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8 Things You NEED to Know About Watches - A Crash Course to Watches
What are the best men's watches you can buy today? As with listing the "best" cars, wines, cookware, or mobile devices, answers will of course vary widely based on personal tastes, practical needs, and budgets. Whether your inclination runs to elegant and dressy timepieces that will impress your coworkers in the boardroom, or if you prefer a tougher, stylish-yet-practical watch that you can wear to the beach or the racetrack, or even if you're someone looking to fly your tech-nerd flag in your wrist, our massive compilation of the 101 best men's watches — incorporating brands and models nominated by various TB team members and covering numerous styles, price points, and categories — has you covered in just about every popular category. To keep it helpful, we arrange every category in ascending order of price.
Our current compilation of the 101 Best Watches includes longstanding classics as well as watches released within the last year. Check back in for regular updates and/or additions to the list.
Price: $525, Case Size: 46mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 52mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Quartz Bulova 262kHz, Crystal: Sapphire
The Bulova Lunar Pilot is an homage to the Bulova chronograph worn by U.S. astronaut Dave Scott on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission. Visually, the new Lunar Pilot is a faithful recreation, retaining the curvy case shape and distinctive elongated pushers of the original. The dial is mostly similar too ― except for the addition of a date window at 4:30 and the label “262 kHz” at 6 o’clock within the running seconds subdial. Some enthusiasts will turn up their nose at this piece because it has a quartz movement, but Bulova’s high-performance quartz movement buzzes away at 262Hz, which is 8 times the frequency of typical quartz movements, and has an accuracy of +/-5 seconds per month. In 2023, Bulova released new models in the Lunar Pilot collection with smaller case dimensions that more closely evoke the original 1970s watch; you can read about the entire collection here.
Price: $675, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 13.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Seiko Solar Caliber V192
The original Seiko Speedtimer, released in 1969, was among the world’s first self-winding chronograph watches, equipped with the legendary Caliber 6139. When Seiko revived the Speedtimer, as part of its sport-oriented Prospex collection, it decided to eschew the automatic mechanical movement in favor a new, high-tech, solar-powered one, Caliber V192, which enhances reliability and runs up to six months on a single charge from any light source. The motorsport-inspired tachymeter scale is etched into the stationary bezel, and the dial’s intuitive design uses red detailing for the central seconds hand and the elapsed minutes hand on the 6 o’clock subdial at 6 o’clock for easy reading of the chronograph displays. The date window is nestled unobtrusively between the indexes at 4 and 5 o’clock, helping to enhance the overall legibility of the sunray-finished dial.
Price: $1,950, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.9mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux A05.231
Hitting the market in Fall 2022, the Telemeter 1938 channels the retro charm of its namesake year with its two-register chronograph dial with subdials framed by railroad track scales and a concentrically oriented, spiraling scales: a telemeter scale that can be used in conjunction with the built-in stopwatch to measure the wearer’s distance from a visible, audible event like a lightning strike, and a tachymeter scale to measure speeds over a set distance. Also evoking the 1938 original, which Tissot built to time ski races, are the sword-shaped hands and period-appropriate Arabic numerals. The new automatic movement inside, the ETA Valjoux A05.231, stores 68 hours of power and includes an antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring to increase precision. Read our review of the watch here.
Price: $2,195, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic ETA 7753, Crystal: Sapphire
Hamilton’s retro-styled Intra-Matic Auto Chrono pairs a midcentury design inspiration with modern case dimensions and a Valjoux 7753 base caliber. With its panda-dial format, prominent pump pushers, and capable water resistance, it is tough to beat the Intra-Matic Auto Chrono in this range as a versatile daily-wear chronograph.
Price: $4,295 (Blue) and $4,595 (Chocolate), Case Size: 42mm, Case Height: 15.5mm, Strap Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: FC-760
The Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, released in 2017, evokes classic chronographs of the 1930s and also represents phenomenal value with its in-house movement equipped with flyback functionality. Recent iterations of these original designs are 42mm and feature the the FC-760 Manufacture caliber movement behind new two-tone dials, with subdials in blue or chocolate brown.
Price: $5,250, Case Size: 42mm, Case Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Manually wound caliber 1861
The Speedmaster, originally introduced in 1957 as a racing watch, became legendary in 1969 when it accompanied the crew of Apollo 11 onto the surface of the Moon. The modern “Moonwatch” is still nearly identical to the original one, with a modern version of its hand-wound movement (Caliber 1861), the same tricompax dial with tachymeter scale, and luminescent material in the hands and hour markers.
Price: $6,350, Case Size: 39mm, Case Height: 15.21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Strap Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Heuer 02
The TAG Heuer Monaco made its debut in 1969 but really ascended to pop cultural icon status two years later, when legendary actor and “King of Cool” Steve McQueen wore the racing-inspired wrist chronograph in the 1971 movie Le Mans. This reference is the first Monaco outfitted with an in-house Heuer 02 movement, with vintage vibes faithful to the blue, square-faced original that McQueen made famous. It is packed with 80 hours power reserve and the two square subdials that make it recognizable from across a room.
Price: $8,900, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 47.5mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Manually wound Breitling Caliber B09
Breitling’s Premier collection, a revival of an elegant gents’ model from 1943, debuted in 2018 with automatic movements, and new models with more historically appropriate manually wound calibers followed them up in 2021. One of the most noteworthy is the Premier B09 Chronograph 40, with a 40-mm steel case and an unusual “pistachio green” dial. Inside the case is Breitling’s Caliber B09, a manual-winding version of the self-winding B01 with a column wheel, vertical clutch, and 70 hours of power reserve. Among the Premier collection’s design hallmarks are the grooved lines in the sides of the cases, which Breitling says were “inspired by speed;” and beveled, speedometer-style hour and minute hands treated with lume.
Price: $9,000, Case Size: 38mm, Case Height: 12.9mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic El Primero Caliber 3600
Zenith made its most lasting impact on watchmaking history with the launch of the El Primero chronograph caliber in 1969, and one of the very first watches to contain that groundbreaking high-frequency automatic movement was recently resurrected for a modern audience as the Chronomaster Original. The watch’s modest 38mm steel case mimics the dimensions of the increasingly collectible vintage model, Ref. A386. Showcased behind a sapphire caseback, the El Primero’s built-in stopwatch can measure times to 1/10 second of accuracy.
Price: $9,650, Case Size: 40.8mm, Case Width: 14.15mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Porsche Design Caliber WERK 01.140
Probably best known as the watch that Tom Cruise wore in “Top Gun,” the Porsche Design Chronograph I was one of the first steel wristwatches with a black PVD coating, helping usher in the still-popular “all black” look. Its dashboard-inspired design includes a tachymeter-scale bezel and high-contrast hands and subdials. The newest version, released in commemoration of the model’s 50th anniversary, houses an in-house automatic caliber.
Price: $14,100, Case Size: 40mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Rolex Caliber 4130
The first Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona — a wristwatch in a steel case with a manual-wind chronograph movement, named after the famous racetrack — was released in 1963 and has been produced in various versions ever since, forever linked to the high-performance world of motorsport. More than 50 years after its creation, the Daytona maintains its status as one of the most coveted timepieces in the world, even as it evolves in technology (with Rolex in-house movements) and modern materials (like Rolex’s proprietary Cerachrom for the tachymeter bezels). Read more about the Daytona here.
Price: $106,100, Case Size: 41mm, Case Width: 31.1mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: L951.6
The Datograph Up/Down, launched in 2012, combines a flyback chronograph with a large “Outsize” date indication, a hallmark of the Glashütte-based brand. The dial is crafted from solid silver, with solid-gold appliques and hour markers and rhodiumed gold hands. The “Up/Down” in the watch’s name refers to the power-reserve indicator with “AUF” (“up”) representing the maximum power reserve of 60 hours, and “AB” (“down”) warning the wearer with its red-gold arrow that the mainspring’s energy has been depleted.
