Make Like an Olympic Athlete with These Precision Timepieces

By Aldous Tuck | August 15, 2016 | Watches & Jewelry

Swiss watchmakers and champion athletes team up for timepieces that offer split-second accuracy as well as winning style.


Omega has been an official Olympic timekeeper for nine decades. In honor of this summer’s games, the brand has released the Seamaster Bullhead “Rio 2016” ($9,600). Featuring a central chronograph seconds hand and a 30-minute recorder at 12, the watch has a blue leather strap reflecting the Rio 2016 Olympic Games logo and is accented with yellow, green, red, and black stitching reminiscent of the Olympic rings. This is a limited edition of 316 pieces. London Jewelers, Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., 516-627-7475

Legend has it that the Patek Philippe Aquanaut collection was born in 1974 from Henri Stern’s passion for sailing. The Stern family, which owns the brand, created the latest incarnation of this famed sailing watch, the Aquanaut 5167/1A (price on request), with a mechanical self winding movement, a 40mm cushion-shaped case, and a screw-down crown. The watch is water-resistant to 120 meters. Wempe, 700 Ave., NYC, 212-397-9000

As the official timer of Wimbledon, Rolex has a deep connection to tennis, as well as myriad other partnerships in the sporting world. The Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 in steel and yellow gold ($12,700) represents the next generation of a true classic. The watch is constructed of 904L steel and 18k yellow or Everose gold and is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. London Jewelers, 2 Main St., East Hampton, 329-3939

With eight decades of aeronautics experience informing its designs, Breitling is the official timekeeper of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship; the brand also sponsors several aviation teams and collaborates with elite pilots. The Avenger Bandit ($6,015), which debuted at this year’s Baselworld watch fair, is a self-winding, high-frequency, COSC-certified chronometer featuring a quarter-second chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers, and a glare-proof cambered sapphire crystal. London Jewelers, 47 Main St., Southampton, 287-4499

The origin of precision timing in sports is shrouded in lore, but what is known is that in 1932, Omega sent 30 state-of-the-art chronographs to the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, providing not only the first official timekeeping technology, but also the first recorded instance of timing accurate to one-tenth of a second. Over the following eight decades, a number of brands demonstrated their expertise in the role of official timer across the sporting spectrum.

From sailing and equestrian competitions to world-class tennis, golf, motor racing, and more, Swiss watchmakers have pushed their technical know-how to the limit, building reliable instruments that help athletes of all stripes achieve excellence—and perhaps even win that coveted gold medal.

Categories: Watches & Jewelry


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