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Nic Roldan, the athlete

By Keith W. Strandberg

There are seven and a half minutes in each chukka, or period, in a professional polo game. And with or without his trusty watch, it’s critical Nic Roldan know exactly where he is in each of them while he’s playing. “It’s important to know where you are in the chukka so you can manage the energy of your horse,” says the Buenos Aires-born, West Palm Beach-reared Roldan, one of the world’s top polo players, and surely its most smoldering. “That’s why there’s always a clock on the field.”

Though he doesn’t wear a watch while playing (“It’s too dangerous, you don’t want to get your wrist caught up in someone else’s bridal,” he says), off the field Roldan, who in 2010 won the United States Polo Association Silver Cup, is an avid lover of fine timepieces. A former spokesperson for high-end watchmaker Piaget, it was during his time with the brand that he learned “about all that goes into a fine watch,” he says. “I am also a big fan of the Chopard Mille Miglia, and my current favorite is the new special edition given to me by the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.” Such passion for watches isn’t all that surprising, when you consider that “my life is governed by time. I’m in the gym four times a week, depending on how much we are playing. During high season, we’re usually playing two games a week. And in the off-season, I ride or play four times a week, and train four times a week as well.” And yet, it’s when he’s mounted on his horse, in the heat of a match, that Roldan feels time sweep by. “Time goes a lot faster when I am playing,” he says with a smile. “I’m having so much fun that any time on a horse feels like it’s going fast.”