Price: $179, Reference: TW2U61000, Case Size: 38 mm, Case Height: 11.5 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Crystal: Acrylic, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Quartz Analog
The colorful and sporty Q Diver faithfully reproduces one of Timex’s popular models from the 1970s, which also happens to be one of its first models with a quartz caliber. Among the elements that echo the original ‘70s models are the bicolor GMT bezel, diver-style geometrical indexes on the dial, the integrated SST bracelet and even the battery case cover in the back, which enables the wearer to change his own battery with the simple turn of a coin edge.
Price: $420, Case Size: 47.8mm, Thickness: 13.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Solar Caliber H851
The bulky, analog-digital Seiko watch that Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger strapped on his wrist in testosterone-driven blockbusters Commando and Predator — Reference H558-5000, nicknamed the “Arnie” — has recently been resurrected within Seiko’s sporty, performance-focused Prospex collection, retaining the bulky "tuna can" case of the original (emblematic of many Seiko divers since the 1960s) while replacing its standard quartz movement with a modern, solar-powered version. The Prospex’s steel case is even larger than the original's, which measured just under 46mm (Arnold would likely approve), and boasts an ISO-certified 200 meters of water resistance. Its array of functions, displayed on the digital screen at 12 o’clock, include a 1/100-second chronograph, daily alarms, a full calendar, and an LED illuminating light function that adds even more clarity to the dial’s already impressive array of luminous-coated elements.
Price: $1,025, Case Size: 46mm, Thickness: 15.8mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 600m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Powermatic 80.111
Tissot's most ruggedly attractive dive watch to date entices deep-sea enthusiasts with its integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock, unidirectional dive-scale bezel with engraved ceramic insert, and its most eye-catching element, a turquoise-blue gradient dial with a maritime-inspired, engraved wave motif. The 46-mm steel case is water-resistant to a very "professional" 600 meters. Tissot has installed one of its most high-end movements inside the Seastar Professional 2000 — the Swatch Group-exclusive Powermatic 80, which is based on the standard ETA 2824 but as per its name boasts an increased power reserve of 80 hours.
Price: $1,025, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13.05mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.12mm, Water Resistance: 150m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200
Modern super compressor-style dive watches, identified by their dual crown and internal rotating bezel designs, are relatively uncommon, but one of the standouts in this style is the Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor, a vintage-inspired watch measuring 41mm and topped off with a heavily domed sapphire crystal. The watch is also a solid value, just over $1,000 and containing an automatic Sellita SW200 movement.
Price: $1,050, Case Size: 46 mm; Case Height: 15.3 mm; Lug-to-Lug: 51 mm, Movement: Automatic Citizen Caliber 9051
The wildly popular Citizen Promaster collection added a mechanical diver, with a 46mm titanium case with a sandblasted finish, in 2021. The new automatic movement debuting in this model is the in-house Caliber 9051, originally used in the Japanese brand’s Series 8 collection, which has been built to resist high levels of magnetism. The watch can descend to 200 meters underwater, and the dial’s many luminous elements should keep it well lit in the dark depths.
Price: $1,795, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Soprod C125
The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf World Time takes the basic silhouette from other modern Super Sea Wolf models, adds a GMT hand, and adapts the bezel and dial for “world time” functionality. While utilizing a GMT caliber from Soprod as opposed to a “true” world time movement (which is typically not available for under $5,000 or so), the Zodiac World Time provides a pleasing vintage vibe with improved functionality for the frequent traveler.
Price: $2,000, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.2mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: ETA C07.611
Better known in the modern era for its avant-garde designs and pioneering role in high-tech ceramics, Rado resurrected a short-lived 1960s divers’ watch, the Captain Cook, in 2017 to great modern success. The models that followed that release have remained true to Rado’s history of using exotic materials, like the unique bronze-and-aluminum alloy case on this model, which doesn’t develop patina as readily as most other bronze watch cases. Inside, it’s powered by the ETA C07 movement that has an impressive power reserve of 80 hours.
Price: $2,490, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic ETA 2824
The Doxa Sub family of watches, which debuted in 1967, grew to iconic status thanks to their use by recreational and military divers as well as the watch’s inclusion in Clive Cussler’s popular series of novels chronicling the adventures of Dirk Pitt. Known for its cushion case, no-decompression-limits bezel, beads-of-rice bracelets and rubber straps, and a wide variety of dial colors, the modern Sub 300 takes the original design and adds a COSC certified ETA 2824 caliber. For more on the Doxa Sub and its history, click here.
Price: $3,575 - $5,400, Case Size: 41mm, Case Thickness: 14.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Tudor Caliber MT5602
Having since expanded into an entire family of timepieces at various materials and sizes, the core Tudor Black Bay model is sized at 41mm, with cases predominantly in steel, and dive-scale bezel inserts made of anodized aluminum. Nowadays, these Black Bay 41mm models contain the in-house Tudor Caliber MT5602, which replaces the ETA calibers used in the very first ones. Most of the dials are matte black, with some notable exceptions, including the champagne-colored dials of the S&G (Steel and Gold) bi-material models. Explore the entire Tudor Black Bay collection here.
Price: $3,749, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 15.5mm, Water Resistance: 1,000m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic ETA 2892
As per its name, the Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST II is Ball’s “deepest” diving watch. Thanks to its solidly-built monocoque titanium case, the DeepQUEST II has a rated water resistance of 1,000 meters, which is frankly more than anyone will ever need.Like all Ball watches, the DeepQUEST II uses tritium tubes for the hands and hour markers, presenting a powerful glow without the need for a charge, and making the DeepQUEST II easy to read even in pitch black conditions. Inside the case beats the Ball RR1101-C, a caliber based on the ETA 2892 and chronometer-certified by the COSC.
Price: $4,200, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.1mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Oris Caliber 401
The Oris Divers Sixty-Five has enjoyed immense success ever since its release in 2015. Since then, Oris has delighted fans with numerous versions featuring different color dials and case materials, including the series of special editions designed to commemorate Master Chief Carl Brashear, a Navy diving legend and the first black US Navy Master Diver. The Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition (2,000 pieces) features a bronze case and a midnight blue dial with a subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock. The watch is powered by Oris’ in-house Caliber 401, which beats at 4Hz and has an amazing power reserve of 120 hours.
Price: $6,800, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 14.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Omega 8400
The Omega Seamaster 300 harkens back to the 1960s, an era when diver’s watches were essential tools used to track a diver’s bottom time. This design, and especially this dial, are icons in the watch world, and the modern Seamaster 300 pairs that vintage aesthetic with Omega’s most contemporary materials and technologies, most prominent among them the Caliber 8400 co-axial movement. The heritage design also features vintage-tinted lume and a 41mm case diameter.
Price: $9,150, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto Rolex 3235, Crystal: Sapphire
One of the unquestioned icons of the dive watch category, the Submariner made its debut in 1953 and has continued to evolve as Rolex has introduced new (often patented) innovations to it over the years: the in-house Caliber 3235 with a 70-hour power reserve is a legitimate upgrade over the previous Submariner movement, for example. The case measures 41mm and boasts a serious water resistance of 300 meters. Lots more detail about the Submariner can be found here.
Price: $9,450, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.1mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 899, Crystal: Sapphire
Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the original Memovox Polaris in 1968 as the first diver’s watch outfitted with a mechanical alarm function. Its successor, introduced in 2018 and called simply the Polaris, leaves out the alarm but retains other notable elements from the original, including the case’s dual crowns, one of which is used to operate a rotating inner bezel. The dial of the most recent model consists of three concentric circles with contrasting finishes: sunray in the center, graining on the outer circle with its vintage-inspired Arabic numerals, and opaline for the rotating inner rotating bezel flange — and dazzles the eye with its lacquered, deep green double-gradient finish. Ticking inside the 42mm stainless steel case is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s self-winding manufacture Caliber 899, which bestows the watch a respectable 70-hour power reserve.
