An Interview With Matthew Ebden: Wimbledon Mens Doubles Champion And Bremont Ambassador
The tennis world hosts as many watch enthusiasts as it does brand ambassadors. I recently had the privilege of sitting down for an interview with someone who is both of those things. I’m referring to Matthew Ebden, of course. Two-time Grand Slam winner, the Australian most recently gained the title of 2022 Wimbledon doubles champion. In our interview, we delved into both his watch journey and his partnership with Bremont. Our paths first crossed on Instagram, where we connected due to our shared appreciation for the Bremont S302 GMT. Little did I know that this digital connection would eventually lead to an in-person meeting after Matt graciously invited me to attend the ABN Amro Open in Rotterdam earlier this year. There, I witnessed firsthand Matt’s exceptional skills on the tennis court as he and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna clinched an impressive second place in the tournament.
Matt’s love for watches and horology as well as his affinity for Bremont watches quickly become apparent in his responses. As both an athlete and a Bremont brand ambassador, he embodies the values of precision and endurance that the British watchmaker stands for. Together, we explored his journey as a watch enthusiast and how his partnership with Bremont has elevated his appreciation for both the design and functionality of mechanical watches.
The birth of a passion for watches
NCG: When did your journey with watches begin?
ME: Probably as a young boy. I remember my father went on a trip to the USA and brought me back my first watch. It was a black Swatch diver with yellow indices and markings. I was in love with it, especially always clicking the bezel and playing with the strap. He told me the story that he saw this particular one he wanted for me in the window display, but it was high up, inaccessible, and the only one they had. So they got a fishing rod and literally fished it out, and he brought it back for me. Needless to say, I was hooked. I still have the watch today, although the bezel came loose and was lost, and the old rubber strap broke, of course. But it’s a fun memory and the first one I can think of that piqued my interest.
NCG: Which watch/watches from your collection hold the most meaning for you?
ME: Probably that very first one I received as a kid. Then, for my 18th birthday, my sister kindly bought me a nice (but very affordable) two-tone Pulsar watch made by Seiko. Then, most recently, my most important watches are my Bremonts for several reasons.
My first Bremont was the Broadsword Bronze, which I decided on after visiting the New York boutique on Madison Ave. during the US Open a couple of years back. I didn’t go in there with that particular watch high on my radar, but after seeing it in the flesh and trying it on, I was enamored by the case and the coating, and I had to have it. I chose the Sotek dial color as its visual interest is always changing. It’s always somewhere between green and blue, depending on what strap, surrounding, or even the weather. I often find myself just gazing at it trying to decipher exactly what color it really is. I find that enjoyable.
My Supermarine S302 is extra special as I consider it the ultimate tool watch. A dedicated dive watch with GMT function is important for me, as I travel the world 35–40 weeks a year, so I am always considering different time zones for home time as well as times in other tournament locations or destinations. The fact that it has beautiful color pops with the beige, peach, and red against the black dial hugely pleases my aesthetic eye.
The ultimate trophy watch
ME: After winning Wimbledon last year, I was fortunate to receive a beautifully polished ALT1-C-PW to commemorate the victory, with a special engraving from the team at Bremont headquarters at “The Wing” on the case back. It’s a beauty and one that, naturally, I’ll cherish forever.
Lastly, the watch on my wrist right now is the WR22 chronograph that Bremont made in collaboration with Williams F1 Racing. When I first saw this watch released, I couldn’t believe it. In my opinion, it’s one of the best-looking chronographs on the planet at the moment. Its production is limited, so I had to wait well over a year to get my hands on one, but it was so worth the wait. I tried it on in the Melbourne Bremont boutique in January earlier this year during the Australian Open, and I was more than hooked. “Floored” is probably the better word. It came on the Alcantara suede strap (of the F1 racing steering wheels) as well as with the bracelet. I love both equally. It’s a phenomenal watch and comes in the box with an actual wheel nut used by Williams during the F1, a very cool addition.
Like a hand in a glove
NCG: How did your relationship with Bremont begin?
ME: Being a watch “aficionado” (as my mentor Miguel Seabra now calls me, although I could probably be referred to as a “WIS”), I was well aware of Bremont, its watches, and the work the brand was doing, particularly with the military. I felt the watches and the brand were not getting the exposure they deserved for how good they were and for the good they were doing. It piqued my interest, and I was fortunate to meet some people in the US who knew I was a “watch guy” and asked if I’d be interested in representing Bremont. It was a natural fit. Of course, I’m from Australia, a Commonwealth country under the Crown, but my grandfather served in the British Navy and was British, of course. So part of my heritage and family name comes from Britain, and I naturally have a strong connection with Britain.
What appeals to you about Bremont’s watches?
NCG: What appeals to you about Bremont’s watches?
ME: The fact that they are tested beyond endurance. The fact they are out there, tried and tested in the real world among military, fighter jet squadrons, adventurers, mountaineers, and sportsmen. And, of course, I love Bremont’s original Martin Baker (the famous fighter jet ejection seat) models as well as the brand’s support work with His Majesty’s Armed Forces (formerly Hers under the late Queen Elizabeth). When you wear Bremont watches, you can feel this in their DNA. Yes, they’re high-end watches, built luxuriously and beautifully, but you can tell they are strong, rugged, purposeful, and also tools for utility.
