The Allure Of The “Summer Watch”

In Wisconsin, one does not simply throw a fresh brat onto the grill. We boil them in beer (lightly seasoned) prior to a quick finish over the flame in a charcoal Weber grill. This is tradition. Sure, it takes a bit longer, but the process is just as fun as the end result is delicious. This past 4th of July weekend, I (and many of you, I hope) took the opportunity to slow life down a bit. Beer brats, dock jumps, and cold beer all featured heavily, of course, but it also offered the opportunity to have a bit of fun with my watch selection. Prior to traveling, I opened my watch box and grabbed a handful of watches that I’d deemed “summer watches”.

Now, I firmly believe in collecting watches that can be worn any time and any place, transcending the need to be ‘seasonal’, but some seasons offer the opportunity to think about how and what we wear on our wrist. Summer in particular seems to encourage me to have a bit of fun with this hobby. New strap combos abound, pulling out the most colorful fabric straps from the back of the drawer, and giving the dignified leather a well earned rest. But that’s not the most important part, what really matters is putting them to good use, creating new memories and experiences. Whether it’s the watch you wear everyday, or that funky colorful whatever that you picked up for god-knows why way back when. 

There’s a saying in photography that the best camera for the job is the one you have with you. When it comes to watches and their supposed seasonality, I’d argue the same principle applies. A good summer watch is whatever happens to be on your wrist while grilling, swimming, fire-pitting (?), or whatever it is that you find yourself doing to stay cool. If you can dress it up in a colorful strap or try a new tropic rubber along the way to heighten your enjoyment, well, all the better. Heck, a certain watch seemed to bring joy to everyone who saw it on my wrist.

At the end of the day, summer is a great reminder to not be too precious with these things, or at least heightens the desire to have watches that you don’t need to be precious with. 

I often see online (and some offline) ramblings about watches being more luxury than tool these days. A vessel to show off wealth, no different than jewelry. I agree that watches are not a necessity in a way they once were, but I’d argue that how we classify them is largely dependent on how we use them. If you actually use your watch and give little thought to the effect it’ll have on your IG followers, then by all means call it a tool. I don’t treat my watches like jewelry so I don’t think of them in such terms, regardless of what they may have cost me, because that’s how I enjoy the hobby. 

So what makes a great summer watch? It’d be easy to rattle off the best strap materials and bright colorful dials, or even useful complications… but that’s only half the story. A great summer watch is one that won’t get in the way of living life, and might even bring an extra smile to your face every time you look at your wrist. Every memory it holds (and each brat it’s helped grill) is an added bonus. Come to think of it, that’s simply what makes a great watch, season be damned.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.