The Watches of Super Bowl LVIII
Sunday, February 11, 2024 saw the dramatic end to the football season with defending champions, Kansas City Chiefs becoming the first team in two decades to win back-to-back finals, edging past the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in only the second Super Bowl in history to go into overtime.
In a tale of contrasting fortunes, this was the Chiefs’ third Super Bowl win in five years, making them the first post-Patriots dynasty, while for the Niners it represented their third consecutive loss, extending a drought which has gone on now for 29-years.
The game drew some 70,000 spectators to the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and was viewed by a further 110 million around the world—among them a good percentage of horology nerds who never pass up a good opportunity for watch spotting.
What Were They Wearing?
With the possible exception of Formula 1, there are few other sport stars who regularly boast a more desirable watch collection than the athletes from the NFL.
The players’ arrival at the stadium, which is more akin to a catwalk show than anything else, is the perfect time to get a glimpse at the wrist attire of football’s finest.
Below, we have picked out some of the highlights from 2024.
Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs quarterback Mahomes, Super Bowl MVP, finished the game 34 of 46 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The 28-year old is now one of only five QBs to have won three or more Super Bowls and is considered one of the greatest of all time.
And, with a net worth estimated to be around $70 million, he can afford to indulge himself in a few luxuries.
His watch collection has been documented in depth and it is clear he has a favorite manufacture. While this year he stepped off the team bus in his trademark wraparound Oakley’s with his watch hidden beneath a sparkly sleeve, in the past he has been pictured with a cornucopia of Rolex’s finest.
We saw him sporting a yellow Rolesor Zenith Daytona ref. 16523 shortly after joining the Chiefs, as well as a steel Yacht-Master II at the 2019 NFL Honors show when he was named as MVP for the 2018 regular season.
More recently he seems to have added to the haul. He has been seen with the GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR ‘Batgirl’ numerous times, along with the Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126655 with a full diamond pavé dial and Oysterflex strap. And he rocked up to Super Bowl LVII for his win against the Philadelphia Eagles wearing a platinum Day-Date ref. 228396TBR-0030 with ice blue dial and diamond bezel.
But arguably his most attention-grabbing piece is the ref. 116595RBOW, the opinion-dividing ‘Rainbow’ Daytona in Everose gold. A stunningly executed watch regardless as to whether it matches your appetites, it marks Mahomes out as a more serious collector, with preowned prices starting at the half million dollar mark.
Mahomes’ offensive partner, tight end Travis Kelce, is another Rolex fan.
The man who once went broke spending his entire rookie paycheck on a single pair of Nikes and a watch (another Rolex, so at least some of us can relate) is now worth upwards of $30m and is in possession of a much better financial education.
In his watch box you will find a Day-Date ref. 228238, in classic yellow gold with champagne dial. Next to that is a second President, this time in platinum. Similar to Mahomes’, the ref. 228236 is a slightly more conservative variant which swaps the diamond bezel for a smooth surround.
He is not completely averse to gemstones however. His stylish Datejust ref. 126334RDO features a grey dial with diamond indexes, while his everyday wear appears to be the legendary Submariner ref. 126610LN, a watch built every bit as tough and robust as Kelce himself.
But perhaps his biggest head-turner is one model we just don’t see out and about enough. The Breitling for Bentley Flying B Jumping Hours was one of a slew of collaborative pieces between watchmaker and car marque, a wonderful rectangular piece with a peculiar jumping hours complication and signature knurling decoration modelled after the look of a Bentley’s front grill.
Kelce is thought of as the NFL’s best tight end right now, and his watch collection is one fit for such a player.
(Look at that; 234 words about Travis Kelce and none of them are ‘Taylor’ or ‘Swift!’)
San Francisco 49ers
Despite the disappointment of losing two Super Bowls in a row, Niners number one wide receiver, Deebo Samuel can at least console himself with having one of the most enviable assortments of timepieces in the game.
Not famously shy nor retiring, Samuel’s Instagram feed shows off the fashion-forward WR’s extravagant tastes, and that extends to the apparel for his substantial wrist.
Within his collection we noticed not one, not two, but three Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks; one each in steel and pink gold as well as a third which is insanely tricked out in diamonds from head to toe.
Alongside those lie a pair of Cartier Santos models, again in steel and pink gold, and the obligatory Rolexes—a Rolesor Datejust and a white gold Daytona on Oysterflex. He was also gifted a GMT-Master II ref. 126610LV by teammate Trent Williams.
But taking center stage has to be the Richard Mille 030. One of Mille’s more subdued offerings, the watch has the conventional tonneau case shape and its skeletonized movement, the Calibre RMAR1, powers the hours, minutes and seconds, a date display, and both a winding and power reserve indicator. But possibly the most impressive aspect is the declutchable variable-geometry rotor which disengages the watch’s automatic winding system when the mainspring reaches full tension to prevent wear and tear.
Who knows, Samuel may follow fellow wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s lead and wear his Mille during a game.
And just to prove that not all ball players have to spend the GDP of a developing nation to display their penchant for great watches…
The unfairly nicknamed ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ wasn’t even born the last time San Francisco won the Super Bowl, and the team’s third string quarterback, the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, probably didn’t imagine he’d be featuring in this one either.
But injuries to both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo meant Purdy got to step up, and it’s fair to say he grabbed the opportunity. He led the league in passer rating during the 2023 regular season, and helped the 49ers to back-to-back comeback victories in both the NFC Divisional and NFC Championship playoff games, becoming only the third QB since 1970 to win two playoff games in his rookie season.
So, how did he reward himself for such an incredible run?
Purdy was pictured turning up to Super Bowl LVIII wearing the new Tudor Black Bay Burgundy. While that might seem a little underwhelming in the face of diamond-encrusted Royal Oaks and platinum Presidents, this updated variant is an important watch for Tudor.
Firstly, it is nearly 1mm thinner than the previous model and that, coupled with the modernized and extra supple five-link bracelet, makes it extremely wearable. The dial is different too, with a sunburst finish as opposed to the former matte and the seconds hand is now a lollipop type. Similarly, the bezel has received a deeper edging to make it easier to turn and give the whole thing a more vintage tool watch feel.
But the biggest news is the METAS certification. This is only the second Tudor to win Master Chronometer status, meaning its movement, the in-house Caliber MT5602-U, is accurate to within 0/+5 seconds a day at two temperatures, six positions and two different stages of power reserve and the watch as a whole is water resistant to 200m and is paramagnetic up to 15,000 gauss.
So while at first glance you might well mistake it for the original, the model has actually been worked over top to bottom and each element improved.
Which makes it far from irrelevant.