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Pele joins Britto in Miami for World Cup Watch launch

Staff Writer

The World Cup, set to start June 12 in Brazil, has special significance to Miami Beach artist Romero Britto.

Not only because Britto is a native of Brazil and a soccer fan, but because he got to design the case for the monthlong tournament’s official Hublot watch.

Britto’s watch boxes are, of course, soccer ball-shaped and painted with his signature neo-pop bright prints.

“It’s a soccer ball watch inside a soccer ball,” Britto says, laughing. “I knew it would be a soccer ball right away. The watch is a very contemporary design, so [the case] goes well with it. The funny thing is I always enjoyed the watch before. A friend gave me one for my birthday two days before we started talking about doing this project.”

The watch’s official name is a mouthful: Hublot Big Bang Official Watch of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (though it’s already been nicknamed by collectors as the “Soccer Bang”).

There are two versions: an 18K gold model with carbon fiber bezel, limited to just 100 pieces; and a black ceramic version, also with a carbon fiber bezel, limited to 200 numbered pieces. Both carry the official logo, with a transparent sapphire crystal back. The gold version retails for $42,400, the carbon one for $26,300, according to the Hublot Bal Harbour Boutique.

“I’m a huge soccer fan,” Britto says, adding he is friends with Brazilian players Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Ronaldo. “I grew up in a house where all my brothers always talked about soccer around the house. Anyone can play soccer. All you need is a ball. It is the most democratic sport in the world.”

Britto also is a huge fan of Brazilian soccer icon Pele, who is the brand ambassador for Hublot. In April, the two met up at Britto’s Wynwood studio in Miami for the official launch of the hand-painted cases.

“I did an exhibition of Pele that went really well during the World Cup in Germany,” Britto says. “It was a whole collection about his life and it was in Berlin. I know him and I adore him. I’ve known him for like 16 years or more. He spent four hours here. It was a perfect day actually.”


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