Tuesday, April 23

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Had a Positively Watchtastic Practice Session

Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.

Roger Federer played what’s being described as his last “competitive” match Friday. But looking at the photos from the smiley practice sessions earlier in the week, it didn’t take long for Federer to pick up some new moves from his longtime rival Rafael Nadal.

It wasn’t a surprise to see the watch on Nadal’s wrist. The Spaniard always wears one of his tickers made in collaboration with Richard Mille, the maker of super-powered sport watches. Lately, Nadal has been religiously wearing the RM 27-04, the most recent piece to come out of his partnership with the brand. The watch features a single steel cable threaded and criss-crossed through the case to mimic a tennis racket.

Switzerland’s Roger Federer (R) and Spain’s Rafael Nadal take a break during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London on September 22, 2022. – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

What made Federer and Nadal’s rivalry special was that they seemed to be polar opposites in everything: play style, personality, handedness. Watches were another point where they differed. Where Nadal rocks his RMs on the court, Federer never wore a watch during play; he was more comfortable with the post-match and pre-championship ceremony routine of gathering his belongings and pulling his chosen Rolex from his bag.

Federer changed his approach during his practice sessions with Nadal, though. Rog came out wearing not just any Rolex, but one of the Crown’s most exciting new releases of the year: the “destro” (lefty) GMT-Master II. This is the first watch Rolex has made expressly for lefties, and the green-and-blackcolor combination (christened the “Sprite” by collectors) is also new to the brand. Coincidentally, the “destro” layout is perfect for a tennis player: the watch’s winding crown points up Fed’s and doesn’t risk digging into his wrist during a swing. (Audemars Piguet customized a watch for Serena Williams with this configuration to allow her to wear it during play.) Either way, the new GMT was a fitting partner for Federer’s last dance.


Drake’s Rolex Day-Date

This week’s edition of Watches of the Week features only heavy hitters wearing heavy hitting watches. Kicking this party off is Drake in a very icey version of the Day-Date. The Day-Date is known as the “President” watch and often comes dressed up in ways fit for that oval-shaped office: refined, subtle, buttoned-up. That’s what makes Drake’s version so fun—it throws decorum out the window for a blizzard of diamonds and sapphires.

Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Diode SA – Denis Hayoun

Ed Sheeran’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

You know it’s a good week in watches when preeminent collector Ed Sheeran and his fresh-off-the-production-line Royal Oak only mkae the third spot. This Papa Smurf watch was only officially announced earlier this week (after leaking at the very end of August), so Sheeran is really showing off. The new watch furthers AP’s already fun experiments with ceramic—the brand makes the Royal Oak in all white and all black—by using the material to turn out this blueberry-hued timepiece. This watch checks every box: the ceramic material is rugged and scratch-proof, the perpetual calendar shows off mean technical chops, and the blue shade brings all the fun.

Courtesy of John Mayer

Courtesy of John Mayer

John Mayer’s Apple Watch Ultra

As he wrote on Instagram, the Apple Watch usually isn’t John Mayer’s cup of tea as a mechanical watch collector. What won him over? The do-it-all Apple Watch Ultra is loaded with features, like an 86-decibel distress siren and a spot-on GPS that tracks the wearer’s hiking trails. This is a win-win: Mayer adds another piece to his dazzling collection and Apple gets the most important co-sign in the watch world.

Pierre Suu

Melinda Gates’s Patek Philippe Nautilus

While ex-husband Bill Gates is famous for wearing a sub-$50 Casio, Melinda has shown she isn’t afraid of spending her massive fortune. That mostly means giving large portions of it away to charity—but also spending a (relatively) small chunk to buy a powerhouse watch. At Michael Kors’s NYFW show, Gates wore a pretty gold Nautilus. The collector-favorite Nautilus has gotten a bad rap as the choice of the Bitcoin bros and nouveau riche, but Gates proves that it’s actually a watch able to bring all wealthy people together. How lovely.

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