For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a little bit of a watch nerd. I’ve loved watches since I was a kid – always been intrigued by the movements and all the little parts.
Okay, I guess I’m more than just a little bit of a nerd.
I started my own bespoke watch brand with my best friend, Matt. We build watches completely customized, mechanical wind for private clients (we are looking to grow it with a website later this year). If you’re interested in learning more about that, I’d love to chat so please let me know.
Anyway, I’ve always been obsessed with the watch world. The craftsmanship, the fine materials, just the way a good watch feels when you wear it – if you’re not a watch person, put one of these ten listed below on and I promise they’ll change your opinion.
Without getting into to much technical detail about each watch, here is a list that should get your wheels spinning and at least a little interested in what the watch world offers:
#10: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner
I couldn’t make this list without adding one of the more popular watches out there. This baby has been around since 1953 and is known for its resistance to water and corrosion. The Rolex Submariner is considered “a classic among wristwatches,” manufactured by one of the most widely recognized luxury brands in the world, and due to its popularity has become the subject of massive counterfeiting. Make sure you get yours from a reputable dealer.
#9: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
A watch worn by Mr. Cartier himself means its good enough for your wrist too.
At this price, you are getting an 18K yellow gold case, beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon, and an alligator-skin strap with 18K yellow gold buckle. There aren’t many watches you can get at this price with those materials. Plus, the classic look is perfect for dressing up or a summer BBQ in the backyard.
#8: Breitling Navitimer 01
A pretty sweet watch with chrono and date complications. This is also a nice looking watch if you’re into the busy dial. Breitling is beloved amongst pilots and aeronautical enthusiasts for its reliability and incredible power reserve of 70 hours! The rotating bezel is bi-directional which gives it an extremely smooth movement.
#7: Glashütte Original Senator Automatic
I like this watch because Glashütte is a totally underrated watch maker. Not as expensive as some of the others but handmade with precision and care that you would want in a watch. This combo I like is in stainless with a Louisiana Alligator strap. I really love the 40 hour power reserve, meaning you can throw it on Saturday night and still remember to wake up at the right time come Monday morning.
#6: Panerai PAM000
The Panerai is a mechanical watch, meaning you have to hand wind it. That said, it’s still a pretty watch and offers a power reserve of 56 hours on a full wind. This is also as standard as they come. Stainless case, black face, leather strap. The luminescent hands and numbers give it a really nice look at night (shown above). One thing I’m not a huge fan of is the device protecting the crown, which is a trademarked device only used by Panerai. It adds a little bit of bulk and is kind of awkward on your wrist. If you don’t mind that, then this is an awesome choice.
#5: Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer
Oops! Went a little over on this one, but it’s well worth it.
The strap on this watch is one of my favorites. Ulysse Nardin uses a titanium and rubber strap with a deployant clasp. Water resistant up to 100m, it’s perfectly suitable for swimming, snorkeling or a day on the boat. I love how this watch combines sportiness with good looks. Wear it out on the boat all day and keep it on for dinner later. Another detail that I like is the Roman Numerals on the dial – gives it a little something extra.
#4: Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso
The Reverso is a legendary a watch invented in the 1930s for polo players anxious to protect the crystal of their watches. This new Reverso preserves all the essential features and retains the Art Deco inspiration. This is a great piece, although it’s more of a statement than an every day watch.
#3: Zenith el Primero
It’s really hard to pick amongst the final three watches, so I start with Zenith’s el Primero, because, it’s “the first”
First, let me start off by saying that I am absolutely in love with this watch. The stainless steel case with the brown alligator strap look so sharp. The gorgeous tri-color chronograph is an eye-catching statement.
But what makes this watch for me is the movement inside. Zenith actually made the Rolex Daytona movement up until 2002, so they know what’s up. The movement in this watch is the famous hi-beat, El Primero movement. At 36,000 VpH you can time events to the nearest 1/10 of a second. However, the hi-beat movement also creates a greater accuracy over time. They look super cool and are silky smooth.
#2: Hamilton Pan Europ
For the money, you can’t get a better watch. I wear mine (nearly) every day and it gets just as many looks and questions today as it did the day I bought it.
Hamilton has such rich history that you’ll want one just for that. Hamilton has an aviation heritage dating back to 1919. That was the year in which a Hamilton aeronautical watch accompanied the very first American airmail postal service between Washington and New York. This in-flight activity continued to strengthen and grow and by the 1930s Hamilton was the official watch of the commercial airlines, TWA, Eastern, United and Northwest. A major highlight of the era was the selection of Hamilton as timekeeper for the United Air Lines inauguration of the first coast-to-coast service – a 15-hour, 20-minute trip between New York and San Francisco.
This baby is your workhorse. With an 80 hour power reserve, you’ll always have the correct time. It comes with two straps: a NATO for the casual wearing, or the leather (shown) with cutouts to expose the red underlining for the times you need to dress it up.
#1: Omega Speedmaster
Can your watch lay claim as being the first watch on the moon? Well, the Speedmaster can do just that. Worn by Buzz Aldrin as he made his lunar journey, this watch is still being made today.
In terms of value, there isn’t any other watch that comes close. Still handmade (unlike Rolex), the Speedmaster instantly offers the “it” factor. There’s something about having a piece of quality like this on your wrist that makes you walk a little taller.
The movement is so accurate – in fact, it’s one of the most accurate watches available today. This is another manual wind watch, and has a power reserve of 48 hours. I like to wind mine every morning about 10-20 turns; it becomes somewhat of a ritual and is something you don’t get with an automatic.
The chronograph feature, at this price, is amazing. You can measure up to 12 hours with it and it never feels like it’s cluttering the dial. Speaking of the dial, the Speedmaster is known for its use of Hesalite crystal rather than Sapphire, which gives a unique look. For an additional $1,000 (still under $6,300) Omega makes the sapphire sandwich that has the display caseback and sapphire crystal.
For anyone looking for a watch that is classy, yet rugged, from a watchmaker with history, and an added “used on the moon” cool factor, the Speedmaster is the one. This will be a watch that you will be proud to hand to your son one day.
As you can see, there is a lot to know about watches. These 10 are not your “run of the mill” watches you get at a department store, and there is much more that goes into caring for them than other timepieces you may own. When you spend money on a good watch, you don’t lose your investment – in fact, many times the value of these watches will remain exactly the same and could even increase!
What do you have on your wrist? Are you looking for a quality time piece? Let me help. Drop a comment in the box below or reach out to me on Twitter to continue the discussion.