With his seersucker Armani suit and elegant silver mop, Roberto Mancini had the (entirely fictional) award for Euro 2020's coolest manager in the bag before a ball was even kicked. On the timepiece front, he's also doing bits.
As Belgium searched for an equalizer in Friday's quarter-final, the Azzuri boss could be seen checking his wrist, calculating how many minutes there were left until the final whistle. That wasn't just any old watch that was staring back at him, but a $250,000 Richard Mille RM 11-04 automatic flyback chronograph. It's the second creation Richard Mille has made for Mancini, following the 01 in 2013, and features a dedicated dial to track half-time, stoppage time, and extra time. When I first saw it, I thought it looked a bit out of whack with the whole slick Italian bank manager vibe he's got going. But then you see him with the jacket over his shoulder in the post-match interview, and you're thinking, "yep, that is one of very few guys who has the attitude to rock an RM."
"Every last minute, every second is precious and carries the potential to overturn the outcome of a match," says Mancini of the piece. To be honest, a traditionalist such as Sir Alex Ferguson — the man whose obsession with looking at the clock was so great that the media even coined the term "Fergie time" on his behalf — might guffaw at such affectations. Surely a humble Casio could do the same job? That's probably true, yet in the modern game, where every manager is looking to steal even 0.001 percent of an edge over the opposition, possessing such a world-class creation in the dugout can't hurt.
Mancini isn't the only manager to be rocking an expensive watch at this summer's big tournament. England boss Gareth Southgate has been seen wearing Hublot's Euro 2020 Big Bang (wearing the tournament's official watch is a bit, erm, lame, no?) while Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic eschewed some of his home country's more familiar names by opting for the extremely limited edition Carl F. Bucherer Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral.