Summer 2020 has been an unusual one, to say the least. Amid all of the disappointment and cancelled plans, however, one bright spot for watch fans has surely been the release of many bright, colourful and summer-ready new models over the last two months. From new takes on beloved classics, to six-figure superwatches in proprietary materials, the watches of summer 2020 have something for everyone at every price point. Here are the best of them.
Seiko Prospex SNR045
Seiko’s Prospex line is one of the world’s most popular dive watches, and this new addition continues to up the ante. Aside from a hardened titanium case and ultra-accurate Spring Drive movement, this watch stands out with its unique textured green dial inspired by kokebozu, which are underwater moss pillars found near the Japanese research base in Antarctica. This Seiko is limited to just 500 pieces, making it almost as rare and beautiful as the kokebozu themselves.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown”
We’ve already declared our enthusiasm for the reborn Portugieser collection that IWC dropped earlier this year, but this one strikes a special chord for summer. In collaboration with Orlebar Brown, makers of some of our favourite swimwear, IWC added a marine-blue dial, a red chronograph seconds hand and a textured blue strap, making this the ultimate poolside accessory. Trunks sold separately.
Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer
Among the most colourful releases of the season is Mido’s Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961, a re-edition of the brand’s Ocean Star Skin Diver Watch, a collectible model from the 1960s. While the dial makes a style statement on its own, its jovial hues serve a practical purpose as a SCUBA decompression timer, should you fancy a deep dive in the lake this summer.
Swatch SISTEM51 Hodinkee Summer Edition
Aside from an undying enthusiasm for discussing watches ad nauseam, the folks at Hodinkee also share with us a love for Swatch’s affordable, cheerful and stylish designs. This summer they’ve released their second collab with the fun-loving watch brand, sporting a bright white case, blue and black hour markers and a Swiss-made automatic movement. How much more summer can you be?
TAG Heuer Carrera Montreal
To mark their 160th anniversary, TAG Heuer is going to be putting out a lot of new watches this year, but we may have already found our favourite. The new Carrera Montreal is a limited edition inspired by a 1970s model, and features a colourful blue, white and yellow dial with a bright red seconds hand. A fun-loving motorsports watch for Canada’s most motorsports-loving city.
Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Chronograph
While it may not inspire the same kind frenzy as the Royal Oak, the CODE 11.59 is one of the most original watch designs of recent years, and was just made even more unique by the addition of a selection of new colours and materials. This version, a chronograph with a rose gold case, smoked purple dial and matching purple alligator strap is a big flex, but we’re here for it.
Urwerk EMC TimeHunter “Desert Sage”
Aside from a look seemingly inspired by Starship Troopers, the EMC TimeHunter boasts some pretty interesting technology on the inside. Powered by a manual-wound Swiss movement, this watch sets itself apart by allowing the wearer to monitor its amplitude and accuracy via displays on the face, and make adjustments via a screw on the back. With technology borrowed from the company that designed motors for the Mars Rover, the TimeHunter is more science-fact than science-fiction.
Hublot Big Bang Unico 45 Sky Blue
Summer is all about blue skies, sunny days and cool, clear water, three things that directly inspired Hublot’s latest drop. The case is made out of ceramic in the shade of a crystal lagoon, while the strap is a white woven fabric secured by velcro, calling to mind a ship’s sails. We’d normally be hesitant to suggest taking a watch this nice to the beach, but if you’re lucky enough to snag one of the 100 editions of this Big Bang, you pretty much have to.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue”
We’ve already covered this year’s first/only/best Tudor launch in detail, but we’d be remiss to leave it off this list. It is pretty much everything you’d want in a summer watch.
Richard Mille RM 11-05
With its jaunty blue and orange colour scheme, skeleton dial revealing titanium components, flyback chronograph and GMT function, this is already a very special watch before adding in the appeal of a case made out of Cermet. This exclusive Richard Mille material combines the lightness of titanium and hardness comparable to diamond, giving it exceptional toughness and wearability. In short, it’s just the thing for doing swan dives off the deck of your mega-yacht, without having to worry about scuffs and scratches.