Check Out the Watches Athletes Wore While Competing in the Tokyo Olympics

These watches stood up to some of the toughest athletic competitions in the world.

athletics olympics day 9
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Olympic athletes, for the most part, don't need to wear a watch while competing. Indeed the pursuit of medals might very well expose intricate little machines to all manner of abuse. That's why it's interesting to see many of the competitors at the 2021 2020 Tokyo Olympics were not just wearing watches during their events — but often, wearing unexpected (and even some very expensive) ones.

Certain brands with sponsorships and official ambassadors were particularly visible, from TAG Heuer, Breitling and official Olympic timekeeper Omega to very high-end brands like Richard Mille. Such financial relationships help explain why some athletes are wearing the watches, but they also make for interesting visuals and testimonial to the products' durability. There were also certainly watches worn as personal choices and those that felt particularly appropriate for their activity.

Here are some standout examples of what we're calling "what are you wearing, 2021 Olympic edition."

Mutaz Essa Barshim / Richard Mille RM 67-02

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richard mille rm 67 02 watch
Richard Mille

Omega might be the Olympics' official timekeeper, but Richard Mille was perhaps the most visible watch on athletes' wrists, from equestrian events to golf to track and field — and despite the brand's famously stratospheric prices. It was a veritable marketing coup, and no better captured than in the shareable moment when Qatari high-jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim shared his gold medal in the event with Gianmarco Tamberi.

Price: ~$120,500

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Kiran Badloe / G-Shock DW-5600SKE-7

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g shock dw 5600ske 7 watch
G-Shock

At the other end of the price spectrum from Richard Mille, and most likely not worn in an ambassadorial capacity, is Dutch windsurfer Kiran Badloe sporting a clear plastic Casio G-Shock DW-5600SKE-7 while winning a gold medal in his sport. This is quite possibly the most natural-feeling choice of all the watches worn at the olympics this year.

Price: $110

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Donna Vekic / F.P Journe Elegante

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f p journe elegante watch
F.P. Journe

You'll see a lot of big brand names representing watches at the Olympics, and that's why it's cool to spot something a bit different and niche. Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic is an ambassador for FP Journe, a brand known mostly only to those following the high-end independent Swiss watchmaking scene closely, and the Elegante quartz watch she wore stood up to the intense shocks of repeatedly swatting tennis balls with professional intensity.

Price: ~$13,000

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Stephanie Gilmore / Breitling Superocean

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breitling superocean watch
Breitling

A bright orange Breitling Superocean dive watch on a matching orange rubber strap seems perfect for a professional surfer, and this is exactly what Stephanie Gilmore wore as part of Breitling's team ("Squad") of ambassadors for her event.

Price: $3,600

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Noah Lyles / Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra-Light

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omega seamaster aqua terra ultra light watch
Omega

Omega is involved in the Olympics in a range of ways, and those include all manner of special edition watches. The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra-Light weighs only 55 grams and is made from titanium specifically for athletic use — including the major parts of the automatic movement inside. A testament to the watch's practicality and lightness, American sprinter Noah Lyles wore one to win a bronze medal in the men’s 200-meter with a time of 19.62 seconds.

Price: $48,600

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