The complete guide to the best men’s luxury watches of 2021.
What is a luxury watch?
As with all luxury goods, there is no official definition of what luxury is. And the same goes for luxury watches, as there isn’t one certain definition of what is considered to be a luxury watch. But generally, a watch is considered luxurious; if the watch was manufactured manually, is of extraordinarily high quality, and usually has a premium price. For example, the Rolex Submariner, which ticks off all of those boxes and is broadly considered a prime example of a luxury timepiece.
Best Luxury Sports Watches
Created after the 1970s quartz crisis, luxury sports watches quickly became the most sought-after watch category.
What is a Luxury Sports Watch?
Can you guess which category holds the current title for the most active and sought-after category of watches? Just think of all the nearly impossible watches to get and are reselling for twice or even more of their retail price. Think of the Rolex Submariner or the Patek Philippe Nautilus, what do they have in common? Exactly, they are both made from steel, are sportive and durable, and both are considered to be in the sports luxury sports watches category. Watches in this category are usually defined by their mix of luxurious appeal, relatively robust cases, and subtle look. Dominated for long by the pioneers of the genre – a style defined in 1972 by the Royal Oak, soon followed by the Nautilus, the VC Overseas, the Girard Perregaux Laureato, and others – the market has expanded drastically of late following the high demand of iconic models.
What To Look For In a Luxury Sports Watch
Before I can tell you what you should be on the lookout for when buying a luxury sports watch, we first have to take a look at was distinguishes sports watches from dive watches. Usually, those two categories get mixed up quite often and this for a good reason. Dive watches, while not necessarily luxurious, share a lot of the same DNA as the typical luxury sports watch. First, the robust and sporty case, which can be seen in a lot of dive watches and is actually required to ensure a maximum of water resistance. A second thing that they both have in common, is that usually their cases are made from stainless steel. And this has a good reason, since stainless steel is the best fitting material (besides titanium), due to its robustness and its easy maintenance. So, as you see, dive watches and sports watches have a lot in common, but the main difference is the water resistance. While dive watches only are considered as such, if they have a minimum of 100 meters of water resistance, a sports watch doesn’t have a guideline or a measurable value to determine if it is one or not. Something else to distinguish the both is, that luxury sports watches almost always have a solid metal bracelet, and most of the time, this bracelet is even integrated into the case, as you will see with most of the watches on this list.
So, what should you look out for when buying a luxury sports watch? Basically, it comes down to four things. The movement, the build quality, the brand, and overall looks. The first three points, movement, build quality, and brand, can be summarized into the following: The watch doesn’t get to call itself “luxury” if the movement, finishing quality and the brand isn’t living up to the current luxury standards of the watch industry. Take for example the Nautilus or the Rolex Submariner, those are real luxury pieces. You feel the quality and care that went into them, and usually, such watches come with the corresponding price tag. The last thing to look for is fairly obvious. Does it look sporty? If not, it’s not a luxury sports watch, doesn’t matter if the manufacturer sells it as one. So as you see, it’s fairly easy to spot a sports watch.
So, now that you know the basics about luxury sports watches, let’s look at five of the best ones that you can buy.
The first watch on this list needs no introduction. Even if you don’t really care about watches, you probably already heard of the Rolex Submariner. And that’s no surprise. Ever since its introduction in 1954, the Rolex Submariner is one of the most iconic and well-known watches in the whole history of watches. Being the first-ever dive watch to receive a water resistance certificate of 100 meters, Rolex quickly gained respect among enthusiasts and connoisseurs, which ultimately led to their present success. But the coolness factor wasn’t just due to the water resistance and the clean looks. The watch was also worn by countless iconic actors like Sean Connery or Steve McQueen. Both added tremendously to the popularity of the watch and strengthened the image of the cool sports watch with a luxurious twist.
Remember when I talked about the sports watch and the dive watch sharing a huge chunk of DNA? Well, the Rolex Submariner is the perfect example of that. And while the Submariner is considered to be a dive watch, it still ticks all the boxes of a sports watch. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the Submariner adheres perfectly to the typical diver aesthetic, as well as to the typical sporty aesthetic. The Oystersteel case is complemented by a unidirectional rotatable bezel which features a cerachrom insert in black ceramic. And believe me, this is one of the best parts of the watch. The whole bezel with the shiny black ceramic is absolutely stunning, which even gets better if you turn the unidirectional bezel, and hear the satisfying click sound it makes. The thing about the Submariner is, that every part of the watch just fits so well into the overall look and feel. And this is especially noticeable when you look at how the bezel and the case fit in with the highly legible chromalight dial.
Inside the Oyster case beats the automatic Manufacture 3230 caliber, which, of course, is made by Rolex in-house, and provides around 70 hours of power reserve.
For me personally, the Rolex Submariner is one of the greatest sports/dive watches of all time. It has a great history, looks great, and packs the Rolex typical punch. What would you want more from a watch?
Specifications: Price: $8,100, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.6mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Manufacture 3230 movement, Power Reserve: 70 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Czapek Geneve Antarctique Passage de Drake
Moving on from the iconic and well-known Rolex Submariner to the lesser-known, but equally exciting Czapek Geneve Antarctqiue Passage de Drake. Puuh, that took a while to say… let me catch my breath first…
Anyway, the brand behind the watch, Czapek Geneve, has quite an interesting history. It all started in 1832, when Franciszek Czapek, a Czech and Polish citizen, fled to Switzerland and founded his first watch manufacturing company, “Czapek & Moreau”. From 1832 to 1869, Franciszek and his partner, Antoine Norbert de Patek, went on to produce several timepieces and even were recognized as one of the greatest watchmakers of the 19th century. But then, in 1869, the brand and all of its history suddenly disappears.
143 years later, in 2012, the Czapek company name was re-established. The three entrepreneurs behind this revival created a library of original Czapek timepieces to understand his work and personality, and they worked on new designs as if he was seated with them having traveled through time. Then, in 2015, Czapek Geneve was reintroduced to the press and the public, which was the cornerstone in leading the company to win the coveted Public Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and to open a new boutique in Geneva. Fun fact, the boutique is only a few steps away from Czapek’s original atelier, which was established in 1845.
Know that you know a little bit more about the history of the company, let’s take a look at the specs of the watch. The Antarctqiue Passage de Drake features a beautifully brushed, stainless steel case, which measures 40.5mm in diameter and 10.6mm in thickness. Speaking of which, the integrated bracelet with brushed and polished links fits in perfectly with the brushed case endings. But as nice as the case and the bracelet may be, the real eye-catcher of this watch is without any doubt its dial. The watch features a dark blue, stamped “flinqué” dial with the exclusive, officially registered “Stairway to Eternity” pattern. I once saw this watch in real life and I have to say, this dial is amazing. The way that the stamps on the dial play with the light and perspective are just spectacular.
