Australian Open 2022: Rado and TAG Heuer watches by Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka
Now that I got Novak Djokovic and the behavior that led to his ejection from Australia out of my system – see yesterday’s post Australian Open 2022 begins. . . Without world number one (and Hublot ambassador) Novak Djokovic) – I’m happy to move on to two of the best players in the world and their current strap: world number one Ash Barty and Australian Open champion last year Naomi Osaka.
Although none of these watches are technical masterpieces, I appreciate that both women have contributed to their creations, which makes them unique in appearance – well, unique compared to the rest of the collections to which they belong – and are worn by their namesakes.
Naomi Osaka and the limited edition TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Naomi Osaka
TAG Heuer made serious steps in tennis, punctuated at the start of 2021 by a brand new partnership with Naomi Osaka, announced on the same date last year. My esteemed “tennis and watches” colleague and dear friend Miguel Seabra told me that TAG Heuer’s newfound love for white sports has a lot to do with the love for tennis that the brand’s young CEO, Frédéric Arnault, 27 years old, also ports.
Osaka, at just 24 years old, surely embodies some of the same values that Arnault finds important as the two are of the same generation. Osaka is not only an ultra-talented player, she is also a risk-taker and a conscientious, hard-working example of 21st century women, a hopeful beacon of light inspiring athletic joy and re-inspiring tennis audiences. It could also be the right symbol to attract more women to buy TAG Heuer watches. This is a resolutely masculine brand.
Just days before the start of the Australian Open 2022, TAG Heuer has announced the watch that Osaka will be wearing at the tournament; the 24-year-old is one of the few players to wear a watch when playing on the court. This is the Aquaracer Professional 300 Naomi Osaka Limited Edition, which (oddly enough) was only released in the US, Japan and Australia.
According to TAG Heuer’s press release, Osaka chose the Aquaracer collection as the basis for their new watch, which they also wanted to be in shades of green to represent their love of nature and color itself. Two shades of green can be found on the dial: one in a pale lacquer hue that is part of a wave pattern, while another more fluorescent hue adorns the five-minute indexes and the second hand, forming a subtle reference the color of tennis balls.
The watch comes with two equally green straps, one in rubber and the other in recycled fishing nets.
The eight octagonal indexes of this 300 meter waterproof tool watch are set with diamonds (0.078 ct), while the solid caseback is stamped with the Osaka logo, a teddy bear holding a flower.
Quick Facts TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Naomi Osaka Limited Edition
Case: 36 mm, stainless steel with black ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel, screw-down crown, water resistance 300 m
Movement: Caliber 5 automatic (ETA 2824-2 base), 42-hour power reserve, frequency 4 Hz/28,800 A/h
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; Dated
Limit: 250 coins
Rado HyperChrome Ash Barty Limited Edition
Ashleigh (Ash) Barty is Australian and currently the world number one player. She started her road to watches with Rado’s Young Stars program, which supports young tennis talent, in 2017 and became a full ambassador in 2020 after dethroning Osaka for the top spot.
She wears several Rado watches in everyday life, and as a company representative recently revealed to me, they have no bearing on which one she decides to wear. During his comments on Eurosport this week, however, Miguel has already spotted Barty wearing this latest watch before and after his games in Melbourne.
The limited edition Rado HyperChrome Ash Barty was created for something other than tennis: its existence was initiated by Rado as a charity art project in partnership with the online art gallery Singulart, which auctions a work of art (with the four tennis balls and racket signed by Barty and used in its creation, as well as one of these limited edition watches) created jointly by Barty and the Australian artist Ashvin Harrison.
Harrison’s pieces are composed with an interesting balance of monochromatic structures alongside colorful details representing the complexities of human emotion and connection. In this collaboration, Barty, under the direction of Harrison, contributed color and energy by hitting paint-laden tennis balls on the canvas. Bidding is open until January 31, 2002 with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish Australia. You can bid on this unique set here: www.singulart.com/en/events/makeawish.
The watch is limited to 996 pieces – Barty was born in, ahem, 1996 – and powered by a quartz movement. But the real treat here is the vast blue mother-of-pearl dial set with three brilliant-cut diamonds forming the 12-hour marker (the “jubilee” at Rado). And a cool kinetic extra is the moving rhodium-coloured tennis ball in the lower half of the dial, just above 6 o’clock, which is obviously linked to the seconds.
This beautiful blue is framed by an almost scratch-resistant monobloc case and a polished high-tech plasma ceramic three-link bracelet. A special engraving on the titanium case back features Barty’s signature on a tennis ball and the consecutive limited edition number xxx/996.
Quick Facts Rado HyperChrome Ash Barty Limited Edition
Case: 36 x 10.4 mm, one-piece polished high-tech plasma ceramic with polished tempered stainless steel side inserts, stainless steel crown and titanium case back
Movement: Quartz caliber R082
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; Dated
Limitation: 996 pieces
You can also enjoy:
The Australian Open 2022 begins. . . Without world number one (and Hublot ambassador) Novak Djokovic
Phenom Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka Becomes New TAG Heuer Ambassador Ahead of Australian Open 2021
In the service of an ace: the limited edition Seiko Astron SSE143 by Novak Djokovic
Tennis and watches: a 2019 summary of the ticks and tocks of white sport
Richard Mille RM 27-02 For Rafael Nadal: The Quintessential Sports Tourbillon
Rado’s match point at the 2017 Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart and Maria Sharapova’s return to tennis