Over the past century, the significance of wearing a watch has transcended timekeeping. Yes, you could always read the time off your phone, but where’s the fun in that? In the words of Ian Fleming, “A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit.” Indeed, a wristwatch tells a story, so here are a few to help tell yours.
Most Innovative Watch: Swatch Sistem51
To many horological enthusiasts, mechanical watches represent all the artistry and fine craftsmanship involved in watchmaking, though usually at astronomical prices. Thankfully, the Swatch Sistem51 has changed all that.
Though Swatch may be best known for producing low-cost, quirkly-looking watches, don’t dismiss it when it decides to be serious. Released in 2013, the Swatch Sistem51 is the world’s first mechanical movement completely assembled with an automated process – and this is no mean feat. The watch contains only 51 parts (whereas most mechanical watches have over a hundred) all held by a central screw, thus allowing less wear-and-tear. Also, it is 100% Swiss made.
Its sturdy movement – made from an anti-magnetic alloy – is housed within a 41mm airtight case, which will sit comfortably on most wrists. The Sistem51 is currently available in a variety of colours (Black, Red, White, Blue) and straps (Leather, Silicone) all designed with a transparent case-back that will leave you marvelling at its truly remarkable architecture. With Swatch releasing more versions this month, this is a watch you really don’t want to miss out on.
£108 from Swatch
Best Dress Watch: Corniche Heritage 40
When it comes to purchasing a dress watch for black tie events, I have a general rule of thumb: the diameter of the watch case cannot exceed 40mm. Oversized watches create excessive bulk under the cuff, causing a detraction from the overall sharp look. Ironically, most dress watches from established fashion brands have violated that rule. No more.
Inspired by the Cote D’Azur summers, the Heritage 40 has solved this dire predicament. Designed by Swedish manufacturer, Corniche, the watch draws influence from Swiss watchmaking powerhouses Patek Philipe and Vacheron Constantin. Presented in either rose gold or stainless steel, its polished and brushed 40mm case is unassumingly elegant. Powered by a reliable Miyota Quartz movement, the time is handsomely displayed on an uncluttered dial. The perfect contrast of blue dauphine hands and a white dial exudes class, making the Corniche Heritage 40 the best dress watch at its price point – which will undoubtedly receive praise wherever it goes.
£220 from cornichewatches.com
Coolest Watch: Hamilton Field Khaki Auto
For the practical and unostentatious man, the field watch is the epitome of understated coolness. With its robust demeanour and no-nonsense look, it never demands the spotlight. After all, they are meant for the field.
First produced in the 1940s for American soldiers, Hamilton military watches were designed for extended use in battlefields, a tool soldiers could rely on in the most extreme circumstances. Inspired by this, the Hamilton Field Khaki Auto is the modern take of the iconic watch, with several additional features.
The 42mm watch boasts a clean black dial that successfully displays the time, date and a GMT scale (allowing two time zones) without causing too much clutter. Sticking with the essence of a field watch, the minute hands are luminous to enable easy reading in the dark which driven by a self-winding automatic movement. The watch is presented with a brown leather strap, and its fine grained finishing make it feel or look cheap at all. The beauty of the Hamilton Field Khaki Auto is its versatility; its perfect for both work and casual occasions. It may be the only watch one will ever need.
£360 from all Authorised Dealers
The Career Watch: Tudor Heritage Black Bay Red
Often regarded as the little sister to the most renowned name in luxury (Rolex), Tudor has unfortunately been neglected by many. Inspired by his years spent honing his watchmaking skills in London prior to Rolex, founder Hans Wilsdorf started Tudor in 1946, honouring the Tudor period in England. These watches would then promise to deliver the same reliability and dependability of a Rolex, but at a lower price. Unsurprisingly, they were a hit in the UK.
In 2012, Tudor released a new product that sent watch aficionados salivating. Paying tribute to the Tudor Submariner, the Heritage Black Bay Red is the ultimate ‘new vintage’ watch. Featuring a large winding crown, gold markers, a striking red bezel and the iconic ‘Snowflake’ hands, it is hard to pry your eyes away from this stunning watch. To complete the overall vintage look, the watch is handsomely paired with an aged leather strap. Awarded the revival prize at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), the Tudor Heritage Black Bay has now become a collector’s watch, which will no doubt be highly sought after in years to come.
£2,120 from all authorised dealers