w&w Round-Table #17: What’s Your Perfect Vacation Watch?

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If you’re in the middle of planning your summer getaway, you’re going to be faced with a lot of important decisions: where to go, what to pack, and naturally—as a die-hard WIS—what watches to bring. While there are some who might bring with them an entire lineup, we thought it’d be far more interesting to consider a single watch for your next trip.

To that end, we asked our editorial team: What’s your perfect vacation watch?

As always, we’d love to hear from our readers, too. You don’t have to own the watch, and you can consider any criteria when making your choice. Leave your answers in the comments section below.

Brandon Cripps

When I’m on vacation, rule #1 is Zero Worries. To help with that, I usually bring my least worrisome watch: my Seiko SKX007. Our favorite go anywhere, do anything diver works equally well in the surf as it does in a hot tub, a city street or a mountain cabin. It looks good and reliably tells me when it’s beer-thirty, wherever I am.  And if I go ass-over-teakettle in the waves and the watch breaks, I’m only out $150.

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Photo credit: Brandon Cripps
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Mark McArthur-Christie

Of course, the perfect holiday watch is no watch. The point of holidays is to be lax enough to time one’s day by the lunchtime bottle of red, the first gin of the evening and the post-prandial digestif.

But if one must have a watch, how about a Seiko SDGA001?

It’s as obsessively accurate as a traffic cop with a speed gun, so if you miss your plane, it’s your fault for staying too long in the bar. It’s wear and forget, and even charges and sets itself so you don’t have to. It has a timezone for wherever you are; even Mars, probably. You can dunk it, knock it, drop it, scrape it and even step on it and it’ll come up shiny faced and unscathed. But it’s still smarter than one of those resin G-thingies and you can read the e-ink display from any angle (and with a diving mask on).

SeikoSDGA001Perhaps even more usefully, it’s unobtrusive (unless you meet a fellow digi-disciple). After all, you don’t really want to stroll around the backstreets with your yellow gold Daytona on display. People might decide the best way to get your watch is to get your arm, too, and that will certainly spoil your holiday.

The SDGA001. The perfect holiday watch.

Watch Curmudgeon

Well, to be realistic about this, I’m going to select a watch from my own collection, one that I always choose when vacationing. And that would be my Rolex Submariner, a watch I’ve been wearing (and loving) since I bought it in 1983. Of course, I rotate it with my other watches, but I’m always thinking about it and usually a bit sad about cheating on it.

ROLEX_SUBMARINER_1-1024x386I find everything about this watch to be perfect except for the fact that it has broken on numerous occasions. That’s probably out of revenge for wearing other watches. None the less, I find it utterly reliable. And utterly wearable due to its classic proportions. On the topic of classics, nothing beats its iconic looks, especially when pared with its original, ruggedly handsome bracelet. However, I must admit that I do like it with a rubber or leather strap. Hell, I’d like it on a piece of rope.

Getting back to the vacation angle, my Sub makes me feel good. And relaxed. And whether I’m swimming, riding a bicycle, hiking, or dining at a great restaurant, its refined ruggedness complements it all. Sure, it’s a sports/tool watch, but it’s as correct with a bathing suit as it is with a blazer. (I’ve even worn it with a tux to a wedding, which was a great FU to tradition.)

WW_HIGHCRAFT_VINTAGE_BLACK_ROLEX_SUB_1But there’s something else about my Sub that’s more important to me than anything else. It’s been a faithful companion that’s accompanied me through some of the best times of my life. The memories it holds are priceless.

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Sean Lorentzen

Summer vacation season is finally here, and with it comes a surprisingly tough set of watch decisions. Whether you’re just going up to the lake, the beach, or across the world to some exciting new city, however, a few basic needs still apply. whatever watch accompanies you on your next adventure needs to be tough enough to handle anything, expected or not, and versatile enough to be at home on the beach or in a fine restaurant. With that in mind, there’s one perfect candidate for me–the 40mm Oris Divers Sixty-Five.

ORIS_DIVERS_SIXTY_FIVE_DIAL9This watch just screams summer to me. It’s light, playful, and deceptively rugged, and it’s unique enough to gather attention wherever it goes. As much at home hiking mountain trails as it is exploring the city, it’s ready for whatever your vacation can throw at it.

Christoph McNeill

My favorite vacation watch is an easy choice. It’s my Seiko SBDX001 Marine Master, better known as the MM300. While I’m definitely a “vintage guy,” when I go on vacation I don’t want to worry about scratching my watch, getting it wet in the ocean or the pool, or spilling a beer on it for that matter. The MM300 is hands down my favorite modern watch.

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Photo credit: Christoph McNeill

It’s extremely comfortable to wear. Pair it with an Isofrane strap and it’s good to go no matter what the situation. Even if I’m going out to a nice dinner, the MM300 is elegant enough that it doesn’t feel out of place. I’m used to wearing a different watch just about every day, but even on an extended trip I’m happy as can be with my MM300. When I went to Puerto Rico two summers ago I wore the MM300 and it never came off my wrist.

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Ilya Ryvin

When going on vacation, you’ll want to bring a watch that you can strap on and not worry about for the duration of the trip. You’re on vacation, after all, and worry should not be part of the equation.

