Study reveals 8% of men believe they could beat a lion in a fistfight. Here are the watches they wearLuke Benedictus
Every day, I walk my five-year-old boy to school. It’s a precious moment of one-on-one time between father and son, a chance for Joe to delve into his hopes, fears and dreams. Mostly though, we spend it discussing who’d win a fight between a lion and a tiger, a crocodile and a shark, or even – and this remains the most hotly debated – a badger and a baboon.
Paternal responsibility does, of course, compel me to try and give my son an informed perspective on such weighty matters. Knowledge is power and so on and so forth. So while waiting in the queue for the post office I googled some of these fictional animal match-ups and stumbled upon an eye-popping study.
Last year, a YouGov study put 34 different animals – including humans – against one another to see which one people think would win should they go toe to toe in a real-life rumble in the jungle. Some 1,224 adults were quizzed for their views with the results eventually settling on a final medal podium that ranked the most indomitable animals as elephant (gold), rhino (silver) and grizzly bear (bronze).
But the most fascinating result was that 8% of men believe they could beat a lion in a fistfight.
Suffice to say, this is a big call. A lion, after all, is a predator and a carnivore. Plus it has fucking massive teeth. Yet 8% of men – and indeed 7% of women – still fancy their chances in a tear-up.
I’m not here to knock those punchy characters full of self-belief. As the poet Robert Browning put it: “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp”. But I am fascinated by the psyche of these men blessed with their never-say-die spirit and, let’s face it, incredible capacity for self-delusion. Trying to piece together a mental picture of these people – and, admittedly, doing a considerable amount of mental gymnastics to try and make this subject even vaguely relevant for T+T – I began to speculate on what sort of watches these men must wear. After doing a lot of soul-searching on the subject, here are my conclusions.
To believe you can beat a lion in a fistfight, you’ve got to have a certain level of self-assurance. You’re backing yourself to take down the King of the Jungle here remember. So you need to be seriously confident in your abilities.
As we previously explained here, a gold Rolex Day-Date on a bracelet is still the ultimate watch for ballers and shot-callers. It’s a silver-back gorilla of a watch that’s become a brazen emblem of wealth and status communicated in a universal language. There’s a reason why Tony Soprano wore a gold Day-Date. It’s not just a timepiece but a wrist-bound power move that you can only pull of if you’re very sure of yourself indeed.
Alternatively, to believe you could actually triumph in hand-to-paw combat with a lion, you might just be a serious tough guy instead. Perhaps you’re a UFC fighter or a grizzled military man wearily accustomed to extreme violence.
This, of course, brings us onto tough-guy watches. Bremont’s Martin Baker MBI is only available to those who’ve survived being shot out of an active military aircraft equipped with a Martin-Baker ejection seat. Ultimately, however, when the going gets really tough, the tough simply yawn, scratch their nuts and strap on their G-Shocks.
As we explain here, the G-Shock has became the Navy SEALs’ unofficial wristwatch of choice due to its insane durability. Created in 1983 by Kikuo Ibe, it was purpose-built to pass the “Triple 10” test that required a watch to survive a 10-metre drop, remain water-resistant to 10 atmospheres (100 metres) and possess a battery that would last for 10 years. OK, so strictly speaking it doesn’t confirm that it’s “lion-proof” but it’d certainly be bang up for the challenge.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sorai
Getting back into the mind of a man who think he can beat up a lion (it’s not a pleasant interior, by the way, and looks like a teenage boy’s fantasy bachelor pad with a colour scheme of black and chrome). But the only other good reason someone should think they could win this particular battle is if they have insider knowledge of a lion’s behaviour. They’re sufficiently familiar with its big cat methodology that they’ve been able to pinpoint its weaknesses, making them confident of plotting their route to victory.
Which is why we bring you the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sorai. It’s made in collaboration with former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen to support his conservation charity SORAI, an acronym that stands for “Save Our Rhino Africa India”. Due to SORAI’s emphasis, the person who wears this watch is more likely to be familiar with African savannas and the wildlife therein and so may have a bit more know how about lion’s behaviour, too. As Pietersen told me here, he’s survived being charged by a white rhino and this is is his personal watch of choice.
Moser Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Tiger’s Eye
Fighting isn’t just about physical might. It can also be something of a mind game as the combatants look to psych each other before they step into the ring. It’s why boxers indulge in all that slightly tedious “I am the greatest” braggadocio. Allowing the faintest chink of self-doubt into their heads can end in disaster. So bear with me on this next choice because it requires a bit of explanation.
Tiger’s eye is a gemstone that’s a member of the quartz family with a gold to red-brown colour and a silky lustre. You don’t get that many tiger eye watch dials these days, but the Moser Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Tiger’s Eye came out last year.
The reason this could give you the edge in this dust-up with the lion is two-fold. Firstly Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger from Rocky III is, of course, the most rousing pugilistic anthems of all time. If humming that to yourself doesn’t rouse yourself for this incoming life-or-death battle, then frankly I’m not sure what will.
But more importantly, this watch gives you the chance to get into the lion’s shaggy maned head. “Listen sunshine,” you could say. “You know what my watch dial is made of? A bloody great tiger’s eye that’s what. So if that’s what I can do to one of your slightly heftier feline buddies, then you better watch out.”
This is, I confess, a slightly theoretical strategy that I can’t pretend to have road-tested in the field. But it can’t hurt, can it? Or at least not as much as being mauled by a lion.