Opinion: Best Summer Watch Picks

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue

As of this past Saturday, summer has officially arrived. If you’re anything like us here at Wound For Life, you’ll know that the changing of the seasons is the perfect reason (excuse) to add a new watch into your collection. Whether your interests lie in vintage or modern watches, we’ve got you covered for the ultimate summer watches of 2014, to keep your wrist company during the warmer months. Wallets beware.

Vintage

Seiko 6105

Seiko 6105 — Photo courtesy of WUS member Chris Moy

Seiko 6105 ($700)

For a Japanese watch like the Seiko 6105, it surprisingly has some American history tied to it. The 6105 was Seiko’s third dive watch when it was first introduced back in 1968, and it made its way onto the wrists of several Americans in combat during the Vietnam War. A 6105 was also famously worn by Martin Sheen in the film “Apocalypse Now”. With a large, rugged cushion case and luminous dial designed for underwater reading, this Seiko is a genuine tool watch. It’s also equipped with a self-winding 17-jewel Seiko movement, which is renowned for precision and durability still to this day. This is without a doubt a greatly important vintage watch that can still take a beating, which makes it perfect for diving into the backyard pool.

These can be often found in the sales sections of several forums for around $700. Check out Watch Recon for a condensed view of all watches currently for sale on several forums.

Rolex GMT Master ref 1675

Rolex GMT Master ref 1675 — Photo courtesy of HQ Milton

Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 (8,800)

This is a revolutionary tool watch that needs no introduction. Its older sister, the reference 6542, was first launched in 1954 in collaboration with Pan American Airways as an aviators watch. The modified automatic movements accommodated a fourth hand, to display a second time zone by rotating the 24-hour bezel to the desired position. The larger, and aluminum-bezeled 1675 was then introduced in 1959 with the newer Caliber 1565 movement, and has gone on to become one of the most instantly recognizable Rolex models ever made. With aged custard-color tritium dials, and vibrant red and blue “Pepsi” bezels, this watch has that perfect pop of color and vintage flair to match your summer wardrobe.

Here’s an excellent example that’s currently for sale at San Francisco’s HQ Milton. Its got just about everything you could ask for in a vintage piece and then some, as it’s all original and comes complete with the original box, papers, and hang tag for $8,800.

DOXA Sub 300 Sharkhunter

DOXA Sub 300 Sharkhunter — Photo courtesy of Analog/Shift

Doxa Sub 300T ($2,500 to 2,700)

Having been introduced to the US by Jacques Cousteau’s dive equipment retailer “US Divers” in the late 1960’s, the Doxa Sub 300T arrived back in the glory days of diving. While the Doxa name might be lesser known to the average collector, they’ve got a great history and a laundry list of impactful innovations that make Doxa’s some of the most important watches in dive watch history. They introduced now commonplace design aspects like the rotating bezel with no-decompression table readout, orange dials, and helium escape valves to the general public. With elusive variants such as the Searambler, Sharkhunter, Aqua-Lung, and Divingstar, you’ll certainly have some deciding to do on which version tickles your fancy.

NYC’s Analog/Shift is quite possibly the best place to find a 300T, as they’ve sold a number of great examples in the past. Check out their current selection of Doxa’s ranging from $2,500 to $2,700.

Modern

NOMOS Ahoi Atlantik

NOMOS Ahoi Atlantik

Nomos Ahoi Atlantik ($4,060)

Nomos definitely had one of the strongest collections to show off at Basel this year, which includes the new Ahoi Atlantik. Being Nomos’ more sports-oriented collection, the original Ahoi in 2013 represented the brand’s efforts to expand their market beyond their Bauhaus-esque dressier pieces, and as the name would suggest, the Ahoi is no stranger to the water. The watch boasts a 200-meter water resistance rating, making it perfect for swimming in the pool, or quite possibly even scuba diving for the more adventurous. This “Atlantik” moniker is in reference to the watch’s new dial variation, a rich navy blue, much like that of the ocean. With Nomos’ in-house automatic caliber Epsilon movement, finished and displayed beautifully through the sapphire caseback, you can’t argue with this piece at $4,060.

Tudor Black Bay Blue

Tudor Black Bay Blue flanked by a vintage Tudor Sub and red Heritage Black Bay — Photo courtesy of Irina (@watchgirlnyc on Instagram)

Tudor Black Bay Heritage Blue ($3,100 to $3,425)

Basel 2012 brought us the original red-bezel, gilt dialed Black Bay Heritage, and this year’s Basel show brought us the newer rendition of a dive watch we’ve come to love, in blue. The blue bezel is not only a great look, but also a nod back to their all blue Submariners, which are now prized by vintage collectors. Tudor maintained its reputation of vintage aesthetics, as it features the brand’s iconic “snowflake” hands and a large crown, free of crown-guards, but this time it was accompanied by a more modern twist. It’s a great choice for someone who prefers a cleaner design, as this Black Bay features a matte black dial, with silver luminous surrounds and hands, and white lettering versus gilt. Although the design is structurally identical, the changed details make this piece a whole different beast. It is currently available for $3,425 on bracelet, and $3,100 on a leather strap. I personally can’t wait until the bezels start to fade on these.

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Aluminum

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Aluminum

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Aluminum ($1,145)

Aluminum is a material that’s seldom used when producing watches, due to its soft nature and required surface treatments, but that didn’t discourage Hamilton. With the correct handling and crafting procedures, Hamilton has brought us the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Aluminum this year at Basel, a new pilot’s watch featuring the Hamilton H-10 automatic movement, which builds upon the brand’s long history of watches designed for aviation. The Khaki Pilot Pioneer collection features 41mm aluminum cases in four different anodized coatings: gold tone, black, blue, military green, and a champagne color. Its also worth noting that this new offering from Hamilton is quite comfortable on the wrist, due to its asymmetrical case shape, and evenly offset time setting crown and internal bezel crown. All variants are sold with a color-coordinating NATO strap, with nicely executed hardware at the reasonable price of just $1,145, making it a great choice for a watch to jet off on vacation with.

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While Isaac could very well be the youngest watch journalist on the web, what he lacks in grey hairs, he makes up with passion and enthusiasm. After being introduced to mechanical watches at the young age of 5, his interest was sparked and he’s been obsessed with timepieces ever since. To keep up with Isaac elsewhere, you can follow him on Instagram (@isaacwin). If you'd like to get in touch with Isaac, you can email him at isaac@woundforlife.com.

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