Face Off: Daily Beaters

iwc mark xii

Regardless of how extravagant a collection you may have, you’ll always need a daily beater. This is the watch that you’ll gladly wear day in, day out, both at work and at play, while not necessarily worrying about getting wet, or nicking the case every now and then. Having said that, a daily beater still should look the part of a timeless, fine wristwatch, that’s capable of holding its own against new releases for years to come. With all of these factors mind, I’ve assembled a list of three sturdy watches that are surely up to the task of filling the daily beater void in your collection, without breaking the bank too badly.

 

IWC Pilot MK XII

iwc mark xii

IWC Mark XII — photo courtesy of European Watch Company

If there’s one thing IWC is known for, it’s their pilot’s watches, and this is not without good reason. Since 1936, the Schaffhausen based manufacture has notably been producing bonafide tool watches like the “Special Watch For Pilots,” the 52-calibre T. S. C., and the Mark XI for military use, though in recent years, it could be said that the brand’s greater focus on marketing has left something to be desired in their core lineup. Luckily, examples of the Mark XII — a watch that truly captures the spirit of IWC, from what I would consider to be one of the greatest periods in the brand’s history — are readily available on the secondhand market at relatively affordable prices.

At just 36 millimeters across, the Mark XII doesn’t wear too large on the wrist, making it a great contender for an everyday wear piece. It’s small enough to fit snugly under your cuff, and thanks to its extremely legible, and luminous dial, you’re sure to not have a problem with telling the time (especially with a reliable JLC-based caliber inside). Essentially, the Mark XII is everything you need, and nothing you don’t, all wrapped up in an extremely durable, and reliable package. I personally think these watches look especially sharp when worn on their original mesh bracelet.

Rolex Explorer Ref. 14270

Rolex Explorer 14270

Rolex Explorer 14270 — photo courtesy of our friends at Fratello Watches

Ask any Rolex aficionado about the greatest tool watch of all time, and you’ll quickly be cut off mid-sentence with your answer — the Explorer. For generations, climbers and explorers have relied on Rolex Oysters like the Explorer to keep track of time while traversing some of the harshest conditions on Earth, and upon deconstructing and analyzing this wristwatch, it’s easy to see why. With Rolex’s world renowned build quality, and a no nonsense, to-the-point aesthetic that’s equal parts understated flair and robust function, the time-only Explorer gets the job done with ease, and looks good while doing it.

Rolex’s Ref. 14270 is the reference the brought the Explorer into the modern era. Through the use of an all new case, dial, movement, and sapphire crystal, the brand breathed new life into the Explorer line by making it more hardwearing, all while maintaining the original lines and 36 mm size of previous Explorer references. If you’re looking for something that you can wear in pretty much any setting, from hiking through the backcountry to hammering out deals in the boardroom, it really doesn’t get much better.

Bremont Solo

Bremont SOLO

Here at Wound For Life, we’ve always held the British, brotherly-run brand that is Bremont in high regard. From their earliest days, they’ve always produced watches capable of performing to the standards of those seeking adventure, and this comes largely as a result of their signature, “Trip-Tick” cases, that are treated to Bremont’s B-EBE2000 steel hardening process. By using a combination of heat, electron, and carbon treatments, Bremont has been able to strengthen their cases to be nearly nine times harder than that of the competition, making them the perfect choice for a daily beater that’s bound to get knocked around every once in a while.

Although the Solo may Bremont’s entry-level piece, the brand still decided to graciously incorporate all of their cutting-edge technology into the manufacturing process of this watch, making it just as durable as any of their other higher end offerings. It could also be argued that the Solo is the most versatile design that Bremont currently offers, given its nondescript and neatly laid out dial, which Bremont produces in both black and white. It’s also their only men’s watch you can get under 43mm with their Solo 37 model.

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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.

14 Comments

  • May 23, 2016

    Paul B

    You might also conclude that the Tudor Pelagos, a high performing titanium divers watch, with an in-house movement and splendid selection of bracelets and bands is the way to go! I recently spent a month in the Caribbean, with one watch, my Pelagos. I left my Pateks, JLC, Rolexs and even Nomos behind. One care free watch, a great performer both in and out of the ocean. No watches stuffed in sneakers, or in the safe, at home on the beach or at a casino.

    • May 23, 2016

      Shane Griffin

      The Pelagos is a great watch, but I think the point of the article was to choose more understated, everyday pieces. The Pelagos is clearly in the dive watch category, and can be a bit more polarizing in dressier situations. But I will agree, the Pelagos is perfect for a Caribbean vacay.

  • May 23, 2016

    Alessandro

    Whilst I agree to your recommendation of IWC and Rolex, Bremont should be a beater in the sense that it should never be a piece in anyone’s collection. For a similar price, you can get a REAL and Swiss watch with nearly flawless history, such as the Longines Conquest!

    • May 23, 2016

      Shane Griffin

      Are Bremont’s not real watches? Care to explain?

      Longines with a nearly flawless history? You know, they’re not AT ALL the same company they were when they made the original Conquests.

      It’s totally fine if you like another watch over the Bremont, everyone has opinions. However, it should be for the right reasons.

      • May 23, 2016

        Alessandro

        Nearly nobody cares about Bremont, let’s face it.

      • May 23, 2016

        Alessandro

        Alternatively, I would choose a Tudor or a Sinn over the Bremont…

      • May 23, 2016

        Alessandro

        And to be very honest, I would also favor a Tissot over a Bremont.

        • May 24, 2016

          Shane Griffin

          You clearly have no interest in a real conversation. I’d say “thanks for contributing,” but I wouldn’t mean it.

  • May 23, 2016

    Alessandro

    … not for the prices they’re asking for…

  • May 23, 2016

    Alessandro

    Never seen one on anyone’s wrist, maybe in the UK, who knows….

    • May 23, 2016

      Spitfire

      Very ignorant. I own 3 Bremonts along with a Rolex Seadweller and Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer, and I can tell you Bremont makes a very refined and rugged time piece which would challenge the very best! Again, if you’re unfamiliar with a brand, do some homework, research and please keep the negative comments to yourself. A true horologist will be open to any and all watch brands.

    • May 26, 2016

      Jonathan Hughes

      I agree with Spitfire; I’m baffled by your anti-Bremont sentiment. I own the Bremont Terra Nova, alongside a whole bunch of other sport watches (a Sub, a couple of Speedies, a Daytona and a Royal Oak) and it easily maintains it’s place in the wrist rotation, down to its quality, wearability, and ability to take a daily beating and keep going. But I live in the UK, so maybe I’m just weird, Alessandro…

  • May 26, 2016

    Jay

    Bremont makes a model that is rated to survive an emergency jettison from an aircraft. I don’t understand how that is not the definition of the ultimate beater? I own a Bremont bought secondhand and had to send it in for servicing since it sat unused in someone’s collection for over a year. Not only a great watch, but impeccable and considerate service from their flagship store in the US and their service center in Henley-on-Thames.

  • June 6, 2016

    JFPisa

    Bremont is nothing but a dog and pony show and everyone knows it. They do not belong on a list with the likes of IWC and Rolex.

    This list could’ve been about 12 watches deep and should’ve included Omega (Seamaster), Seiko (any) and Hamilton (Khaki).