Australian Open 2022: The Rado And TAG Heuer Watches Of Ash Barty And Naomi Osaka
Now that I’ve gotten Novak Djokovic and the behavior leading to his deportation from Australia out of my system – see yesterday’s post, The 2022 Australian Open Begins . . . Without World Number One (And Hublot Ambassador) Novak Djokovic) – I’m happy to move on to two of the world’s best female players and their current wristwear: world number one Ash Barty and last year’s Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
While neither of these watches are technical masterpieces, I appreciate that both women had input in their designs, making them unique in appearance – well, unique as compared to the rest of the collections to which they belong – and are being worn by their namesakes.
Naomi Osaka and the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Naomi Osaka Limited Edition
TAG Heuer is making some serious moves into tennis, punctuated in early 2021 by a brand-new partnership with Naomi Osaka, which was announced at this time last year. My esteemed “tennis and timepieces” colleague and dear friend Miguel Seabra has told me that TAG Heuer’s newfound love of the white sport has a lot to do with the love for tennis that the brand’s young 27-year-old CEO, Frédéric Arnault, also harbors.
Osaka at just 24 surely embodies some of the same values that Arnault finds important as both are of the same generation. Osaka is not only an ultra-talented player, she is also a risk taker and a conscientious, hardworking example of twenty-first century women, a beacon of hopeful light inspiring athletic joy and re-inspiring tennis audiences. She could be the right symbol to get more women to buy TAG Heuer’s watches, too. It is a decidedly masculine brand.
Just days before 2022 Australian Open begins, TAG Heuer 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 while playing on court. It is the Aquaracer Professional 300 Naomi Osaka Limited Edition, which (oddly) has only been launched in the United States, Japan, and Australia.
According to TAG Heuer’s press release, Osaka chose the Aquaracer collection as the base for her new watch, which she also wanted to be in shades of green to represent her love of nature and the color itself. Two shades of green are found on the dial: one in a pale lacquered hue that is part of a wave pattern, while another, more fluorescent hue graces the five-minute markers and second hand, forming a subtle reference to the color of tennis balls.
The watch is delivered with two straps, both of which are also green, one in rubber and the other made of recycled fishing nets.
Eight octagonal hour markers of this tool watch water resistant to 300 meters are set with diamonds (0.078 ct), while the solid case back is embossed with Osaka’s 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 unidirectionally rotating bezel, screw-down crown, 300 m water resistance
Movement: automatic Caliber 5 (base ETA 2824-2), 42-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 250 pieces
Rado HyperChrome Ash Barty Limited Edition
Ashleigh (Ash) Barty is Australian and currently the world number one woman player. She started her road into watches with Rado’s Young Stars program, which supports young tennis talents, in 2017 and became a full-fledged ambassador in 2020 after dethroning Osaka for the number one position.
She wears several Rado timepieces in daily life, and the company has no influence over which one she decides to wear. In the course of his Eurosport commentating this week, however, Miguel has already spotted Barty wearing this latest timepiece before and after her matches in Melbourne.
The Rado HyperChrome Ash Barty Limited Edition was created for something other than tennis, though: its existence was initiated by Rado as an art-for-charity project in partnership with online art gallery Singulart, which is auctioning an artwork (along with the four tennis balls and racket signed by Barty and used in its creation, as well as one of these limited edition timepieces) jointly created by Barty and Australian artist Ashvin Harrison.
Harrison’s pieces are composed with an interesting balance of monochrome structures next to colorful details representing the complexities of human emotion and connection. In this collaboration, Barty, under Harrison’s guidance, contributed the color and energy by hitting paint-laden tennis balls at the canvas. Bidding is open from now until January 31, 2002, and all proceeds will be donated 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 expansive blue mother-of-pearl dial set with three brilliant-cut diamonds forming the 12 o’clock marker (the “jubilé” at Rado). And a cool kinetic extra is the moving rhodium-colored tennis ball in the lower half of the dial, just above 6 o’clock, that is obviously linked to the seconds.
This beautiful blue is framed by a nearly unscratchable monobloc case and three-row link bracelet made of polished high-tech plasma ceramic. A special engraving on the titanium case back presents 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, monobloc polished high-tech plasma ceramic with polished hardened stainless steel side inserts, stainless steel crown, and titanium case back
Movement: quartz Caliber R082
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 996 pieces