WTI: What has been the highlight of your association with Rolex?
VA: The highlight is the incredible consistency in the way they operate at the highest level of not just the quality of the product which we all are aware of, but the work ethic, the philosophy, the subtleness with which they present their product, the philosophy of the company, the people who work there. It's just one of those companies I'm privileged to be a part of.
WTI: How often do you change your watch?
VA: I use the one I won at the Newport Hall of Fame all those years ago, only for special occasions. It's a prized possession of mine. I can't believe, even today, that that was the one I won and that was my first Rolex. Now, of course, I wear different kind of Rolexes depending on the event. For example, I wore the rolesor Sky-Dweller for the Governor's Awards which happened recently prior to the Academy Awards. And we were with Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, and a whole slew of stars who literally had a first and second and third look at my watch. It makes a statement.
Then there is the steel and platinum Sky-Dweller with the blue dial for which I think there is a nine month wait at the moment. Each time I go to a Rolex boutique, the guy always tells me not to wear it when his customer's are around because they are always asking for it. And of course, you have the rolesor Daytona, with the black leather strap which I wear a lot to sporting events. It tells a statement without being too out there.
WTI: Which piece do you wear the most?
VA: My gold President's Rolex. I travel with it all the time and I'm usually always wearing it. It's got a white dial and it's easy to take everywhere. I like the gold band, it tends to go with the colour of my skin more. So, I use this a lot.
WTI: The one unique experience you've had while wearing a Rolex?
VA: Well, the one that I won, I think. It must have been at least ten to fifteen years since I've had it during which it travelled with me to the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, basically everywhere. Never once was it serviced, never once did the time change. So, finally when I took it to the service centre, they asked me, how many times had I serviced it? And I said, I've never serviced it and they were completely surprised.
WTI: What values do you share with the brand?
VA: Precision, timing, discipline, the overwhelming aspect of the philosophy of where the watch was built from. For us timing was everything in tennis. From the service to the striking of the ball, everything is based on precision and timing, and that's what the main connect was. Then, to top it all, the way I like to carry myself to represent my country, to do it with a sense of class and dignity, this brand is iconic for that specific reason. That's why I always say, “there are watches and there are watches, and then there's Rolex”, because they don't have a large percentage of the market for any other reason except for how special they are even from within the watch family.
WTI: How was your experience at the Rolex manufacture?
VA: Oh, the whole philosophy of even the office was out of the ordinary! It was almost like walking into Wimbledon for the first time. It gives you goosebumps. You're going through the heart and soul of a company that was based on a certain kind of philosophy which is completely unique to the world and still continues to be consistent. Whether it's James Cameron going to the bottom of the ocean or it's some guy going to the moon or whether it's four of the most incredible filmmakers making the best pictures; or the big three in golf or anywhere. They are the best for a reason.
WTI: How many Rolexes do you have in your collection?
VA: I have enough to wear whenever I want them and I enjoy each one of them at different times.
WTI: One Rolex you've got your eyes on?
VA: I did have my eyes on one, till I got that SkyDweller with the blue dial. It's quite unique because the blue dial stands out with the dual time on the steel and platinum bracelet and I don't think I've answered more questions about a watch than that one. Then, I got scared to travel with it, you know. I do wear it a lot in Los Angeles, though because it upsets everyone I see when they see the watch. Plus, I make sure I don't wear a full-sleeves shirt with it.