Price: $9,800, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 14.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug-to-Lug: 51mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto Panerai P.900, Crystal: Sapphire
Panerai’s Luminor collection has heritage stemming all the way back to World War II, when Rolex-manufactured Panerai watches were indispensable tools used by Italian Navy divers. The first modern Panerai watches were powered by (extremely) inexpensive pocket watch calibers, but the newest models come with fully in-house manufacture calibers, like the P.900 with a three day power reserve. The Submersible model, originally part of the Luminor collection but now standing independently as the only Panerai with a rotating divers’ bezel, takes its most direct inspiration from a prototype that Panerai produced for the Egyptian navy in the 1950s.
Price: $15,700, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 15.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto Blancpain 1315, Crystal: Sapphire
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, released in 1953, is considered the first “modern” divers’ watch, as it was the first to include several now-common innovations like the unidirectional rotating bezel. The modern descendant of that historical model retains much of its classical, straightforward dial and bezel design but upgrades the watch with a sapphire bezel and the automatic, in-house Caliber 1315 caliber. It can also resist water pressures significantly higher than 50 fathoms — 300 meters, to be precise.
Price: $1,150, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 10.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.6mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto SW200, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
The Stowa Flieger Klassik (German for “classic”) is, as its name clearly suggests, the classic pilots’ watch reimagined for the modern era. It has all the ingredients that we have come to associate with fliegers, including a highly legible dial with the triangle with two dots at 12, large Arabic hour markers, blued hands, and a large onion crown. Unlike its hulking ancestors, though, Stowa’s watch comes in a refined case size, just 40mm wide and around 10mm thick, making for a fantastic mix of sporty and classy.
Price: $1,295, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Alpina Caliber AL-525
The vintage-inspired Alpina Startimer Pilot, launched in 2011, was relaunched in 2017 with a new dial design and additional case options. The watch's 44-mm case is equipped with an oversized crown typical of today’s pilot watch designs and a solid caseback featuring an engraved Alpina logo. The matte-finished white dial has an outer minute track with Alpina’s hallmark red triangle at the 12 o’clock position, along with applied Arabic numerals broken up with rectangular markers at each of the quarter hours. Ticking inside is the self-winding, Sellita-based caliber AL-525, with a 38-hour power reserve and special finishing by Alpina.
Price: $1,650, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic ETA Valjoux 2836, Crystal: Sapphire
Glashütte, Germany-based Tutima has found success in adapting the vintage aesthetics of the military pilots’ watches it produced in the 1940s into contemporary watches that are both sporty and stylish. The recently launched Tutima Flieger models with gradient slate-gray dials and tone-on-tone Horween leather straps offer an understated monochromatic look and are outfitted with a self-winding mechanical movement based on the Swiss-made ETA Valjoux 2836 and upgraded with a Tutima-made rotor.
Price: $2,625, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 14.45mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto ETA-based L688, Power Reserve: 54 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Taking its cues from a 1930s pilots’ chronograph, the Avigation BigEye recently debuted in a brushed titanium case and a smoked blue dial. The watch is distinguished by its large, luminous Arabic numerals and the extra-large 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock (the “Big Eye” referred to in the model’s name, with “Avigation” a portmanteau of “aviation” and “navigation”). The movement is Longines’ proprietary automatic Caliber L688, with a 54-hour power reserve and an integrated column-wheel chronograph — a rarity at this price.
Price: $4,600, Case Size: 46mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic ETA Caliber 2892-2, Crystal: Sapphire
Bell & Ross deftly translated the design language of a cockpit dashboard clock into a wristwatch with its original BR 01 Instrument watch in 2005, a watch that has since come to define the brand’s identity. The 46mm squared steel case with matte black finish frames a high-contrast, round black dial with luminous numerals, houses an automatic ETA movement, and fastens to the wrist with a heavy-duty synthetic fabric strap.
Price: $5680, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 15.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 53mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto ETA-Based Sinn SZ01, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
For the pilot who happens to be a watch enthusiast, Sinn’s EZM 10 TESTAF is about as good as it gets. The SZ01 chronograph movement ticks behind a highly legible dial, with a 24-hour scale and 60-minute chronograph counter, inside a titanium case, which is filled with argon gas to fend off humidity inside the watch. The EZM 10 is also independently certified to meet the TESTAF (Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren) standard, a German guideline for what constitutes a professional pilot’s watch.
Price: $11,500, Case Size: 42.5mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic El Primero 3652 Crystal: Sapphire
Zenith revamped its oldest product family, the Pilot (formerly the Pilot Type 20) in 2023. In keeping with current trends, Zenith has streamlined and downsized the watches in the collection, many of which were fairly enormous in diameter to echo the dimensions of their early 20th-century forebears. The new Zenith Pilots are more aviation-styled dress watches than historically inspired tool watches for the cockpit, with 40mm Automatics as well as this 42.5mm Big Date Flyback Chronograph, which contains the El Primero-based Caliber 3652. In addition to its high-frequency performance (36,600-vph, resulting in chronograph readings precise to 1/10-second) and the flyback functionality, the movement’s large date indicator, displayed prominently on the dial in twin windows, has a patented mechanism that advances and stabilizes both the date wheels in a fraction of second, allowing quick and easy advancing of the date numerals, much like the updating of flight times on an old-fashioned mechanical arrivals/departures board.
Price: $8,930, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 14.6mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Breitling B01, Crystal: Sapphire
Few brands can rival Breitling’s history in making watches for pilots, and even fewer watches can rival the Navitimer as icons of the pilot’s watch genre; the Navitimer, introduced in 1952, was so synonymous with aviation that the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) adopted its as its official watch. In terms of design, over the Navitimer’s decades-long existence, not much has changed. The latest version of the Navitimer comes in various colors, but it still has the familiar three-register layout and the distinctive slide-rule bezel designed for critical airborne calculations. The biggest change is on the inside, as modern Navitimers are powered by Breitling’s in-house caliber B01 chronograph movement.
Price: $12,900, Case Size: 46.2mm, Thickness: 15.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 60m, Movement: Auto IWC 52110, Crystal: Sapphire
IWC was one of the five original companies contracted to produce watches for Germany’s Luftwaffe during World War II, a piece of history that gives the brand a great deal of aviation watch heritage, which is now at the center of its modern collection. The flagship Big Pilot’s watch is essentially a modernized take on the original flieger-style watches from the 1940s, with a big, high-contrast dial, and onion-shaped crown, and heavy leather strap. The more understated Big Pilot 43, pictured here, made its debut in 2021 as a more wearable version of the WWII-era original (at 43mm rather than 46mm) and re-creates its stark look quite faitfhully.
Price: $14,900, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 15.2mm, Lug to Lug: 48mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Breguet Caliber 584Q/A, Crystal: Sapphire
The Breguet Type XX collection pays tribute to the watchmaking Breguet family’s historical link to the advancement of flight, as forged by the founder’s great-grandson, Louis-Charles Breguet. The most recent iteration of the Type XX goes back to the 1950s roots, with a 42mm steel case, fluted bezel, luminous Arabic numerals and hands, and an in-house automatic movement with a flyback chronograph function.
Price: $4,400, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.1mm, Lug Width: 11mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW 200
Baume & Mercier relaunched its 1973 classic, the Riviera, in 2021, joining the now-crowded bandwagon of watchmakers offering a luxury sport watch on an integrated bracelet. The modern versions stand apart from the more classical elegance evident in Baume’s other collections, with 12-sided bezels with four visible (and functional) screws at the corners; the dials, meanwhile, evoke a sense of historical luxury with their applied Roman numeral hour indexes, partially openworked Dauphine hands and eye-catching textured motifs, like the nautical-influenced wave pattern that enhances the blue dial on the model featured here. Inside the satin-brushed case of the Riviera, Baume & Mercier installs either a dependable Sellita SW 200 or, in the models with smoked, semi-transparent dials, its in-house Baumatic BM13-1975A, with a five-day power reserve.
