Wrist Game: Australians in the NBA and their watches, including Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons & Patty MillsZach Blass
Since the days of the ’90s Chicago Bulls, led by the great Michael Jordan, basketball has become more and more of an international sport around the globe. Players from all over the world are recruited to play with the best of the best in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Australia is no exception; in fact some of the best players in the league today are Aussie born and bred. Not only have these athletes proven they have game on the court, but on their wrists as well. Let’s take a look at the wrist game of some of the Australians in the NBA.
Of all the players listed in this article, Kyrie Irving definitely has the largest and most photographed collection of the group. His collection is exclusively precious metals, comprised of only solid gold sport watches, striking a nice balance of bling and beater (at least for someone with his contract). The below are some of the highlights of his collection.
Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph
Cased in an 18k pink gold case, you’d be mistaken for thinking this watch is precious and fragile. With glare-proof sapphire crystals on the dial and caseback, black ceramic pushers and screw-locked crown, this watch is ready for the big game … or at least for the evening after. The watch is 42mm in case diameter, 14.6mm thick, and water resistant to 100 metres. The dial is a really nice grey ruthenium-toned dial with AP’s “Méga Tapisserie” pattern, ivory-toned counters, pink gold-toned Arabic numerals with a beige luminescent coating. With pink gold Royal Oak hands to match 18k pink gold case and bracelet (with AP folding clasp), this is definitely one of the flex watches in his collection.
Hublot Big Bang Original Gold Ceramic
The Hublot Big Bang Original Ceramic Gold on his wrist has a 18k 5N rose gold 44mm case with both polished and satin finishes. The bezel is polished black ceramic with six H-shaped titanium screws. The watch is 100m water resistant. Under its AR-coated sapphire crystal is a stamped dial with a “Carbon Effect”. It is powered by the Hublot HUB4100 self-winding chronograph movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. Being a 100m water resistant sports watch, it is perfectly paired with a black structured rubber strap with a case-matching 18k 5N gold and black-plated stainless steel deployant buckle clasp.
Rolex Sky-Dweller (Ref. 326138)
After losing his father’s watch, Kyrie decided he needed to replace it with another that met two conditions: it needed to come from an esteemed brand (like his father’s) and had to be on a super nice and classy leather strap. Not necessarily aware of how the Rolex Sky-Dweller was arguably the most complicated Rolex ever made, he went with a configuration in a yellow dold 42mm case with a white dial, Roman numerals, and a tobacco brown leather strap with a folding Oysterlock clasp. Watch the video here.
Rolex Day-Date 40 (Ref. 228235)
Continuing the theme of precious, classy and robust sports watches, Kyrie has been spotted wearing the Rolex Day-Date 40 in Everose gold on its factory President bracelet. As Rolex explains, “The Day-Date was the first watch to indicate the day of the week spelt out in full when it was first presented in 1956.” The presidential name supposedly comes from when President Truman made it his personal choice of watch in the late ’50s. While Kyrie is not the president of a world superpower, he certainly looks the part as he supports his team from the sidelines.
Ben Simmons has been predominantly spotted wearing two Rolex models, which I would say make quite a fantastic two-watch collection. Like Kyrie above, by having precious metal Rolex watches he ensures he has some of the best “robust meets luxury” watches the crown has made its name and reputation on.
Rolex GMT-Master II (Ref. 126715CHNR)
The Rolex GMT “Root Beer” in Everose gold, and its GMT functionality, is a great jet-setting companion for someone who may have to go coast to coast during the season. The Rolex GMT, as Rolex explains on their website, was “designed to show the time in two different time zones simultaneously, the GMT-Master, launched in 1955, was originally developed as a navigation instrument for professionals criss-crossing the globe.” Rolex has engineered the watch to have a second time zone with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand, meaning Ben can adjust the time without losing synchronicity in a breeze. Root Beer models today are known for their bidirectional bezels made in a two-colour brown and black insert made of ceramic (Cerachrom). It is arguably the most youthful aesthetic in the precious metal GMT lineup. Rose gold has really resonated with younger consumers who want something with flash but in less of the traditional yellow hue.
Rolex Day-Date 40 with diamond bezel (Ref. 228398TBR)
Like Kyrie Irving, Ben has also taken a liking to the classic Day-Date model. While the Everose GMT II above is by no means casual, it can in ways be dressed down more easily in my opinion than his Day-Date 40. Why? Because the 228398TBR has the most factory diamonds available for the Day-Date 40 (in regular production). The yellow gold paired with diamonds makes this watch a great candidate for the ESPY’s and other black tie affairs Ben may have to attend.
Delly is a TAG Heuer ambassador. In a recent shoot, he was snapped with the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 Chronograph, which is available on a rubber strap or steel bracelet.
The largest watch on this list, this bold TAG Heuer Carrera is a wearable 45mm watch that remains relatively compact at a hair over 50mm lug to lug. This model features a steel case with certain parts of the case and the bezel treated with black PVD. Powered by the automatic Calibre Heuer 01 movement, which packs a punch with its 39 jewels and collector-appreciated column wheel (fabricated in a red colour to match the watch aesthetic), and provides a pleasant tactile experience when activating the chronograph. The skeleton dial design and exhibition caseback makes this watch horological eye candy from both the front and back – providing any racing enthusiast the ability to always see under the hood.
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Automatic 41mm (also available in 43mm)
A more traditional approach to the racing chronograph, this model provides a classic aesthetic in a case build smaller than the calibre 01 model above. It is less expensive, in part, due to its use of the ETA 7750 / Sellita SW50 as a base. That being said, it’s black Sunday dial and applied markers will definitely catch the eyes of onlookers, and while arguably a less complicated watch, it is by no means any less dashing on the wrist.
After diving into the Instagram of Patty Mills, I’ve discovered that it is rare to make a watch spot on his profile. That being said, he has a watch … at the very least a watch named after him!
Patty Mills x Uncle Jack LE collaboration
Unlike all other contenders here, this is an affordable watch anyone can enjoy, and made by an Australian company. Uncle Jack sells watches between $129 and $169, typically tied to sports culture, including many references tied to Australian AFL teams.
The Patty Mills x Uncle Jack Limited Edition v2 is 42mm in case diameter with a matte rose gold plating to the steel case. The dial is a sleek matte black with chic black and gold details. It is outfitted on a white silicone strap, which makes sense considering its 50 metres of water resistance. Powered by a Japanese Miyota movement, this helps keep costs down while maintaining a level of reliability.
Bausele “Andrew Bogut” Limited Edition
Like Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut has taken the patriotic route of partnering with Australian watch company Bausele, who has made Limited Edition watches honouring the NBA champ. This example is based on the design of Bausele’s popular Pilot Automatic model, and the limited edition of 50 paid tribute to Bogut’s basketball legacy. The timepiece was designed around a blue theme, which happens to be Andrew Bogut’s favourite colour as it is reminiscent of the azure waters surrounding Australia.
Under the sapphire crystal on the centre of the dial is his signature surrounded by a basketball-shaped motif to honour the 2015 NBA Champion. In a move I have personally never seen in any other wrist watch, a piece of the NBA Championship winning basketball is contained within the crown of the watch, with the orange providing an interesting pop and flair to the look. The exhibition caseback displays the rugged Swiss movement, partially obstructed with engravings of the brand, model name and production number. Etched into the metal surrounding the sapphire of the exhibition caseback is the Bausele brand motto – Keep a piece of Australia with you.