Anyway, let’s see if the watch is just a pretty face or if there is actually something special behind the facade. And let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed. The Antarctqiue Passage de Drake features Czapek’s in-house self-winding mechanical movement, the caliber SXH5, which beats at 4Hz, has 28 jewels, and provides a cool 60 hours of power reserve.
Overall, I think, it’s safe to say, that Franciszek Czapek would be proud if he could see where his company is now, and the care and effort that goes into every Czapek timepiece.
Specifications: Price: $18,000, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 10.6mm Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 120m, Movement: Automatic in-house Calibre SXH5 movement, Power Reserve: 60 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Next up is one of the most iconic watches ever produced. The Patek Philippe Nautilus. Introduced back in 1976, the Nautilus was the saving grace for a weakened Patek Philippe, who just went through the notorious Quartz Crisis of the 1970s. Following the release of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Girard Perregaux Laureato, which were the first watches that challenged the common belief of what a luxury watch should be, the Patek Philippe Nautilus released their own luxurious stainless-steel watch. And what a watch that was. Being priced even higher than the watches of the competition, Patek and their Nautilus Ref. 3700, turned a lot of heads. Mainly because of its price tag, the case shape, which resembles a ship’s porthole, and the, at the time, very large case proportions. Measuring 42mm in diameter, the Nautilus was way ahead of its time, with the average watch measuring somewhere around 39mm. Basically, Patek broke every rule of watchmaking with just one watch.
As most of you may have heard, Patek Philippe discontinued their iconic, blue dialed Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-010 in January 2021, and made space for its predecessor, the new Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A with the green dial. Therefore, today, we are going to look at the new green-dialed version, just to make sure that you receive up-to-date content. But if you are interested in alternatives to the one with the blue dial, I wrote an article about this topic. You can check it out here.
Equipped with the self-winding caliber 26-330 S C, the updated version features a stainless-steel case, which measures 40mm in diameter and 8.3mm in height, making it wear more compact than most of its competitors. And in true Patek manner, the stainless-steel bracelet, with its brushed and polished links, flows effortlessly into the case, making it one of the best-integrated bracelets on the market. So forth, everything seems to be as before. But not exactly everything. Complementing the case and the bracelet perfectly is its new youthful muted green dial, which gives the watch a kick of freshness. And with the trend clearly going towards green dialed watches, Patek introduced it at the exact right time.
Specifications: Price: $34,890, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 8.3mm Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 120m, Movement: Automatic caliber 26-330 S C movement, Power Reserve: 35-45 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Moving on to the next watch on this list, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph about the PP Nautilus, the Royal Oak was actually the first watch to introduce the luxury sports watch concept, into the industry. After taking a huge hit in the Quartz Crisis, countless watch manufacturers had to close their doors forever, due to the decrease in demand of mechanical watches. But unlike the smaller manufacturers, the big players in the game like Audemars Piguet, had the means to adapt, and to develop new and innovative watches. And this is exactly what Audemars Piguet did when they released their Royal Oak back in 1972. For the first time, a luxury watch manufacturer launched a sports watch, made entirely from stainless steel. And for a brand like AP, which belonged to the Holy Trinity and was known for manufacturing thin, elegant, and refined dress watches, this was a huge novelty, which went on to influence the luxury watch market for decades to come and ultimately the reason I am writing this article right now. And you reading it, by the way.
The AP Royal Oak is the perfect combination of both robust and luxury, which makes it the ultimate luxury sports watch. This combination of both luxury and robustness can be clearly seen when taking a closer look at the case. Measuring 41mm in diameter, the stainless-steel case features the iconic porthole bezel with the exposed screws as well as a brushed integrated bracelet, which the Royal Oak is so famous for. Complementing the combination of brushed and polished surfaces perfectly is the dark blue dial with the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, the white gold applied hour-markers, and the luminescent Royal Oak hands.
Powered by the automatic manufacture caliber 4302, the Royal Oak provides 70 hours of power reserve and a 4hz frequency.
I will be honest here, while the AP Royal Oak is an awesome watch and undoubtedly worth every penny of its $22,900 price tag, I personally still prefer the Nautilus from Patek. But this choice is based on my personal taste and preferences and isn’t because of the quality or the movement of the watch. I just like the looks of the Nautilus better.
Specifications: Price: $22,900, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 10.4mm Lug-to-Lug: 51mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic manufacture caliber 4302 movement, Power Reserve: 70 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Vacheron Constantin Overseas
As part of the Holy Trinity, Vacheron Constantin, alongside Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, is one of the most prestigious and well-known watch manufacturers out there. Founded in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron, the brand, also known as The Maison, is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
And alongside Patek’s Nautilus and AP’s Royal Oak, the Overseas from Vacheron was the third iconic watch that was developed during the Quartz Crisis of the 70s. After the release of the Royal Oak in 1972, the release of the Nautilus in 1976, Vacheron, in 1977, decided to launch their own sports watch. The watch was designed by Jorg Hysek and was given the name “222”. For those of you wondering why “222”, the watch was a celebration for the brand’s 222 years anniversary and was Vacheron’s way of breaking away from the traditional dress watch. And this watch was the cornerstone for the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Phase 1, which was released in 1996 and stayed in production until the year 2004. This watch was a direct descendant of the “222” and is what brought success to Vacheron’s sports watches. Like the 222, the Overseas was built around a tonneau-shaped case with a fluted bezel reminiscent of the Maltese cross. Its dynamic lines were extended by an integrated bracelet with geometric links. After 2004, Vacheron released the Overseas Phase 2, which was produced until 2016, when they introduced the latest Overseas line, the Overseas Phase 3.
The latest VC Overseas features a 41mm stainless steel case, a polished bezel, and an integrated bracelet, which, like the previous models, bears a subtle resemblance to the Maltese cross, a Vacheron Constantin icon. Complementing the bezel is an eye-catching blue dial, which features applied indexes, an outer minute rail, VC hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. Inside of the stainless-steel case beats the automatic 5100 movement, which has a power reserve of about 60 hours.
Priced at $22,500, the Vacheron Constant Overseas with the reference 4500V/110A-B128 definitely earns itself a spot on this list and is a cool alternative to the Nautilus and the Royal Oak.
Specifications: Price: $22,500, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11mm Lug-to-Lug: 48.7mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 150m, Movement: Automatic 5100 movement, Power Reserve: 60 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN
The next watch on this list is a rather iconic one. The Rolex Daytona ‘Reverse Panda’ reference 116500LN. Released at Baselworld 2016, the Rolex Daytona with the black ceramic bezel and the white dial has been hugely in demand ever since.
Launched originally in 1963, the Rolex Daytona is considered to be one of the historically most significant timepieces ever made in the last century. But let’s start at the beginning, in 1963. The Daytona is named after a Florida city, which, at the beginning of last century, started attracting motorsport enthusiasts for its wide beaches with smooth and compacted sand, which made it ideal for land speed record attempts. Basically, it was a racing track, just with a way prettier view. But this wasn’t enough for the city, and in 1958, they built the iconic Daytona International Speedway, which is home to the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR.