Price: $13,400, Case Size: 42mm, Case Thickness: 10.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic GP01800
Introduced in 1975, and redesigned frequently over the years since, the Laureato returned to its elegantly simple sport-luxury roots in 2016. The octagonal bezel and clous de Paris checkerboard pattern on the dial are mainstays of the original design, as are the baton hands and seamlessly integrated H-link bracelet with alternating brushed and polished surfaces. Inside is Girard-Perregaux’s manufacture Caliber GP01800 with a 54-hour power reserve.
Price: $19,000, Case Size: 41mm, Case Thickness: 9.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Chopard 01.01-C
Chopard’s Alpine Eagle combines the design DNA of its first sports watch, the 1970s St. Moritz, with a modern, organically textured dial motif that evokes the iris of an eagle’s eye. Other avian touches include a seconds-hand counterweight in the shape of a feather, and a multi-textured finish on the case inspired by the sun falling on snow-capped glaciers. The original Alpine Eagle was in Chopard’s proprietary Lucent steel, an alloy designed to be extra hard as well as extra brilliant. Subsequent models have used titanium or Chopard’s ethically sourced gold for their cases. The movements are made in-house by Chopard.
Price: $22,000, Case Size: 42mm, Case Thickness: 11.1mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic HUB1280 Unico
Hublot celebrated 15 years of its trend-setting Big Bang with a new model in titanium that was the first Big Bang outfitted with an integrated bracelet. The watch features an updated case design whose first link is fused with the new bracelet and whose chronograph pushers recall those of the very first Big Bang released in 2005. The vintage pusher design also inspires the shaped edges of the bracelet links. The 42-mm case is topped by the famed “porthole” bezel with visible screws and houses the in-house Unico caliber, which includes a column-wheel chronograph function and is highly skeletonized.
Price: $22,500, Case Size: 41mm, Case Thickness: 11mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 150 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber 5100
Tracing its aesthetic roots to a Vacheron sport-luxury watch from the 1970s, the Overseas has become a versatile and popular cornerstone of the maison’s current lineup. The most recent revamp in 2016 brought the core Self-Winding model’s overall dimensions to a slightly more restrained level — 41 mm, down from 42 mm, and a relatively slender 11mm thick. The watch’s six-sided bezel takes its cues from Vacheron’s Maltese cross emblem, and the rotor of the in-house caliber points to the collection’s nautical theme with its compass rose motif.
Price: $30,000 (base), Case Size: 40mm, Case Thickness: 8.3mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 120 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber 26-330-SC
Released several years after the Royal Oak — and designed by the same visionary, Gérald Genta — Patek Philippe’s Nautilus has gone on to become one of the most coveted timepieces in the world, even more so since Patek’s recent decision to discontinue its core reference 5711. Its smooth octagonal bezel, with softly rounded facets and sloping “ears” on the sides; its sunburst dial with horizontal grooves and distinctive baton hands; and its exquisitely finished integrated bracelet make the Nautilus visible from across a room.
Price: $33,200, Case Size: 39mm, Case Thickness: 8.1mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber 2121
In its half-century on the market, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has become one of the unquestioned icons of the luxury watch world, unmistakable in its aesthetics and far-reaching in its appeal and influence. The octagonal case with visible screws, tapisserie-patterned dial, and most predominantly its integrated design, with the steel case flowing organically into an instantly recognizable link bracelet, remain at the heart of what is now a far-reaching collection. For the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary in 2022, Audemars Piguet unveiled several new references with new movements, including one that replicates the exact blue shade of the dial on the 1972 original.
Price: $56,500, Case Size: 40.5mm, Case Thickness: 11.1mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 120 meters, Movement: Automatic L156.1 Datomatic
Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne followed up the original Odysseus, its first-ever steel watch, in 2020 with a new version in a case made of titanium and sporting a new “ice blue” dial. The finishing on the case and its integrated titanium bracelet is impeccable, and the dial sports a distinctive finishing, with finely guillochéd grooves on the hour ring contrasting with the granular surface of the main dial and circular lines on the small seconds subdial. The in-house, automatic L155 Caliber is visible behind a sapphire caseback, storing 50 hours of power reserve.
Price: $14,400, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 9.4mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Piaget 110P
Piaget introduced the Polo in 1979 and the model’s distinctive look, with a precious metal case integrated firmly into a link bracelet, made it an icon of the greed-is-good 1980s. In 2016, Piaget launched new iterations of the Polo in steel cases and bracelets, notable for the “shape within a shape” configuration of a round case and bezel with a cushion-shaped dial opening. The dials are more streamlined than their ‘80s predecessors, with faceted sword hands, applied indexes, and a small 6 o’clock date window, all underpinned by a subtle, line textured motif. Piaget developed one of its many in-house calibers for the contemporary Polo, in this case the automatic Piaget 110P, which is visible behind a sapphire caseback.
Price: $155, Case Size: 42 mm, Case Height: 13.9 mm, Lug To Lug: 50.6 mm, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Automatic
Swatch, often dismissed as the maker of plastic-cased, quartz-driven, mass-marketed timepieces for limited budgets and trend-driven youth, made the watch world sit up and take notice when it unveiled the Sistem51 in 2013. Priced at an astounding $150, the watch contained an innovatively designed 51-part mechanical movement with five assembly-line produced modules held together by a single central screw. Swatch has since expanded the collection from its original handful of models, including this one with a bold blue 3D-textured dial and a matching blue silicone strap. Flip the watch over to get a glimpse of the groundbreaking self-winding caliber through a caseback window.
Price: $7,350, Reference: W5330003, Case Size: 44mm x 34mm, Case Height: 9.5mm, Lug Width: 25mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Cartier Automatic Caliber 1904-PS MC
Louis Cartier created the Tank watch in 1917, deriving its rectangular, curvilinear case shape as well as its name from a French military vehicle used during World War I. The Tank has been a coveted style object ever since, The 44mm model in steel contains a Cartier in-house automatic movement, Caliber 1904-PS MC; its silvered dial hosts Roman numeral hour markers and blued sword hands, along with a date window at 3 o’clock and small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
Price: $8,750, Case Size: 45.6mm x 27.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre Manually Wound Caliber 822
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s signature dress watch, the Reverso, was originally designed as a sports watch, its reversible swiveling case making it a practical timekeeper for polo players during a match. In production since 1931, the Reverso is now available in numerous variations but the core three-handed Reverso Tribute model most faithfully echoes the classical Art Deco look of its ancestor. The rectangular case has the model’s clean lines and gadroons, the sunray dial features Dauphine hands, trapezoidal applied hour indexes, and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s manually wound manufacture Caliber 822, shaped to fit the case’s soft rectangular dimensions, beats inside.
Price: $14,700 on the bracelet, $13,800 on the strap, Case Size: 40 mm, Thickness: 5.15 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45 mm, Lug Width: 30 mm, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Automatic BVL 128 Finissimo, Crystal: Sapphire
Bulgari has spent the past several years shattering watch-industry thinness records with its stylishly avant-garde Octo Finissimo collection. The stepped, octagonal case design is unlike anything else on the market and the ultra-thin profile is equally as impressive. Inside the Octo Finissimo is an accordingly razor thin caliber, the self-winding BVL 128 Finissimo which is finished to the highest level of haute horlogerie. Matte finishes dominate the case, bracelet and dial for a distinct, uniform design.
