One of the first sporting “brand ambassadors” in the world of watches, Sir Nick Faldo dutifully wore an Audemars Piguet for many years. But the watch he loves the most? A Blancpain 500 Fathoms
By James Buttery
WHO: Sir Nick Faldo, golfer and golf course designer
WATCH: Blancpain 500 Fathoms
We meet six-time major winner Nick Faldo as he is on his way to the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final for the next generation of major winners staged in Vietnam, by way of Cambodia, where he has two golf courses under construction and Thailand, where he represents a luxury spa hotel.
He is clearly also going through something of an exploratory period when it comes to watches. The near 20-year ambassador of Audemars Piguet has been adding to his collection as he travels the globe from his home in Florida. But his most recent purchase (and current favourite) is a Blancpain 48mm 500 Fathoms limited edition that he spotted in a window in Hong Kong.
The towering golfer admits that he is forced to look at oversized watches because of his stature. Faldo was, in his own words, the “first person to refuse to wear a watch” as part of a commercial agreement while playing a round of golf after Ebel approached him in the 1980s. “No way,” he explained. “I can’t wear a watch when I’m playing golf, although a few guys do. Bernhard Langer then went with them and he wore it.
“In theory, as they’ve gotten bigger and bigger — you know how much some of them weigh — it would actually hinder your timing, swinging those four extra ounces at the end of your arm.”
Faldo’s association with Audemars Piguet began at the most successful period of his professional career, lasting from the early Nineties right up to 2015. As might be expected from such a fruitful partnership Faldo now owns “a few” APs, although he doesn’t consider himself a collector on the same level as Phil Collins, who “has a different watch on every time I see him”.
One of Faldo’s favourites is a Millenary Pianoforte with piano key dial in mother-of- pearl from 2009, one of two Millenary models designed in honour of legendary music producer Quincy Jones and Faldo’s go-to dress watch.
However, that might soon change as he has a new watch on order, another from Blancpain. He will likely be one of the few customers in the UK taking delivery of the platinum Traditional Chinese Calendar Year of the Rooster watch, a 50-piece limited-edition from a series that is designed with the Chinese client in mind. The watch is a 60th birthday present to himself and neatly celebrates his own birth year animal on the Chinese Zodiac.