Roger and Rolex: A Tale of Two GOATs

A closer look at the unparalleled synergy between the tennis and the watchmaking legends
Roger and Rolex: A Tale of Two GOATs
June 26, 2024
Roger and Rolex: A Tale of Two GOATs

Like most of the world, I had my fill of Roger Federer over the weekend as I finished watching Federer: Twelve Final Days in one sitting. What struck me right from the start was how, aside from the tennis, so much of the show was about emotions. There were tears in abundance, as were the laughs. One couldn’t help but be moved by the sight of that wide smile pushing his eyes up just so, his eyes welling up in gratitude as he looked back at his 24-year professional journey. I, for one, was reminded of a similarly cathartic expression on his face during another of his interviews, only this one had him talk about one of his favourite Rolexes (it’s a Datejust he wore for the 2009 Wimbledon trophy shot after winning his 15th Grand Slam—a record at the time—and loves for its Wimbledon hues of purple and green, in case you do not know this already). 

Roger Federer’s relationship with Rolex has certainly been one for the ages. Of course, it is preceded by the watchmaker’s association with the sport of tennis itself, which began in 1978, when the brand came on board as a sponsor for the Wimbledon Championships. Since then, Rolex has gone on to sponsor all four Grand Slam tournaments, in addition to partnering with several ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. And while it certainly sponsors many other tennis stars (including World No 2. Carlos Alcaraz), the equation it shares with Federer, who became an ambassador for the brand back in 2006, remains unparalleled. 

Interestingly though, the tennis icon didn't start out as a Rolex ambassador. Notwithstanding a few Rolexes he wore in the early days of his professional career, Federer first signed on to represent Maurice Lacroix in 2004. But as he won more titles, Rolex is said to have paid a massive break-up fee and a whopping $15 million in order to sign a ten-year contract with him. Twelve years later (in 2016), that deal is said to have been renewed for the sum of $8 million per annum with no end date specified. 

It is not surprising then to see the retired tennis icon continue to mark his precious moments with the Crown. Federer is known to even wear the latest Rolex timepieces that are yet to be made available to the public; the brand’s Watches and Wonders launches have a flawless way of finding themselves on his wrist. Below we bring you some of the stunning Rolexes he has worn in recent times, all of which bear testament to this enduring relationship between a brilliant man and his (equally brilliant) time-telling machines. 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual with Yellow Dial

Spotted in: 2021
At one of the press conferences for Wimbledon 2021, Federer wore a 41 mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual with a striking yellow dial, instantly reminiscent of the bright yellow tennis ball. It is interesting to point out here that this model was discontinued for 2022, making this stainless steel beauty a highly coveted collectible.

Rolex Daytona ‘Big Red’

Spotted in: 2021

Federer was seen wearing the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 ‘Big Red’ during a holiday in 2021. Featuring a 367 mm case and a black dial, this is an iconic vintage Rolex that was introduced in 1969 and was made famous by Hollywood actor Paul Newman. The nickname can be traced to the red ‘Daytona’ lettering below the centre of the dial.

Rolex Daytona

Spotted in: 2022
This 18 carat white gold Daytona was the one he had on his wrist when he made his retirement announcement. A stunning chronograph that was unveiled in 2021, the watch comes with a grey meteorite dial with black chronograph subdials, a white gold bezel, and a white gold bracelet.

Rolex Air King

Spotted in: 2022
At his last match at the Laver Cup in London back in September 2022, Federer chose to wear a Rolex Air King in stainless steel. The watch, which has a bi-directional bezel and exudes a minimalist appeal, has gone down in history; not many can forget the image of an emotional Federer as he bid farewell to tennis alongside the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Rolex Perpetual 1908

Spotted in: 2023

The 2023 Met Gala saw the tennis legend—who was among its co-hosts—pick a Rolex Perpetual 1908 over the GMT, Datejust, and Daytona models. Set in a white gold case, this timepiece makes for a classic dress watch and it added just the right dose of timeless elegance to Federer’s sharp black tuxedo. 

Rolex Yacht-Master II

Spotted in: 2024
For the premiere of his documentary in London, Federer wore the Yacht-Master II, which made its debut at last year’s Watches and Wonders. This is a 42 mm watch made from grade 5 RLX titanium; its other notable features include a bidirectional timing bezel with a sand-blasted Cerachrom insert, and the RLX titanium Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock folding clasp and Easylink comfort extension.