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Modern gladiators


If you've ever attended a boxing match, you know the thrilling feeling in the air when two athletes mercilessly clash at the peak of their physical abilities like forces of nature. The origin of this archaic sport stretches back to the ancient Egyptians in 3,000 BC when two opponents measured their strength solely by means of their fists. Even today, more than 5,000 years later, this Olympic sport has hardly changed and enjoys enormous popularity – as do the luxury watches that some of the most famous boxing legends showcase on their wrists. 



From boxing gloves to luxury timepieces


In addition to luxury sports cars, sparkling necklaces and expensive tailored suits, a number of professional boxers also like to show up with exquisite timepieces that are second to none. Let's take a look at some of the ring's most famous personalities and their wristwatches. After all, in addition to boxing gloves, luxury watches are now a standard component of a boxer's wardrobe.


Michael Buffer: The voice of the boxing ring

No legendary boxing match takes place without the equally legendary announcement "Let's get ready to rumble". The man who has been warming the crowds with this battle cry for over 34 years is none other than the US entertainer and announcer Michael Buffer, who has been a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 2012. His trademark besides his unmistakable catchphrase? A perfectly fitted tuxedo with a black bow tie. 


Yellow gold Rolex Day-Date 18078 watch with gold dial on brown boxing glove
ROLEX DAY-DATE 18078


So what does a man like Buffer wear on his wrist? In contrast to the boxers in the ring, he clearly opts for slightly less conspicuous jewellery. The 75-year-old favours a certain restraint – no understatement, but rather classic minimalism. The question of which watch Buffer usually wears or which watches he owns is not easy to answer. But what flashes from time to time from under his cuff is always completely made of gold and is strongly reminiscent of a Rolex Day-Date with a classic President bracelet. What we are sure of is that a man like Michael Buffer surely has an impressive collection of watches.


Mike Tyson: Exotic hobbies and watches

Known for his signature facial tattoo, his penchant for exotic pets, the faux pas of biting an opponent's ear and, of course, his legendary punch is Mike Tyson. He is considered one of the great heavyweights in boxing and is without a doubt an absolute legend.

This more than intimidating ex-boxer now indulges in various leisure activities such as recording his own podcast or an interest in naturopathy embodied in his Californian cannabis ranch. Interestingly enough, a wristwatch is a rare sight. Not that the retired athlete is financially disadvantaged, but in his world, watches are made to his wishes and not according to worldly trends like atomic clocks or social norms. However, when Tyson leaves his private paradise now and then, he will occasionally wear a watch as an accessory. The boxing legend has been seen wearing a Rolex Daytona and his personal WBC Limited Edition from Hublot. The latter incorporates the design of boxing’s world champion belt and features the words "World Champion" on the dial.


Muhammad Ali: Down-to-earth taste in Watches

The exceptional athlete Muhammad Ali, who was born Cassius Clay in 1942 and passed away in 2016, is, without doubt, one of the greatest boxers of all time. In addition to his career as an athlete, he was also politically active as an advocate for human rights and polarized not only the USA, but the world.


Cartier Tank 1700 watch with yellow gold case and black leather strap lying on boxing glove
CARTIER TANK 1700


His choice of wristwatches was as extraordinary as he himself. For years, the multiple champion appeared without a watch, but finally settled on a Cartier Tank with a black leather strap and a Certina DS DiaMaster, which he received as a gift. These are rather modest choices, considering that his promoter and manager Don King had a very different lifestyle, but more on that later. Ali's choice had a special reason: in his role as a political activist, he could hardly appear with diamond-studded or gold watches. This would have done more damage to his credibility than the watch could have brought him pleasure. Several famous politicians have already experienced the response that expensive luxury watches can provoke. 

Instead, after Ali's death, TAG Heuer launched a special limited edition of the Carrera in steel and a single gold model, made only to order. This gold Carrera was sold at the auction along with a pair of signed boxing gloves, a signed suitcase and a certificate of authenticity to the benefit of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. The Carrera Ring Master Muhammad Ali Special Edition with the reference numbers WAR2A13 and WAR2A40 is a TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 with Ali's signature on the dial and an engraving of the boxer on the case back. One special feature of this watch is that it draws on inspiration from the 1957 TAG Heuer Ring Master models – stopwatches that were used to measure a wide variety of sports like boxing and track and field. The TAG Heuer Ali Edition is perfect for one thing in particular: measuring the three-minute rounds of a boxing match.


Floyd Mayweather Junior: More is more

50 fights, 50 wins. Undefeated and retired. Even when Floyd Mayweather Jr. returned from retirement to face his challenger, he finished his last fight with victory number 50.

Mayweather is not known for a modest, philanthropic personality, but rather for Rolls Royce limousines, private jets, his broad grin and expensive luxury watches that could not possibly sparkle more. In fact, Mayweather is a huge watch enthusiast. His collection includes gold "standard" luxury watches, as well as common but no less expensive models by Hublot, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, as well as a few extremely exquisite and rare watch models. As one of his former sponsors, Hublot produced a version of the Hublot WBC Limited Edition in honour of him using the design of the "Money Belt", the belt that would be the crowning achievement of his career. 