But back to Rolex and the history of their Daytona. 8 years prior to the launch of the Daytona, in 1955, Rolex introduced a manual-wound chronograph in an oyster case which can be considered a precursor of the Daytona. The Rolex Oyster Chronograph with the reference 6234, featured a tachometer scale on the outer ring and a telemeter scale for distances on the inner ring. Following the 6234, were two series of the reference 6238, with the latter one being considered to be the real predecessor of the Rolex Daytona and fittingly, is called the Pre-Daytona by modern collectors. Then, in 1963, Rolex introduced the first Cosmograph model, the reference 6239. For the first time, the chronograph from Rolex featured a tachometer scale engraved on the metal bezel. Fun fact, this Rolex Chronograph was not immediately referred to as the Daytona. In fact, Rolex initially used the name Le Mans in some advertisements, before they finally opted for the iconic Daytona name, which referred to the Daytona Beach and racetrack, and once and for all, consolidated its connection to the motorsport’s world. The Daytona went on to gain its reputation and fully took off, when people were noticing Paul Newman’s iconic 1969 Rolex Daytona during the 80s, which then led to the current hype surrounding this timepiece, and the record-breaking $17,8 Million, for which it was sold for at a Phillips auction back in 2017.
The watch features a 40mm Oyster steel case, a crisp white dial with black sub-dials, the legendary Daytona hands, a screw-down crown, and chronograph pushers, and a beautiful black ceramic bezel with the Tachymeter scale on it. Powered by the automatic, manufacture 4130 movements, the watch provides around 72 hours of power reserve.
Due to the current hype surrounding this watch, it’s nearly impossible to get one for the $13,150 listing price, as the waiting lists are filled for years to come. But if you somehow manage to get your hands on one, you won’t be disappointed with this absolute stunner of a watch.
Specifications: Price: $13,500, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.5mm Lug-to-Lug: 46.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Rolex 4130 movement, Power Reserve: 72 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Best Luxury Dive Watches
Worn by many iconic actors, explorers, and adventurers, the dive watch is one of the most popular and iconic watch types out there.
What is a Diving Watch?
For everyone ranging from the most passionate watch collector to the absolute watch newbie, dive watches are a very popular field of watches. But why is that you ask? It’s mainly due to the fact, that people like the aesthetic of a rugged tool that has a simple yet somehow classic look. They want to know that in the very unlikely case of them being submerged 300 meters under the water, their watch will still tell them the time accurately. Also, since the trend leans towards more and more casual attire, dive watches are currently booming. And I totally get that, I am too a huge fan of the typical dive watch. Just the thought of all those tiny gears and springs, working flawlessly, while being under the relentless pressure of the ocean, fascinates me. A lot.
But it’s not just the aesthetics and the toughness that determined the success of the dive watch concept. There is also this reputation of coolness and badassery, that is associated with dive watches. I mean just think of James Bond’s Submariner’s and Seamaster’s or Steve McQueen’s Rolex 5513. And all of that made the dive watch to what it is today. So, whether you enjoy wearing your diver behind a desk or plan to do some actual underwater exploration with it, this article will feature the best dive watches, you can buy today and what to look for when buying one.
What to look for in a Dive Watch
Legibility is key when it comes to diving watches. When you’re deep under the surface with little to no daylight, you just don’t have time to fiddle around on your watch – you need to know in an instant, how much time you have left underwater. Therefore, it’s also very important that the watch has a good luminous coating.
Also, be aware of the depth rating of the respective watch. Usually, dive watches which are just rated as “waterproof” are not suitable for real diving or immersion in water. Dive watches with a water resistance of 100 meters are suitable only for snorkeling and diving at very minimal depths. And if you are looking for a watch that you actually can take with you when going diving, choose a watch which has a water resistance of 200 to 300 meters or even higher. Other than that, there is only one more important thing you have to keep in mind. Buy a watch that you like and have fun with it! But now, enough with all the talking, let’s dive (haha…) straight into, what I think, are 5 of the best dives watches out there.
Longines Legend Diver
We start the list off with the Longines Legend Diver. A watch that immediately caught my eye and never left my mind ever since. The brand Longines was founded in 1832 (!), in a small Swiss town with the sounding name Saint-Imier. Ever since then, the almost 190-year-old company is known for manufacturing high-quality swiss watches. And while in present times, they are not regarded as prestigious as Rolex or Patek, Longines actually had times in which they were one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers in whole Switzerland.
The heritage of the Longines Legend Diver dates back to 1937, where Longines first started to experiment with waterproof watches. The ongoing development and research finally culminated in the launch of its first real diving watch in 1958. And if you are familiar with the dive watch history, you know that in the 60s, the Super-Compressor cases were the hottest stuff when it came to dive watches. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Longines also went down this road and developed the iconic twin-crowned cases. Fast forward to the past year, where Longines took a part of their rich history and turned it into the Longines Legend Diver.
The watch features the same super compressor case as the 1960s, but Longines enhanced the design to adhere to modern standards. The Longines Legend Diver has a black PVD coated, stainless steel case with a diameter of 42mm, which is complemented by a black dial, polished silver-plated hands, and a well-placed date window. The blacked-out case houses the automatic in-house L888 caliber, which features a date functionality and offers a power reserve of 72 hours. The iconic diver is worn on a black rubber strap, which complements the blacked-out case perfectly. Thanks to its design, rubber strap, and water resistance of up to 300 meters, it is perfect for the avid underwater explorer.
Overall, Longines did a great job. Taking their iconic dive watch from the 1960s and upgrading it with a very cool-looking black case and a nice movement, makes this a real winner for me. Compared to other dive watches with similar specs and looks, the price of around $2,600 is very reasonable. So, if you are in the market for a dive watch for under $3,000, this is a very nice choice.
Specifications: Price: $2,600, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic in-house L888 movement, Power Reserve: 72 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Continuing with the Tudor Pelagos. With their new Black Bay Chronos and new Black Bay 58’s, Tudor received a lot of hype and praise from the watch community. And rightly so, I must add. Tudor really brought their A-game in the last few years. But with all the hype surrounding the Chronos and BB58’s, there is one watch that is just not receiving enough attention. And you guessed it, it’s the Tudor Pelagos.
Remember when I talked about dive watches having this rugged-tool appeal? Well, the Tudor Pelagos is a perfect example of that. This watch was designed and intended to be used as a tool. It’s simple as that. The case is made from an ultra-light and durable titanium-steel case, which measures 42mm in diameter, 14.45mm in height, and 50mm from lug to lug. The Pelagos has a distinctive Helium escape valve at 9 o’clock, which enables the watch to withstand extreme water pressures of up to 500 meters (1640ft) below the surface. The matte black unidirectional bezel is made completely from titanium, removing even more weight off the watch, and making it more comfortable to wear. To keep in line with the typical diver style, the dial of the watch is kept to a bare minimum, to ensure top-notch legibility when you are submerged underwater. Speaking of legibility, all the diving relevant parts of the dial, are coated in luminescent material, enabling you to tell the time even if there is no daylight present. Equipped with a COSC-certified, automatic Manufacture Calibre MT5612, the Tudor Pelagos provides 70 hours of power reserve.
