News • 04 Jul 2018

What’s On Their Wrist – 2018 FIFA World Cup

by Kenneth Chia


The stage is set. Football’s biggest names are en route to Russia, geared to score a victory for their home country. Accompanying them is Hublot, Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of this tournament, and a trusted companion for many of these football legends.

After all, the world’s best players have no time for second best.  On and off the field, they’re in a relentless pursuit to perfect their game. The world is watching. The pride of an entire country is at stake. Every second counts.

Pelé and Ricardo Guadalupe launching the 12-month countdown for FIFA World Cup 2018 at Red Square in Moscow

Little wonder why Cristiano Ronaldo, two-time FIFA world player of the year, has chosen to wear a Hublot Big Bang Big Date Tourbillion. From leading Real Madrid to flying the flag for Portugal, Ronaldo has proven time and again to be at the top of his game – just like his rather special watch.

Cristiano Ronaldo sporting his Hublot Big Bang Big Date Tourbillion

This achromatic chronograph features a round grey dial and date display with a mix of index and Arabic numerals – set within a matt platinum 44mm case. It comes with HUB 1050GD manual- winding chronograph movement with 5-day power reserve, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass crystal. Specially designed for trailblazers, the Hublot Big Bang Big Date Tourbillion is a perfect fit for the fearlessly ferocious Ronaldo.

But clinching the World Cup won’t be a walk in the park. Not on Leo Messi’s watch.

Regarded by some as the best player in the world, Messi is a creative playmaker who often shakes up the field. His choice of a timepiece, unsurprisingly, is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Leo Messi Chronograph – an innovative masterpiece that has surpassed expectations to take its rightful place as a modern icon.

Leo Messi wearing his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph

Beautifully fitted with an iconic octagonal tantalum bezel and platinum case, this version of the Royal Oak is extremely rare. More precisely, only 100 pieces have been crafted and circulated worldwide. Also worth mentioning is tantalum: a rare, bluish-grey, super scratch- and corrosion-resistant metal that has become a signature fixture on the most beautifully-crafted bezels by AP. Needless to say, this limited-edition chronograph effortlessly stands out from the crowd – just like its industrious wearer.

Joining the fray is Mats Hummels, central defender of the German national team. Renowned for his precision passes, Hummels is backed by the equally precise TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11.

Mats Hummels is backed by the equally precise TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11

Blue-hued, square-dialed and named after one of the world ’s most beautiful cities, the Monaco is clearly the epitome of vintage prestige. It’s also the world’s first automated chronograph, and world’s first water-resistant timepiece with a square case. The dial comes with two silver minute chronograph counters at 9 and 3 o’clock, and polished horizontal faceted indexes and luminescent dots. All encased within a 39mm x 39mm fine-brushed and polished steel case. Our verdict: The Monaco is in a league of its own, and we’re confident its wearer will hold his own at the wildly anticipated competition.

Next on our list is Antoine Griezmann, best known for finding his way to the back of the net – and hearts of football fans.

Griezmann’s favourite timepiece – a Patek Philippe Nautilus – has proven to be just as much of a crowd pleaser. It comes with a gradated dial, mechanical self-winding movement, and gold applied hour markers with luminescent coating.  The craftsmanship is complemented by the rose gold case and bracelet with Nautilus fold-over clasp, adding to the Swiss sophistication we’ve become so accustomed to.

Antoine Griezmann is often seen wearing his Patek Philippe Nautilus

Having shaped sporting elegance since 1976, the Nautilus now imbues Griezmann’s fast-paced lifestyle with unrivalled class.

And while Patek Philippe watches over the suave Frenchman, Urwerk has got the back of Mohamed Salah.

The rising superstar scored two goals to help Egypt qualify for World Cup 2018, and he’s all set to show the world what he – and his nation – is made of. Symbolic of his valour, Salah’s Urwerk UR-105 resembles the breastplate of a knight’s armour. The titanium and mirror-polished steel casing has been designed to protect its mechanism from the ravages of time.

Mohamed Salah’s Urwerk UR-105 with the iconic satellite indication

The timepiece also boosts Urwerk’s iconic satellite indication, a signature element of the brand for 18 years. Four numbered satellites on a moving carousel provide Salah with an innovative analogue and digital display of the time – because the world’s top goal-getters deserve no less.

But to get to the coveted trophy and fame, Salah has to outplay Virgil Van Dijk and his Patek Philippe Aquanaut.

Virgil Van Dijk and his Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Towering at 1.93m, the Dutch centre-back is known for his tenacity – just like the Aquanaut he brandishes. This timeless timepiece sports a black embossed dial, gold applied numerals, and a strap that’s ultra-resistant to wear, salt water and UV radiation.

As Van Dijk rises to the challenge in Russia, there’s no doubt that the Aquanaut will be with him – every step of the way.

Last but not least in our lineup is arguably one of the greatest midfielders of all time: Andrés Iniesta. To match his fast-paced lifestyle, Iniesta has chosen the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45.

Andrés Iniesta sporting his TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45

Engineered in collaboration with Google and Intel, the Connected watch combines Swiss watchmaking mastery with Silicon Valley technology. Just like how Iniesta has combined versatility and inventiveness to propel himself to the top of the league.

As the likes of Iniesta, Messi and Ronaldo converge on the proving grounds in 2018, one thing is certain: This is their time to shine.


Kenneth Chia

Kenneth Chia committed the one mistake no watch lover should: He was late. Brought up on a healthy dose of mystery novels and strategy board games, Kenneth’s fascination with timepieces began only a few years ago. These days, he runs the marketing agency Pencil Sword, while exploring the riveting world of fine watchmaking.


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