Sports watches are a growing trend. They generally have some of the characteristics of diver’s watches, or pilot’s or automotive watches, but with a water resistance of 100 metres which makes them everyday watches that can easily stand up to splashes or light surface swimming. Baume & Mercier have identified a sociological category, “gentlesportsmen,” people who play sports as part of their lifestyle, to keep fit, and to enjoy the socialization afterwards.
Rolex have been making “sports watches” right from the start of their history. All their watches have high water resistance ratings, and they are unique in that they say that their watches are waterproof to 200 metres (for example), rather than just water-resistant. Today, it feels as if 100 metres water resistance is going to become the standard, rather than the 30 metres that for years has been the standard for most watches.
Here is a selection of the latest sports watches, in ascending price order. Published on 5 June 2017, updated 11 February 2018.
1. Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba
The Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba looks like a diving watch, with unidirectional rotating bezel and screw-down crown, but its water resistance of 10 bar/100 metres makes it suitable at most for surface swimming. It is 40 mm in diameter, with a steel case and solid caseback. The dial and bezel are of diving watch inspiration, in two alternative colour schemes, black and orange, and all-black. The seconds track has thirds-of-seconds subdivisions, reflecting the movement rate of 3 Hertz. Inside is the self-winding ETA Powermatic 80, ETA CO7.111, which provides 80 hours power reserve, double with respect to the 40 or so hours of the ETA 2824 movements. Price €645 for the version with NATO strap. Read more here.
2. Mido Multifort Escape
Mido’s Multifort Escape is a sports watch originating from the pilot’s watch genre, with the typical simple dial layout with Arabic numerals, hands with SuperLuminova, large conical crown, and a water resistance of 10 bar, 100 metres. The case is in stainless steel, 44 mm in diameter and 11 mm thick, given an antique-style patina by means of a PVD coating. The display caseback reveals the Calibre 80.611 movement, self-winding with a Mido-branded oscillating weight. It is the ETA C07 or Powermatic 80, an updated version of the 2824-2. Its principal benefit is a power reserve of 80 hours, over three days, obtained by means of the mainspring by Nivarox, and the lower balance frequency, 3 Hertz. Three versions are available, price €810, available from July 2017. Read more here.
3. Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic
The new Startimer Pilot Automatic by Alpina is a classic pilot’s watch, with a Sellita SW200 self-winding movement, at a retail price of under €900. Its water resistance, 10 bar, 100 metres, is enough to ensure that the watch will survive being accidentally dropped into the water or used for surface swimming. It makes it an all-round sports watch. It achieves this water resistance by means of a screw-down crown. It costs €895. Read more here.
4. Locman Montecristo All Carbon Automatic
For 2017, the Montecristo All Carbon has been redesigned, with a smaller case and more fluid lines. With a water resistance of 10 atm/100 metres and its silicone strap in bright colours, blue, red or yellow, it is very much an all-weather, sports watch. It has a case made starting from from a 2mm carbon thread, itself made up of thousands of coupled microthreads, creating an attractive surface. It is 40 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick, virtually a unisex watch. It wears well, it feels light, and the smooth, silky texture of the silicone strap is very pleasant. The watch has a self-winding movement. Price €1,390. Read more here.
5. Baume & Mercier Clifton Club
The Clifton Club is slim and attractive, in a 42 mm case that is 10.3 mm thick. The lugs form a continuous curve with the caseband and on the right-hand side, they flow smoothly to form the crown protector. The crown is screw-down, the watch has a unidirectional rotating bezel and a screw-down caseback, and the second hand has a touch of SuperLuminova so you can see that the watch is still operating even in low light conditions. But it’s in the design that the Clifton Club stands out. The touches of orange on the bezel, the seconds hand and the inner edge of the chapter ring are distinctive features. The watch is powered by the Sellita SW200 movement. The Baume & Mercier Clifton Club is available in five versions. Prices start at 1,740 Swiss francs, $1,950, €1,950. Read more here.
