Talking time with rugby star and Tissot ambassador Marcus Smith

Fresh off the Six Nations, Brummell catches up with Harlequins and England fly - half Marcus Smith to talk memorable moments on the field and how crucial timing is to his sport

Watches & Jewellery 3 Apr 2024

Tissot ambassador and rugby star Marcus Smith

How did your passion for rugby begin? 

My mum is from the Philippines, where I was born, and my dad is from England. He’s a big sports fan – especially English sport, and predominantly rugby. He left to go to Asia to try and play the sport, as well as to experience a new life. So, for me and my two younger brothers, having a dad who is so passionate about sport in general was really beneficial for all of us.  

For me, rugby started kicking off as a young child living in the Philippines, where my dad and fellow expat parents effectively built a junior rugby club to cater to all the children of the adults who enjoyed socialising. There was a township that was right behind the ground, and we invited the kids from there to join the team as well, which was good fun and great to see the smile on their faces when they had a rugby ball in their hands.  

Marcus Smith wears the Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80

How did you turn rugby into your professional career? 

I guess it was quite an unconventional route. I think growing up in Asia. sport is important, but the exposure that you get over there isn’t the same as in England and other larger rugby-playing nations. When I moved to Singapore aged eight, there was a lot more opportunity to travel and challenge myself against the best in the age group.  

I moved to Brighton with my family when I was 13 and went to Brighton College, which is a predominantly rugby and cricket school. At that time, I was desperate to be a footballer. I was trying to play both until I was about 15 or 16, and then joined the Harlequins Academy for a couple of years before, very luckily, being offered a contract when I was 18. And I’m a Harlequin still, so I’m still enjoying myself. It’s a club that’s looked after me and helped me grow into a better person every day.  

How important is timing to your sport? 

Timing is extremely important with my position on the field at fly-half. With the timing of your calls your decision-making often comes down to a split-second decision, and you have to make the right call at the right time for the team to win. I also think the time that you get away from the sport is also important. It’s a very physical and taxing game, so this is needed to keep coming back fitter and stronger and to ensure you have longevity in the game as well.  

Marcus Smith sporting the Tissot Supersport Chrono on the field
Marcus Smith sporting the Tissot Supersport Chrono on the field

Is there a minute on the field that stands out to you? 

Can I say two? I still remember the exact time when we won the Premiership with Harlequins. I remember the moment when my teammate Danny Care kicked the ball out. It almost felt like time stood still, we were all jumping around and celebrating. There are some photos of this that I still hold very close to my heart. I guess that’s why the sport we play is so beautiful.  

The second was the recent Six Nations match against Ireland. It was my first game back after a long while out through injury, which obviously adds pressure. I was very privileged and lucky that I was in the right place at the right time to kick that drop goal to beat Ireland. They are an excellent team – to beat them at Twickenham was special.  

Why did you want to partner with Tissot? 

I really like the stylish and elegant feel that the brand has – when you see people wearing its watches they are always dressed well and looking the part. I guess that is how I am and how I want to live, especially when I’m off the field. It caters for everything and is also accessible for everyone, whether that’s going for dinners or the sporting side. It makes you feel good and look good. I like to stay off my phone before and after games but it’s still important for me to be aware of the time on match day. I think you need to be aware that every single second counts, and watches are essential to that.   

One of my favourites at the moment is the PRX Powermatic 80 Ice Blue. I saw it on the Tissot Instagram and immediately loved it. The light blue of the dial is one of my favourite colours. I have a lot of people asking me where I got this one from. My teammates at Harlequins and in the England team have definitely been curious, which is exciting.  

Marcus Smith puts his Tissot Supersport Chrono through its paces

What next for you? 

Off the field, I want to make a difference in Brighton and the Philippines helping underprivileged kids. On the field, I want to carry on playing for England, which I absolutely love. I want to get on the summer tour to New Zealand and Japan – countries I’ve never been to before. To finish the season off strongly and win another Premiership with the boys I came through the academy with would be memorable. And then my biggest goal in the next two years is to make the Lions tour. It’s something historic in our sport and the pinnacle for any rugby union player in the British Isles. It’s something that is always in my mind every single day. I’m desperate to get there and I’ll work my hardest for that.  

Marcus Smith is an ambassador for Tissot;