Roger Federer’s Final Match Saw Him Wearing a Unique Rolex

For his retirement match, an unexpected choice of watches.

roger federer at laver cup wearing rolex air king
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Roger Federer didn't win his match on Day 1 of the Laver Cup in London, but he was celebrated anyway. It was his retirement match, played alongside his great rival and friend Rafael Nada in doubles for Team Europe, and it ended in tears — a dramatic punctuation to a remarkable career. What watch did he choose for this significant occasion? Yes, it was a Rolex, but not an obvious choice.

Unlike Nadal, who wears his Richard Mille watch while playing, Federer's Rolex only appeared on his wrist once he was off the court. Seen on the bench alongside Nadal, even casual Rolex fans could likely identify the 2022 Air-King right away. As a Rolex ambassador, the brand on his wrist is no surprise but the model is one of Rolex's sport watches that flies relatively under the radar.

laver cup 2022 day one roger federer wears a rolex air king
Roger Federer played his last professional match at the Laver Cup 2022.
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rolex air king watch
Rolex revamped its polarizing Air-King collection for 2022. 

Long regarded as something of a runt in the Rolex lineup, the Air-King ($7,400) returned this year to mixed reception. Say what you will about this polarizing model, but it's got strong recognizability with its quirky, double-digit hour markers — it's even clear at a glance that this is the 2022 model, as the new "05" minute marker and crown guards stand out right away. Being easily identifiable is something collectors often point out as what makes a watch iconic and, of course, being very visibly worn by a legend like Federer further can boost a watch's status.

Choosing a relatively overlooked model shows character and personality, but Federer actually wore a different watch for each day of the Laver Cup, which lasts three days: On the sidelines for the second and third days, he wore a green dial Oyster Perpetual ($6,150) on Day 2 and a more upscale Day-Date on Day 3. As he only actually played on the first day, a pragmatic and sporty choice perhaps made sense, while the Day-Date to finish off the event feels more like a proper "retirement watch."

Federer will remain a legend, and likely also a Rolex Ambassador. The Air-King, on the other hand, will surely remain controversial — but nevertheless also sought-after and often priced above retail, just like the brand's other steel sport watches.

Rolex Air-King

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