Price: $21,000, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Ulysse Nardin UN-230, Crystal: Sapphire
Ulysse Nardin launched its Freak X model, a slightly more traditional evolution of the avant-garde, original 2001 Freak in 2019. Like that groundbreaking timepiece, the Freak X uses a design concept in which the actual movement components display the time: a rotating movement bridge tracks the minutes while a wheel with a pointer indicates the hours. This sophisticated and wildly unconventional movement is housed in a sporty titanium case with 50 actual meters of water resistance, 72 hours of power reserve, and unlike the original Freak, a traditional side-mounted winding crown.
Price: $39,900, Case Size: 38.5mm, Case Height: 9.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Manual wound Caliber L121.1
The now-iconic Lange 1 has been the modern flagship of the reconstituted A. Lange & Söhne brand since its introduction in 1994. The original model has changed little in over a quarter-century, with an off-center subdial at 9 o’clock for hours and minutes, a small seconds subdial at 4:30, a bold Grande Date display at 2 o’clock, and an analog power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. Inside the understated 38.5-mm gold case,ticks the manually wound manufacture Caliber L121.1, with a 72-hour running autonomy and a host of traditional Saxon decorations.
Price: $48,800, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 12mm, Water Resistance: 10m, Movement: Auto ETA 2892 Base w/ ROCS 2 Module, Crystal: Sapphire
Now and then, a watch comes along that challenges the very concept of how wristwatches work. Ressence’s Type 2 e-Crown is such a piece, with a unique electro-mechanical, solar-powered mechanism that automatically adjusts the time through an app based on a reference time set mechanically with a lever on the caseback. In order to compel the watch to readjust the time when it has entered a standby mode after 12 hours of inactivity, you simply tap on the crystal — a totally new way of interacting with a mechanical watch. In addition, the Type 2 e-Crown features a second time zone.
Price: $167,000, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 17.15mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 80m, Movement: Manual MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Calendar
If you have $150-200 grand to spend and are looking for a timepiece very off the beaten path, MB&F and its “Legacy Machines” might be right up your alley. The Legacy Machine Perpetual Evo is, in fact, one of the brand’s more conventional watch designs, with a 44mm zirconium case housing a skeletonized movement designed especially for this piece. Boasting a perpetual calendar complication, unique shock absorption system, and 80 meters of water resistance thanks to a screw down crown, the Legacy Machine Perpetual Evo is confidently like nothing else on the market. Click here to watch Teddy's one-on-one interview with MB&F founder Maximillian Büsser.
Price: $980,000, Case Size: 44.5mm, Thickness: 16.1mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Manual Richard Mille Caliber RM50-03, Crystal: Sapphire
Richard Mille is a brand commonly associated with advanced material technology and, of course, the signature tonneau case shape, and is often seen on the wrists of famous athletes like Rafael Nadal and members of the financial elite. Dubbed the lightest split-seconds chronograph tourbillon on the market, the RM 50-03, designed in collaboration with the McLaren F1 Team, weighs in at a mere 38 grams including the strap, thanks to the use of titanium, carbon, and a new material Richard Mille calls Graph TPT. It’s a watch with a heaping helping of motorsport-inspired design language as well as some of the most avant-garde watchmaking technology in use today.
Price: $1,495, Case Size: 39.5mm, Thickness: 9.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Raymond Weil Cal. RW4280, Crystal: Sapphire
Raymond Weil’s collections take their names from the eponymous founder’s love of music and musicians, and the Maestro Moon Phase Automatic is a Moonlight Serenade for the wrist. The watch has a galvanic dial with a radiating textured motif inspired by waves of musical notes pulsing through a concert hall. Additionally, the outer minute track has an engraved pattern that subtly evokes the grooves of an old vinyl record. The moon-phase display is at 6 o’clock, below the central baton-shaped hands.
Price: $3,845, Case Size: 40mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic ETA 2838 with MeisterSinger moon-phase module
MeisterSinger has cultivated a substantial following for its iconoclastic single-hand time displays, as well as a slew of Red Dot design awards. One of those was for the Lunascope, which paired the signature gauge-type hand with a big, photorealistic moon-phase that occupies nearly the entire top half of the dial. The dial’s dark blue sunburst finish blends subtly into the star-filled sky in the aperture behind the golden moon, which is set to be accurate for 128 years — a rarity at this price point. The central hand offers a surprisingly intuitive reading of the time on the subdivided 12-hour scale.
Price: $10,200, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic Caliber 90-02
Glashütte Original’s PanoMatic models, part of the larger Pano collection, derive their name from a portmanteau of two of their signature features: the “PANOmatic” large date display and the autoMATIC” movement. The Lunar model, here in a 40-mm steel case and a silvered dial, lines up its main timekeeping displays — an hours-minutes subdial and the small-seconds subdial that it overlaps, along a vertical axis left of the dial’s center. To the right of that axis are the Panorama Date near 4 o’clock and above that is the semicircular aperture for the moon-phase indication. Glashütte Original’s in-house Caliber 90-02, visible behind a sapphire caseback, beats inside.
Price: $22,750, Case Size: 39.5mm, Lug width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic H953
Handbag guru Hermès shows its high-watchmaking chops with this model that offers the rare horological combo of a skeletonized dial and a moon-phase indication. The case has a bead-blasted titanium caseband, platinum bezel, and white-gold crown and pusher. Under the sapphire crystal lies an openworked dial with matte and polished finishes — which is, essentially, the Hermès Caliber H1953, topped by two blue-PVD-coated hands. The openworked double moon-phase display is in a rounded aperture at 6 o’clock, bordered by a black-gold sunburst flange. Hermes’ “sprinkling H” motif is among the decorative flourishes on display on the back side of the ultra-thin movement.
Price: $35,000, Case Size: 42mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Manually wound Caliber HMC 801
Schaffhausen-based H. Moser & Cie. is nothing if not boldly experimental in its watch designs, and one of its most notable initiatives in recent years has been an increasing use of Vantablack, a light absorbing material made of carbon nanotubes and touted as “the blackest black ever produced by artificial means.” For the Perpetual Moon Concept, Moser breaks up the stark, inky darkness of the Vantablack dial with a large, textured white, hyper-accurate moon-phase that can be set to the exact minute by a single pusher in the side of the case.
Price: $61,100, Case Size: 44mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Manually wound Caliber A&S 1021 Crystal: Sapphire
Named for 18th-Century British horologist and astronomy pioneer John Arnold, Arnold & Son appropriately makes the watch with the world’s biggest 3D moon-phase display. Floating beneath an off-centered, white lacquered subdial, centered within a dark blue sky of PVD-coated meteorite, the lunar globe is a full 12 mm in diameter and is positioned perfectly between two sapphire domes on the front and back of the watch. The hand-wound Caliber A&S1021 offers an impressive 90-hour power reserve and features an indication on its back side for the age of the moon, which works in concert with the ultra-accurate setting of the moon-phase that replicates the actual lunar cycle.
Price: On request, Case Size: 44.6mm, Thickness: 11.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: N/A, Movement: Automatic Caliber 90-02
De Bethune has done more with the lunar complication than most brands, establishing its half-palladium/half-flame-blued steel 3D moon globe as a calling card of its beautiful and complex moon-phase timepieces. The Starry Sky model features a 44-mm case in white gold, with the indie brand’s well-known, hollowed-out ergonomic lugs, and a striking, blued titanium dial with a polished finish and a firmament of hand-fitted white gold stars providing a backdrop to the curved hands and spherical moon, its dark side represented by the blued steel sector and its light side by the palladium.
Price: $300, Reference: 241963, Case Size: 40mm, Case Height: 9.1mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Quartz Ronda 715
World famous as the maker of the original Swiss Army knife, Victorinox started making watches under its brand in 1989. The matte-finished steel case of the Swiss Army Heritage watch frames a very readable dial with the Swiss flag-inspired Victorinox logo shield at 12 o’clock harmonizing with the red seconds hand. Inside the 100-meter water resistant case is a Swiss-made quartz movement from Ronda. The watch comes on a rugged, stitched leather strap.
