My last post which covered the “Otis” music video by Jay-Z , a famously known Audemars Piguet fan, wearing a new Hublot Fusion Classic. The Swiss watch maker went as far to thank him with his own limited edition Royal Oak. I wondered how Audemars felt about a long-time supporter and promoter of their brand had decided to showcase Hublot in his latest video instead. With sponsorship the marketing weapon of choice for all watch brands, it seems like that the old guard Audemars and the relative upstart Hublot are waging a cold war through their growing list of ambassadors.
The first recorded open battle was Hublot’s hostile takeover of Audemars’ sponsorship of Alinghi, the famous Swiss yacht racing team, in 2009. This year in February, Hublot made headlines with their announcement that Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade is now their ambassador. Two months later in April, Audemars made headlines with their announcement that the other big Miami Heat star, LeBron James is now their ambassador… going for a another top NBA star on the same team, only two months after? This can only be seen as an act of aggression!
Looking across both brands, they have ambassadors across many of the same sports. Ambassadors are always paired with their team’s flagship watch, either Audemar Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore or Hublot’s Big Bang. So I’ve picked two competing brand ambassadors and their signature watches from various sports to stack against each other.
Basketball: Dwyane Wade for Hublot vs. lebron James for Audemars
Dwyane Wade with the D-Wade King Power
Star of the Miami Heat, Wade is a NBA champ, Finals MVP, Olympic gold medalist and seven-time All-Star. He is also known for his fundraising for childrens charities. He founded The Wade’s World Foundation to support community-based organizations for kids. He hosts various community outreach programs in Chicago and Florida and also has partnered with former teammate Alonzo Mourning’s charity. He is also known for his style, making GQ’s best dressed NBA player and Esquire’s best dressed man twice.
His D-Wade King Power has a huge 48mm face and features red accents, taken his team’s logo. It includes his jersey number “3” and had cross-pattered details on the face to resemble a basketball net. The casing is made from micro-blasted black ceramic. Expected to be released in the fall, there will be 500 pieces retailing at $20,000, which proceeds going to charity.
Lebron James with the Royal Oak Offshore Volcano
LeBron James is also a big NBA star on the Miami Heat. He’s made Rookie of The Year, MVP twice and has been an All-NBA and All-Star every year since 2005. He has graced the cover of countless style and fashion magazines and also contributes to several charities and foundations.
His upcoming signature watch, which sales will also contribute to charity, won’t be released until 2013. He is a well known Royal Oak fan, being spotted on many occasions sporting one. I’ve picked one distinct one of his to share, the Royal Oak Offshore “Volcano”. Based off the steel Royal Oak, it features a striking orange trim. It is also part of a limited series of nature themed Royal Oaks.
Formula One: Bruno Senna for Hublot vs. Jarno Trulli for Audemars
Bruno Senna with the Big Bang “Ayrton Senna”
Bruno Senna from Brazil is a rising star in the world of Formula One. He was introduced to Hublot through the Ayrton Senna Foundation. Ayrton Senna was his late uncle, who is regarded as one of the greatest F1 Drivers of all time. Ayrton was unfortunately killed in a crash while leading in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. This is when the foundation in his name was started, to benefit Brazilian children.
A watch dedicated to the memory of Ayrton Senna was presented to him, with complete proceeds from all sales to go to his family’s foundation. After being released earlier in May at the Monaco Senna Celebration, all 250 watches quickly sold out. The Big Bang “Ayrton Senna” has a 44.5mm case with brushed and polished black ceramic. This “All Black” version uses a matte black ceramic bazel with matte black and black nickel details for the dial. It also includes Ayrton Senna’s signature in red.
Jarno Trulli with the Royal Oak Offshore “Jarno Trulli”
Jarno Trulli, a Formula One veteran who now races for Lotus, was added to Audemars’ list of F1 ambassadors in the fall of 2010. For this Grand Prix edition, Audemars went for a more subdued appearance than their earlier releases and focuses more on unique materials. The Jarno Trulli edition uses a 42mm case is made with forged carbon, with a bezel made out of a new-age material called “cermet”, which is a metal ceramic hybrid blend. The forged carbon and “cermet” give it its unique subtle styling.
Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar for Audemars vs. Harbhajan Singh for Hublot
Sachin Tendulkar with the Royal Oak Offshore “Sachin Tendulkar”
Tendulkar is an Indian cricketer who is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the sport. His lengthy career started when he was eighteen and has reached past 20 years. His greatest victory came earlier this year, when he beat Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup. Aside from his success on the field, he has been very successful with a fan base stretching across the globe and countless big name sponsors, such as Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Royal Oak Offshore comes in either a stainless steel or rose gold case. The stainless steel model features his team color blue for the alligator strap and accents, with the colors of India’s flag for the stitching.
Harbhajan Singh with the Hublot F1 King Power India
Singh is a recent addition to Hublot’s line-up and is known as a specialist bowler (a pitcher in cricket). He is considered the most well known Indian cricketer after Tendulkar because of his unique playing style and colourful personality. This made him the front runner for Hublot to compete with Audemars for the fast-growing luxury market in India.
While Singh has only been signed this year and does not yet have his own watch, Hublot released a the new F1 King Power India. This makes the second power move by Hublot in India this year, by securing this new international sport coming to the nation. It features the 48mm “King Gold” case, with the colors of the Indian flag used for the accents and stitching. Fitted with a ceramic bezel, it also uses “Nomex” for its strap. Nomex was developed by Dupont De Nemours for F1 driver suits for its low combustibility and thermo-stability.
Are you on Team Hublot or Team Audemars? What are your picks between each pair?
Let us know in the comments and click here for Hublot vs. Audemars round 2