In my opinion, this watch is a great choice for a wide range of enthusiasts. Especially for those that are after a watch like the Rolex Sea-Dweller or the Rolex Submariner, which are just very hard to get. But I have to tell you, that if you have slimmer wrists or just don’t enjoy larger watches, be very careful. This isn’t a dress watch. Not even close. This is primarily made to be used as a tool and not as an elegantly sized accessory. But let’s assume you know that already and are looking for a more casual piece, which you can wear when sitting on your balcony as well as when you are deeply submerged under tons of water. Then this watch is for you.
Specifications: Price: $4,300, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 14.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 500m, Movement: Automatic COSC-certified Manufacture MT5612 movement, Power Reserve: 70 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Omega Seamaster 300
Curtain up for our next watch on the list. The Omega Seamaster 300M. Similar to the Rolex Submariner, the Omega Seamaster has this reputation of being an icon and embodiment of the diver’s spirit. And as with the Submariner, this is well deserved. First introduced by Omega in 1957, the Seamaster 300 was designed especially for divers and professionals who worked underwater. Fast forward to today and more than 60 years after its initial release, the Seamaster 300 is still going strong and still is one of Omegas flagship timepieces.
The modernized version of the Omega Seamaster 300 features a 41mm stainless steel case, which has an open caseback, through which you can catch a glimpse at the automatic Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912 movement. I will be honest here, in my opinion, the decoration and looks of the movement are quite underwhelming. But I think that’s rather up to personal preference, so please take a look at it on Omega’s website, to make up your own mind. But let’s not get biased here, apart from the movement, the watch looks stunning. The sand-blasted black dial features rhodium-plated hands and carved indexes, both of which are coated with “vintage” Super-LumiNova. Going against the widespread “hate” of faux patina; I like it. And I stand by it. Maybe you want to have the stability of having a modern movement and the look of a more aged piece. Nothing bad with that, in my opinion. Anyway, the dial and the iconic hands get perfectly complemented by the polished ceramic bezel ring, which combined with the 300 meters of water resistance, make this a very nice piece to take with you when going diving.
I really love this watch. Maybe it’s because Daniel Craig alias James Bond wore a version of it in Spectre, or just because it’s a great-looking piece from a great brand. I guess we will never know…
Specifications: Price: $6,800, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 14.65mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912 movement, Power Reserve: 60 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad
Moving on the godfather of all dive watches. For some even the holy grail of all diving-related pieces. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Born in 1953, it combined a few remarkable features that made it a pioneer in diving watches. Basically, it’s the predecessor of the highly praised Submariners and Seamaster’s. The Fifty Fathoms was the brainchild of Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then CEO of Blancpain, and his successor Marc A. Hayek. Both of them shared the passion for diving in their spare time, so, with the idea of Fiechter in mind, Hayek set out to create a watch that could accompany him on his future diving trips. And that’s how the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was born.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms comes in many different variants. Today I’m going to show you the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms ‘No Rad’, which basically is a tribute to the original Fifty Fathoms No Rad watch. Which back in the 1960s, was produced for the German Armed Forces – or “Bundeswehr” – how we say it in German. This watch equipped the “Kampfschwimmer”, an elite German diving commando unit, until the early 1970s. Fast-forwarding to the 15th of March 2021, when Blancpain introduced the newest version of the Fifty Fathoms No Rad. It’s noteworthy that in 2010, Blancpain released another tribute to the original “No Radiations” watch – with the same dial layout – only in a larger 45mm case. The 45mm version was released in a limited run of 500 pieces and has become quite collectible. But back to the newest model with the more modest-sized case.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad has a stainless-steel case with a diameter of 42mm, which is complemented by a stunning black dial, a well-placed date window, and the iconic No Rad Logo just above the 6 o’clock position. The polished case houses the automatic in-house 1151 caliber, which offers an impressive power reserve of around 100 hours. The iconic diver is worn on a black rubber strap, which complements the case perfectly. The watch is water-resistant up to 300 meters (984ft), making it perfectly capable of accompanying you on your next diving trip.
The modern Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad is one of my holy grail watches when it comes to the dive category. The watch just is the whole package. It’s basically the first-ever real dive watch, it has an iconic design and it’s modestly sized, which cannot be said about other Fifty Fathoms watches. All of this, in my eyes, make the price tag of around $14,100, worth it.
Specifications: Price: $14,100, Case Size: 40.3mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic in-house 1151 movement, Power Reserve: 100 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Best Luxury Dress Watches
Classy, classic, and understated. If I had only three words to describe the perfect dress watch, those would be the most appropriate ones.
What is a Dress Watch?
It’s time to suit up! Unlike a chronograph or a dive watch, the parameters of what makes a great dress watch aren’t so easily defined. There isn’t a certain certification or a set of complications that makes a dress watch, a dress watch. But usually, dress watches are meant to be worn with more formal attire like a suit, a tux, or just any other formal outfit that you have in mind. Therefore, dress watches tend to be understated in design and proportions, to fit in better with the sophisticated look of the outfit. That being said, the requirement for formal attire in offices around the world slowly starts to get looser, making the original idea of a dress watch more and more obsolete. But this doesn’t mean the end of the classy, understated, and moderate proportioned watch. With the dress code getting looser and looser, the dress watch can now be worn with everything you like. Combine the watch with just a pair of chinos and a casual white shirt, and almost every dress piece will look stunning on your wrist.
What to look for in a Dress Watch
But let’s assume you want a real dress piece. What should you look out for? Well, there are certain things to look out for when deciding on a dress piece. First, just think of, when and where you will be wearing this watch the most. Usually, this would be in a business environment with you being dressed in formal attire, like a suit or even a tuxedo. Dress watches should be able to fit under the tightest sleeve cuff, therefore they should be rather thin and slim. As mentioned above, dress watches should also be as understated as possible. They don’t have to be boring, but it’s important for the watch to pair well with your wardrobe, assuming you went for a simple three-piece suit, not for the most extravagant flannel piece you could find.
Now, this was very vague, let’s look at what specs you should look for when deciding on a dress watch. A men’s dress watch should measure between 34mm and 39mm in diameter and somewhere around 10mm in height. This ensures the watch to slip under the tightest of sleeves, therefore fitting in perfectly with your attire. But as mentioned before, this is just a recommendation, if you like your dress watch to be bigger in size, go for it! I also included one dress watch that measures slightly more, just to make sure that we cover everything from the slimmest to the widest of wrists.
So, whether you enjoy wearing your dress watch in the board room where you actually have to wear a watch that suits your formal attire, or you just want to get one for when you are going out in a pair of chinos and a casual shirt, I got you. I’ve rounded up five of the best dress pieces that are currently available on the market. But enough with all the talking, let’s get started!