But of course, this question merits numerous considerations. How expensive should the watch be? What functionality should it have? Should it be a diver? Is a quartz option better than a mechanical one? After some thought, I decided that my horological companion needs to be simple and tough, relatively affordable, and with ample water resistance. And though the ability to track a second time zone would be nice, I can do that in my head if need be, so I decided not to limit myself by focusing on extraneous complications. Ultimately, my thought process boiled down to three choices: a Seiko SKX007, a Sinn 556i, and a Casio G-Shock DW5600E.

SINN_556i_NATO1First, the SKX007. It’s bit of an obvious choice, but a wholly sensible one. It looks good, it’s cheap, and it’s rugged as all hell. That said, the 007 is a heavy watch, and on a recent trip that included mountain climbing, hiking, and swimming, I certainly felt that weight over time. So I nixed the SKX007, but it’s a strong contender.

The 556i has inadvertently become my go-to summer watch. It’s such an easy piece to wear. It’s the perfect size (to me, at least) at 38.5mm, it’s relatively light and inconspicuous, and it looks great on bracelet, leather, or nylon. Plus, it has a more-than-adequate depth rating of 200m, so you can submerge it without giving it a second thought. My one hesitation, however, is the price. Relatively speaking, it’s not an expensive watch, but it’s not inexpensive either. To lose or damage a watch that’s $1,020 on leather, or $1,260 on bracelet, would surely put a damper on any vacation. So despite it being perfect otherwise, I nixed the 556i, too.

Casio_GShock_DW5600E-1VFinally, I landed on the venerable G-Shock DW5600E, the tough-as-nails entry-level beater from Casio. I’ve taken this watch on numerous vacations and it has exceeded all expectations. It’s easy to wear, it’s light, and it’s relatively unassuming given its size and overall subdued design, which is a bit of a feat for a G-Shock. And it’s oh-so-cheap, so breaking it or losing it won’t be that big of a deal.

Li Wang

When I go on vacation, a lot can happen. Sometimes I have to put an unruly Golden State Warriors fan in his place while watching the game at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Sometimes I have to jump off a cliff into a raging bay. And sometimes I will get buried neck-deep in sand by my 5-year-old. To survive all that and more, I need a watch that can take a beating and rinse off with no worries, and that includes the sport-level sunscreen that’s applied daily. For me, that watch is my Casio G-Shock GW-6900.

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Photo credit: Li Wang

When I travel, I don’t usually go anywhere that requires formal attire, so the G-Shock is ideal. I don’t have to take it off going through airport security. It easily toggles between time zones and synches via atomic clock. It has a can’t-miss back-light button and is solar powered. And most important, it’s rated to 200 meters, making it the perfect beachfront companion.

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Zach Weiss

Vacation? What’s that? Well, it has been a while since I’ve traveled for leisure, but fantasizing about it for a bit begs the question: what watch would I want on my wrist? World timers are tempting, but in reality are not what I would really need. I’d want something attractive, durable and versatile foremost, probably 40mm or under for comfort purposes. As much as I’d like it to be vintage, I think modern with seals in check would be the smartest route. Then, I’d want some additional functions. I like Zulu bezels for tracking a second time zone over GMT hands. Then I like having a 24-hr hand for quick reference in countries that use that standard. Of course, a day/date or date would be good as sometimes those long flights can be disorienting. Lastly, mechanical as a matter of preference. So, what fits the bill?

It took some digging, but I think I found just the watch and no surprise it’s from a personal (and w&w) favorite, Sinn. I was sure they had something in their collection that would check off my requirements, but it wasn’t where I expected to look. Typically, we review Sinn’s tough-as-nails pilot’s watches and occasionally divers. But Sinn has other lines as well, in particular their Frankfurt Financial District watches. This line is designed with the office in mind, so the watches are more formal and less aggressive, but still speak to the same disciplined, minimal aesthetic Sinn is known for. Unlike most dress/formal watches though, they focus on complication, most often centered around time zones.

SinnFrankfurt_6060RT(1)
Photo credit: laketwig via klocksnack.se

So, a Zulu bezel and a GMT/24hr hand on a watch that is 40mm and under, has a date and is mechanical? Welcome to the Sinn 6060. Powered by an ETA 2893-2, this watch features an internal 12-hr bezel, discreet date at 4.5, as well as a GMT hand that I would set to correspond to the current time on a 24-hr scale. Of course, with this set up one could also set three separate time zones, which is the intention of the design. In addition to these features, the 6060 measures a modest 38.5mm in diameter, leading me to believe it would wear a lot like its sporty cousin the 556i, and weighs (head only) a slight 57 grams. So, given the right strap choice, it would be comfortable for long periods of time and in various climates. Additionally, it has a 100m water resistance, meaning a dip in the hotel pool wouldn’t do it harm.

With a price tag $2,690 on bracelet, the 6060 isn’t cheap, but with its versatile looks it’s a watch I’d wear a lot more often than when abroad, so I’m sure I’d get my money’s worth. The real question is, if I owned it, would I feel obligated to take more vacations? hmm…

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