Two Unexpected Tennis Watches In 2022: Studio Underd0g‘s Strawberries & Cream And Maurice De Mauriac’s Rallymaster
Tennis and timepieces are coming ever closer together thanks in great part to brands spending more and more money to secure the white sport’s plethora of likeable ambassadors.
While Quill & Pad very often reports on the intersection between chasing the fuzzy yellow balls and the ticks and tocks of timekeeping, much of social media’s consciousness has been raised due to the work of Miguel Seabra, the only professional journalist in the world specialized in both tennis and timekeeping.
Seabra’s sensibilities and friendships have probably influenced the confluence of these two worlds more than we could know: in addition to solid knowledge foundations in both arenas, Seabra is very gifted at social media, is friendly and outgoing, and has a wide reach.
Thus, it should come as little surprise that he finally influenced a micro brand to the point that a watch was born . . . And I’m glad he did!
Studio Underd0g Strawberries & Cream: fruity fresh and Wimbledon ready
“I am very proud of this launch,” my good friend Seabra said to me when Strawberries & Cream launched in August 2022. So I’m going to let Seabra tell the story of this watch’s genesis in his own words.
“I’ve been gradually paying attention to microbrands and on the day of Studio Underd0g’s Kickstarter launch, while most people (including colleagues from the media) went for the mecaquartz Furlan Marri, I bought a fully mechanical Desert Sky, then wrote about the brand and started talking more regularly with [Studio Underd0g owner and professional watch designer] Richard Benc. I actually ended up with a Mint Ch0c Chip as well.
“The advent of the Strawberries & Cream timepiece can be traced to the Aubergine limited edition in favor of testicular cancer research, whose colors reminded me of the purple and green Wimbledon color combination, and I told Rich I would like him to lend me one (it sold out immediately) so I could take wristshots of it at Wimbledon just for fun,” Seabra continues the story of the advent of Strawberries & Cream. “And then he joked about Strawberries & Cream – and I immediately thought that idea could be so much more than a joke and completely in line with the delicacy editions Studio Underd0g had done (Watermell0n, Mint Ch0c Chip). My first reflex was to tell him – in the most serious way! – to go for it! Especially because I love when both my areas of expertise (tennis and watches) intersect! From then on, we started a tennis ball-like exchange until the final details were set up.
“During the second week of Wimbledon, Rich came over to the All England Club on a first visit with his brother and a prototype of the Strawberries & Cream. I loved it – I only thought the cream color should be lighter, a bit more off white on the counter and outer ring and on the strap. We also tried it on a mesh bracelet and it looked great. Then Rich came back to Wimbledon a few days later, on the Saturday of the women’s final and men’s doubles final. We sat at Wimbledon Village in the morning to round up the concept; as a strapaholic, I suggested it be presented with two straps/bracelets with quick release system (a calfskin one plus a mesh one never used before in Studio Underd0g’s collection) to make it a different proposition from the regular models.
“Of course, the Strawberries & Cream idea was spurred by the connection with Wimbledon. And you know Wimbledon has a draconian liaison with Rolex that I respect immensely. As a tennis and watch journalist it was never my idea, nor Rich’s, to do any kind of guerrilla marketing stunt; but Wimbledon doesn’t own the strawberries-and-cream association and it is a dessert one can find across Europe, from France (fraises à la chantilly) to my own home country Portugal (morangos com chantilly). It is also a very British summer dessert and a dessert Brits also got used to eating at the various other grass courts tournaments before Wimbledon or while watching tennis on television. There’s even a strawberries and cream festival in the UK, I think!
“Rich actually found out that the strawberries-and-cream combination was introduced by Thomas Wolsey during Henry VIII’s reign in the sixteenth century and served to spectators of real tennis (a tennis predecessor). So, the association goes way back. Plus, I grew up listening to The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and even visited the section of New York’s Central Park named after the song following John Lennon’s murder.
“Finally, the reddish color. Until ten years ago or so, I never thought I’d wear a timepiece with a red dial. I completely changed my mind a decade ago; I love blood red and burgundy dials, own several of them (all of them fumé dials). Everyone has black, silver, white or blue dials; people should go for something different and, especially after the grey pandemic times, colors provide emotions and a sense of joy. Studio Underd0g’s iconoclastic color combinations and playful dials provide just that – and the Strawberries & Cream has a beautifully unique textured and gradient dial. And it’s a limited run!”
Unfortunately, Strawberries & Cream is already sold out. But if you’re interested and lucky, maybe you can find one of these attractive watches on the secondary market.
But you certainly won’t be getting Seabra’s any time soon. And I bet we’ll be seeing a lot more of his famous wristshots next summer featuring this beautiful yet affordable timepiece.
For more information, please visit https://underd0g.com.
Quick Facts Studio Underd0g Strawberries & Cream
Case: 38.5 x 10.8 mm, stainless steel
Movement: manual winding Seagull Caliber ST-1901 with swan neck fine adjustment and column wheel, 50-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph
Price: £575 (sold out)
Remark: comes with handmade Epsom British-made calfskin strap and Milanese steel bracelet
Maurice de Mauriac Rallymaster: vintage watch culture translated into now
Zurich-based Maurice de Mauriac collaborated on a tennis-themed wristwatch with Racquet, a quarterly magazine founded in 2016, that was introduced in summer 2022. Called Rallymaster, it was unfortunately only available in a limited edition of 40 pieces. I say “unfortunately” because it is an incredibly attractive wristwatch themed for one of my own personal passions in a particularly appealing color scheme.
And, designed by New York City-based Carlton DeWoody, it is simply very creatively done with design cues from watch dials of the 1960s and ’70s. Ideally, DeWoody is passionate about tennis and has knowledge of vintage watches.
“For this traditional three-hander, I aimed to bridge past and present, reinterpreting classic design with a contemporary lens. I have an affinity for vintage chronographs, often seeking out references with unusual patterns, typefaces, and other graphic details. The colorful subdials and patterning of yachting and racing dials was the perfect inspiration for us.” said the designer.
“The rise of watch culture parallels that of tennis in many ways. Both are growing a much wider audience. Maurice de Mauriac is the perfect partner for Racquet because they have a similar philosophy. Their watches and Racquet’s magazine speak to a new generation of sporty sophisticates.” DeWoody then explained.
The tennis-inspired wristwatch pairs classic vintage details with modern tennis world cues. Its dusty pink dial and multiple strap options celebrate tennis lifestyle on and off the court, including the second hand, which sports neon yellow lume as do the round tennis-ball-like hour markers.
The dial’s center resembles a net and includes a subsidiary seconds subdial that is divided into 20-second sections – not coincidentally the time frame in which the server must begin the point in a professional match.
I love the looks of both of these new watches and commend their designers on a colorful job well done.
For more information, please visit racquetmag.com/product/rallymaster-by-maurice-de-mauriac-racquet and mauricedemauriac.com/the-racquet-rallymaster.
Quick Facts Maurice de Mauriac Rallymaster
Case: 39 x 12 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Landeron Caliber 24 (produced by Depa Swiss Movements), 40-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, sectional seconds; date
Price: $1,950 (sold out)
Limitation: 40 pieces
Remark: includes a custom pink tennis ball, a quick-release steel mesh bracelet, and a two-piece stretchy quick-release textile strap
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