The luxury watch category faces a particular conundrum. Given their price of entry, luxury watches are often treated as precious and delicate things, leading owners to fear the faintest scratch or scuff. This is certainly understandable, as people are often drawn to protect and preserve the things they spend good money on. The unfortunate byproduct of this is that many luxury watches — especially those deemed a part of the “tool watches” category — are never used to their full potential.
As we organized this shoot session, the one factor we continuously kept in mind was simple; let’s highlight watches that were built with the intention of daily wear and tear. Watches that can go to work, that can go out into the great outdoors, watches that are meant used in whatever circumstance or situation life throws at you.
Starting with Breitling, there’s little in the brand’s catalog that can’t honestly take a beating. The Superocean line is a safe bet here, not to mention a diverse one. On one end, the Superocean Heritage line brings big vintage energy to the table, whereas the newly refreshed “standard” Superocean variants walk a line between retro energy and modern cool.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer
World timers are still rather rare in the watch world when compared to other complications, but even more rare are models that aren’t dressy little units meant to live under a dressy cuff. The Aqua Terra 150M World Timer got a couple of updates this year, including this sleek grey/black variant cased in titanium and topped with a black ceramic bezel.
Glashütte Original SeaQ
When most people think of Glashütte Original, a dive watch isn’t typically front of mind, but don’t let that dissuade you in the least. This SeaQ is based on an old diver the brand made in 1969, and its 39.5mm steel case and beautifully crafted bracelet make it more than capable of competing with the likes of Omega, Blancpain, and other top-shelf dive watches. This 200m diver is also rather slender, making it all the more friendly for daily wear.
Panerai Luminor Regatta Chrono Flyback
No, it’s not nearly as svelte as the Glashütte Original above, and at 47mm in diameter it takes a rather large wrist to pull it off, but the Panerai Luminor Regatta Chrono Flyback is a fantastic piece of utility kit. It’s clever regatta timer mechanism adds further functionality to the standard flyback chronograph, allowing users to set a countdown timer of up to 15 minutes. It’s also beastly enough to survive the looming apocalypse… Probably.
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 SLGA015G Diver
Grand Seiko is another one of those underdogs, at least in the eyes of those who’ve been programmed into the old idea that the Swiss always know best when it comes to watchmaking. This large yet elegant titanium diver has that same textured dial charm as many of the brand’s dressier counterparts, and is powered by an incredibly precise Spring Drive caliber. The bonus? Its mechanical power reserve is a healthy five days.
The Longines Spirit is your quintessential daily tool watch, in many respects. It runs adjacent the old pilot’s watch category, but more than anything it’s a clean, simple, slim, legible, and well-built timekeeper that does the rare “dress up or dress down” energy perfectly. It also comes in three sizes to suit a variety of wrist sizes: 42, 40, and 37mm.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer 200
There’s nothing wrong with a tool watch having a little splash of precious metals to it, after all, two-tone watches have seen a huge resurgence over the last two or three years. In the case of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 200, a gold bezel insert and crown have no impact on the overall durability of the watch — it’s still a tanky little diver, just a touch more flashy. In its 30mm women’s watch spec, the brand even adds a blue mother-of-pearl dial and diamond indices.
Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph
You’ll note we’re hitting Glashütte Original a second time here, but it’s for good reason. The Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date doesn’t scream tool watch until you get a closer look at its build spec. Offered on a rubber strap (or leather, or steel bracelet), it has 100m of water resistance, a screw-down crown, and a self-winding caliber with 70 hours of power reserve. This is a power move watch, plain and simple. Wear it into the boardroom, then take it up the backside of a mountain. It won’t know the difference, it’ll just keep ticking along with ease.
Bremont MB Savanna
Last but certainly not least we have the Bremont MB Savanna, and on the list of watches built to take a beating, this one is pretty hard to beat. You see, the MB was developed with the help of the people over at Martin-Baker — the company responsible for building and testing fighter jet ejection seats. If this watch can handle the extreme conditions of ejection (yes, it can), there’s little you can do to stop it. Fun fact, the MBI is a special version of this watch that is only offered to pilots who have suffered through an emergency ejection.