A couple of hours ago, we all just witnessed “The Return” of boxing legend Mike Tyson back into the ring and, given the occasion, we thought it would be appropriate to dive into the Champ’s watch collection!
In this spotting-session, we teamed up with our good friends over at Amsterdam Vintage Watches, with whom the idea came about and who kindly provided us with a whole lot of resources and information.
If you’re unfamiliar as to who they are… click here!
Often seen as the greatest heavy-weight boxer of all time, Mike Tyson is undoubtedly a great warrior and champion, just as he is a very polarizing figure. When he “retired” back in 2005, he exited the sport with a 50-6 record, 44 of which were wins by knockout.
As we mentioned before, his persona is still widely debated, as his lifestyle outside of the ring was extraordinarily lavish and controversial, just as his fighting style was, too. His adolescence was marked by face-tattoos and a cocaine habit, something that many people find rather sad and distasteful. One infamous incident that springs to mind was when Tyson bit his opponent’s ear clean off in the ring.
Some of Tyson’s fights lasted little over a minute, a statistic which translated into huge earnings… which were then immediately and frivolously spent (to each their own!). Then again, if you became the undisputed world champion at age just 20, becoming the youngest ever to hold that title, wouldn’t you do the same?
The boxing legend had a taste for luxurious houses, high-end sports cars, tigers (yes, tigers!) and of course, watches.
Just to be clear: we’re not trying to glorify Tyson, but we thought it was a collection that was to be seen, especially in this peculiar day.
White Gold never goes out of style, and the boxer apparently thought the same: in the photos below, we see Mike Tyson wearing a splendid Cartier Pasha on his wrist.
The hint in identifying the watch was the crown and its cabochon.
A classy choice, no doubt, and perhaps one of the most “plain” watch in Tyson ‘s collection.
White Gold Rolex Daytona with a Mother-of-Pearl Dial
Tyson clearly had a liking for white gold: also in his collection is a stunning Rolex Daytona, but with an extra touch of fanciness – a Mother-of-Pearl dial. Whereas the white gold “flies under the radar”, this dial type is about as flashy as the boxer’s face tattoo!
Rolex Day-Date 36mm
They called him “The Baddest Man on the Planet” – and for good reason – but surprisingly, the boxer didn’t fall victim to the “big man, big watch” stereotype.
In fact, it would appear that Tyson appreciated more moderate sizes: in his collection, we see different watches measuring about 34-36mm in size, as shown below.
What better way to start this section then an iconic yellow gold Day-Date with a champagne dial. (Probably ref. 18038)
Rolex Daytona 36mm with diamonds
Judging from the photo below, it appears that Mike Tyson has a Rolex Day-Date ref. 18048 on his wrist.
It would make sense, because, let’s face it, how could a diamonded (naturally, factory set) Day-Date not be present in a collection of a man of his status?
Unfamiliar with the term factory set? Have a read of our guide!
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34mm
Also holding the title for “most modest watch in Mike Tyson ‘s collection” is this 34mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
Perhaps this is his training watch, or his “lazy Sunday as I stroll around my mansion in my pyjamas with my tiger” watch, no?
Mike Tyson’s most treasured timepieces
In our opinion, we think that, if for whatever reason, Tyson had to give up his entire watch collection, bar two watches, he would keep the following two.
It’s a rather dichotomous selection: one represents his kindness and generosity towards those around him, meanwhile the other is symbolic of his flashy and lavish lifestyle.
The Cartier Pasha for Don King
Donald King – or, Don – was Mike Tyson’s personal manager, just as he was for Muhammad Ali and many other iconic boxers.
He too was a peculiar figure in his own right, what with that wacky hairstyle and personality. As well as being the most successful trainer in all of boxing, he is also remembered for the extraordinary situations that he always seemed to be a part of, just like Mike.
The relationship between the two was, in one word, profitable. Sources suggest that the two were also close on a personal level, so much so that Mike Tyson gifted Don a yellow gold Cartier Pasha chronograph. Don King was no ordinary trainer, and so his timepiece couldn’t have been an ordinary watch: it features oval-shaped blacked-out chronograph sub dials and a stunning yellow gold bracelet. In the photo below, we can spot King wearing it during a press conference, with Tyson sitting by his side.
Below it, we can confirm that the watch actually belonged to Tyson, as we can see the same watch on his wrist.
To the right, instead, is a close-up wrist shot of the timepiece, provided by Amsterdam Vintage Watches.
A Pavè Diamonded Piaget
Mike Tyson’s most eccentric watch had to make the “two-watch collection”: according to sources close to the boxer, Tyson “stole” this unique Piaget timepiece!
The story goes that Mike Tyson pulled up to the boutique, selected this watch and put it on his wrist. He then looked the clerk straight in the eye and said that “Showtime (an American Television Network company which broadcasted his fights) would pay for it”.
He then walked straight out of the Piaget Boutique.
When Showtime’s agents and lawyers instructed Tyson to return the watch to Piaget, the boxer threatened to pull out of his upcoming fight. The event was too lucrative for Showtime to forfeit, and so the network ultimately paid for the watch.
In typical Mike Tyson fashion, he wore that very timepiece to the fight.
We’ve only highlighted a small selection of Mike Tyson’s watch collection: by flicking through the archives of public domain, you can find a whole plethora of images where the boxing legend can be spotted wearing other timepieces. Take a look! Our most surprising one is the plain black Swatch!
We’d like to thank the good folks at Amsterdam Vintage Watches for helping us find the photos you see in this article and for the overall collaboration.
Just as a disclaimer (at the end?), we’re not trying to glorify his persona – because that’s already been done – but rather to underline a great champion’s return to the boxing world.
Welcome back, Mike! We’re glad to have you here.
-Translated by Patrick R.