning in just one breath. “Anyone can do technical training,” he said. “Mental training is the hardest and most important.”

The Tutima M2 Pioneer Chronograph he wore as part of the sponsorship Ipart of it. “Because I feel really attached to the basic method of freediving, I don’t like a computer on my arm that tracks everything, beeps and distracts me,” Taşkın said.

tutima watches, Glashütte’s German watchmaking centerIt was “mainly made for military purposes, for pilots, and built for precision,” he said. “And they are made for depth. The dial and hands glow in the dark so I can read the time underwater.”

“You have to keep track of how long it takes to go down and up to manage the oxygen,” he added. And he broke another world record.

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