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Which watch for: Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement

by Michael Weare
9 May, 2013
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email:

Sir Alex Ferguson

Alex Ferguson in 1986

1986 – the start of it all

As George Harrison so rightly said in his 1970 triple album: ‘All things must pass.’ And so it is that the seemingly irreplaceable and irrepressible Sir Alex Ferguson is about to chew his last pitchside stick of chewing gum and take a cushy job ‘upstairs’ as a Manchester United Director and roving Ambassador.

He remained manager of one of the world’s most successful and beloved football clubs for 27 years. In the world of geological rock formations, that’s barely enough time to sit down, but in the world of Premier League football, that is five ice ages. When you consider that many Premier League managers get the boot after just half a season, 27 seasons of glittering success, usually at the very top of the league, is a feat we will probably never see again.

Sir Alex Ferguson doing what he does best

So when, as it surely will, the moment comes when there is a retirement celebration at Old Trafford for Sir Alex, we have to ask ourselves, what traditional retirement watch do you give to a manager who has taken Manchester United from the trough of despair in the mid 80s to the peak of success for very nearly 3 decades.

Let us imagine one of the locker room boot boys has been handed a thick wad of cash and been dispatched to buy a retirement watch for Sir Alex.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day Date

Rolex Day Date in 18k gold

Better known as the Presidential Day Date, let’s hope the lad comes back with something a bit more imaginative than this, or he could be feeling a football boot across his forehead a la David Beckham many seasons ago when Sir Alex lost his cool with him in the locker room. Initially presented in 1956, the Day-Date was the first watch to display the date, as well as the day, in its entirety. The Day-Date is one of Rolex’s watches that is exclusively offered only in solid 18k yellow gold, 18k white gold, 18k rose gold and platinum. Additionally Rolex manufactures a specific bracelet only available for the Day-Date line, the President bracelet. Several Presidents did wear it, it’s an excellent watch, but lacking in the imagination Ferguson undoubtedly brought to generations of Manchester United football squads.

Hublot King Power Manchester United

Hublot King Power Red Devil

Yes, he could opt for one of these, it is appropriate, it was made expressly for Manchester United, and Jean-Claude Biver flew over specially to present it a few years ago.

Alex Ferguson wearing Hublot Manchester United Big Bang

The relationship between Manchester United and Hublot started in 2008. They have worked together throughout the world to raise awareness of the Manchester United Foundation, which aims to educate, motivate and inspire young people to build a better life for themselves and their communities. A great watch with blades of Old Trafford grass acting as indices, but no surprises – Sir Alex already has one. So let’s move on.

Hautlence Destination

Hautlence Destination 01

Now this is more like it. Intended both for brand aficionados and for a more eclectic clientele, DESTINATION from haute horology brand Hautlence is issued in a numbered, non-limited series. These watches won’t be available till Autumn 2013, but for Sir Alex, an advance issue is probably more than possible. Seeing as Ferguson’s destination will now be to all corners of the world as a Manchester United ambassador, this could be just the watch.

David Beckham and Eric Cantona

Housed in a titanium case, this calibre adorned with circular Côtes de Genève is protected by an opaline base dial topped by a sapphire intermediate dial on which the Arabic numerals appear to be floating weightless, rather like a Beckham corner kick to Cantona in the glory days of old.

Casio Edifice Black & Rose Gold

Casio Edifice Black and Rose Gold

The truth is, Sir Alex doesn’t like flash, he can usually be seen shouting the odds on the touchline at Old Trafford wearing a Nike Trainer jacket, so a straightforward but undeniably cool looking Casio Edifice Black and Gold chrono might be as flash as he would want to get.

Nike Training Jacket

What watch is he wearing

The watch is equipped with Casio’s Self-Adjusting Multi-Band 6 Atomic time zone function, it automatically synchronises with atomic clocks in the US, Germany, the UK, China and Japan based on the user’s home city setting, it can probably be adjusted for Old Trafford time too, which, as far as Ferguson was concerned, was always at least three minutes faster than what the Ref’s watch was saying.

FP Journe Quantième Perpétuel

FP Journe Quantieme Perpetual Gold

For a man who for decades made dreams come true for millions of Manchester United supporters around the world, here is a watch dream created by master watchmaker F.P. Journe. The locker room lad will be digging deep into the wedge for this one, but what a retirement watch, the crème de la crème for the crème de la crème.

Solskjaer scores the winning goal against Bayern Munich in European Cup 1999

F.P. Journe presented this beauty at its annual exhibition in Geneva 2013 the new Quantième Perpétuel, a perpetual calendar with instantaneous jump with excellent readability and ease of use. The Quantième Perpétuel displays the exact date by automatically taking into account the variable length of the months and leap-year cycle. It also displays the day, month and often the moon phases. To accomplish this watchmaking feat, the movement must have a mechanical “memory” of 1461 days or  – four years, that’s two lifetimes for most managers.

Locker Room Lad’s choice: adidas Originals Newburgh Chronograph Limited Edition

adidas Originals Newburgh LE watch

But at the end of the day, the Glazers, the American family who own Manchester United, are always looking to save a bit of money, and so this £529 adidas Originals watch is just the job. With the large 3 numeral appropriately a 3 o’clock, it will always remind Sir Alex of the most important hour in a manager’s life every Saturday. The Newburgh has striking hour markers, and Sir Alex has nurtured more than his fair share of both marked strikers and indeed, striking markers in his career.  Measuring 50mm in diameter, the case includes a functional bezel and screw down crown. The watch is water resistant to 200 metres and also includes a sapphire crystal lens. Sir Alex will be delighted with this simple yet sporty offering straight from the sweaty heart of the locker room.

Bowing out in style

Crowning achievement

As Sir Alex bows out on a massive high, and David Moyes takes over, Moyes will know only too well it’s an impossible act to follow. There’ll be statues next to Sir Matt Busby of Sir Alex, a wing, or possibly the whole ground named after him. But one thing’s for sure, come next season it will be football as usual, and Ferguson, as always, will be watching.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email:

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