Five watches to handle an Aussie summer in style

Three key guidelines to keep in mind when you want to make a splash in more ways than one.

By Felix Scholz, December 18 2019

Look for a few key ingredients when it comes to choosing a watch well suited to the beach, the pool or the Backyard Ashes this summer: decent water resistance, a strap or bracelet that doesn't mind getting wet, and a sense of fun.

Yes, these may be arbitrary rules that don't necessarily hold water in real life. But remember the last time you wore a leather-strapped watch on a 40-degree day? That isn't a pleasant experience.

A watch on a metal, fabric or rubber strap is an excellent choice in the hot Australian climate and lends itself to a go-anywhere attitude. Impromptu dip in the pool? Don't let your watch hold you back (but do remember to take the phone out of your pocket).

Speaking of taking a plunge, water resistance is another essential element in a summer watch, because nothing kills your carefree buzz faster than water under the crystal of an expensive watch (trust me on this)

And while there's plenty of confusing information on how much water resistance is enough, my suggestion is – for regular or sustained swimming action – look for 100 metres or more. Water-resistance is ensured through a mix of rubber gaskets and a threaded winding crown.

Finally, the fun. This is subjective but for me, summer is as much an attitude as a time of year. Wearing a watch in summer isn't about knowing what the time is; it's about enjoying time. To this end, look for a watch that turns the dial from serious to playful.

Colour is a great way to achieve this, or perhaps a look that is just a little extra. We'll leave the particulars to you, but here are five options that tick all our boxes.

Breitling Superocean Automatic 44 Outerknown 

Developed in conjunction with surf legend Kelly Slater's sustainable surf ware brand Outerknown, this Breitling Superocean Automatic 44 is built for summer. The 44mm steel case with an olive dial and bezel is a little left of centre, and plenty ready for aquatic action with a whopping 1000m of water resistance, while a yellow-tipped seconds hand adds a dash of heat.

The Breitling Superocean Outerknown's NATO-style strap is woven from repurposed waste reclaimed from the oceans.
The Breitling Superocean Outerknown's NATO-style strap is woven from repurposed waste reclaimed from the oceans.

The real story, though, is the strap. It's a regular NATO-style strap, made from ECONYL® fabric. This material is woven from repurposed waste reclaimed from the oceans. Old fishing nets and other plastic debris have been put to good use with this sustainable (and stylish) strap. $5,590

Seiko 5 Sports

Keeping with the dive watch theme, we take a detour to the revamped version of the famous Seiko 5 – a line of watches that has defined reliability and value for over 50 years.

The Seiko 5 series has defined reliability and value for over 50 years.
The Seiko 5 series has defined reliability and value for over 50 years.

The most recent remake has seen the line take a distinctly sporty look, and while there's a surfeit of models on offer (currently 27!), we like the combination of this black and red number (reference SRPD83K1) on a black nylon strap. $550  

Casio G-Shock DW5600THB-7D

While this Casio delivers on the three criteria mentioned at the outset, where it excels is on the fun front. The wild colour scheme of pink, purple and white is a nod to all that fresh ‘90s nostalgia that's so en-vogue right now.

Despite the wild colour scheme, this light-hearted Casio more than lives up to the legendary G-Shock name.
Despite the wild colour scheme, this light-hearted Casio more than lives up to the legendary G-Shock name.

But don't let the bright colours fool you: the G-Shock is one seriously tough digital watch and packed with LCD-screen functionality to boot. This light-hearted watch more than lives up to the legendary G-Shock name. $249

Longines Hydroconquest

Let’s pare things back just a little with the Longines Hydroconquest. A watch that is - according to its name – designed to conquer the watery elements.

The Longines Hydroconquest is a watch that is designed and named to conquer the watery elements.
The Longines Hydroconquest is a watch that is designed and named to conquer the watery elements.

This 41mm steel watch has been built in the classic dive style – with hardy ceramic bezel, prominent crown guards, and highly luminous hands and markers. The unusual grey colour scheme adds some subtle personality into the equation, and the matching rubber strap with fabric pattern (bonus points for the ends of the strap being curved to fit the case) keeps the whole ensemble looking youthful. $2,175 

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 

We’ll complete this list with another diver: there's just something about this splash-happy, rugged design that seems to work well with summer. But this heritage-throwback Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 takes it up a notch, thanks to its wild watermelon styling.

There's something utterly charming about a watch named the 'Sea Wolf' popping a soft green bezel and light pink chapter ring.
There's something utterly charming about a watch named the 'Sea Wolf' popping a soft green bezel and light pink chapter ring.

There's something utterly charming about taking a watch with a super macho name like the 'Sea Wolf' and popping a soft green bezel and light pink chapter ring on it. Besides the name and unusual colour pattern, it’s an eminently practical watch – 40mm case, 200 metres of water resistance, and a lovely domed sapphire crystal. US$1395

Felix Scholz

Felix Scholz is Executive Traveller’s watch editor, and one of Australia’s most respected authorities on the subject. As you might expect, he travels to Switzerland quite a lot.


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