Cartier Tank Solo
Starting of this list is a watch, that is famous for its understated design, French flair, and its unique case shape. Off course, I’m talking about the Cartier Tank Solo. I think there is no need in telling you that Cartier is one of the world’s most well-known luxury brands. With their prestigious reputation, Cartier manages to cater to a broad spectrum of luxury-loving people that are willing to pay good money for having one of the sought-after accessories with the iconic Cartier on it. But with all those rings and earrings, many forget that Cartier actually has one of the longest-lasting watch-making traditions in the whole watch industry. Cartier as a brand was founded back in 1847, by a French guy named Louis-François Cartier, which in 1904 went on to design and produce the first-ever wristwatch for men. Then in 1917, Cartier introduced the Cartier Tank, which almost immediately gained the attention and respect of the sophisticated gentlemen out there.
Skipping forward to 2021, the Cartier Tank is still going strong and is considered to be one of the most iconic watches on the planet. So naturally, I had to include one of the Tank’s most popular versions, the Tank Solo, into this list. Also, compared to other dress watches, the Cartier Tank Solo is rather affordable and should lie within your budget.
The Cartier Tank Solo features a Swiss-made Quartz movement, which Cartier makes in-house. The movement is housed in a well-proportioned stainless-steel case, which was polished to the highest Cartier standards. The rectangular case measures 34.8 mm x 27.4 mm in diameter and an amazing 5.55mm in height. Since very clearly, this is a dress watch, you shouldn’t go swimming with it, which is made clear by the 30 meters of water resistance. The stainless-steel case is complemented by the classic white opaline dial, black Roman numerals, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, and the iconic Cartier Logo just below the 12 o’clock position.
If I only had one word to describe the watch, it would be Classy. Or Stunning? Or Beautiful? Screw that, you will probably need more than just one single word to describe a watch with that kind of history. But since I want to keep it short, just know that this watch is worth every penny of the $2,610, that you will have to pay when deciding to pick one up.
Specifications: Price: $2,610, Case Size: 34.8mm x 27.4mm, Thickness: 5.55mm, Lug-to-Lug: 34.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: In-house Quartz movement, Power Reserve: Quartz, Crystal: Sapphire
Zenith Elite Classic
The next watch on this list is the Zenith Elite Classic. Zenith, the brand behind this piece of art, has a long-lasting tradition of manufacturing timepieces and movements, with their El Primero movement being the most famous of their creations. But let’s start from the beginning, in the year 1865. It was at that time, a Swiss guy named Georges Favre-Jacot, decided to found a watch manufacturing company. Due to Georges’s heritage, the company was registered in a small swiss village with the sounding name Le Locle. After its foundation, Zenith quickly earned the reputation of making the most precise timepieces at that time. And that didn’t change much over the span of the next few decades, as Zenith went on to win many more competitions, achieving the impressive record of more than 2,300 prizes for their timepieces.
After the introduction of their famous El Primero chronograph movement in 1969, and the Quartz crisis in the 1970s, Zenith, in 1994, decided to introduce a new caliber into their portfolio. The ultrathin, time-only Elite movement. This straightforward movement started off strong, with the trade press awarding it the title of Best Movement of the Year when presented at Baselworld in 1994. Skipping forward a few years (20, to be exact) to 2014, when Zenith announced that from now on, their new entry-level Elite timepieces would be powered by fully assembled calibers, purchased from Swiss movement maker Sellita and that it would discontinue production of in-house Elite movements. This led to a big wave of shock and disagreement among watch enthusiasts and Zenith fans. But fortunately, this didn’t go on for a long time. Only a few months later, in 2015, Zenith launched its new in-house manufactured automatic mechanical movement, the Elite 6150, announcing that they would reintroduce the in-house Elite line.
5 years later, in 2020, Zenith launched the Zenith Elite Classic, which is the latest piece of the Elite-line, and the watch I’m going to talk about today. Equipped with the new automatic Elite 670 SK movement, the watch now provides 50 hours of power reserve. The movement is housed inside of an elegant, rose gold case, which measures 40.5mm in diameter and 9.1 in thickness. Featuring a combination of brushed lugs and a polished bezel, the case is complemented by the real star of the show. The dial. The silverish dial features a stamped radial sunray pattern, which brings in a sense of depth and giving the watch a dynamic look. It is combined with faceted and tapered applied indexes, dauphine hands, and an unusual placed date window on the 6 o’clock position.
Priced at $14,000, this watch certainly isn’t cheap. But with the amount of quality and care that goes into a watch from Zenith, I’m confident to say, that this watch is worth your money. By the way, if you are looking to buy more affordable dress watches, I wrote an article about dress watches under $500 and one featuring dress watches under $1,000.
Specifications: Price: $14,000, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 9.1mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic Elite 670 SK movement, Power Reserve: 50 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Continuing with the Piaget Altiplano. Known for their sophisticated and elegant watches, the Swiss watch manufacturer was founded back in 1874, in a small Swiss village named La Côte-aux-Fées. The founder of Piaget, Georges-Édouard Piaget, started his first watch workshop when he was only 19 years old. Over the past 147 years, this simple workshop evolved into the prestigious Piaget brand that we know today.
The Piaget Altiplano pays tribute to the first Piaget ultra-thin watches from 1957, keeping the overall look and size more or less the same over the past 60 years. And I have to say, this is something that I find very impressive. Committing to the original design for over 60 years and staying true to their heritage is very admirable. And this heritage can be seen very clearly in the modern Piaget Altiplano, starting with the modest case proportions, which measure 38mm in diameter and an astonishing 6.4mm in thickness. Speaking of which, the case is made entirely from 18kt. rose gold, which in combination with the black alligator strap, looks amazing. Complementing the classy case is a crisp white dial, which features simple hour markers, an hour, and a minute hand, and a small Swiss Made inscribing on the 6 o’clock position. And that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, if the word understated would be a dial, there is no doubt that this would be it. And honestly, I love it. The Piaget Altiplano is the definition of a pure dress watch with little to no unnecessary distractions on the dial.
And for those of you that think that this watch couldn’t be more committed to the past, just wait until you hear about the movement. Inside of the rose gold case, beats the Piaget 430P movement, which is hand-wound, only 2.1mm (!) thick, and provides around 43 hours of power reserve.
Hand-wound movement, elegant case proportions, and a strong connection to its past. These are some of the reasons which make the Piaget Altiplano one of the greatest dress watches that you can buy today. Admittedly, with a price tag of CHF 15,800 (Approx. $17,200), the watch can’t be considered affordable, but I still think that this watch is worth every penny.
