Breitling is flexing its athletic muscle.
The Swiss watch manufacturer has signed a deal to become the official luxury watch of Ironman, the storied endurance triathlon that involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
As part of the deal, Breitling is also creating a Superocean Ironman Limited Edition timepiece that was unveiled at an event at the Breitling boutique in New York City on Thursday night.
The watch will retail for $3,950 and will be available on Breitling’s e-commerce site as well as select boutiques around the world. It will also be sold on site at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in October as well as the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France, in September. The watch has a 44-mm. stainless-steel case and a black dial featuring the Ironman “M-dot” logo. It has a red Diver Pro III rubber strap with a pin buckle and a rotating bezel that can track time spent under water. Only 300 units of the watch are being produced.
Breitling currently sponsors some of Ironman’s most acclaimed athletes including Jan Frodeno and Chris McCormack, both two-time Ironman champions, as well as the reigning Ironman champion Daniela Ryf, who has won four straight titles in Hawaii. “The sport has enjoyed enormous popularity and the performance and endurance of its great competitors reflect Breitling’s values perfectly,” said Georges Kern, chief executive officer of Breitling.
Tim Sayler, Breitling’s chief marketing officer, said the company makes watches “for men and women of purpose, action and style. Ironman is certainly a sport that embodies all of these elements quite well.” He said the company is “hopeful the relationship will continue to grow and be enhanced with more presence at future Ironman events and new watches.”
Andrew Messing, president and ceo of the Ironman Group, said: “Breitling has already demonstrated its appreciation for triathlon with its impressive squad of triathletes, all of whom have had great success in our most prestigious events. We are delighted to collaborate with Breitling in the creation of a great new watch that celebrates the passion, commitment, and incredible achievements of our athletes.”
Ironman has had a long-standing relationship with Timex, which is more mass-market. Its watches generally sell for under $100. Messing said Ironman has had a relationship with Timex since 1986 and the Ironman watch is the number-one selling sports watch in the world.
That being said, he noted that Ironman will continue to seek partners in the upscale arena. Messing said Ironman has “seen a tremendous response from our athletes as we partner with premium brands. Our recent partnerships with Ventum bikes is a good example as is the alignment with premium brands in the sports technical categories like Hoka One One. We also see further opportunities and interest in other categories including the automotive sector.”
The event in New York drew over 150 guests including Breitling USA president Thierry Prissert; Paula Newby-Fraser, the Queen of Kona, who won the world champion eight times over the course of her career; Mike Reilly, the race announcer and Voice of Ironman, and several athletes participating in the Ironman USA triathlon this Sunday in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Ironman was created in 1978 and now hosts more than 230 races in 53 countries. It has been owned by the Beijing-based Wanda Sports Group since 2015 and in June filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.