Price: $395, Reference: 96A246, Case Size: 38mm, Case Height: 13.45mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota Caliber 8250
During World War II, Bulova supplied watches to the U.S. Armed Forces under a special contract with the government. The original so-called “Hack Watch” got its name from its special feature, a lock-down mechanism for the running seconds that allowed for perfect synchronization, or hacking, of multiple watches in the planning of a mission. The modern versions feature a vintage-look military-time dial with an inner 24-hour ring, large Arabic numerals, luminous cathedral hands, and a boxy crown. It’s powered by an automatic movement, a Japanese-made Miyota 8250 with a 42-hour power reserve.
Price: $545, Reference: H69449961, Case Size: 38mm Case Height: 9.5mm, Lug width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Mechanical Hamilton Caliber H-50
Hamilton Watch Company basically invented the military watch genre with the “trench watches” it supplied to American troops in World War I, kicking off a long tradition of making tough, simple, reliable timepieces for U.S. military units. The civilian offshoot of these watches is the Khaki Field, which traces its most direct inspiration to the 1960s model worn during the Vietnam War, which is notable for its 12/24-hour dial and modest case dimensions, and is available with a quartz, manually wound mechanical, or automatic caliber.
Price: $875, Reference: F1-BK-BK-NC, Case Size: 41mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota Caliber
Benrus, an American watch company founded in 1921, secured the first contract to produce watches for military members during the Vietnam War. The company relaunched in 2020 after a long hiatus and began producing new watches that draw inspiration from those battle-ready vintage pieces. At 41mm in diameter, the Heritage Field watch is assuredly bigger than those worn in the jungles of Vietnam but is otherwise very period-appropriate in its details, like the concentric rings hosting big Arabic 1-12 numerals and the military-time 13-24 scale. Its camo-pattern nylon NATO strap makes a strong statement to call out the model’s military origins.
Price: $1,500, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13.6mm,Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1
Since 1939, Canada-based Marathon Watch has been making timepieces for the North American market and since 1941 has been supplying them to the U.S. armed forces. (Today, the company is the sole supplier.) Now manufactured by the fourth generation of the founding family, Marathon watches — designed in Canada, manufactured in Switzerland —have become well regarded for their military durability and mission-ready precision. The Arctic Edition of the brand’s Divers Automatic model features a bright white dial with both 12-hour and 24-hour (military time) scales; hands and indexes with Tritium H3 micro-gas tubes, for a brighter and more lasting nighttime glow than dials that use the more common Super-LumiNova; and a contrasting red central seconds hand. The unidirectional dive-scale bezel is also highly readable in the dark, with Maraglo paint illuminating its 12 o'clock orientation triangle, and the Swiss-made automatic Sellita SW200-1 does its duty inside the steel case.
Price: $2,499, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.3mm, Lug Width: 24mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 1,000m, Movement: Auto SW200 Crystal: Sapphire
The Mühle Glashütte S.A.R. Rescue Timer, developed in collaboration with the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service, has several uncommon features, including a recessed screw-down crown in the four o’clock position, 1,000 meters of water resistance, an extremely thick sapphire crystal with a date magnifier, and a rubber bezel. The dial is densely packed with lume and designed for at-a-glance visibility in all conditions. The movement inside is a Sellita SW200, but heavily modified to feature a woodpecker regulation system.
Price: $3,445, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Bremont Caliber BE-95-2AV, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Domed sapphire
London-based Bremont worked directly with the British Ministry of Defence to develop its Armed Forces collection, a series of military-influenced watches that take inspiration from the legendary “Dirty Dozen” watches issued to the British Army during World War II. The Broadsword model offers the most direct visual throwback to the Dirty Dozen look, with a two-part, hardened steel case, a black dial with luminous hour numerals and hands and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, and a khaki green sailcloth strap. The caseback is engraved with the heraldic badges of all three of Britain’s military services: Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force (RAF).
Price: $475, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R34
Seiko introduced the first GMT complication to its entry-level, automatic Seiko 5 sports line in 2022, equipping the watches with the automatic Caliber 4R34. Available in three colorways for the dial and bezel — blue, orange, and the black version featured here — the watches have a central GMT hand in a contrasting color, used in coordination with the bicolor day/night bezels (here in black and gray), with rings made of Hardlex glass like the crystal, to indicate a second time zone. The GMT hand is coated in Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite for nighttime legibility. Based on the design of the much-beloved SKX series of Seiko sports watches, the model has a five-link bracelet with polished middle rows.
Price: $595, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug to Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075
Over its long history, Bulova has become well-known for offering mechanical complications at very accessible prices, and the timepiece that joined its Classic collection in 2022 is no exception. At just under $600 in our shop, the Wilton GMT is the rare example of a “true” GMT — i.e., one with an independently adjustable local hour hand — that just about any enthusiast can afford. The watch has a brushed steel case at 43mm; a dial in either white or blue, with applied Roman numerals matching the case tone, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a world-map textured pattern on its surface that adds to its value proposition. The central arrow-pointed GMT hand indicates a second time zone on the bicolor 24-hour scale on the dial’s flange. The Japanese Miyota movement inside is self-winding and stores a 42-hour power reserve.
Price: $2,950, Case Size: 42mm, Case Height: 13.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber L844
Longines stylishly revisits its history of developing dual-time instruments with the Zulu Time, the latest model in its aviation-inspired Spirit series. (“Zulu Time” is the military radio jargon for the “zero” time at the Greenwich Meridian, aka GMT.) The watch’s 42-mm steel case houses a new proprietary movement that allows independent adjustment of both the traditional hour hand and the GMT hand that indicates an additional time zone on the 24-hour bezel, with lacquered engraved numerals on its colorful ceramic bezel insert. For lots more on the history of the Longines Zulu Time and details on the modern watch, read our review here.
Price: $8,600, Case Size: 44mm, Case Height: 17.10mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber MB 29.27
Montblanc’s 1858 Geosphere Chronograph features a unique world-time display via two turning globes on the dial, one for each hemisphere, along with a 24-hour scale, a day-night indicator, and a date disk. The compass-style bezel is a shout-out to Montblanc’s mountain exploration theme. The most complex models of the Geosphere also feature an integrated chronograph. The watch is driven by an automatic movement ensconced inside a fairly large case, which is offered in materials as diverse as bronze and titanium.
Price: $15,200, Case Size: 40mm, Case Height: 12.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber 3285
The watch that more or less established the GMT “look” was created by Rolex for Pan Am Airlines pilots in 1955. The GMT-Master also follows the grand Rolex tradition of sporting nicknames for its various iterations, i.e., “Pepsi” for the red-and-blue 24-hour bezel and “Batman” for the blue-and-black version. The “Root Beer” model released in 2018 sports the two-tone gold-and-steel combo that Rolex calls “Rolesor.” The brown-to-black Cerachrom bezel with the classic 24-hour scale is resistant to scratches, corrosion, and ultraviolet rays, and the automatic movement inside stores a 70-hour power reserve.
Price: $28,700, Case Size: 40mm, Case Height: 10.4mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 60 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber PF051
Introducing new watches is one thing, but premiering an entirely new complication is rare. Parmigiani Fleurier has accomplished this feat with the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante, the first timepiece with a user-friendly “jumping” GMT hand to quickly and easily shift between two time zones. The dial has two superimposed hour hands, one to display the local time, the other the home time. Pressing the pusher at 8 o’clock moves the local-time hand in one-hour increments to change the local time when the wearer travels abroad. Pushing the rose-gold button integrated in the crown snaps this local-time hand backward to its original position aligned with the home time hand when the traveler returns home.