Specifications: Price: CHF 15,800 (Approx. $17,200), Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 6.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Hand-wound Piaget 430P movement, Power Reserve: 43 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5196J
The next watch on this list can easily be considered as one of the most influential and one of the most iconic dress watches, that was ever made. Curtains up for the Patek Philippe Calatrava 5196J. Patek first introduced the Calatrava back in 1932, with the first model having the reference number “96”. Yes, you are reading this right. A two-digit reference number. That something you won’t see today, where some reference numbers are so long, that they even outrank the barcodes of my local supermarket. But as cool and as nostalgic this may seem, the story behind the Patek Philippe Calatrava didn’t start that way. See, back in the 1930s, Patek wasn’t this big watch manufacturer it is today, and they certainly didn’t have the funds of today. In the early part of the 20th century, Patek, Philippe & Cie (as the company was formally known), had some financial problems. Long story short, the solution to their financial problems came in the form of brothers Jean and Charles Henri Stern, who purchased a controlling interest in the company in 1932 and went on to create the Calatrava Ref. 96, which catered to a broader range of potential customers.
Paying tribute to the very first of its kind, the modern Patek Philippe Calatrava took a lot of the design features of the Ref. 96 and slightly modernized them. But as with the Piaget Altiplano, the heritage of the watch can still be clearly seen. Most of foremost on the dial. The dial made from silvery opaline, features gold applied hour markers, polished Dauphine hands, and a small second’s hands display, just above the 6 o’clock position. If you compare the latest 5196J to the first Ref. 96, you can see the resemblance very clearly.
Do you know what I mean? Cool right? Anyway, there is one thing left that shouldn’t be missed. The movement. The watch is powered by the hand-wound 215PS caliber, which keeps the time very accurate and provides at least 44 hours of power reserve.
With its refined design and awesome movement, the Patek Philippe Calatrava definitely is one of my holy grail watches and I intend to own it one day. Considering the price of CHF 20,800 (Approx. $22,600), this may take a while. But hey, the longer you wait, the more you want to get it, right?
Specifications: Price: CHF 20,800 (Approx. $22,600), Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 7.68mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Hand-wound 215PS movement, Power Reserve: 44 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
Moving from one Holy Trinity brand to another. From Patek Philippe to Vacheron Constantin and their Patrimony watch. The story of the Vacheron Patrimony starts in 2004 when Vacheron launched the first of its kind. Actually, to be precise, the story of the Patrimony starts way before that. In the 1950s, most of the watchmakers made it a point of honor to keep pace with advances in aeronautics, underwater exploration, or car racing. But not Vacheron Constantin, they stuck to their concept and carried on with creating elegant timepieces for the sophisticated gentleman. Their commitment resulted in two different, yet very similar watches. The reference 6187 and 6179. Both featuring a round case, a slim bezel, short lugs, and a flat dial, with the only difference being that the 6187 had a large central second hand, while the 6179 had a small seconds display. Now you may ask yourself, but why are you telling me this? Well, remember when I said that the story of the modern Patrimony actually started in the 1950s? That’s because the Patrimony of today is basically a combination of the two mentioned watches.
And this heritage can be clearly seen when we look at the overall design of the Patrimony. The watch features an 18kt white gold case, which measures 36mm in diameter and 8.1mm in thickness. Even though the 8.1mm can’t compete with the 6.4mm thickness of the Piaget Altiplano, the proportions are still very good and wearable. And compared to the Altiplano, the Patrimony only measures 36mm in diameter, which makes it even easier to wear with formal attire. Complementing the white gold case, is the crisp white dial, which features applied indexes, a circular-grained minute-counter, baton hands, and a date window at 6 o’clock.
The open caseback of the Patrimony reveals the automatic caliber 2450 Q6/3 and its beautifully decorated rotor. The movement was compiled out of 196 different parts and provides 40 hours of power reserve.
Priced at $25,900, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony is a proud part of the Holy Trinity and thanks to its refined design and movements, definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Specifications: Price: $25,900, Case Size: 36mm, Thickness: 8.1mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic 2450 Q6/movement, Power Reserve: 40 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Rolex Day-Date 36
Next up is the presidential Rolex Day-Date 36 in yellow gold, which is the most classic and beloved watch of the Day-Date collection.
Launched back in 1956, the Rolex Day-Date has remained the brand’s signature status watch, worn mainly by the rich and wealthy. Exclusively crafted in precious metals, few luxury watches come close to the prestige, excellence, and timelessness of the Rolex Day-Date, also known as the Rolex President Watch. The name comes from the president bracelet, which Rolex uses exclusively for this watch, and from the fact, that a lot of presidents, world leaders, and other influential people wore and still wear a Day-Date. With the Day-Date, Rolex wrote history when they introduced it back in 1956 since it was the first-ever chronometer-certified wristwatch, that was able to fully spell out the current day and date on the dial. And ever since its launch, 65 years ago, the watch still remains as one of the most iconic and prestigious timepieces ever produced by Rolex.
The Day-Date featured in this article has the reference 128238 and features a 36mm, 18kt yellow gold case, a fluted bezel and, the real star of the show, the beautiful crisp white dial. With its unmistakable look, the dial with the polished hands, the roman numerals, the iconic day window at the 12 o’clock position, and the date window at 3 o’clock, is immediately recognizable. Inside of the watch beats the self-winding COSC-certified, Rolex caliber 3255, which provides around 70 hours.
Priced at around $32,000 the Day-Date 36 in yellow gold is an awesome watch and definitely deserves a spot in every watch collection.
Specifications: Price: $32,000, Case Size: 36mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic, in-house 3255 movement, Power Reserve: 70 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Best Luxury GMT Watches
Created for the sophisticated jet setters of the world, the GMT watch concept has made it and is beloved by the watch community.
What does GMT stand for?
Before we begin with our list, here is a short summary of what “GMT” stands for so that everyone that reads this article is aware of the origin of the name. The Greenwich Mean Time, GMT for short, was created to establish uniformed time zones worldwide and therefore making it easier to measure what time it is on the other side of the world.
Just some short introduction to the list: The watches on this list are not be ordered by price or best to worst. Also, there isn’t a limit when it comes to the price tag, if you are interested in only affordable watches, then please check out the affordable alternative series or the Best watches under series. But why not enjoy this list and daydream about what you could have in the future? I certainly enjoy that. But enough with that, let’s start with the featured watches.
Chopard L.U.C GMT One
Starting this list off is one of my favorite releases of this year’s Watches and Wonders 2021. No, I’m not talking about the new Rolex Explorer II (why even should I..?), I’m talking about the new L.U.C GMT One from Chopard. Normally when you think of Chopard, you think of fancy jewelry and luxury watches that have a very refined formal look.
But not the new GMT one. Chopard really took the GMT concept and ran with it against the typical watch aesthetics that you would expect from a house like Chopard. But that’s why it landed on the list. First, I love when big and established brands do something new and unexpected. And secondly, with the trend going more towards casual and sporty timepieces, this is proof that they are on top of ongoing trends, and in my opinion, they set the course in the right direction to ensure their relevance in the years to come.
