After last week's monobrand excursion, and all the accusations of shilling for Omega (honestly, I wasn't, if anything it is a corporate megabeast that is, allegedly, super mean to puppies), this week we return to the three-brand model. And we're taking a sporty tack, too.
With the football season under way, eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed that watch companies are now major sponsors of the game. Mid-tier to high-end brands are slapping their logos on advertising hoardings, bits of kit and special-edition pieces, which are promoted at cringe-inducing press conferences complete with star players gurning for the cameras while trying to remember whether they're pushing watches or cars this week.
Hublot, arguably, started this football-luxury watch love-in. Back in the day, its deals with the likes of Manchester United (it's now with Bulova) were groundbreaking, producing complex mechanical watches in limited numbers for the discerning, and very wealthy, fan. As well as teams, Hublot has worked with players and managers, hence the Jose Mourinho special edition, the King Power "Special One" (right). Evoking the Chelsea manager's nickname, this watch is as new money and in your face as the team he manages. The standout feature is the dark blue carbon bezel while the rest of the watch is a pretty standard King Power, with a large 48mm case and a HUB1240 Unico chronograph movement inside with 72 hours of power. Features include the previously mentioned flyback chronograph and date indication. This will appeal to Chelsea fans, until Mourinho is fired, methinks. Limited to 350 pieces (250 in titanium, 100 in 18-carat red gold), prices for the Hublot King Power "Special One" are available upon request.
We move on to the greatest football team in the world, the mighty Arsenal. Yes, I'm being serious. The Gunners' official timekeeping partner is JeanRichard and their collaborations are more subtle and accessible, and less expensive than many others. The Terrascope Chrono Carbon Arsenal (right) features a black carbon-fibre 44mm case with a black carbon-fibre bezel and dial - the only hints that this is an Arsenal watch are the red indices and hands and the cannon logo at the three o'clock position. Features include a chronograph and date window and, inside, a JR66 movement with 42 hours of power. The best thing about this watch though is the presentation set (top right) it comes with, which includes a 30cm wall clock and certificate of authenticity signed by three Arsenal players, so truly a must for fans. Limited to 50 pieces, the Terrascope Chrono Carbon Arsenal is priced at an incredibly tempting HK$87,800.
Lastly, we have a watch linked to European champions FC Barcelona. Made by Maurice Lacroix, the FCB Pontos S Chronograph (right) is the pick of a large collection of watches the brand has done for Messi and co. I've never been a big fan of emblems on the dial, especially if the colours, like those in the Barcelona logo, are jarring, but I suppose some people won't mind. I do, however, like the use of the Nato strap in the club's colours. The features of the watch are, strangely, geared towards diving, with 200 metres of water resistance. There is also a chronograph and the 43mm steel case houses a modified Valjoux movement. Prices for the FCB Pontos S Chronograph should be announced when the watch is released later this month.