6. Anonimo Nautilo Leopard
Anonimo has presented a limited-edition version of its Nautilo with an attractive “Blue Leopard” (energy drink) colour. This watch has a 44.4 mm case in brushed and DLC-coated steel, water resistance 200 metres, with a uni-directional rotating bezel and screw-down crown. It is powered by the Sellita SW200-1 movement, which provides 38 hours power reserve . The strap is in black rubber with steel pin buckle, and a NATO strap is also provided as a complimentary accessory. Price 1,990 Swiss francs. Read more here.
7. Mühle-Glashütte Teutonia Sport II
Mühle-Glashütte’s Teutonia Sport II is directly derived from automotive sports. The dial is quite complex, with a subdial for seconds at 9 o’clock, a vertical date window reminiscent of IWC’s pilot’s watches, and two rings at the edge of the dial, one for the applied hour markers, and one for the minutes. The watch has a stainless steel case with screw-in crown and a screw-down caseback. As a result, it achieves a water resistance of 10 bars, making it an excellent all-weather watch. The strap, leather outside and orange rubber inside, also stands up to the rain. The watch is powered by the self-winding Sellita SW 290-1, a Swiss-made movement that has been modified with a Mühle oscillating weight, and the company’s woodpecker neck regulation system on the balance that makes precision adjustment easier and more effective. The brand’w watches reach the level of the German chronometer standard. Read more here.
8. Bell & Ross Vintage Garde-Côtes Automatic
The Vintage Garde-Côtes Automatic by Bell & Ross was designed as a tribute to French coastguard helicopter rescue services. The water resistance of 100 metres – sufficient to resist splashes, rain, even surface swimming – and the bi-directional rotating bezel make this a good all-weather watch. The case is 41 mm in diameter, in stainless steel. The steel rotating bezel has a ring in black aluminium and a 60 minute scale. The watch is powered by the self-winding BR-CAL.302 movement, which is presumably a personalized version of the Sellita SW300. It costs €2,600 with black rubber strap, €2,900 with steel bracelet. Read more here.
9. Montblanc TimeWalker Automatic Date
Montblanc’s TimeWalker Automatic Date is a sports watch with a 100 metres water resistance, and a unidirectional rotating bezel that can be used for taking approximate times, or for keeping track of a second time zone. It was inspired by the world of motor sports. The dial is reminiscent of dashboard instruments, with numerals for minutes and not hours, and the red seconds hand with arrow-shaped tip. The knurled crown and the strap with perforations are classic motor sports features, and the lugs have a shallow recess on the side suggesting car air intakes. The case is a moderate 41 mm, 11.38 mm thick, in stainless steel with matt satinated finish. The caseback has a relatively small window displaying the MB 24.17 movement, which is the Sellita SW200-1, in turn based on the ETA 2824. Prices start at €2,990, $2,985, available from June 2017. Read more here.
10. NOMOS Glashütte Ahoi
The Ahoi series features trendy colours, and 200 metres water resistance that makes them excellent as sports watches. Case sizes are 36.3 mm or 40.3 mm, so unisex or men’s respectively. In addition to size, NOMOS also give customers the choice of whether or not to have a date window. The Ahoi neomatic is powered by the NOMOS DUW 3001 movement, visible through the sapphire caseback, designed and built in-house, finely finished. Power reserve is about 42 hours. The 16 models in the range have a textile strap in blue-black or light grey, which dries very quickly after contact with water. Prices range from €3,080 for the 36 mm Ahoi, to €3,620 for the larger watches with the DUW 5101 movement. Read more here.
