The Champions League of Luxury Watches
16 December 2014 by Greg Kelly
Wherever men come together to compete in sports, luxury watch brands aren’t far away. We take a look at some of the team’s competing in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League and the watch brands who sponsor them.
1. Barcelona and Maurice Lacroix
Barcelona may not be the all conquering side seen in 2009-2011, but the Catalonians still have plenty of talent to be rightfully considered serious contenders for this years Champions League. With their three-pronged attack featuring Suarez, Neymar and the phenomenal Lionel Messi, they will fancy their chances of progressing against Manchester City and all the way to the final in Berlin. Similar to how Barcelona's unique Tiki-Taka brand of football took the world by storm their watch sponsor Maurice Lacroix are looking to be a watch brand known for their own innovative style. Focusing on the development of complex movement components for mechanical calibers in their own workshops near Saignelegier, Switzerland, the relatively young brand is quickly forging a reputation for their innovative complications and contemporary design.
2. Arsenal and JEANRICHARD
Under Arsene Wenger's reign, Arsenal have played over 180 games in the Champions League, with them coming closest to lifting the trophy in 2006 when they lost narrowly to Barcelona. Coming under increasing pressure for the lack of silverware in recent years they have an excellent chance of progressing against AS Monaco who have crashed back down to earth after the huge investment made by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and the subsequent loan of their star man Radamel Falcao. Arsenal only have to look to their watch sponsor JEANRICHARD to see how a new change of direction can inspire a change of fortune. As part of the Kerring group who own Girard Perregaux, JEANRICHARD relaunched in 2012 with a fresh impetus to modernise their brand and bring beautifully crafted watches, some with their own in-house movement, to market at an entry level price of £2100 upwards. The success of their new range, in particular their Terrascope sports watch with the modular case, sees the brand go from strength to strength.
3. Paris Saint-Germain and Hublot
The nouveau riche Parisians have seen an upturn in their fortunes since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011. An influx of investment from the oil rich Arab state has seen PSG make steady progress in the Champions League with a narrow elimination last season by Chelsea. Once again they find themselves up against the London club with their talisman Ibrahimovic having the ability to produce a piece of match winning brilliance when in the mood. Where money and success lead, Hublot surely follow. Like their iconic 'Big Bang' the swiss watch brand has exploded onto the scene in recent times and continue to showcase their incredible growth by alining themselves with some of the newest and biggest sports brands on the world stage.
3. Chelsea and Rotary
The return of the 'Chosen one' has seen the air of invincibility blow through Stamford Bridge once again. Mourinho's men have received all the plaudits this season as they have went to business reclaiming their premiership crown. The one glaring omission from Mourinho's time at Chelsea has been not winning the Champions League, which i'm sure he would like to put right this time around. Chelsea are favourites to progress against PSG but it is certainly no easy game for the north London club. Unlike Chelsea who quickly sold out to Roman Abramovich, Rotary watches remain one of the few independent family owned watch brands left in the industry. Established in Switzerland in 1895 they became the official watch partner of the British Army in 1940 leading the way to it becoming the biggest seller in the United Kingdom. Rotary Watches has an award-winning brand of classic timepieces which is sold in over 35 countries throughout the world.
4. Manchester City and Richard Mille
Another benefactor of oil riches, Manchester City have seen their club step out from the shadow cast by their city rivals to firmly establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in world football. Unfortunately their results in the Champions League haven't matched their lofty aspirations and heavy spend with their manager Manuel Pellegrini under pressure to deliver the Champions League trophy that their Abu Dhabi owners desperately covet. With a draw against Barcelona this will be no easy task for the light blues. While the sheiks purchase of Manchester City has been used to market Abu Dhabi, likewise Richard Mille has used their association with the Manchester club to expand their reach in the middle east. Richard Mille are well known for their high end timepieces utilising incredible movements and complications with a new luxury boutique recently opened in the Arab state off the back of this sponsorship.
5. Juventus and Hublot
The old lady of Italian football has got back to winning ways after the scandal hit club were relegated to Serie B in 2006 and stripped of two titles for match-fixing. With master craftsman Andrea Pirlo continuing to defy his advancing years to pull the strings in midfield alongside the french wonderkid Paul Pogba, Juve will hope they can lift the trophy for the first time since their class of 1996 triumph. Up against a Dortmund side who have been a poor imitation of their former selves, the Italians will fancy their chances of progressing. Staying inline with Hublot's apparent marketing plan of associating themselves with the biggest and best they have a sponsorship in place with the Italian champions who can claim to be one of the most successful clubs in Europe.
6. Real Madrid and Bvlgari
Los Blancos finally won their most sought after tenth European triumph or 'La Decima' as it's known in Spain's capital. Leading the way to this triumph was Cristiano Ronaldo who blazed through the scoring charts to set up the memorable win and the personal accolade of the World's player of the year. They will be more than confident of progression against Germany's Schakle and will be looking to add to their record breaking haul of European triumphs. While not a sponsor of Real Madrid we thought we would include Bvlgari to the list as Ronaldo bought everyone in the Champions League winning squad a personalised Bvlgari watch worth £6500 each, and true to form the Portuguese superstar even included his 'CR7' moniker on the engraving.
7. Bayern Munich and Hublot
The German champions are rightfully considered one of the best teams in the world at the moment. Regardless of their dismantling by Real Madrid last season, Pep Guardiola has the German's playing a fast flowing brand of football that combines power with finesse. They will be looking to secure their 6th European trophy on home soil and will be huge favourites to over come the Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk. Once again Hublot have looked to the top of world football and no doubt see the Germans, known as FC Hollywood for their star power, as a perfect partner to showcase their brand.