Chopard designed the watch for the modern traveling gentleman. And to meet the fast-paced life of the new generations of watch enthusiasts, they developed a lightweight, ultra-durable case that is made from ceramised titanium. The ceramised titanium has a very cool monochrome look while mastering the interplay between black, grey, and white perfectly. The 42mm case houses the self-winding L.U.C 01.10-L caliber, that is made by Chopard in-house. Besides the GMT functionality, the COSC-certified watch also features a 60-hour power reserve and a stop-seconds function, it also has a central display for the hours, minutes, seconds, and date of the destination city.
In my opinion, Chopard hit the ball out of the park with their new GMT One. They went with the time and delivered an excellent design. If you want one for yourself, you will have to pay around $11,500 and you must be quick since this is a limited edition of just 250 pieces.
Specifications: Price: $11,500, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11.71mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic L.U.C 01.10-L caliber movement, Power Reserve: 60 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT
Continuing with the BR V2-93 GMT from Bell & Ross. The watch was launched back in mid-2018 but it is still available and is still very relevant when it comes to the GMT complication. The story of the V2-93 GMT started after the successful launch of their vintage-inspired collection, when Bell & Ross decided to step up the game and add a GMT functionality to the existing collection. And this makes perfect sense, given that the watches of the vintage collection are pilot watches.
Bell & Ross used a very is a simple but efficient recipe on their BRV2-93 GMT. They took an existing model, added a central 24-hour hand to create a GMT functionality, added a splash of color to make it stand out, and replaced the 60-minute scale on the bezel with a GMT-typical two-tone 24-hour scale to create an adjustable time zone indicator. And that’s it. It can be this simple, yet this effective. Bell & Ross made a very smart move with this watch.
But let’s take a minute and talk about the proportions and specifications. Coming in with a case diameter of 41mm the watch is rather sporty and is intended to be used as a tool, which aligns perfectly with the brand’s overall philosophy. Speaking of the case, it’s made from satin-polished stainless steel and houses the self-winding, in-house, caliber BR-CAL.303 movement. And if the thought of just knowing what movement is ticking inside the case, the case also features a see-through, sapphire caseback.
When comparing the cool specs and design with the price tag of just $3,200, you can see that you will get a lot of bang for your buck. Overall, Bell & Ross did a great job, and this watch if you are in the market for a sub-$3500 GMT watch, would be a great choice.
Specifications: Price: $3,500, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: n/a, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic calibre BR-CAL.303 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Grand Seiko SBGM221
Curtain up for our next pick. The Grand Seiko SBGM221. This watch, besides having a GMT functionality, couldn’t be more different from the prior Bell & Ross watch. This Grand Seiko has a very refined and classy design, which lets it almost slip through as a dress piece. And you wouldn’t even be wrong wearing this watch with some kind of formal attire.
The watch measures 39.5mm in diameter and 13.7mm in height, which allows the watch to have a very pleasant presence on the wrist. While we are on the topic, the case houses the beating heart of the watch, which in this case is an in-house Seiko 9S66 Automatic movement. This 9S66 movement allows the conservative proportions and enables the watch to have a power reserve of 72 hours, which is very useful when it comes to GMT watches. Besides that, the watch also features a sapphire crystal, a beautiful off-white dial with applied hour indexes, imprinted 24-hour numbers, hour, minute, and seconds hands, as well as a blue central 24-hour hand, which gives the watch the GMT functionality. The watch also has a date window at the 3 o’clock position, which blends in rather nice, but is still a little bit to prominent for my taste.
If you are looking for a watch with GMT functionality that suits your formal attire then this will be a great choice for you. For a price of $4,500, you will get top-notch quality as we know it from Grand Seiko, as well as a very pretty design.
Specifications: Price: $4,500, Case Size: 39.5mm, Thickness: 13.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: n/a, Movement: Automatic Seiko 9S66 movement, Power Reserve: 72 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Rolex GMT Master II
Now, what would this list be if it wouldn’t include the king of GMT watches. The Rolex GMT Master II. I assume you already suspected this watch to be featured in this list. And this for a good reason. The GMT Master II is one of, if not the, most successful luxury GMT watch that is out there.
I think Rolex as a brand doesn’t need to be introduced, so let’s dive straight into the facts. The Rolex GMT Master II comes, as of May 2021, in 8 different variations, ranging from the sought-after stainless-steel models, all the way to the “Rootbeer” GMT, which is made from Everose gold. So, you see, there is one for every kind of collector. But the specs are the same on all variants. The GMT Master II has an oyster steel case size of 40mm, which houses the self-winding Rolex 3285 Manufacture movement. Functionalities include a center hour, minute, and seconds hands, 24-hour display, second-time zone with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand, instantaneous date function, and stop-seconds for precise time setting.
The oyster steel, which Rolex uses for their cases and the bracelets, has proven itself as a high quality, durable and very comfortable choice. So, to sum it up, you get the Rolex quality, combined with a GMT functionality and a wide selection of color combinations. And this for a list price of $9,000. What’s not to love about that? Well, thing is, it’s nearly impossible to get one at a retail price from an Authorized Retailer. This is an issue with all of the Rolex Steel sports models, but particularly with the Daytona and the GMT Master II’s. Rolex limits the number of watches they produce on purpose so that they can have a state of scarcity, which translates to the hype around the Rolex brand. From a marketing standpoint, this is genius, and it works, but for us customers and enthusiasts this can be a very annoying thing if you have to pay double the retail price on the grey market to get one. I mean it’s a joke, let’s be honest here. If I go on Chrono24 and search for a GMT Master II, the prices for an unworn model are around $20,000. And sorry to say, but a GMT Master II in steel is never worth that much money.
So, in conclusion, this is a great watch from a great brand at a theoretically good list price of $9,000, but due to Rolex’s policy, you probably will have to pay double the list price. So, what I’m trying to say is, that if you have a chance to get this watch for anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000, go for it. But please don’t pay the ridiculous grey market prices.
Specifications: Price: Starting at $9,000, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Rolex 3285 Manufacture movement, Power Reserve: 70 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Tudor Black Bay GMT
Continuing with the little sibling of the Rolex GMT Master II. The Tudor Black Bay GMT. When Tudor first announced this watch at Baselworld 2018, watch enthusiasts around the world went crazy. Countless videos were made to compare the Black Bay GMT to the GMT Master II from Rolex and most of them concluded that the Black Bay GMT from Tudor punches way above its weight. And that’s why you couldn’t get your hands on one unless you were willing to pay above retail price. But now, approximately 3 years after the initial launch, the hype has calmed down and you will be able to get your hands on one even at retail price.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT features the self-winding, COSC-certified, manufactured Calibre MT5652 which is made by Tudor in-house. The movement is ticking inside of a 41mm stainless steel which has a polished finish, giving the watch a very high-quality look and feel. The matte black dial is kept in the typical Black Bay Style and is therefore very simple and clean. Like the bigger sibling, the Rolex GMT Master II, the BB GMT also features a two-tone, Pepsi-colored, outer bezel. The 48-click bidirectional bezel is made from aluminum and has a distinctive vintage look to it, which gives this watch a lot of flairs and even reminds me of the old Rolex GMT Masters from the late 1970s.
