One watch brand dominates the wrists of the LA Lakers, 2020 NBA championsZach Blass
2020 has definitely been a chaotic year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Blockbuster films have been delayed, major music festivals cancelled, but at least one American pastime managed to go on relatively unscathed – NBA Basketball. Twenty-two teams participated in the 2020 NBA season, held within a quarantined bubble that both players and staff had to remain inside of throughout the duration of the season. At the end of an exciting series, the Los Angeles Lakers took the championship title home after their Game 6 win over the Miami Heat.
While not necessarily the first question on the minds of NBA fans, for us watch enthusiasts one burning question comes to the forefront: what do NBA champions wear on their wrists? After scanning clips of press conferences and paparazzi shots, one thing becomes very clear – many of the Los Angeles Lakers lean towards a sole and prestigious brand: Audemars Piguet.
As the expression goes, it’s good to be the King. LeBron James is a known ambassador for the Audemars Piguet brand, so he may be responsible for the fact that many of his teammates have opted for their haute horology timepieces. Being an ambassador, and one of the most influential athletes of all time, has its perks – one of which is a Royal Oak Offshore Limited Edition named and created for him. In an interesting twist, this two-tone watch has a 44mm precious metal case with an off-tone titanium bezel – usually two-tone pieces have precious bezels paired with steel or titanium cases. It also has a diamond-covered pusher at 2:00 to add some subtle bling to the offering.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 26210OI.OO.A109CR.01 “LeBron James” is a limited edition of 600 watches that is no longer for sale, and fetches about $72,000 USD on the grey market.
If you thought LeBron’s watch above was sick, Anthony Davis kicks things up a notch with his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Black Ceramic Ref. 26522CE. This watch pretty much includes all of the highest traditional trades in watchmaking, within a modern ceramic canvas. The black dial has a sunburst “tapisserie” pattern guilloche, with a cut-out opening to display one of the most complicated complications in watchmaking: the Tourbillon. Known as a “Holy Trinity” brand, Audemars Piguet’s craftsmanship is among the best in the world – and this limited edition of 100 pieces is a prime example of how the brand takes their heritage into the modern marketplace. If they were willing to sell this VIP model to you, it would have set you back about 156,000 CHF.
As if these Lakers teammates were trying to compete with each other, Danny Green’s Royal Oak Concept watch is another powerhouse Piguet that has made its way onto a Lakers wrist. Concept models from Audemars Piguet bring the latest innovations from the brand to forward-thinking designs that are departures from the norm for the brand, but still maintain aspects of the AP DNA. The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT case is 44mm of sandblasted titanium, with a black ceramic bezel, screw-locked crown and pushpiece, and sandblasted titanium pushpiece guards. The watch feature a second time zone at 3, with an astounding flying Tourbillon complication at 9. This manual-wind watch can last more than a week left untouched, with a whopping 10 days of power reserve. So how much did it set Danny Green back? Well, the price is “upon request” – which typically means if you have to ask, you cannot afford it.
One of the more tame Audemars Piguet models on a Lakers wrist, J.R. Smith has opted for a more classic Audemars Piguet Royal Two-Tone 15400. This watch is made predominantly of stainless steel with hints of rose gold in the centre links of the bracelet, the bezel and the crown. It is a tasteful way to take the standard stainless model and give it a boost of flair and flash that a NBA player might desire for their wrist. While the 15400, which is 41mm, is no longer listed on AP’s website, the 37mm ref. 15450SR will set you back $23,800 USD.
Rajon Rondo is known for his bold and out-there personality in the locker room, known for many clashes with coaching staff and teammates alike. All things considered, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ref. #26470SO.OO.A002CA.01 is a rather disciplined choice within the Offshore lineup, with its clean grey and black aesthetic with a small pop of red. This watch is rugged and means business – or, in the case of Rajon Rondo, the business of championship basketball.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ref. #26470SO.OO.A002CA.01 is still available in AP boutiques, with a price tag of $27,900 USD.
No, Dwight Howard is not crying because he is the only player on this list who has not been photographed with an Audemars Piguet watch. While he is tearing up at the prospect of playing for his hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks (where he played before joining the LA Lakers), he knows how to sob in style with his Rolex Day-Date 40.
The watch — known as the watch of Presidents — features a day display at 12, with the date displayed at 3 under the iconic Rolex Cyclops magnifier. This watch is the epitome of modern class and style in the Rolex catalogue, and is evidence of Dwight Howard’s fantastic taste in watches. The latest incarnation of the Day-Date 40 chocolate dial is the ref. 228235, which is priced at $39,250 USD.