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There are watches for the working weekday, the 9-to-5. There are dress watches for those special occasions: the big presentation, the fancy lunch, the anniversary dinner. And there are watches for the weekend: sometimes casual, but increasingly a bit more rugged.
Something robust enough to cope with minor knocks while doing some yard work, versatile enough to get a bit damp or dirty in the great outdoors.
A durable back-up to your daily wearer will have your back (well, your wrist) for many years, and needn’t break the bank; although don’t fall for a cheapie, either. Most candidates are broadly in the category of “sports watches”, and many designed especially for use in the water. Here's a selection for every wrist and every style.
Switzerland’s Luminox, founded in 1989, has enough models to supply an army – and possibly does, given that many editions are associated with groups such as the US Navy SEALS, police SWAT teams, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, air force squadrons and more.
A cornerstone of Luminox since day one has been its micro-gas tube illumination system, used on hands, indices and counters, and sometimes the bezel. Luminox says the material will provide a constant glow for 25 years.
The very gung-ho Luminox Navy SEAL Chronograph (45mm, quartz movement, rotating bezel; $829) is constructed from ultra-tough Carbonox compound, with a hardened mineral crystal protecting the dial. A double gasket helps stop any water getting in via the crown – handy, as this watch is water-resistant to 200m.
If the military grey/black look isn’t to your liking, check out the Luminox ICE-SAR, with its groovy blue dial/red-and-white hands combo.
The 46mm ICE-SAR is supplied to Iceland’s search and rescue team, so is designed to operate in pretty brutal conditions. It has a quartz movement housed in a Carbonox case and the watch is water resistant to 200m.
Tissot’s T-Race Cycling Tour De France 2019 Special Edition (44.5mm, quartz, water resistant to 100m; $700) is an ideal weekender.
The yellow-black livery pays homage to the race leader’s yellow jersey, and the chronograph operations (1/10 of a second, split time) are perfect for timing a pro race — or your best time to the bottle shop and back.
The $575 Citizen Eco-Drive Aqualand Marine Promaster is a limited edition model, with just 6,000 worldwide to mark 30 years of the Promaster series. It’s big and bold (46.1mm, water resistant to 200m) and powered by Citizen’s battery-free Eco-Drive technology.
The watch includes an analogue depth indicator, and even has an in-built alarm to alert divers if they ascend too fast. But if all this is too dive-centric for you, don’t fret. Citizen’s Promaster family has a multitude of variants, some with in-built GPS technology so the watch can automatically synch to the correct time in 39 world cities.
You’ll have to dig deeper into your wallet for a Breitling Superocean chronometer, a $5340 revamp of one of the brand’s classic dive watches.
Powered by an automatic Breitling Caliber 17 movement, the Superocean comes in five case sizes (48,46,44,42 and 36mm – the latter aimed at the smaller wrists of women).
The top-spec Automatic 48 is made from diamond-like carbon-coated titanium and is water-resistant to 300m, while a soft-iron inner case protects the movement from magnetic interference. There’s a range of bezel/dial colour combos – the blue bezel, snow-white dial is a standout.
Finally, if you want a back-up timepiece that wraps sports cred with dress-watch looks, Raymond Weil’s Tango Chronograph (there are multiple men’s and women’s variants, from $1995) fits the bill nicely.
This one (43mm, stainless steel case, quartz movement, stainless steel band) is water-resistant to 300m and features a tachymeter scale around the anodised black aluminium bezel.