During a private event at the Cambridge Club in downtown Toronto the first week of December, hockey and horology came together like never before. The event was hosted by Swiss watchmaker Breitling and organized to honour the unveiling of a limited-edition model—the Chronomat 44 Wayne Gretzky.
The Great One himself was in attendance, shaking hands with fans fortunate enough to have links with Breitling strong enough to gain entrance. The small gathering included a few media types, a number of watch retailers from the Toronto area, and some of their top clients.
At the event, Gretzky revealed that his association with Breitling is some 11-years-old, although the former National Hockey League superstar became an official “friend of the brand” in 2008. Since that time, there have been two Wayne Gretzky models released. In 2014, the first watch, dedicated to Gretzky’s famed jersey number 99, was a 99-piece Chronomat GMT that retailed for $10,000 each.
This new watch is even more exclusive—the production run is limited to just 50 pieces, each retailing for $39,000. Those diehard hockey fans will recognize the significance of the numbers 50 and 39: In 1981, Gretzky set what many experts consider a record that will never be broken, reaching the magic 50-goal mark in just the 39th game of the NHL season.
The event celebrated the accomplishments of the best-skating ambassador in Breitling history, replaying highlights of Gretzky’s record-setting game against the Philadelphia Flyers, in which he netted five goals to close the deal. Wearing the familiar orange, white, and blue of the Edmonton Oilers, his original NHL team, Gretzky still manages to dazzle onlookers all these years later.
Breitling hoped to parlay some of that signature longevity into the design of the Chronomat 44 Wayne Gretzky. The watch is made of solid gold and features the icebound icon’s logo on the subdial and his signature on the oscillating weight. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the limited-edition timepiece will go towards the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, a charity aimed at helping underprivileged children get involved in the game of hockey.