Tennis legend and Olympic medallist Andre Agassi, “Ambassador of Elegance” for Swiss watch brand Longines, on Thursday helped launch a limited edition Longines automatic timepiece honoring him. Proceeds from sales of the watch will go to support the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation.
The Foundation supports the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a K-11th grade school with 600 students (12th grade starts in 2009) for at-risk children in West Las Vegas and was started in 2000 by Agassi and his Foundation. The press conference was held at the Academy, located in West Las Vegas.
Agassi told reporters that for him, promotion of the new watch is another important way way to “build awareness” of the children’s educational needs generally and the Academy specifically.
In honor of Agassi’s winning of eight Grand Slam singles tournaments in his tennis career, there will be 888 numbered timepieces in the series. The watch dial feature a gold ‘8’ and the Foundation’s logo, also in gold. The watch is part of the Longines Sport Collection, launched in 2007.
Following a press conference at the Agassi Academy to launch the timepiece, there was a private party there, co-hosted by Agassi, for 150 Longines retailers, who were given tours of the Academy by its students. A highlight of the event was the auctioning of exclusive rights to certain of the numbered watches (i.e., 1, 8, 80, 888). All proceeds of the auction went to the Foundation.
In September, Longines will also host a New York City Event, with Agassi, to announce the establishment of a college scholarship fund for graduates of the Academy, including those who may want to go into a watchmaking career, training at the Swatch Group watchmaking school in New Jersey (soon to move to Miami).
The Agassi Foundation was created in 1994 to provide educational, esteem-building, and recreational opportunities for underprivileged, abused and abandoned children in the Las Vegas region. In addition to the Academy, it also supports a residential facility for abused and neglected children, underwrites a wing in a Las Vegas hospital for “medically fragile” children, actively supports the Agassi Boys & Girls Club, and provides other services and activities to help children in Las Vegas, Agassi’s home.
Agassi, who retired from professional tennis in 2006 for health reasons, is one of the top tennis players in world tennis history and is regularly ranked in the top five male players of all time.
Longines, founded in 1832 in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, is a member of The Swatch Group, the largest manufacturer and distributor of watches in the world.