Hublot Big Bang 301.SX.130.RX.114 watch with diamond-set steel case in boxing glove
HUBLOT BIG BANG 301.SX.130.RX.114


Additionally, Mayweather has shown above-average enthusiasm for so-called "iced out" watches, i.e., models that are totally set with diamonds or other precious stones. This trend is especially popular in the USA and among rappers and therefore often seen with celebrities and on the red carpet. How could you possibly stand out from the crowd even more? The latest acquisition of the former professional boxer is a watch by Richard Mille. Since every free millimetre has been adorned with baguette-cut diamonds by the Beverly Hills-based jewellers Peter Marco and Jadelle, it is impossible to identify which model this exactly is.


Conor McGregor: Of Luxury Watches and Automobiles

Luxury watches have an enormous advantage over luxury cars: unlike a luxury watch, a Bentley is very difficult to tie to your wrist. For all those who want to express their love of luxury cars with an exclusive accessory, there are series such as the Breitling for Bentley. The next athlete in our series also has a soft spot for cars and luxury watches: Conor McGregor

The Irish-born McGregor may be an MMA fighter and not a boxer, but he owes his current popularity to a boxing match – the very one that Floyd Mayweather Jr. returned from retirement to the ring for. McGregor usually appears to cheering crowds in a perfectly fitted tailor-made suit, as well as a side parting and full beard. His most important accessory is his watch. The father of two frequently displays his luxury timepieces on social media and often in combination with extravagant cars. His penchant for watches made of gold, platinum and ceramic is remarkable. Models made of steel are less common in his collection. Instead, more common are gold models from Rolex, including various Day-Date watches in yellow and Everose gold with a green "Anniversary Dial" or champagne-coloured dial, a gold-plated Yacht-Master II, several Sky-Dweller and Daytona models in a wide variety of dial colours, although most everything preferably in yellow gold. Speaking of Rolex, every now and then McGregor shows up on its Instagram feed with an almost down-to-earth Day-Date. The 118206 features a light blue dial and an at first glance silver case. This is, however, platinum. If McGregor is wearing an Audemars Piguet instead of a Rolex, he often chooses models from the Royal Oak Offshore collection. He owns a diamond-set model of the Arnold Schwarzenegger "T3" Special Edition and a version of the Offshore made of steel and ceramic with a rubber strap. Patek Philippe, on the other hand, is a little more unusual: in addition to a Nautilus (Ref. 5980) in rose gold, he also has a two-tone version of the same reference with a blue dial. In terms of exclusivity, he crowns his collection with a skeletonized Calatrava in rose gold. But even if one might think at this point that McGregor owns enough watches, the Irishman proves us wrong: his impressive collection also includes a Hublot King Power made of titanium and a diamond-set Franck Muller Vanguard. Despite a certain tendency towards showmanship, McGregor must be credited with the fact that he always chooses watches to match his outfit and not the other way around.


Rolex Daytona 16523 two-tone watch with white dial on boxing glove with skipping rope
ROLEX DAYTONA 16523


The Klitschko Brothers: Puristic instead of pompous

Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, the two giants also seen in a German sweets advertisement, actually were quite the exact opposite. Rarely seen in public, quiet and, despite their appearance, extremely inconspicuous, these two gentlemen apparently wear hardly any watches. If at all, every now and then a model peaks out hidden under the shirt cuff.

The one thing Wladimir offers us to speculate on is a black leather strap, which can occasionally be seen on his wrist. Not very revealing. Since beginning his political career in the Ukrainian parliament, less has been seen of Vitali or his watches. However, this also permits certain conclusions: if they were gold or gem-studded timepieces, they would attract extreme attention. In the Klitschko company, however, understatement seems to be the most important thing. 


Don King: A boxing promoter with extravagant taste

No one else shaped the main features of boxing as much as Don King. His distinctive grin, glowing cigars, loads of jewellery and his eccentric hair were considered the unmistakable trademarks of the boxing promoter. Loved by some, hated by others – but nothing went on in the world of boxing without King knowing about it. King immersed himself in the world of boxing when he convinced Muhammad Ali to participate in a fight to collect donations for a hospital in Cleveland.

The controversial promoter is still considered anything, but down-to-earth or reserved. However, the only watch in Don King's collection that can be certainly identified is a gold Rolex, fully set with diamonds, worth $100,000. The exact model is again unknown. It was stolen during a robbery. 



Luxury watches in the world of boxing


Naturally, luxury watches are always considered status symbols. Whether or not you have to emphasize this fact with diamonds is ultimately a matter of taste, like so much else in life. The fact that there are also some boxers who, contrary to many clichés, rely on elegant understatement may surprise some people. But, in our opinion, it's precisely this mixture of glitz and glamour, as well as downright elegant modesty that makes the boxing scene and its connection to fine timepieces so fascinating.

If you are interested in sports and would like to learn more about the luxury watches of football stars, then we would encourage you to read on.