11. Breitling Superocean Héritage II
The Superocean is a dive watch, with 200 metres water resistance, unidirectional rotating bezel and screw-down crown. But it’s more of a sports watch, because it is missing two of the characteristic features of a true diver’s watch, minute divisions for the first 15 minutes on the bezel, and a way of discerning that the watch is running in the dark. The case is 42 or 46 mm in diameter, with the B20 movement, based on the Tudor Calibre MT5612, and presumably supplied by Tudor. This is part of an agreement between the two brands to share movements and facilitate the move away from ETA calibres. The B20 provides 70 hours power reserve and COSC certification. There are several dial and strap colour options. Prices start from €3,900, and the watches are available from August 2017. Read more here.
12. Chopard Happy Ocean
Chopard’s Happy Ocean watches have a 300 metre water resistance, along with the mobile diamonds that hallmark the brand’s “Happy” watches. Other features from diving watches are the unidirectional rotating bezel, screw-down crown, the hands and hour markers with luminescent paint, and the second hand with a small circular dot of SuperLuminova to show that the watch is running while you are in the dark underwater. The 40 mm steel case is 14.21 mm thick. At night the watch reveals another touch of quirky humour, with SuperLuminova creating jewels of light, green-emitting on the minute hand and bezel reference dot, and blue-emitting for the hour hand and hour markers. Straps are in turquoise or raspberry rubber. A navy blue NATO strap is also provided with each watch. The Happy Ocean watch is powered by a self-winding Chopard movement (01.01-C) that was designed and made by the company. Prices from €7,690, $8,780, 7,800 Swiss francs. Read more here.
13. Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date
The Polaris Date by Jaeger-LeCoultre is an interesting timepiece, in part an everyday automatic watch, and in part a thoroughbred sports watch. It can be taken underwater, with a water resistance of 200 metres, and it has a resilient rubber strap with a folding buckle, or a steel bracelet. The inner rotating bezel can be used to time events. The Polaris Date by Jaeger-LeCoultre costs €7,850 inclusive of VAT. Read more here.
14. Piaget Polo S
The new Polo S case is pure Piaget, with the complex cased based on a cushion-shape with a flat bezel. The case is 42 mm wide and 9.4 mm thick, with a water resistance rating of 100 metres. The Piaget 1110P movement runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz) and provides 48 hours power reserve. The watch is available in three versions, prices from €10,900. Read more here.
15. Pierre DeRoche TNT GMT Power Reserve 43
The TNT GMT Power Reserve 43 by Pierre DeRoche combines the tough, stealth-like looks of the 43 mm TNT case with a more classical dial that has a power reserve display at bottom left balanced by the GMT subdial at top right, and a banker’s date arrangement, a long date hand with crescent tip pointing to numerals on the inner bezel flange. It’s a truly tough, all-weather watch, with a screw-lock crown and a water resistance rating of 100 metres. At first glance, there seems to be no indication of the seconds, but in fact the small rotor on top of the central pivot for the hands rotates and shows that the watch is running. The movement, made by Dubois Dépraz, is self-winding, with a power reserve of 42 hours. Price from 13,900 Swiss francs. Read more here.
16. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Calibre 5100
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Calibre 5100 is a 41 mm watch, 11 mm thick. It is powered by the new Calibre 5100, with a power reserve of over 60 hours provided by the two mainspring barrels. The screw-down caseback and crown enable a water resistance rating of 15 bar, 150 metres. The watch is supplied with three interchangeable strap options, a steel bracelet with a superb design incorporating part of the Maltese cross logo, and straps in rubber and leather. Changing the strap radically changes the character of the watch, and it’s a feature that virtually gives you three watches at the price of one. Along with the good water resistance, the quick-change straps make the watch a practical instrument for everyday use. Prices from €21,800, £18,610, $19,900. Read more here.
17. Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso PAM00684
In this piece, Panerai translates the Submersible aesthetic into solid gold and reduces the case size to 42 mm. This watch is the luxury version of the PAM00682, with a lower water resistance – 100 metres. The self-winding P.9010 movement has a power reserve of three days, and provides the stop-second function. The strap in corrugated rubber has a buckle in red gold. The strap can be detached by the user as the bars are screwed. Price €25,900, limited edition of 250 pieces, available from July 2017. Read more here.