I find they inspire me in many different ways. Wear or try one on, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. They are, of course, also chronometers and beautifully manufactured and finished, and the new ENG300 movement line built in the UK is exciting for reviving the great days of British watchmaking.
NCG: In a broader sense, what features do you look for in a watch?
ME: Most of all, a legible dial and usually the date. I’m a huge fan of symmetry, so most of my picks have the date window at 6 o’clock, symmetrical sub-dials, or a central small seconds sub-dial, as on the Broadsword. Then, a watch has to be strong, built tough, and ready for whatever I’ll throw at it (or throw it at). I don’t mollycoddle my watches; I wear them daily at all times. I wear them to drive, to the gym, to and from tennis, out to dinners and entertainment events, as well as to other tennis industry events and functions. My watches go boating with me — I love waterskiing and wakeboarding — as well as adventuring, and, of course, they accompany me on my excessive travels for most of the year. I’m confident because I know Bremont watches have all of these bases covered in spades.
Them being chronometer certified gives me confidence I’ll always be on time and never miss a flight, practice, match, or commitment. All my watches also have certain functions depending on what I’m doing. The S302 is a beast in the water and for anything more hardcore, the WR22 chronograph and Broadsword work for anything, and the ALT1-C-PW has a polish like no other for when I need to sparkle and shine for certain events. Naturally, in our world, you often need to dress up and look the part, and I’m confident that Bremont has me covered.
ME: I guess I also have a bit of a strap fetish. You’ll probably notice on my Instagram an array of straps and bracelets that I’m constantly playing around with and changing for different looks and feels. I find it gives different personalities and characters to certain watches, and I have fun with it while traveling as it keeps things fresh, fun, and interesting. So look out for what’s next.
The allure of a dive GMT
NCG: We first got in touch over our shared love for the Supermarine S302 GMT. What drew you to this watch?
ME: As I mentioned earlier, I really needed a dive/tool watch. I believe everyone needs one in their collection as a staple. For my lifestyle and my love of the beach and water in general, I had to have one. When I came across the S302, it ticked all my boxes and more. Being a hardcore dive watch along with the fact it had a GMT function just sang to me. Coupled with the personality and beige, peach, and red accents against the black dial, it just suited me and excited me beyond belief. Every time I wear it, also due to its perfect 40mm case size and lugs, I get close to going to sleep with it on. I wear it in bed and finally, reluctantly get it off my wrist before falling asleep.
Especially now that we have our first son, I also actively use the GMT function. Unfortunately, he can’t travel with me every week, so I miss him terribly some weeks here or there. With the GMT, I know exactly when his wake-up, nap, feeding, and sleep times are to ensure I can video call and hang out with/talk to him.
Watches and tennis life
NCG: What role do watches play in your life as a tennis player?
ME: The synergy between tennis and watches is strong. You have probably noticed the long history between the courtside clocks timing the sets, the matches, the tournments, and the history. Our entire life is about discipline, millimeters, seconds, as well as the global nature of the sport and all the travel. So naturally, timing and watches are close to everything. For me, living overseas and spending months and months away on end, I definitely take solace in watches and playing with straps at times. It gives me a nice break from constantly thinking about tennis, which can consume you if you let it, like any profession, I suppose.
NCG: Do you ever play with your watch on?
ME: Yes, sometimes for warmups and practice and in the gym, and always for exhibitions and events. However, I don’t usually wear it during matches at tournaments. But it’s always the first thing that I put back on after the match.
A Bremont tennis watch?
NCG: If Bremont made a high-tech, lightweights sports watch — say, with a carbon case and nylon strap — would you be keen on wearing that during your matches?
ME: Potentially, yes. I’m getting excited thinking about the visuals of the case and the strap combinations. I’m quite a creative person, so I enjoy the different aesthetics and the fashion side of it too. It would be interesting to time certain elements of the match or perhaps even run the shot clock on my watch.
NCG: Hypotheticals aside, which watch (or watches) do you have your eye on today?
ME: That one’s easy. I’ve been salivating over the Supernova watch since I first laid eyes upon it. It’s from the recently released H1 Generation of Bremont watches with the UK-produced ENG300 series of movements. It’s very sporty with the integrated bracelet, but for me, it’s the polished bevels and angles on the case that shine incredibly and make me want it so badly. And again, in a perfect nod to Bremont’s design aesthetics, it has a beautiful power reserve indicator adding a color pop and flair to the dial. I find nearly every Bremont watch has some unique element within its DNA that always gives great visual interest and forges that strong bond with a watch.
NCG: And finally, what is your grail watch (the one watch you would buy if money were no object)?
ME: The limited-edition Bremont Longitude in polished 18K rose gold with Bremont’s first British-manufactured movement in the ENG300 Series. One can dream… This is a significant piece, not only for Bremont but also in the history of British horology and bringing high-end watchmaking to British shores. The dial, once again, is unique and an incredible piece of engineering.
I am also partial to vintage gold perpetual calendar chronographs and, naturally, love the ones with the most symmetry.
I think we all know what that means! Thank you, Matt, for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to provide this interview. The team here at Fratello will be rooting for you and Rohan in the upcoming tournaments this year.
You can follow along and see more from Matthew Ebden on his Instagram page here.