Watches and sports, when time says it all

A champion is often rated by his speed or his endurance, two criteria closely linked to time.

Watches and sports, when time says it all
Fifi Abou Dib

What is athletic performance if not a challenge of physical and mental abilities against time? A champion is most often rated by his speed or his endurance, two criteria linked to time and watches. Hence, the connection between watchmaking and sport is almost organic. Here’s our editorial staff’s selection of the most incredible sports watches of 2023.

Hublot Unico Golf, a golfer’s favorite

The Unico Golf model from Hublot belongs to the brand’s iconic Big Bang range. It is revolutionary in its design and complications. “More than a watch, a state of mind” says the brand. Hence the infinite interpretations, experimentations and customizations that are regularly built around the Big Bang model. Produced in a limited edition of 100 watches and water resistant to 100m, the Unico Golf combines fine watchmaking with golf in a both serious and playful spirit. On both sides of the dial, windows indicate “Hole” on the left and “Shot” on the right, allowing you to count points during a game.

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph, a trophy from the underwater realm


Every diver knows that his survival depends as much on his chronometer as on his oxygen supply. It is his watch that tells him the right moment to come back to the surface safely. In the 1960s, when water sports became popular, especially scuba diving, IWC was a pioneer in developing the first diver’s watch. This first Aquatimer was water resistant to 200 meters and equipped with a secure and rotatable bezel for adjusting the diving time. It has since been constantly improved. The new generation features green and blue luminescent coatings to ensure that the wearer is able to easily read the time underwater. It also facilitates quick orientation on the dial in adverse visibility conditions.

Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT, a steampunk device for natural born marines


Panerai, watches and the Italian navy go hand in hand. The watchmaking company, founded in Florence in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai, equipped a unit of combat swimmers of the Italian Royal Navy, the Xe Flottiglia MAS, during the Second World War.

The first model of the Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT was launched in 2010, marking the 400th anniversary of mathematician Galileo Galilei’s celestial observations. The mechanism, which is entirely visible, shows a tourbillon whose cage pivots once every 30 seconds, instead of the usual 60, on an axis perpendicular to that of the balance. The movement has also been redesigned to feature the power reserve indicator on the watch face. Titanium elements reduce its weight to a mere 23 grams.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar, the watch of sea captains


Designed in 1981 by watchmaker Gérald Genta, who also designed Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak in 1972, Patek Philippe’s Nautilus imitates the shape of a transatlantic liner’s porthole. Its name is inspired by that of Captain Nemo’s submarine, imagined by Jules Verne in his novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The first Grand Complication in the Nautilus collection, the 5740/1 Nautilus perpetual calendar, offers a distinctive blend of sports appeal and technical sophistication. Thanks to the famous ultra-thin self-winding caliber 240 Q movement, the case is water resistant to 60 m and remarkably svelte. The Patek Philippe Nautilus is the thinnest perpetual calendar.

The Excalibur Blacklight from Roger Dubuis, a time keeper for lovers of the sun


According to Roger Dubuis, a brand nicknamed “The Troublemakers Of Haute Horlogerie”, the futuristic Excalibur Blacklight is inspired by the art world and reveals the brand’s capacity for innovation. During the day, coloured micro-beams are spread inside the calibre, placed like rays of light going through the mechanism. Under UV light, the micro-beams are luminescent, like neon tubes glowing in a two faced sculpture, revealing its full potential only under specific circumstances. Bringing together both art and innovation together is what Roger Dubuis calls Art Technologies and allows the Geneva manufacturer to offer exclusive watches in limited editions. The Excalibur Blacklight also reflects the gender fluid approach of Roger Dubuis’ Haute Horlogerie designs.

Tag Heuer Carrera, the pilots’ essential

At the end of the 1950s, a young electrical engineer, Jack Heuer, the last member of the founding family to head the watchmaking house Tag Heuer, applied himself to creating the first chronograph by favouring an aesthetic that made it very easy to read. A fan of motorsport, he knew how important it is for a racing driver to have a dashboard that can be read at a glance. It was the era of the Carrera Panamericana, a fast and furiously dangerous road race that took place in Mexico. Carrera means ‘race’, ‘career’ and ‘path’ – words which he believed would translate well from one culture to another. Hence his choice to use the name for the watch he created and which hasn’t aged a bit for over 60 years! To celebrate this anniversary, the Carrera’s dial is offered a new palette: azure, pastel green, bright pink and silver.

Ulysse Nardin Freak 1, for lovers of the extraordinary

No dial, no hands, no crown… What kind of watch is this? Ulysse Nardin, the Swiss watchmaker which boasts two centuries of continuous innovation, was already famous in the 19th century for its precision marine chronometers. Those were intended for international shipping companies sailing the seven seas. Hence its logo in the shape of an anchor. The Freak appeared for the first time in 2001. In this extraterrestrial watch, the balance bridge is in the shape of a boat seen from above. The point of the boat indicates the minutes by moving thanks to a gear wheel which turns around the dial. The hour hand is connected by a planetary gear to the center of the movement which rotates every 12 hours. To adjust it, press the Freak button and rotate the frame.

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