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Editorial - Who loves football?

Editorial Who loves football?

With World Cup fever gripping football fans, we take a look at the tournament from an horological perspective and beyond.

Hopefully you were easily able to answer the question in the title, at least from the horological perspective. Hublot first got involved in the sport 12 years ago, as a pioneer at a time when nobody else dared to associate the sport with the world of luxury watchmaking. Opening up this new niche was also born out of necessity, since the big luxury watch brands had already hermetically sealed off the worlds of golf, sailing and tennis. Today, though, it is Hublot and TAG Heuer that have done the same with football. 

Before the World Cup even started last week, Hublot enjoyed great visibility at the Socceraid charity football match in the UK, where two teams consisting of a mixture of professional footballers and celebrities from England and the Rest of the World played in aid of UNICEF. The presence of the Nyon-based company was difficult to miss, from the capital letters of the brand name scrolling on the pitch-side advertising hoardings to the player’s shirts and the glint of golden Big Bangs in the dug-out. Such visibility pales into insignificance, however, against the exposure that Hublot will get as official timekeeper of the World Cup. Its name will be seen on the fourth official’s board, for example, which was seen for a total of 21 minutes at the last World Cup in Brazil. Imagine what it would cost to buy 21 minutes of advertising on every TV channel showing the World Cup! But this time round the referees will also be wearing the brand-new Hublot smart watch, giving the brand even more visibility. And if that wasn’t enough, at least eight national team coaches will be wearing Hublot watches pitch-side during the tournament, not to mention countless TV pundits who will have the brand’s watches strapped to their wrists as they commentate on and analyse the matches to a cumulative audience that is measured in billions.

Hublot will not be the sole watch brand visible at the World Cup, however. Carl F. Bucherer is a sponsor of Switzerland’s national team and only last week announced one of the squad, Ricardo Rodriguez, as a new ambassador. The fact that another Swiss player, Xherdan Shaqiri, is an ambassador for Hublot shows just how complicated such deals can be. Gernot Rohr, Nigeria’s coach, will be one of the few coaches not wearing a Hublot watch. Instead he has opted for a Predator monopusher chronograph by Rebellion timepieces and Spain’s Cesar Azpilicueta is with Roger Dubuis. 

Which team lifts the cup at the conclusion of the tournament will depend on a combination of long-term planning and development (read this fascinating in-depth study by The Economist for more information) and moments of magic, such as the famous “Cruyff turn” by Dutch legend Johan Cruyff in 1974, or indeed madness, like Diego Maradona’s infamous “hand of god” goal in 1986 or Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in 2006. Whichever team wins, however, one thing is certain: as official timekeeper Hublot cannot lose. 

Football fever also swept the EPHJ-EPMT-SMT exhibition that was held at the Palexpo in Geneva last week. While the general consensus was that the most significant developments were in the field of lasers, the people at Vaudaux certainly knew how to stand out in Switzerland’s football strip and at the same time show off their expertise in leather cladding by presenting a fully leather-clad table football in Switzerland’s national colours.

Who loves football?

Philippe Belais and Pia de Chefdebien, from Vaudaux © WorldTempus / Paul O'Neil

Enter our competition for a chance to win some Hublot goodies during the World Cup.

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