Extra time: Which Euro 2020 manager has the best watch?Luke Benedictus
International football is beset with stubborn clichés about the playing styles of different nations. We think of France’s “Gallic flair”, the “Teutonic efficiency” of Germany, Holland’s “total football” and England’s reliable ineptitude when the stakes get high. These stereotypes persist even while their actual veracity may be outdated. But what about the style choices of the team’s managers?
Academics from Liverpool John Moores University explored this idea in a new report on The Conversation this week. It suggested that what managers wear in the dugouts may also have a subliminal bearing on their team. As the article explained: “Research has also shown that clothing has an impact on public perceptions of managers. This report on the clothing styles of French professional football managers identified three broad wardrobe choices managers tend to choose from to make impressions on their audiences. Some use the business suit to denote themselves as the professional “boss”. Others the “hands-on” tracksuit warrior look and then there’s the middle-ground, smart-casual “project leader” appearance (think Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola).”
Sadly, the boffins failed to tackle the real item of interest here – how do the managers’ horological choices stack up? Forget the football, here’s how the battle on the touchline is shaping up.
Roberto Martínez (Belgium)
I always feel that Martínez has been wildly fortunate to end up managing Belgium’s super-talented team. Admittedly, that FA Cup win for Wigan was sensational, but that aside, his track record in club football is hardly impressive and, as a Spaniard, he has no direct ties to this star-studded national team. Nevertheless, he’s somehow managed to wind up in charge of the team’s golden generation, presiding over the talents of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku (surely a good shout for the tournament’s top scorer).
The Belgian boss has also got lucky after being snapped up as a “friend of the brand” by Hublot, one of the first watch brands to have the foresight to focus on the world game. Martinez has been spotted wearing a Hublot Big Bang Unico, but these days is more usually wheeled out in the brand’s latest smartwatch, the Big Bang e UEFA Euro 2020.
Roberto Mancini (Italy)
When it comes to managerial pedigree at club level, Robert Mancini’s record is among the best at Euro 2021. The Italian won back-to-back league titles with Inter Milan, before helping Manchester City clinch the Premier League. He’s now looking like an inspired choice for Italy. At the time of writing the Azzurri are in imperious form – they’ve haven’t lost for 29 games (!) and eased into the last 16 on the back of two comfortable wins without conceding a single goal.
Richard Mille clearly recognised Mancini’s potential for international greatness with the RM 11-04 Automatic Flyback Chronograph built in collaboration with the Italian boss. Emblazoned with the national team’s colours, it’s designed to track the duration of a match, featuring a dedicated dial for tracking half-time, extra time and overtime. The cost? A mere $US189,500.
Gareth Southgate (England)
He seems like a decent fellow and has demonstrated a statesman-like quality in his stewardship of the England team. Yet the jury is still out on Gareth Southgate as a tactician. Admittedly, the Three Lions made it through to the World Cup semi-finals – albeit with a very fortunate draw – and England looked positive in that opening win over Croatia. But whether Southgate has the strategic nous to incorporate the wealth of attacking talent at his disposal remains to be seen. (I’m writing this the day before the Scotland game…)
In an unlikely development, the England boss has also become an unlikely sartorial trendsetter. Unfortunately, it’s harder to glean his own watch preferences because Southgate is another Hublot ambassador and so also sports the Big Bang e UEFA Euro 2020 – a watch that’s most notable for the mistake on the bezel. Originally, the tournament was going to take place in 12 cities across Europe last year and so the flags of each of those countries encircle the smartwatch’s dial. After COVID scotched those plans, UEFA subsequently ditched Dublin from the hosting line-up. But the Irish flag still features at 8 o’clock.
Fernando Santos (Portugal)
Player for player, Portgual look as good as anyone in the tournament with a magnificent array of talent to choose from. Throw in their recent track record in the international game- they won Euro 2016 and the Nations League – and Portugal must be serious contenders. Fernando Santos may be an inherently conservative manager, but that’s not necessarily a bad approach for tournament football. His wily approach combined with Portugal’s attacking threat make them a formidable proposition on paper.
When it comes to his wristwear, from the few pics that we’ve seen from, it’s difficult to tell for certain. After canvassing the T+T team we’ve narrowed it down to two options. It could be a Tissot chronograph that would tie in with Santos’ no-frills footballing pragmatism. Then again, the Portuguese boss could also be wearing a Parmigiani Tonda Chronor Anniversaire and, if so, that would make him a serious watch guy. Beneath the Parmigiani’s grand feu enamel dial lurks the magic of an in-house, integrated split-seconds chronograph movement known as the caliber PF361. With a price tag of $135,000 USD it’s a beautiful chronograph clad in a white gold case.
Joachim Loew (Germany)
Somehow it feels like the Germany boss has gone from hero to zero. He deserves considerable respect as a World Cup winner who masterminded the modern renaissance of German football. Then again, he also oversaw the team’s most dismal World Cup in recent memory – fairly impressive given the talent at his disposal. Nevertheless, this tournament is Loew’s international swansong and only a fool would ever write off the German team.
When it comes to wristwear, Loew seems to be the most genuine watch lover among the Euro 2020 managers on the basis of the variety of his collection. He’s been spotted wearing a Rolex Datejust and, when Germany announced this year’s Euro squad, an Omega Seamaster Diver 300m. More often than not, however, Low can be found wearing his beloved array of IWCs. During the victorious World Cup campaign in Brazil, he wore the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph, but also sports a Big Pilot’s Watch and Top Gun Miramar from time to time.
Didier Deschamps (France)
Didier Deschamps is the World Cup-winning captain who become a World Cup-winning coach. Few would bet against him adding this year’s Euros to his list of achievements – France are the bookies’ favourites for good reason. Deschamps is a shrewdly pragmatic manager and his decision to recall Karim Benzema make Les Bleus look even more terrifying.
Deschamps used to wear a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme World Chronograph, a chunky tool watch that offset its platinum weight with titanium inserts. Since 2018, however, Deschamps has been signed up with Hublot and worn a range of the brand’s wares including a Big Bang chronograph, a Spirit of Big Bang in King Gold and the Big Bang Connected smartwatch.
With N’Golo Kante driving the team forward and the electric pace of Kylian Mbappé, Hublot must be confident of seeing their watch attached to an arm holding up the cup once again.