We’ve finally reached the third and final part of our three-part series exploring the Rolex watches of the Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time. Forbes listed 25 athletes in total and we selected 15 of them since they’re the sportsmen that we’ve seen wearing Rolex. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Parts I and II. Without further ado, let’s dive straight in and find out which athletes are at the top of the list.
#7 (tie) David Beckham Career Earnings: $800 million
Once one of the most famous soccer players in the world, when Englishman David Beckham retired from the sport he pivoted into a businessman and has taken home a whopping $800 million so far.
Watch enthusiasts know David Beckham as an official ambassador of Tudor, but before he was a Tudor man, the former Manchester United player was most definitely a Rolex man (and still is). Some Rolex highlights from David Beckham’s personal watch collection include a vintage Rolex GMT-Master “Root-Beer,” a yellow gold Yacht-Master, a yellow gold Yacht-Master II, a vintage yellow gold Submariner, a steel Rolex Deepsea, a steel and ceramic Daytona, and a yellow gold Day-Date.
#4 Jack Nicklaus Career Earnings: $1.2 billion
Now we’re getting into mega money with Jack Nicklaus’ $1.2 billion (yes with a “b”) earning him a spot at #4 on Forbes’ list. Affectionately nicknamed “The Golden Bear,” Jack Nicklaus is often regarded as the greatest golfer of all time with 18 major championships to his name.
Although Jack Nicklaus has been a Rolex ambassador for decades, he’s only ever worn one watch. A yellow gold Day-Date President that he received from Rolex in 1966 and he has worn it for well over 50 years! It’s been reported that Jack Nicklaus is ready to auction off his beloved Rolex watch soon to raise money for his Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. Stay tuned for more news on that as it unfolds.
#3 Arnold Palmer Career earnings: 1.4 billion
A part of golf’s “Big Three” along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, the late Arnold Palmer passed away in September 2016, but his estate still earns on his behalf explaining how he’s still at #3 on the list with career earnings of $1.4 billion.
Arnold Palmer was also a Rolex brand ambassador (he was the first Rolex golf ambassador) and wore several watches throughout his life. We’ve seen him wearing a steel Submariner “Kermit,” a yellow gold Submariner, a yellow gold Day-Date, a tridor Day-Date, and a white gold Sky-Dweller.
#2 Tiger Woods Career earnings: #1.7 billion
Yet another golfer in the top of the list, Tiger Woods secures his #2 position with career earnings of $1.7 billion despite some scandals that caused him to lose out on sponsorship deals for a time being. The 14-time major winner currently enjoys plenty of endorsement deals including one with Rolex.
Outside of official advertising, the one Rolex watch we’ve seen regularly on Tiger Woods’ wrist is a Rolex Deepsea. He’s explained in the past that he loves to dive and when he’s not on the golf course, he spends as much time as possible in the ocean. That explains his love for the Deepsea!
#1 Michael Jordan Career earnings: $1.85 billion
We’ve finally made it to the end of the list! None other at the top is Michael Jordan with incredible career earnings of $1.85 billion! Long retired from the NBA, Michael Jordan is still considered the greatest basketball player of all time.
Which Rolex watches does this billionaire former athlete, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, and mega business tycoon wear? A handful of them from the ultra-luxe platinum Daytona with the chocolate brown ceramic bezel to the dressier platinum Day-Date President to the yellow gold GMT-Master II.
There you have it. 15 of the highest paid athletes of all time and the Rolex watches they choose to sport on their wrists. We’ve seen a fantastic selection of Rolex timepieces in all that cover plenty of different styles, materials, and price points.