This Five For Friday installment looks at five standout wristwatches from the upcoming Sports Collectible Auction May 11-13.
Once when he was on a passenger jet, Hall of Famer and Yankee catcher Yogi Berra was asked what time it was. His response of “You mean now?” added another Yogism to an ever growing list of great quotes and insights. As the legend goes this quote was issued by Berra sometime in the 1950s so there is no way of knowing if he was wearing his 1956 New York Yankees World Series Championship Rolex Gold Wristwatch Presented to Yogi Berra. Mickey Mantle’s Triple Crown and Don Larsen’s perfect game ensure that the 1956 season will remain forever printed in bold type within the history of the New York Yankees franchise. The World Series Rolex wristwatch is one of the most significant mementos of that historic campaign, presented to commemorate the team’s victory in the last of six Subway Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The championship watch has a long history in some sports but was just introduced to the NBA in 2016 by Tissot. Once again the NBA was not the basketball trendsetter in this category when you consider that the ABA issued championship watches in the 1970s. Watches from this era are some of the toughest for hobbyist to find but a 1972 Indiana Pacers ABA Championship Watch is available. Most likely earned by a staffer or VIP, this watch was awarded after the Indiana Pacers’ memorable 1972 ABA championship series in which they defeated the New York News in six games. Several teams were absorbed into the National Basketball Association in 1976, while others simply faded away, but the influence of that thrilling hardcourt era lives on, and cultured collectors are rightfully drawn to the few ABA relics that survive to present day.
3. 1982 Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame Watch Presented to George Mikan
Another Five For Friday throwback to the ABA days is this unique wristwatch presented to basketball great George Mikan who played in just about every professional basketball league and was one of the founders of the ABA. Mikan was so dominant he caused several rules in the NBA. This watch was presented to the big man when he was inducted into the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame in 1982. It is a gorgeous Seiko timepiece (NM) that features a picture the MSG logo on its face.
Usually, teams or sports leagues are presenting the watches but in rare cases, players gift watches to each other. You know you have been a great teammate to one of the greatest players of all time when Joe DiMaggio takes the time to pass along a special timepiece. Earle Combes fit that bill as a New York Yankees lifer and the leadoff hitter for the infamous “Murderers’ Row” 1927 Yankees team. While Joe DiMaggio was frugal to most of the world, he did dust off the old wallet from time to time. This Impala by Aureole watch was gifted by “Joltin’ Joe” to Combs, and is inscribed “To Earle Best Wishes Joe DiMaggio.”
Finally, a 1992 Larry Bird Boston Celtics retirement watch recognizes the career of one of the most clutch players in the history of the NBA. The Indiana State hoopster led the Boston Celtics to three NBA championships during his career, which spanned 1979-92. This special Hamilton watch was created to celebrate the roundball great’s career. The face has “Celtics 33 1979-1992” visible and it comes with original green Hamilton box.
Written by: Elon Werner
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