Former Arsenal striker and England international Ian Wright was the guest of honour on the Jeanrichard stand at SalonQP for the launch of the brand’s new limited-edition Arsenal Terrascope chronograph in carbon fibre.
He may not have been the most obvious choice to line-up alongside the brand’s CEO Bruno Grande, since he is not a member of the Arsenal squad and thus has no direct ties with the brand. In fact, his relationship with Jeanrichard came about more by chance.
“We were contacted by Ian Wright because he wanted to see the watches,” explained Bruno Grande. “We don’t have a direct association with him (we couldn’t afford it), so he’s a genuine friend of the brand and we have plenty more celebrities gravitating around the brand thanks to Arsenal.”
After patiently posing for photographs with visitors to SalonQP, Ian Wright corroborated this story for WorldTempus. “A business colleague of mine told me about Bruno and what he was doing. I hear about this kind of thing all the time but when I finally sat down with him and listened to him speaking about the watches I could tell that he was as passionate about the watches as I am about football. The way he talked about the watches and the history dating back to 1681 was fascinating. And it came at a time when I was getting back into watches so I was in the market and I wasn’t sure what to get. I like the fact that it’s classy and understated, and because I wear it on my right hand, everybody notices it.”
The reason the former Arsenal forward was “in the market” was a particularly harrowing aggravated burglary at his home over the summer, during which his wife was held at knifepoint while his children were upstairs. Wright himself was in Brazil commentating on the World Cup for UK television and had to fly home to comfort his family. Apart from the emotional stress of the event, one of the physical losses he suffered was the theft of his entire watch collection, which included connoisseur models from the likes of Patek Philippe and Rolex. The unfortunate event has also led to a change in this collector’s philosophy about watches.
“It’s almost like starting again,” he said. “I’m most probably going to end up with a few Jeanrichard watches and I will probably buy the one they just launched. But what I will do now is buy watches to wear rather than collect. I still have a 1969 Paul Newman Rolex (the thieves didn’t get that one because it was being repaired at Rolex) and I’m going to start wearing it.”
The new limited-edition model is the first chronograph in the Jeanrichard Terrascope line and comes with a new case in single-ply carbon, which has a uni-directional finish similar to brushing, even though the case undergoes no separate finishing after it is machined. It comes with the signature Jeanrichard “rubbergator” strap (rubber that is stamped to resemble alligator leather) with red stitching and, of course, the cannon of the Gunners as the small seconds counter. This strictly limited edition, of which only 50 will be produced, comes complete with a certificate of authenticity signed by three players from the current Arsenal squad, as well as – unusually – a 30cm diameter Jeanrichard wall clock.
But why does Ian Wright prefer Jeanrichard in particular, when as a football pundit travelling around the world to cover the major soccer events he gets to experience the marketing activities of various watch brands, as well as compare tastes with his peers?
“Footballers went through a phase of wearing massive watches,” he explains, “which I call the silly phase. But what you see now is that they are going more for the elegant pieces, which is what I have always thought was synonymous with watches.”