16 of the most expensive watches worn by the world's most elite athletes

Business Insider | Dec 6, 2017, 04.26PM IST

rafael nadal roland garros

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Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates victory at the French Open on June 11, 2017 while wearing his Richard Mille RM27-02.

Athletes and watches have gone hand in hand for decades now, and have became essential tools for timing car races or for recording moments like Roger Bannister beating the four minute mile.

And while most athletes today sport brand new production watches, the market for vintage sports watches has been growing in recent years. This was made clear when Paul Newman's old Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona sold at auction for a record breaking $17.8 million (£13.2 million) in October.

Expensive Swiss mechanical watches don't have much practical use in today's sporting world, yet you can't go to a major sporting event without seeing some serious watch game.

Watch brands are chomping at the bit to sponsor the the world's most elite and up-and-coming athletes, with most of the big name brands partnering with teams of athletes - from fighters like Floyd Mayweather to half of the tennis world, including Federer and Nadal - to wear and promote their watches. 

Scroll down to see 16 of the most expensive watches worn by the world's most elite atheletes, ranked in ascending order by price:

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