There’s a vast array of styles and movements to choose from when picking what watch you want to rock on your wrist this summer. From new to vintage styles, the amount of choices can be overwhelming. Here you’ll find a breakdown of what styles are in, why I like them, and how YOU can show off your wrist game this summer, no matter your budget.
What watch to wear every day?
It’s important to have a go-to watch that you can wear daily. Something that is versatile and can go well with business attire or a simple t-shirt.
The Speedmaster is my favorite sporty chronograph watch in the luxury marketplace. It wears super comfortable, has a simple polished look, and can be customized easily with different colors and straps. Often called the “moon watch” it was on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin and the rest of the crew in 1969 when humans stepped on the moon for the first time. It may not be as flashy as some other luxury options, notably the recently popular Rolex Daytona. But it’s slick style and versatility makes it my pick. It also helps that every time you look down at your watch you are reminded of the limitless bounds of human potential. Once you decide Speedmaster is the direction you want to take, you can choose between the classic hand-wound/ hessonite (plastic) version worn on the moon or automatic/sapphire (harder, more scratch-resistant material).
I’m a bit partial here as I bought myself a Victorinox with my first commission check back when I was just starting my sales career. I chose this watch because it was classy, manly, substantial enough to look good on a medium-sized wrist and was different than what most people were wearing. (Also, because I couldn’t afford a watch above USD 1000 at the time.) Similar to the Speedmaster, the Victorinox offers a wide array of colors and straps you can mix and match. They offer a mechanical movement if you want to spend a bit more or many quartz (battery-powered) options that are more economical.
Victorinox, a historic swiss manufacturer is most well-known for its swiss army knives. They leverage that brand recognition by including the classic swiss army logo on all of their watches. I like how Victorinox incorporates the nostalgia of their tool-making past combined with a fresh modern look. That is the main reason I think they are an underrated watch brand and also why I suggest taking a look at them when choosing your everyday watch.
What watch to wear to a Junk boat party?
Late Spring to early fall is that time of year we all appreciate in Hong Kong… junk boat season. If you’re relaxing on a boat, you want to look the part. Wearing a cool watch can give you the confidence to be yourself and enjoy your time on the water.
You may have heard the phrase, “all watch collectors need a good dive watch.” While I’m not as crazy about dive watches as many people out there, they are a great option when you need a watch that can get wet but still look slick. If you want a luxury dive watch, your best bet is either the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster.
The most iconic, well-recognized of the two, and perhaps the most famous watch in the world is the Rolex Submariner. My favorite is the classic black dial and bezel color but there are options to add color- most popular being green (nicknamed the hulk) and blue (papa smurf). It’s a super versatile watch and an all-time classic.
That being said, I tend to be drawn to the Omega Seamaster. It’s less expensive with more options to mix & match colors and has a cool vibe on its own. My favorite is the classic dark “blue wave” dial.
You can’t go wrong with either option, both brands are rich in history and prestige. And both suit the nautical style perfectly. If you can afford it, you may want to go with the Submariner as the resale value tends to be higher.
Seiko, the legendary Japanese brand is known for its well-made watches and Japanese design. There are a lot of Seiko fans out there and they tend to be quite passionate.
To me, the bezel of many Seiko dive watches can be a bit bulky for my taste. Also, on some models, the dial can look a bit crowded with a lot of data to read. But I am a fan of the SRPC93 model with its classic blue color and simple design. There are a ton of options for dial design and color. Some variations closely resembling the look of the luxury options above. You won’t go wrong with a Seiko diver! You will get respect from the watch lover community and even the casual eye will appreciate its style.
What watch to wear to a Classy Event?
Que the Kayne West song “Flashing Lights”, which interestingly was first previewed by Kanye in a dub over audio from the 2004 Hong Kong film, 2046. Hong Kong is a city of lights, with people from all over the world mixing to celebrate (and show off) at a variety of networking events and parties. These watches are sure to catch some eyes and give you that extra swagger when you are out on the town this summer.
I say if you can afford it, go big or go home. My all-time favorite is the Oyster Perpetual day-date by Rolex. Nicknamed the “president”, it’s an iconic luxury watch. You can choose from white, black or yellow gold dial. My suggestion is the yellow gold, but if you want to go more understated white or black dial- all options look great!
There are other ways to go here of course. Most notably, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak line has some options that are similarly classy and flashy. To spend this amount of money you better be in love with the watch!
For some events, going with something too bold and flashy is not the vibe you want. If you prefer to go with a smart, sophisticated look, I suggest choosing a watch with a perpetual movement. The perpetual complication is technically impressive. It shows you the month, date and day of the week. Lots of brands also include perpetual models that track the moon phase as well. There is something magical about a complicated watch that can track all that data without adjustment, simply by the turn of its gears and internal components. I also think the dial, especially in the classic circular presentation looks amazing.
We can’t have a classy watch article without mention of the ultimate brand in complicated watchmaking… the legendary Patek Philipe. Their in-house movements and quality are rival to none. Patek’s grand complication perpetual watches are beautiful timepieces and something that can be passed down for generations. And while some of the basic perpetual models can be in the 25-30K USD range, most of the ones I tend to like are of course much more than that.
Therefore, my suggestion is to go with a less expensive, but still very classy brand Jaeger Lecoultre. Their ultra-thin perpetual watch model is a slam dunk. For what you get in terms of quality, prestige, and looks, this watch is an underrated option, especially for its price point compared with Patek.
My brother-in-law gave me a Shinola watch as a groomsman gift when he married my sister. At the time I knew nothing about the brand. Right off the bat, I liked the style, and of course being a gift (luckily, I like the guy) I instantly appreciated it. After wearing it quite a lot, I investigated the brand more and liked what I saw.
Made in Detroit, USA it’s not the first brand you think of when you think “dress watch.” But they have a lot of slick options at reasonable price points. I’m a fan of their chronograph blue dial model shown above. But you also can’t wrong with a more neutral dial color with a leather strap.
Another bonus is that you are sure to stand out in Hong Kong wearing one. Being a relatively new brand to the watch scene, not many people are wearing them yet in Asia.
What to wear for sport?
Hong Kong is one of the few big cities in the world with nature in your backyard. There are so many activities you can enjoy including hiking, open water swimming (check out our article on Olivier Courret), running, biking, windsurfing, you name it! Having a watch that can track your activities is a fun way to track your progress and keep you motivated to stay active. For more serious athletes having a watch is a must to track your training.
If budget isn’t too much of a concern, I suggest going for a higher-end Garmin watch. It can do almost everything… track your activities, heart rate, GPS, etc. It’s durable enough for everyday wear. It syncs to the Garmin app which has an amazing number of features to track your training. I find myself wearing mine even when I’m not working out! Its simple style looks good on your wrist and goes well with most casual outfits. Try the Forerunner 735XT or Fenix6.
The Fitbit Flex comes in right at 700 HKD, and is a great option for basic fitness tracking. It tracks sleep, steps and how many calories you are burning. It’s sleek and lightweight making it easy to wear. It’s certainly not as capable as the Forerunner shown above since it doesn’t have GPS or heartrate tracking, but if you’re just looking to stay active and don’t need all the fancy tracking then it’s a great option. The Fitbit app offers fun challenges and ways to stay active as well!
Watch shopping and collecting can be intimidating. We hope this round-up gives you some inspiration and helps guide you through the luxury and affordable watch scene. Confidence comes from within. Your watch of choice is just the icing on the cake!
Did we miss any of your favourites? We’d love to hear from you at email@example.com
Written exclusively for WELL, Magazine Asia by Jackson Kelleher