Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of titanium watches and realized just how much I like the material. It’s nothing new in the world of watches, Citizen holding the claim of “first” with the X8 Chronometer from 1970, but it is still generally less common than steel. There are a few aspects of titanium that make it appealing, though none more than its light weight. Take a massive watch, make it out of titanium, and you increase the comfort, in my experience, tremendously. Take a small watch and make it out of titanium, and it’s like you’re wearing nothing at all.
Other cool attributes include that it’s anti-magnetic as it lacks iron content, is hypoallergenic for those with that issue, has low thermal conductivity and is often a gorgeous dark grey color. So, I thought it would be fun to put together a range of titanium cased watches for a guide. Watches varying in style (though many dive), and price, to show the versatility of the material. Enjoy!
My first titanium watch was a thin, small diameter Skagen dress watch. It was simple and spare, with a grey dial and that unmistakeable dark titanium case. I loved it. This was about 15 years ago, so the model in no longer made, but they’ve kept the theme alive in some of their newer pieces. The Grenen on steel mesh is a sleek and sophisticated business casual piece. At 37mm, it’s classically proportioned, fitting well on most wrists but staying understated. Yet, thanks to the gun metal dial and Bauhaus numerals, it’s also quite masculine. It’s quartz, as are all Skagens.
This shouldn’t be of much surprise to our regular readers as this was literally yesterday’s review. The Commodore is a beast of a tool diver with a 500M water resistance, ceramic bezel, Miyota 9015 inside and a titanium case and bracelet. It has great lume and great finishing, and thanks to the titanium, it’s comfortable over long period of time despite its large, 45 x 49 x 14.5mm case. It comes in 2 dial designs and 4 colors giving you a breadth of options to choose from. Read the review for more.
I have a soft spot for this watch, though I’ve only seen it in person once or twice. It takes Hamilton’s classic field design and modernizes it with a black PVD titanium case. The end result is mean and sexy. The mix of the metallic black, subtly dimensional dial, pale green lume and greasy black case works perfectly together. At 42mm, it’s on the big side for a field watch, but I recall it seeming all the more masculine. The black coating makes it seem a touch smaller too, and the titanium makes sure this is still a field watch that can be worn all day. Powered by an ETA 2824-2
Heh, heh… JUST LOOK AT THAT THING!!! It’s insane and while I might never wear it, I love the fact that they made it. Citizen was getting stale for a while, but they’ve had some cool and quirky releases in the last year that are making them interesting again… Anyway, as the first Titanium watch brand, I would be remiss to not include them and, for you mountain-climbing divers out there, this is a pretty cool watch.
Its analogue display can measure up to 10,000 meters above sea level and 300m below. It also has a built in compass, helping you find your way. Citizen uses a proprietary hardened titanium on this gnarly wrist machine, granting you high scratch resistance as well. Naturally, it’s an Eco-Drive, charging with light, and actually having a power reserve, which is always welcome. The downside? Well, the watch is 49.5mm in diameter, so better go to the gym and start working on your forearms now.
The one homage watch to make this list, the Ocean 7 LM-7 is a 1250M hardened titanium re-imagining of the epic Omega original. One of the more, ummm, polarizing designs out there, it’s innovative features, such as the mono-block case and locking bezel, are icons unto themselves. While the LM-7 ins’t the only PloProf homage out there, it is the only one to push the design into new terrain. The hardened titanium will make this massive watch more comfortable, corrosion and magnetism resistant and impervious to scratches. At $899 for a Swiss-made watch with said credential and an unnamed “Swiss Automatic” (probably just means Sellita if ETA is out of the picture) and a second bezel, this is also a good deal.
One of Seiko’s modern dive classics, those who own them claim they take over their collection, dominating their wrist. A mix of a well-proportioned 44mm case with slightly Grand Seiko-esque lines and sharp facets, a modern, but simple dial and full titanium construction make it a timeless design. It utilizes Seiko’s DiaShield hardened titanium, making it “scatch-proof”, and unlike many Ti watches, this one looks light, like steel. While I personally like the dark grey, for those who don’t, this gets around that.
When we first saw this watch at Basel 2012, I was quite surprised by the design. It had almost organic flowing lines, and soft dial markers… it definitely was a bit of a departure for Sinn. That said, it was also gorgeous. Made of solid bead-blasted titanium, this lightweight and nimble 41mm watch, that is immediately comfortable when put on the wrist, has an epic 2000m water resistance. How Sinn is able to engineer watches like this while other brands make wrist-mounted submarines to get to 500m is a mystery to me. Needless to say, as with most Sinn’s, the T2 is like a secret weapon. Discreetly able to take you places few other watches can go, while easily slipping under a shirt sleeve to wear to work.
When I reviewed this one back in May, I was really taken by the design. First, it’s a regulateur (central minutes, sub hours and sub seconds) designed for diving, with a big arrow for a minute hand, and large clear indexes, which is just odd enough to really pull me in. Second, it was absurdly comfortable. This watch is chunky. The case is 43 x 50 x 13.5mm and the bracelet, which is a work of art, is a few millimeters thick and massive. Yet, I found wearing it all day a pleasure. This is the watch that proved to me how nice titanium can be. LIke the Seiko Shogun, the titanium here is also more steel colored, and is even polished in some places.
Another Basel 2012 surprise was this very modern offering from Stowa. Along with Sinn, they were the first two (perhaps still the only two) brands to achieve “TESTAF” certification, a new demanding set of specs and tests for pilot’s watches. The Stowa Flieger, similarly, looked more like a Sinn than there other models, but was still its own interesting watch. Its oversized 45mm case, likely sized for maximum visibility, is all titanium with a titanium bezel. The bead blasted dark grey gives it an aggressive aesthetic befitting a watch tested for use in jets.
I promise I’ll review this one soon, but in the meantime, the priciest option on our list (if bought new), the Tudor Pelagos, is currently the king of titanium divers. Part of Tudor’s attempt to take over the $4-6k price bracket upon their return to the US last year, the Pelagos has become a well deserved star, even at times being called the “Submariner you wish Rolex would release” (quote attributed to like, a lot people). It’s solid titanium, has a 500m water resistance, ceramic bezel, HEV (for those who care), titanium bracelet with unique expanding clasp, and incredible machining, the likes of which indicate Rolex’s hand. It also has one of the nicest bezel mechanisms I’ve felt and insanely potent lume. (and if you are ever looking to get a lot of “likes” on Instagram, just post a pic of the Pelagos. It’s like magic)
Aesthetically, it’s also jaw-dropping. It takes cues from the Tudor Snowflake subs of the 70’s, but properly updates them, creating a modern classic. The use of titanium makes it all the more forward thinking and pleasurable to wear. The charcoal grey plays off of the matte dial and bezel, creating an aesthetic that is dark and mysterious; looking as good with jeans as with a suit. I could go on and on, but I’ll save it for the review. Needless to say, if you have the coin for this one, you’re going to be happy with it.