If you’re not ready to drop 5+ digits on a men’s watch collection, versatility becomes a key selling point. And even if you are, it never hurts to have a few things in your horological arsenal that match the majority of your wardrobe. With that in mind, we’ve gathered up a few of our favourite watches that can accompany you anywhere, whether you’re dressed to impress in a suit or relaxing on the weekend in sneakers and shorts.
1. Panerai Luminor Base Logo Acciaio
Simplicity reigns supreme when versatility is the goal, and few do it with the elegance of the Panerai base models. The PAM00000 – also known as ‘Zero’ and ‘Logo’ – needs little introduction for Panerai fans. Despite being one of the brand’s cheapest entry level offerings, it is also one of the most sought after. Of course, if you’re a collector looking for one of the originals, “cheap” no longer factors into it. Either way, the PAM00000 is a brilliantly simple, military-styled watch that will be by your side for many years (and outfits) to come.
2. Breitling Superocean Heritage 46
Breitling’s functional but elegant Superocean Heritage 46 echoes the design of the legendary 1950s model. The styling is classic, with either a steel mesh bracelet or a sporty perforated rubber strap. For those who thrive on options, the dial and unidirectional rotating bezel are available in 3 matching colour options: black, blue or green. You also have a choice in case sizes – either 46mm or 42mm. With so many opportunities to customise, the Superocean Heritage 46 can easily be constructed to suit your tastes and needs.
3. Rolex Submariner Date
Not all timepieces are created equally, and when it comes to luxury items and their accompanying luxury price tags, you want to know that you’re getting what you’ve paid for. With the Rolex Submariner Date, there’s no question. The divers’ watch has been an icon since its original release in 1953 and remains one of the most sought-after watches in the world, meaning you can get away with wearing it anywhere you damn well want. As Rolex so rightly puts it, the Submariner is “probably the only divers’ watch you can wear with a tuxedo.”
4. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch
IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch more than lives up to its name. With a case that clocks in at 46mm, it is indeed a physically big watch. It also holds the largest IWC-manufactured movement (51111). But it’s also big in a more metaphorical sense. Where watches are concerned, this is the big leagues. More than 70 years after its release, the Big Pilot’s Watch is still a profound influence on the pilot’s watch genre and a favourite for collectors. And speaking of big, it’s also a big financial investment – but with its classic good looks, it can be worn every day.
5. Glashütte Original Sixties Square Chronograph
By now you may be noticing something of a visual theme. Lots of black. Lots of steel. Lots of leather straps. Uncomplicated dials. The Sixties Square Chronograph from Glashütte is no exception. The watch’s retro influences translate into an arresting geometric design with stalk-type chronograph pushers and a cushion-shaped stainless steel case. The black and white dial is simple and well-balanced, finishing off this distinctive and stylish chronograph.
6. Cartier Calibre De Cartier Diver
The Calibre De Cartier Diver is a young watch compared to many on this list and easily one of the most surprising. A dive watch seems like an unlikely release from Cartier, but now that it’s here it feels like a perfect match. The watch manages to blend classic Cartier style with the technical requirements necessary for a divers’ watch into an unmistakably masculine timepiece. Whether you’re into it for its utilitarian function or its big brand name, the watch works.
7. OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M
Omega’s maritime legacy was the inspiration behind the Planet Ocean line, introduced in 2005. The Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M is the result of a partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation, an organisation that promotes environmental awareness and sustainable development. Water resistant to 600 metres, the watch features a 45.5mm stainless steel case, a helium-escape valve, and the Omega Co-Axial cailbre 8500 at its heart. Flip it over for a transparent caseback with “GoodPlanet Foundation” engraved around its periphery.
8. Longines Heritage 1973
With ‘heritage’ in the name, you expect retro styling and that’s exactly what the Longines Heritage 1973 delivers. The cushion-shaped chronograph takes its look from a famous (though rarely seen) watch from – you guessed it – 1973. The new watch is remarkably similar to its predecessor. Though it’s slightly larger (at 40mm), it retains all the original lines. Inside you’ll find the L688 calibre, a column-wheel chronograph developed by ETA specifically for Longines. Visually the Heritage 1973 is busier and more colourful than anything else on this list, but it’s still a very wearable watch.
What The Experts Say
Chris La Galle – The Watch Gallery Melbourne
Chris says that the key to buying a classic men’s watch is to choose a piece with proper substance, whilst also keeping it simple.
“Look beyond merely aesthetic traits; instead, attention should be paid to the quality of the movement and case construction, as well as the brand and its history.”
“I would advise looking at pieces that are timeless in design and of a reasonable size; put less of a focus on current trends and try to avoid catalogue transients.”
James Kennedy – LK Boutique
James says that there are three main considerations to address when selecting a classic men’s watch.