With the U.S. Open in full swing, it’s time to turn our attention to one of the world’s most beloved pastimes: Watch Spotting. OK, so most people probably still attend the U.S. Open to see some stellar tennis. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that what we also want to see is the fantastic timepiece our favorite player will be wearing as they nail that ace.
Luxury watches and professional tennis have been doubles partners since 1978 when Rolex became the official timekeeper for Wimbledon. Tournament organizers for the oldest tennis competition in the world tapped the Swiss giant to lend its precision and craftsmanship to the court clocks, and the rest is history.
More than 40 years later, Rolex holds that exclusive responsibility for all four Grand Slam tournaments: Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, and the French Open. This love affair between watch connoisseurs and tennis extends to the players, as well. Greats like Andre Agassi and Boris Becker were some of the first stars to wear watches while playing tennis, donning their Ebel models and setting a trend that would last for years to come.
Rolex, albeit a household name in the tennis community, is not the only game in town when it comes to a famous player’s choice of wristwear. Big names like Tag Heuer, Richard Mille, Seiko, and Audemars Piguet also dominate the court, and tennis greats choose their watches much like we do: For functionality and precision and as a reflection of personal style. In the spirit of the match, we decided to take a closer look at some of our favorite players and their watches.
With 20 Grand Slam titles, Swiss-born Federer is known as one of the greatest tennis players ever and is a long-time friend and ambassador of the Rolex brand. Federer celebrated some of his most treasured wins while wearing a Rolex, including in 2009 when he broke Pete Sampras’ all-time Grand Slam record at Wimbledon. While Federer has amassed quite the extensive collection of Rolexes, including the Daytona “Big Red” and the GMT-Master II “Batman,” his go-to Rolex is the Oyster Perpetual Datejust II.
Equally fantastic in her own right, Williams has collected 23 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals over her tennis career while wearing various iterations of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Millenary watches. She is a dedicated Audemars Piguet fan both on and off the court and has served as the brand’s official ambassador since 2014. Williams donned a Royal Oak Offshore featuring a rose gold case and a diamond-set white rubber bezel when she won her sixth Wimbledon championship.
Barty, ranked by the World Tennis Association (WTA) as the current number-one women’s singles player in the world, stands firmly with Rado watches. She said the Swiss-made timepieces were her favorite growing up, so it was a natural fit when she joined the Rado YoungStars program for up-and-coming tennis players in 2017. Since then, Barty has garnered 11 doubles and 12 singles titles on the WTA tour, including two Grand Slam titles in singles and one in doubles. Today, she sports her own HyperChrome Ashleigh Barty Limited Edition watch with a Mother-of-Pearl dial and a bezel set with 56 diamonds.
Ranked right behind Barty and the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title, Osaka is a fierce competitor – just like her Citizen Eco-Drive BZ4006-01E. According to the watchmaker, Citizen first invited Osaka to become an ambassador of the brand in 2018 because they believed “her positive attitude, her confidence, and her determination to move forward” embodies its creed of Better Starts Now. Osaka first sported her Eco-Drive during the 2018 U.S. Open where she defeated her childhood idol, Serena Williams, and snagged her first Grand Slam singles title. Today, she dons her favorite Citizen both on and off the court.
Serbian-born Djokovic currently holds the top spot for men’s singles and is tied with Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles. He has partnered with Seiko since 2014 and has several watches that he likes to wear, his favorite being the Astron GPS Solar. Like Federer, Djokovic only puts on his watch before and after the match, not while playing. Off the court, he is known for wearing watches that match whatever occasion or outfit in which he finds himself. For example, he prefers the Sportura Chronograph for training and the Premier Kinetic Perpetual for an evening out.
Hailing from Spain, Nadal has amassed countless Grand Slam, Masters 1000s, and Clay Masters 1000s championships, earning himself the title “King of Clay.” Nadal wears his watch while playing the game, not just before and after. He was reluctant at first, because many tennis players feel like wearing anything weighty on their wrists can throw off their game. But watchmaker Richard Mille persuaded the Spaniard to take a chance in 2008, presenting him with the lightest tourbillon watch in the world at the time. Nadal and Mille have enjoyed a powerful partnership ever since. Nadal turned heads in 2019 when he won his 20th Grand Slam title at the French Open wearing a Richard Mille RM27-04 Tourbillon. The movement weighs just under 4g and can withstand accelerations of more than 12,000Gs.
Cori “Coco” Gauff
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention up-and-coming U.S. tennis star Coco Gauff. As a Rolex Testimonee, she counts herself a definite fan of the famous brand, so it should be fun to see which versions she’ll choose to wear in future competitions.
You may not be a Federer or a Williams, but we know your watch is as important to you as it is to them. Our Swiss-trained technicians offer customers around the globe quality watch repair for Seiko, Citizen, Rolex, and more.