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Tom Brady bids farewell to football with a legendary watch

One of the greatest American football quarterbacks ever retires wearing an extremely rare IWC on his wrist.

Forget the 31-14 defeat suffered by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys. Although it was the last game for Brady, who announced his retirement last week, it certainly does not mean the end of his time in the spotlight. In fact, at the premiere of 80 for Brady, a film about a group of elderly women committed to fulfilling their dream of seeing the quarterback play in person, the honored quarterback wore a watch harder to get than a Super Bowl ring: the IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Hand Wound Squelette.

The Squelette has long been something of a mystery. It never appeared in IWC's catalog, nor was it the subject of an overflowing press release sent to watch journalists. On the contrary, the watches simply … appeared in boutiques, and the secret of such strangeness leaked out belatedly. Only 25 of this particular model were produced, and the skeletonized dial makes it absolutely unique in the Portugieser line. Literally: no other Portugieser has a skeletonized dial.

Throughout his own career Brady has always used watches to remind him of great occasions. He bought his very first IWC shortly after winning the first Super Bowl, a full 20 years ago, as he told me in 2020. Today, Brady is an ambassador for the brand. When he signed his contract with Tampa Bay, he wore an IWC bearing the words "The Longest Flight," which caused a stir. Now, for his first public appearance since announcing his retirement, he's strapped more of a rare watch on his wrist than any IWC in existence. It is hard to resist analyzing the significance of this choice: perhaps it is a subtle reminder from Brady of how important it is to appreciate something rare and special, be it a watch or a unique career in American football.  

Michael B. Jordan's Piaget Polo

This example had the courage to answer the question: what if the entire watch consisted of the bracelet? Of course, like most iconoclastic timepieces, this particular version of the Polo is a product of the 1970s. The line has since expanded with more traditional-looking models. During that era, however, many great sports watches with truly unique bracelets were produced, including the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but Piaget took it a step further by merging watch and bracelet.

A funny thing: an early advertisement for the watch boasted of its "subtle electronic quartz movement that never needs to be wound." Of course, it wasn't long before the collector community and many Swiss watchmakers came out against quartz, a technology that threatened the industry's interests. 

Russell Crowe's Rolex Yacht-Master

Don't judge a book by its cover: Crowe is not exactly the man whose wrist I expected to see a Yacht-Master fully set with precious stones just this week. This YM comes with more ice than a take-away soda and is one of those watches that Rolex doesn't talk about much: it suddenly appears on the wrists of the likes of Russell Crowe. Here's why people turn their noses up at the prices of custom pieces: why ask a jeweler to stud a timepiece with diamonds when you can ask the Crown to do it for you?

Nick Offerman's Vacheron Constantin Royal Eagle Chrono

Vacheron Constantin is best known for its elegant dress models, for example the Patrimony, but the history of its sports watches is underrated. Take for example the 222, worn by Brad Pitt last week, which Vacheron launched in the 1970s. In 2002, the brand launched this Royal Eagle chronograph. It has everything collectors want from a sports watch: steel bracelet, stopwatch function, and steel case, although the brand name on the dial may be unexpected. 

The Cartier Santos by Sam Richardson 

Sam Richardson is no longer the comedian who attended that event! He is Sam Richardson, owner of a Cartier Santos. It is a timeless model, suitable for all occasions, perfect whether you are presenting a ceremony for the baby of the year, visiting from the future or, more simply, attending the premiere of Alison Brie and Dave Franco's new romantic comedy, Somebody I Used to Know.


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