Price: CHF 71,000, Case Size: 43.9mm, Case Height: 13.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Breguet 77F1
The world-map dial of the Marine Hora Mundi 5557 achieves its stunning visual depth with the use of superimposed plates, as traditionally guillochéd ocean waves on a gold base plate wash up against the filigree, turquoise-edged continents depicted on a sapphire crystal pane positioned above it, which also hosts the longitude lines. A tiny sun and moon indicate day and night in a window at 4 o’clock. The world cities representing each time zone time zones rotate on a disk at 6 o’clock inside a semicircular window, with the city of the local time indicated by an anchor symbol. Most importantly, the watch is equipped with the patented Hora Mundi “mechanical memory” function that allows the wearer to switch between two selected time zones instantly via the pusher and crown.
Price: $500,000+, Case Size: 42mm, Case Height: 15.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Manually Wound GMT Sport Caliber PF051
Ultra-high-end horology brand Greubel Forsey entered the burgeoning sport-luxury arena in 2019 with its first GMT Sport model, which was revamped in 2021 with a more streamlined bezel and an ever-popular integrated bracelet. The satin-finished case measures a hefty 45mm and features two pushers on the sides, one to select the second time zone and the other to synchronize the local time with the eye-catching 3D globe that dominates the dial. The dial’s openworked architecture allows a view into the movement and its 24-second tourbillon.
Price: Starting at $140, Case: 42.8mm, Thickness 13.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48.9mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water-Resistance: 200m, Movement: Quartz
The mega-popular Casio G-Shock takes the fundamental elements of the digital display we see in Casio’s other digital watches and repackages it in a more youthful and stylish case along with some enhanced tech. Beyond the basic display functions, the DW5600 is also solar-powered and features Bluetooth technology that allows you to sync up with your mobile phone for alerts. The G-Shock is a bit bigger than its siblings in the Casio portfolio, coming in at about 43mm across and 14mm in height, which enhances the bold, sporty case and strap design.
Price: $280, Case size: 40mm, Thickness 13.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 41mm, Crystal: Mineral Crystal with LED display, Water-Resistance: 30m, Movement: LED Quartz,
Most digital watches have large flat screens with a lot of information on display at one time, usually within a TV-shaped or rectangular case. However, Bulova’s Computron, the brand’s own answer to the digital watch, takes an entirely different approach. The reasonably sized trapezoidal case has a display screen that is pitched at an angle and oriented towards the wearer, giving it a very distinct three-dimensional look. The most distinct function of the Computron is the on-demand display that saves battery life while not in use. When activated, the blue light LED screen on the silver stainless steel model is clear, bright, and hard to miss.
Price: $375 - $450, Case size: 35mm - 40mm, Thickness: 10.94mm, Lug Width: 11mm - 12mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Quartz Digital DGT-2040
The Tissot PRX Digital, which comes in both 35mm and 40mm case sizes, takes the series behind its analog comfort zone to more high-tech, tool-oriented territory while still retaining the sport-luxury elements that made the model a hit. The model has its roots in the 1970s and pays homage to earlier digital watches from the brand, particularly the Stratos from 1976. The Swiss-made quartz Caliber DGT-2040 powers the functions displayed on the dial’s sapphire screen, which can be switched via the case’s three side-mounted pushers from time display with date, to a second time zone, to stopwatch, alarm, countdown timer, and full date display. The backlight for the digital screen offers strong illumination in the dark and the watches are water-resistant to 100 meters.
Price: $995, Case Size: 40.8mm, Lug to Lug: 34.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Quartz Digital
Hamilton’s vintage-inspired PSR recalls the brand’s short-lived but historically significant Pulsar digital watch of the 1970s. The new watch features a 40.8 x 34.7-mm cushion-style case, in brushed steel or gold PVD-coated steel, bearing a laser-engraved Hamilton logo on its lower right side. The case’s side-mounted button is used to illuminate the digital display, whose simple presentation has red digital LED numerals on the black screen while idle and switches to brighter OLED numerals (organic light-emitting diodes) when the button is pressed to reveal the time.
Price: $3,450, Case: 43.5mm, Thickness: 15.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 50m, Movement: Electrostatic,
Introduced in 2020 as the next generation of a groundbreaking electronic model introduced in the 1960s, the Accutron Spaceview showcases what a possible future in watchmaking looks like with its ultra-modern, electrostatic movement technology paired with high-tech design language and exquisite finishing. Prominently displayed via the front sapphire crystal are two electrostatic turbines in the lower half of the dial that spin (in a similar manner to an automatic movement’s rotor) to generate power which is then transferred to the accumulator located at the 10 o'clock position for storage. The titanium case measures 43.5mm in diameter, with a large domed crystal to make room for the movement and provide enough height to clear the expansive dial.
Price: $175, Case Size: 42 mm, Case Height: 12 mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic
While much of its lineup is quartz-powered, Armitron also makes a very accessible timepiece with a skeletonized automatic caliber that comes in well under the $200 mark. The substantially sized steel case has a dark IP coating, offers water resistance to 100 meters and connects to a steel link bracelet. The openworked movement is visible through a crystal in the back as well as the front. You’d be hard-pressed to find a classic skeleton watch at this price point anywhere else.
Price: $2,940, Case: 42.5mm, Thickness: 10.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Sellita SW255
For its Freelancer Skeleton, Raymond Weil strips away a good portion of the visible bridges and plates to expose nearly the entire gear train, even going so far as to remove the top of the barrel to display the mainspring inside. A visual highlight of this piece is the balance assembly situated at 6 o'clock — the result of reorienting the automatic Sellita caliber inside — which gives the timepiece an upscale look. Raymond Weil named the modified Caliber RW1212, after the postal code of its home office in Geneva.
Price: $11,500 , Case size: 41mm, Thickness: 14.8 mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic C. 741 S
Introduced in 1995, the Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph, one of the modern era’s first skeletonized wristwatches, has undergone a series of changes over the years, in particular the jump in size to a modern 41mm case. Chronoswiss goes to great lengths to skeletonize the movement, Caliber C. 741 S, from both the dial side and the back side, including the rotor. On the dial, the four subdials are paired with classic blue steeled hands, producing that familiar Chronoswiss look. Beyond the steel and white dial combination, Chronoswiss offers an array of dial color combinations within the Opus collection.
Price: $21,400 in steel, $34,200 in 18kt rose gold, Case: 43.3, Thickness: 12.3mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 50m, Movement: Caliber 801
RGM was founded and established in 1992 by Roland G. Murphy, and today is widely regarded as the finest watch brand in The United States. Murphy began crafting in-house movements with Caliber 801 in 2007, becoming the first American watchmaker to do so in decades. Recently, RGM devoted a year of research and development to produce a skeletonized version of this movement, which animates this very rare timepiece. Ownership of one would put you in rare company, as only about 70 Caliber 801 watches are made annually, meaning the number allocated for skeletonization is even smaller. RGM offers the model in either stainless steel or in 18k rose gold.
Price: $23,600, Case: 41.5mm, Thickness: 12.48mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic Caliber 2663 SQ
The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One brings the familiar figure-eight dial design of the Grande Seconde into a new arena with its openworked movement behind a sapphire dial. The 41-mm case of the plasma ceramic edition is made by treating white ceramic with gas heated to 20,000°C to give its surface an anthracite-gray metallic sheen, while simultaneously rendering it hard, lightweight and scratch-resistant. The gray tones of the case seamlessly blend into those of the gray-finished bridges of the Jaquet Droz Caliber 2663 SQ, which stores a 68-hour power reserve inside two mainspring barrels.
Price: $185, Reference: 4894041009032, Case Size: 40 mm, Crystal: Extra Hardened Mineral, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Quartz
Denmark-based Obaku follows a minimalist design ethos that combines Nordic and Asian traditions; its decidedly un-Scandinavian name is derived from a term in Zen philosophy and this spirit is evident in its timepieces. A standout from the brand is this rare example of a titanium dress watch under $200. The Rolig’s case and mesh bracelet are both made in titanium-coated steel, and its simple two-hand dial is in a shiny gunmetal gray that adds to the overall metallic monochrome look.