To finish it up, Tudor did a fantastic job on this watch. This was one of the hottest releases back in 2018 and it still is very relevant as of today. If you have around $4,000 to spend and don’t want to pay $20,000 for a Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi, then this is without any doubt the perfect watch for you.
Specifications: Price: $4,000, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Manufacture Calibre MT5652 (COSC certified) movement, Power Reserve: 70 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Best Luxury Sailing Watches
With their increased water resistance and their sophisticated looks, sailing watches are the perfect companion for a day out at sea.
What is a Sailing watch?
If you’re out at sea, it’s important to have a watch that lives up to the challenges you will face out on the sea. Sailing is a sport that is associated with luxury, but it’s also a sport that requires the right tools to support it. Therefore, the best sailing watches combine luxury and functionality and because of that, sailing and nautical watches overall are usually priced a little bit higher than your average watch.
But what would I even classify as a sailing watch? The thing is, there is no fixed term regulating what a sailing watch should be able to do. There is not certification need in order to call it that, so it’s really up to our definition and our preferences. For example, some dive watches would also fit into the sailing watch category, since, for me, the most important thing to look out for in a sailing watch, is its capability to be used offshore. What that exactly means and what you have to look out for when buying one, will be answered in the following paragraphs.
What to look for in a sailing watch?
Legibility is key when it comes to sailings watches. When you’re battling the waves, you just don’t have time to fiddle around on your watch – you need to know the time at a glance. If it comes to competitions and regattas, chronometer functionality is a must-have. You will notice a few of the watches on this list even having a dedicated Regatta counter of functionality. And last, you should expect your watch to get wet, so maybe you should pair your sailing watch with a steel or rubber bracelet, rather than leather.
So, without further ado, let’s plunge in (pun intended) and take a look at 5 of the best sailing watches you can buy today.
Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT
Curtain up for our first pick. The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT. Frederique Constant was established in its current form in 1988 by Aletta Bax and Peter Stas, a couple from the Netherlands. Now you may wonder what on earth a Dutch couple is doing in high-end Swiss watchmaking. And actually, I asked this question myself, but as I did more research on them, it seems that their mission is to produce high-quality, swiss-made watches at fair prices. And it is very refreshing to see a brand with this kind of mentality. They get a lot of hate from some part of the watch community for being to Patek-alike. But this is nonsense, they play in a whole different price level and they actually try to change the perception of swiss made watches, which is quite admirable in my opinion.
And you can see the brand’s philosophy very nicely in the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT. The Yacht Timer has a 42mm case, that is made from rose gold plated stainless steel (for those of you that don’t like gold plated watches, they also made a stainless steel version of it). The case houses an automatic, in-house modified C-350 GMT movement, which delivers around 38 hours of power reserve. By the way, Frederique Constant decided to build a see-through caseback, which lets you marvel at the beautifully decorated movement. And if you know me, you know that I love see-through casebacks. They just give you a more intimate insight into your watch (sounds quirky, I know).
The watch features a beautiful guilloche-styled dial with applied and polished rose gold plated indexes. The 24 hours GMT ring is placed just below the indexes and is kept in a simple white and navy blue color scheme. The only real pop of color is on the central GMT hand, which has a red arrow-tip.
Overall, with a water resistance of 100 meters, a cool look, and a price tag of around $2,200, this ticks almost all of the boxes. If you look on Chrono24 you can even find it for a lot cheaper. Almost because the watch gets delivered on a leather strap, which is suboptimal if you are planning on taking this offshore. But just get yourself a tropical rubber strap and this watch will make for a great buddy out at sea.
Specifications: Price: $2,200, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance:100m, Movement: Automatic, in-house modified C-350 GMT movement, Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
IWC Portugieser Yachtclub Chronograph
Next up is watch, which I laid my eyes on the minute it was announced. And I’m still not able to take them off this piece. I’m talking about the IWC Protugieser Yachtclub Chronograph, which was born from a desire to wear chino shorts, boat shoes, and a linen shirts. And since this article is all about those things, this watch had to make it onto this list.
IWC’s Yachtclub has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 44.6 millimeters, which is complemented by a navy blue dial, rhodium-plated hands, and a red chronograph seconds hand. The polished case houses an automatic IWC manufacture caliber 89361 movement, which features a chronograph flyback functionality and offers a power reserve of 68 hours. The nautical chronograph with rather big case proportions is worn on a blue rubber strap with textile inlay and a special buckle. Thanks to its design, rubber strap, and water resistance of up to 60 meters, it can be used on the water or on land. The water-resistance could be improved, but as long as you are just staying on the deck, this shouldn’t be a real issue.
Overall, IWC did a great job. Combining the usual IWC quality with a beautiful design is a winner. I love the feeling of the watch, I love the fact that IWC went a little bit off-road from their usual more formal designs and introduced a very casual-looking watch. But casual does not mean that it hasn’t got its charm. Because every time I look at the watch, I get reminded of all those beautiful memories with my family and friends, sitting in a small café on the beaches of Italy, France, or Greece. And if a watch achieves to bring up those feelings, I know that someday, I’ll have to buy it. And for the price of $12,900, this is even an achievable goal.
Specifications: Price: $12,900, Case Size: 44.6mm, Thickness: 14.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 60m, Movement: Automatic IWC manufacture caliber 89361 movement, Power Reserve: 68 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
Now on to an iconic watch that literally breathes and lives the spirit of Yachting and Sailing. Introducing the Rolex Yacht-Master 42. The combination of robust quality, simple design, and good water resistance, makes this an ideal watch for water sports and sailing in particular. Rolex first started to work on the Yachtmaster in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s before Rolex officially released their first-ever Yachtmaster. The first model to kick off the collection was given the reference number 16628 and was crafted almost entirely in 18k yellow gold. But since the ’90s Rolex has come a long way and improved the design and build quality even more.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 42 features a white gold case, which has a diameter of 42mm. Hence the 42 in the name. Inside the white gold, case beats the self-winding Rolex 3235 movement, which is made in-house by Rolex. The 3235 movement has a power reserve of up to 70 hours while providing a precision of -2/+2 seconds per day. Other than that, the watch features a bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel with a matt black Cerachrom insert in ceramic, as well as polished raised numerals and graduations, which go very well with the pitch-black dial. And to finish off the specs, the Yachtmaster has a water resistance of 100 meters (330ft) and is presented with a black Oysterflex rubber strap, making the watch perfectly suitable for taking it out on the open water.
Rolex charges around $28,000 for the Rolex Yacht-Master 42, which seems reasonable, considering that the case is made entirely from white gold and the usual price tags that come with buying a Rolex.
Specifications: Price: $28,000, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.3mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Rolex Manufacture 3235 movement, Power Reserve: 70 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire