On the third of June this year, one of the greatest sportsmen of our times passed away at the age of 74. And though Muhammad Ali’s legacy encompassed more than boxing – his civil rights activism is particularly noteworthy – it’s his style, his personal swagger and success in the ring that will remain his greatest legacy.
It’s a legacy that TAG Heuer, along with the Muhammad Ali Centre is celebrating in Gleason’s Gym, Brooklyn, where Ali trained. In tribute to the great man, TAG Heuer has created two versions of the Carrera Calibre 5 ‘Ring Master’ a regular steel version and a one-of-a-kind gold model that will be auctioned off, raising funds for the Muhammad Ali Centre.
But what, you might be asking, exactly is a ‘Ring Master’, and how does it relate to boxing? Well, as you may know, Heuer has a long and distinguished history of specialised sports timing, including some specialised instruments made to time boxing matches. In particular, the timing scale on the 1957 stopwatch called, you guessed it, the ‘Ring Master’ directly inspires the distinctive ‘roulette’ style internal bezel on the Calibre 5 Ring Master model. This bezel indicates 15 three-minute intervals, each separated by a minute – the exact number and duration of heavyweight bouts in Ali’s time (these days it’s 12 three-minute rounds). The second scale shows 15 two-minute bouts, used in other weight divisions.
TAG Heuer has taken this distinctive design, and placed into what is essentially the Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer, a watch with an internal bezel, operated by the crown at 10. Should you wish to use the Ring Master to time one of Ali’s great fights (say the Rumble in the Jungle or the Thrilla in Manila), all you need to do is rotate the internal bezel so that the start of the first round lines up with the current position of the minute hand.
The dial also bears Ali’s signature, and the caseback an engraving of the man himself. The solid gold Ring Master also comes with an elaborate presentation box and a unique pair of signed gloves.
While this 43mm Carrera will obviously appeal to fans of Ali and boxing in general, thanks to the strong retro styling you don’t need to know your rope-a-dope from your peek-a-boo to appreciate the Ring Master.