Price: $275, Case Size: 36 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Quartz Ronda 513
Mondaine's dedication to clear and legible design is prominent across the entire collection, but it's within the Classic collection, which takes inspiration from Switzerland’s distinctive (and notoriously accurate) railroad clocks, that the brand captures minimalism in its purest form. Simple bold dial elements and hands with a splash of red creates an impressive visual that resonates perfectly within the modest, round 36mm case. Its railway-worthy performance is ensured by an accurate and reliable Ronda 513 quartz movement.
Price: $1,045 - $1,450, Case Size: 38mm, Case Thickness: 10mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber J800-1 (ETA 2824-2 base)
At the forefront of Junghans’ Max Bill family of timepieces — designed by their namesake, a pioneer of Bauhaus art and architecture — is the three-handed Automatic, which comes in a 38mm case and contains the self-winding, Swiss ETA-based Junghans Caliber J800-1 with a 38-hour power reserve. Most of the cases are in stainless steel, some with a black or gold PVD coating, and the high-contrast dials, mostly in white or black, offer either numerical or all-index designs as well as options with or without a date display. (We delve deeper into the Junghans Max Bill collection and its history here.)
Price: $2,260, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 7.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.6mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Manual Nomos Alpha
The Orion is perhaps the model that best exemplifies what Germany’s Nomos is all about in terms of its minimalist, understated design language. Pairing its elegantly restrained dial, highlighted by linear indices, gold-tone applied hour markers, and blued hands, with the impressive Alpha manual-winding movement that provides a 43-hour power reserve, the Orion delivers substantial value at its price point.
Price: $139, Case Size: 34 mm, Case Height: 10 mm, Lug To Lug: 41 mm, Strap Width: 18 mm, Crystal: Acrylic, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Mechanical Hand-wind
The modern version of the Marlin was the first mechanical watch Timex had made in over 30 years when it was rolled out in 2017. It’s based on a 1960s model and Timex’s designers were obviously not shy about sticking to the original model’s modest dimensions, just 34 mm in diameter. Under a domed acrylic crystal, the hour numerals on the glossy silver dial are charmingly retro in their curvilenar font. With its thin bezel, hand-wound movement and retro size, the Marlin could easily pass for one of those actual mid-century vintage models that are all the rage these days.
Price: $185, Reference: RA-AC0002S10A, Case Size: 40.5mm, Case Height: 12mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Lug to Lug: 46.3mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic
Often under the radar of American watch consumers and overshadowed by its much larger Japanese brethren, Citizen and Seiko (which with it shares a corporate connection through Epson), Orient has been making value-oriented watches in Japan since 1950. The Bambino is Orient’s dressy gents’ model, contemporary in diameter at 40mm with a domed mineral crystal. The clean white dial features leaf-shaped hands, a date at 3 o’clock, and vintage-style Arabic hour numerals. Inside is an in-house, automatic movement with a hacking seconds function and a 40-hour power reserve. All together, it spells quite a bargain for the $200 sticker price.
Price: $450, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Hardlex, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R35
Priced just shy of $500, Seiko’s “Cocktail Time” watches are some of the most compelling value-proposition dress watches on the market. The watches, all part of Seiko’s all-mechanical Presage series, take their dial color and texture inspirations from classic cocktails that one would find in one of Tokyo’s high-end bars. The 40.5-mm cases are made of stainless steel and topped by a box-shaped crystal made of a proprietary Seiko material called Hardlex. A specially sculpted crown helps ensure the case’s 50-meter water resistance, and the movements, on display through a clear caseback, are magnetic-resistant to 4,800 A/m.
Price: $870, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 10.45mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Acrylic, Movement: Automatic ETA 2836-2
Mido introduced the Commander model in 1959 and has produced it continuously ever since, a rarity in today’s rapidly shifting watch world. The Shade Silver edition adds an avant-garde, airbrushed-look fumé dial to the vintage-inspired elements, including the modest 37-mm round monocoque case, black varnished polished indexes and dots for the hours, a framed day and date window with text in both English and German, and the Mido logo stamped on the acrylic crystal. Also decidedly retro is the steel mesh Milanese bracelet that can be adjusted to fit any wrist size. Beasting inside is the Élabore version of the ETA 2836-2, albeit hidden behind a solid steel caseback.
Price: $5,700, Case: 41mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 150m, Movement: Automatic Caliber 8900
The Seamaster Aqua Terra hit the market in 2003 and has served ever since as a more elegantly understated sibling of the sporty, more robustly built Seamaster Diver and Planet Ocean models. Like the original 1948 Seamaster, Aqua Terra models eschew the rotating divers’ bezel and other tool-watch accouterments for a more streamlined style. The dials are characterized by simple wedge-shaped hour markers inspired by the silhouette of a sailboat, a triangular hour hand paired with an arrow-tipped minute hand, and — as of the most recent revamp of the collection in 2017 — a textured line pattern on the dial that echoes the teakwood deck of a boat. (Discover more about the Seamaster Aqua Terra collection here.)
Price: $6,200 - $4,500, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Spring Drive Caliber 9R65
Grand Seiko released its first “Snowflake” edition, Ref. SBGA011, exclusively to the Japanese market in 2005. The sequel, Ref. SBGA211, was released in the 2017, the year that Grand Seiko split from parent Seiko to become an independent brand, and differs from the original “Snowflake” in one significant detail: the pristine white, snow-textured dial features the “GS” applied logo and “Grand Seiko” text at 12 o’clock and the simple “Spring Drive” text at 6 o’clock — as opposed to the classic Seiko logo at 12 and “Grand Seiko Spring Drive” at 6. The 41mm case is constructed from Grand Seiko’s “high intensity” titanium, finished to a high gloss with Zaratsu polishing. The indexes and razor-style hands are silver-polished, while a blued steel seconds hand sweeps around the snowy dial. The highly accurate Spring Drive Caliber 9R65 inside, oscillating behind a sapphire caseback, provides a three-day power reserve.
Price: $9,900, Case: 45mm, Thickness 11.7mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 30m, Movement: Hand Wound Caliber IW59210
IWC launched its elegant Portofino series in 1984 and its classically understated design has remained relatively unchanged ever since. The movement inside the Hand Wound 8 Days model, however, underwent a decidedly modern upgrade in 2011: the in-house Caliber IW59210 that beats within the watch’s 45-mm, polished stainless steel case amasses a power reserve of 192 hours, or eight days, inside a single oversized mainspring barrel. The power reserve is displayed by an analog hand on the expansive dial, alongside polished leaf hour and minute hands, thin bar hour markers, and a small seconds subdial.
Price: $29,570, Case: 39mm, Thickness: 8.1mm, Water-Resistance: 30m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Caliber 30-255 PS Price: $29,570
Perhaps no brand embodies the classical dress watch style better than Patek Philippe, which has recently added a hobnail “Clous de Paris” bezel to its iconic Calatrava (Ref. 6119R), providing a much needed facelift to the outgoing 5119R. The new version comes in at 39mm — larger than the undersized 36mm predecessor — and is fitted with a brand-new in-house movement, Caliber 30-255 PS, with its own significant upgrades, including an extended power reserve of 65 hours in its redesigned twin-barrel system.
Price: $33,500, Case: 36mm, Thickness: 12mm, Crystal: Sapphire with Cyclops, Water-Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Caliber 3255
The Rolex Day-Date, nicknamed the “President” as it has graced the wrist of many a chief executive, is available in a variety of sizes and colorways; the most understated are the 36mm models, which all have cases milled from a solid block of gold, with fluted casebacks hermetically screwed down with special tools used exclusively by Rolex watchmakers. The screw-down crown uses Rolex’s Twinlock double-waterproofing system. The fluted bezel frames a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with a Cyclops lens — a hallmark of the Rolex Day-Date — magnifying the date in the window at 3 o’clock.
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