Super Bowl LVI is right around the corner, with the LA Rams and Cincinnati Bengals vying for the biggest prize in professional football. We here at Chrono24 are sports fans in addition to watch fans, so we thought it would be fun to find common ground between the two passions. Just as professional sports teams are forever locked in a battle for key players and championships, so, too, do watch brands battle it out for press coverage, popular releases, and market share.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick and light-hearted look at how NFL teams compare to the watch brands we know and love (or hate!).
The Buffalo Bills & Breitling
When I think of the Buffalo Bills, I think of Breitling, and I’ll tell you why. The Bills have been on the up-and-up the past few years thanks in large part to young talent like their star quarterback Josh Allen. Likewise, Breitling has seen their own resurgence under the leadership of Georges Kern, who has a reputation for reviving downward-heading brands.
The Bills are known as one of the unluckiest teams in the NFL, losing four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s. Breitling had similar close calls with bankruptcy during the quartz crisis in the late 1970s, and the brand image has struggled a bit in the last decade as consumer preferences swing away from the large case sizes that make up much of Breitling’s lineup.
Breitling is also known for making straightforward tool watches, particularly for pilots. This pairs well with the historically blue-collar fans from Buffalo. The “Bills Mafia,” as they’re known, is internet-famous for their high-flying antics at pre-game tailgating, smashing their bodies through cheap plastic tables as if they’re in a professional wrestling battle royale (it’s worth a search on YouTube if you’d like to see it for yourself). So, while this ravenous crowd may not be pilots, you could say they reach their own kind of high altitudes.
The Green Bay Packers & Audemars Piguet
The Green Bay Packers are one of the most storied franchises in professional football, with many Hall of Fame players, iconic coaches, and championships to their name. The Packers are also unique in that their fans can own stock in the team, becoming even more invested than the average football fan. You can draw a comparison here to the legendary watch brand Audemars Piguet, which remains independent and family-owned even after a long history in the top-tier of horology.
When we look at the factors driving the success of these two organizations, we see further similarities. The Packers are largely reliant on their team leader and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This uneven dependence on one player has led to friction between Rodgers and the Packers administration, with Rodgers practically begging the team to hire more offensive talent to throw to. How did the Packers respond? By signing a backup quarterback – essentially the future replacement for the aging Rodgers.
With Audemars Piguet, it’s been a long-running joke among watch fans that the only model worth paying attention to at AP is the Royal Oak. Although this now-famous watch has helped solidify AP’s status as a horological powerhouse, the watchmaker has struggled to build excitement around any other watch in their lineup. The CODE 11.59 was supposed to be the next big thing from the brand, but it has been largely ignored, if not downright ridiculed, since its release.
The Dallas Cowboys & Vacheron Constantin
The Dallas Cowboys are known as “America’s Team.” The organization has a fancy new stadium, a huge and dedicated fan base, and enough spending power to attract high-caliber players like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. That being said, Cowboys fans seem to be caught in an annual cycle of high hopes that are ultimately dashed by disappointment. The team has not had a Super Bowl victory since the 1990s, despite having all the necessary tools at their disposal to do so.
Doesn’t this sound a bit like Vacheron Constantin? The brand has long been in the trilogy of top manufacturers (alongside Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet), but despite their rich history of watchmaking, the brand has not had anywhere near the traction and enthusiasm that its competitors enjoy. VC does have hype-worthy watches like their underpriced Overseas and perpetual calendar models, but for whatever reason, they lack the sex appeal of Patek, AP, or Rolex.
The Kansas City Chiefs & MING
Perhaps the hottest team in the league for the past few years has been the Kansas City Chiefs. They had another strong 2021-2022 season, and won the Super Bowl in 2020 thanks to the leadership of their wunderkind quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who can seemingly complete any pass under any circumstance.
We can compare this to the meteoric rise of the Malaysian watch brand MING, which has gone from prototypes to sold-out releases in only a few years. The brand has made a name for itself with its razor-sharp design language that’s recognizable from across the room. Whether you’re MING or Mahomes, it’s rare to see so much success so quickly.
Patrick Mahomes is not the sole reason for the Chief’s success; he has a talented offensive lineup to work with just like MING, which has bolstered their surging popularity by collaborating with other upstart brands like Massena LAB for even hotter releases and secondary market prices.
The Los Angeles Rams & Richard Mille
We’re going to Hollywood, baby! With their recent move to Los Angeles, the Rams have become the favorite team of many celebs, much like their NBA equivalent, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rams’ high-powered offense is led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Thanks to his natural athleticism and flashy style, “OBJ” has become a celebrity in his own right, attending fancy parties, starring in commercials, and of course wearing high-priced watches.
OBJ made headlines a few years ago for rocking one particular watch during a game: a Richard Mille 11-03 McLaren Flyback. He is, of course, not the only celebrity to don the brand, as seemingly anyone with a blue check mark on social media has to have an RM.
The Rams are also led by their talented coach, Sean McVay, who is currently the youngest head coach in the league at only 36 years old and known for his photographic memory. In a short amount of time, the Rams’ young players and coaches have created a championship-level team, much like a young Richard Mille built his eponymous brand into an object of desire around the world.
The Rams and Richard Mille thrive at the nexus of star power and technicality. Love them or hate them, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.