In Boca Raton, Fl, for the opening of the first Ulysse Nardin USA boutique, future hall of famer baseball player–and watch collector—Randy Johnson made an appearance and talked with us about his reflections on time, fast balls and timepieces. During his 22-year baseball career, this 6’10” left-handed Major League baseball pitcher was famed as having one of the dominant fastballs in baseball. He played for six teams over his career, and sometimes exceeded 100 miles per hour. He won the Cy Young Award five times (second to Roger Clemens, who won seven times), and pitched some notable game, including two no-hitters and the 17th perfect game in baseball history.
Standing tall and obviously comfortable in the company of watch collectors, Johnson mingled and showed off his Ulysse Nardin timepiece. He admitted that he enjoys watch collecting and owns a few – well –maybe more like 40–watches. Among them: Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC and, of course, Ulysse Nardin. He also owns a few watch winders to keep things moving.
For those who know the background of Randy Johnson, he liked to keep things moving. His fast pitch was one of the best in the game of baseball, and he is remembered for many a pitch.
A few notables: one that drew a surrender flag from a batter after a few close calls; one that was more than a close call and clocked a bird full speed. When asked about the latter, he said that even though it was a long time ago, he still remembers it well. He said it was like a “pillow exploding in air.” Feathers went everywhere. “I guess I was like everyone else in the stadium then: stunned.”
Today, Johnson enjoys, among other things, making commercials for companies such as Geico, where his famed fast pitch has decision-makers in the commercial recognizing having a snowball fight with Randy Johnson is a bad decision. (The snowball thrown by Johnson goes right through the man’s shoulder in typical Geico dry humor.) Johnson also seemed to enjoy talking to the press – something he didn’t really enjoy in his heyday. But then, we were the watch press.
We tried to get his viewpoint on his favorite brands—knowing how many watches he owns. His response: “Well that’s like asking me which of my kids is my favorite. I have four of them and they each have their own unique attributes. Watches all have something different and special to offer. That’s why I have so many.”