What We Know
It’s officially the best time of the year for tennis fans. Players are lacing up their literal tennis shoes, the clay courts of Roland-Garros have taken over TV, and Wimbledon is just over the horizon.
While we watch and wait to see who ends up as French Open champion we received word of a very interesting and attractive tennis-inspired watch that was dreamed up by our friends at Racquet.
Racquet is a young, tennis-focused media company with a flagship quarterly print magazine that has absolutely turned the world of tennis editorial on its head. Founded by publisher Caitlin Thompson and editor David Shaftel in 2016, the company’s detail-focused and design-driven approach to storytelling quickly caught the attention of our team and we’ve been fans ever since.
And though I’ve been an admirer, I never anticipated a collaborative limited-edition watch from them. But the new Rallymaster makes a ton of sense if you think about the demographic crossover between tennis fans and watch lovers. (Just consider all the discussion generated last August by Novak Djokovic’s watch sponsorship!)
The watchmaker Racquet chose to work with on the Rallymaster also makes plenty of sense and shows that the publisher did their research. Although we don’t come across the watches created by Maurice de Mauriac, a Zurich-based independent operation, too frequently, we couldn’t help but highlight the company’s previous tennis-inspired watch, a collaborative design created with retired tennis (and tennis shoe) legend Stan Smith, released in 2019.
The Rallymaster is an automatic time-and-date watch with an attractive and smart design that wears its tennis inspiration on its sleeve without going overboard and double faulting. It’s graphic and eye-catching but full of small, thoughtfully applied details that make you linger.
The dial has a grained texture in a clean shade of dusty pink, clearly riffing off the famed red clay courts of Roland-Garros. The round applied hour markers are filled with a lovely light green shade of Super-LumiNova that resembles the highlighter shade found on tennis balls worldwide, and the scale placed on the “rally rehaut” of the dial divides the passing minutes into quadrants.
I particularly enjoy the asymmetrical dial orientation, with a magnifier-equipped date window at three o’clock and a bullseye-style small seconds display at nine o’clock that’s split into three 20-second increments, indicative of the allotted time a professional tennis player is allowed between each serve. To my eye, the small seconds display is also reminiscent of old-school yachting timers or the elapsed “payphone timer” displays found on certain vintage chronographs, so there’s something for a wide variety of sporting types. Even the font used on the date wheel was chosen for a reason; it’s Jonathan Hoefler’s Decimal typeface that was directly inspired by the various fonts found on vintage watches.
Impressed by the amount of vintage-watch design cues present on the Rallymaster? So was I. Racquet enlisted the help of Carlton DeWoody, a watch and tennis lover who runs the multi-disciplinary New York studio Reunion Goods & Services, for the Rallymaster’s concept development and design. DeWoody helped bring the esoteric and small-scale sensibilities that watch collectors appreciate while balancing the need to appeal to the prep-adjacent and frequently larger-than-life world of tennis culture.
The 39mm × 12mm stainless steel watch is a limited edition of 40 pieces priced at $1,950, available for pre-order exclusively through Racquet’s e-commerce platform. It’s powered by a simple and straightforward Swiss-made automatic movement, the Landeron 24, which shares a similar architecture to the ETA 2824-2. (Notably, the Landeron company that makes this movement has no relation to the historic maker of Swiss chronograph movements.)
The watch will be delivered in July of this year and comes inside a special box with a custom, collectible Racquet-branded pink tennis ball and with both a vintage-inspired steel mesh bracelet and a two-piece fabric strap, each equipped with quick-release spring bars.
What We Think
As a huge tennis fan and avid Racquet reader, it should surprise no one that I’m a fan of the Rallymaster and plan to snag an example for myself. It would have been easy for Racquet to pump out a lazy white-labeled design with their branding and call it a day – we see plenty of companies do it all the time. So I’m proud to see a legitimately interesting and thoughtful watch design from them.
I also genuinely appreciate the Rallymaster’s rather reasonable sub-$2,000 price tag, which comes in under the cost of Maurice de Mauriac’s prior Stan Smith release. The most well-known watches and brands associated with tennis come in on the decidedly high-end and luxury side of the spectrum – namely Rafael Nadal’s highly limited and hugely expensive Richard Mille collabs, but the Rolex watches worn by Roger Federer aren’t exactly cheap, either – so it’s nice to have a Swiss-made option that’s more approachable.
In fact, with the Rallymaster and the recent release of the GMT 0º Terra Maris Limited Edition from British microbrand Isotope, in collaboration with the longtime tennis and watch journalist Miguel Seabra, we might just be seeing the start of the democratization of the crossover between the worlds of tennis and timepieces.
Brand: Maurice de Mauriac x Racquet
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Dusty pink
Indexes: Applied, round
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel mesh bracelet
Caliber: Landeron 24
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz / 28,800 vph
Pricing & Availability
Availability: Available for pre-order, through Racquet, with watches shipping in early July 2022
Limited Edition: Yes, 40 pieces