Tuesday, 1 October 2013
LeBron James designs $51,500 watch
Lebron James, the NBA two-time champion and four-time most valued player, teamed up with Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet to design a $51,500 limited edition watch.
"I always liked watches growing up. When the opportunity presented itself it was easy to say yes," James told CNBC in Geneva, Switzerland, at the watch factory in late August.
The watch, called the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, comes with an 18-karat pink gold case, black ceramic and diamond set push pieces, and a hand-stitched gray crocodile strap. Six-hundred of these watches went on sale at the end of September.
"Anytime I do anything or have a partnership with anyone that has my name on it, I like to have a lot of personal trace in it," said James, whose signature is printed in blue on the sapphire crystal in the back of the watch.
The Swiss watchmaker has a long history of working with athletes and has had partnerships with everyone from basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal to PGA golfer Keegan Bradley.
"He [Lebron] is truly a unique person," said François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet. "When we met for the first time there was a good connection and we knew that we would do something together."
James, an avid watch collector, said when it comes to his brand he's mostly focused on what he does best.
"The Lebron James brand is built around basketball. If I'm doing what I need to do on the basketball floor at a high level everything else takes care of itself."
Off the court, current sponsorships include Nike, Coca-Cola, Samsung and McDonalds.
"I don't do partnerships with people that I don't use and don't have on a day-to-day basis," James said. "It has to speak volumes as to who I am as a person."
Back on the court, he's not thinking about his future yet, "Miami has been great to me."
James is focused on winning a three-peat, back-to-back-to-back championships, something last done by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000-2002.
"Who doesn't like success," said James. "If we stay hungry and motivated success will follow. There's a process on trying to be great and you can't cut corners doing it."
Next summer, he could become the most sought after free agent if he opts out of his Miami contract.
"Once I get to the point where I have to cross it I will handle it then."
His ultimate goal?
"I want to be the greatest of all time, that's my personal goal. I have a lot of kids that look up to me as a role model. Every day that I step out of bed it's a huge burden that I love"