The best quarterback of all time, and the most legendary pilot’s watch of all time? We’re not talking about Matthew Stafford’s Rolex Sky-Dweller here: we’re talking about none other than TB12, and his latest horological flex.
Tom Brady’s well-known for his love of timepieces, his collection containing everything from Rolex Milgausses to Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks, as well as pieces from brands he’s endorsed: previously a brand ambassador for TAG Heuer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback signed a deal with IWC Schaffhausen last year.
Brady was a fan of the prestigious Swiss brand before he inked his endorsement deal, however – notably spotted with a black Pilot Worldtimer on his wrist whilst he was still with TAG. Now that he’s (presumably) got access to whatever IWCs he wants, he’s been stepping out in fancy Portugieser Chronographs and Tourbillons. But his latest choice is his smartest yet, in both senses of the word.
Overnight, Brady shared a snap of him and his personal trainer Alex Guerrero on Instagram, celebrating three years since the release of his book The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. Clearly in a good mood, Brady’s wearing what we reckon is his favourite timepiece: his IWC Big Pilot Boutique Rodeo Drive Limited Edition – perhaps the most beautiful and underrated rendition of this horological classic ever made.
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Released in 2016 to commemorate IWC opening a boutique on the eponymous Los Angeles street, the Rodeo Drive Big Pilot features a unique 46mm ceramic case combined with a brilliant blue dial in the ultimate expression of Swiss-American style. A highly coveted model, we certainly appreciate Brady’s taste.
Both Brady and IWC share a New England connection: Florentine Ariosto Jones, the founder of IWC, was a master watchmaker from New Hampshire who became so enamoured with Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship that he decided to cross the Atlantic and manufacture watches in Europe, founding the International Watch Company of Schaffhausen in Switzerland’s German-speaking northeast in 1868.
Tom Brady spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the New England Patriots, playing in nine Super Bowls and winning six of them – the most of any player in NFL history.
But in the same way that IWC owes much to its American heritage, Brady’s a Californian native at heart – making this ‘West Coast classic’ Rodeo Drive Big Pilot a perfect choice for the jet-setting football player. The azure blue is a beautiful reference to the gorgeous Californian coastline (and of course, harkens back to the colours of Brady’s old team). Brady clearly loves the watch, having previously shared a candid on-wrist shot of it on his Instagram Story earlier last week.
Originally launched in 2002, the Big Pilot is perhaps the most recognisable IWC watch. Its most noticeable feature is its uniquely-shaped, oversized crown, designed to be easily manipulated by pilots wearing gloves flying open-air. Super masculine, highly legible and impeccably crafted, the Big Pilot is a favourite of watch collectors around the globe.
Rodeo Drive is one of Los Angeles’ most famous streets. A two-mile-long boulevard that connects Beverly Hills to the centre of the city, the street is known for its many luxury stores – the LA equivalent of Tokyo’s Ginza district, Zürich’s Bahnhofstrasse or New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Originally retailing for 14,700 USD (~20,600 AUD) and limited to only 250 pieces, this ultra-clean Big Pilot is a rare find. There’s only one selling on Chrono24 right now (we wouldn’t want to sell one if we had one either). Brady must have a very generous plug at IWC to track one of these down for him – or maybe he stumped up some serious change to acquire it.
Either way, well played.