The recent victory of Joseph Schooling in the Rio 2016 Olympics coincides has certainly piqued Singaporean interest in swimming. In tribute to our first national gold medal earned by a born and bred Singaporean in the international games, Deployant dedicates this weekend to recommendations for that perfect swimming watch.
While there are many watches out there which make intuitive sense as swimming companions, Deployant would like to look beyond mere water resistance. With more stringent criteria like relative lightweight, thus ruling out your typical Submariner, and compose a list of surprising yet thoughtfully appropriate watches for your swimming ventures.
So, what are some of the pieces that we have selected? Let’s find out!
Seiko PADI Prospex Diver’s Watch
The first watch on the list is none other than the remake of Seiko’s legendary Diver’s Watch – the Prospex Diver’s Watch, also known as the “Turtle Reissue”.
A Seiko Diver’s Watch is a quintessential piece in any collection, due to its practicality and relative affordability; by definition, it’s also a great watch for novice collectors. Not only does it feature an in-house movement (a critical if at times contextually misunderstood requirement for collectors), the watch is also robust enough for not just swimming but a slew of other outdoor activities. It’s the kind of watch which could follow you from conscripted military service through graduation. And the best part? Its price point. While the PADI Edition – with its sunburst blue dial – is slightly more expensive at €430 (approximately S$645), one can alternatively look at the more modestly priced variants, such as the SKX007/009 or the usual variants from the Prospex collection. The latter two are great choices as well, within the budget range of your average undergraduate and certainly as mechanically capable in terms of performance as their pricier Swiss counterparts.
A full hands-on review of the Automatic Diver’s: SRPA21 , in our usual analytical format will be online soon. Watch out for it here!
Amongst WIS (watch idiot savants), the Sinn U1 is probably a watch that doesn’t needs much introduction, that said, it doesn’t enjoy the big marketing budgets of some of the better known brands and so it’s sort of an open secret to the watch-loving market at large. In terms of reputation, Sinn watches are often touted by collectors as one of the more robust, serially produced timepieces and the U1 is probably a good representation of Germany’s prowess in the field of technology and manufacturing.
While the U1 is not exactly a lightweight timepiece, its capabilities make up for the heftiness. Notably, the German Submarine Steel case allows the watch enjoy water-resistance of up to 1,000m, and it is said to be much stronger than traditional stainless steel watches. Furthermore, the use of the rubber strap while not sartorially ideal, is practical, especially since the watch will be frequently used underwater.
The U1 comes in many different variants, including the Camouflage (S$4,700) as seen above. Given the wealth of options, they are pretty fashionable, having said that we still prefer the basic black dial edition. The U1 encapsulates what it means to be a no-nonsense, solid and serious tool watch capable of performing at any scenario. You could take a leaf from Bond and put this bad boy on a patent leather NATO strap and probably wear it as a dress watch (even if you shouldn’t ideally).
The Tudor Pelagos is one of the more popular pieces in Tudor’s line-up, following a complete revamp of the entire collection over the last few years. Partially inspired by the Submariner, and mostly by the “Snowflake” in Tudor’s heritage archives, the Pelagos has become a defining timepiece in Tudor’s renaissance- that respectful acknowledgement of past glories without blindly and completely copying the original.
Following the launch of Tudor’s new in-house movement in 2015, the watchmaker had decided to give the Pelagos a timely upgrade. The watch now features the in-house MT5612 automatic movement and boasts an impressive power reserve of around 70 hours (usually reserved for watches with far higher price tags). Icing on the cake, it is COSC-certified as well.
Interestingly, despite its sheer size, the Pelagos is actually a pretty light watch. This is possible thanks to the use of titanium for both its bracelet and case which significantly reduces the weight of the timepiece. Coupled with a lovely matte blue dial, the Tudor Pelagos is a timepiece performs exemplarily in both form and function. It retails at CHF4,200 (approximately S$5,796).
Omega Seamaster 300
There are a number of dive watches in the market – in fact, a few of the watches that we have highlighted today are from the same category as well. However, there aren’t many out there, sans the Submariner, which has a reputation that is as well known as the Seamaster. It is, after all, James Bond’s choice of timepiece.
The Seamaster 300, launched in Baselworld 2014, steps in a direction more nostalgic than its siblings in the Seamaster collection. For instance, the new dial is reminiscent of vintage 1950s Omega Seamaster watches, juxtaposed with a modern ceramic bezel featuring space-age Liquidmetal diving scale. Powered by the the Master Co-Axial movement, the new Seamaster 300 pulls heavy duty 60 hour power reserve, as well as anti-magnetic properties of up to 15,000 Gauss.
As usual, the Seamaster 300 is available in several options; but our choice will be the variant that is cased is grade 5 titanium (retailing at S$11,650). Not only is it lighter than compared to the other versions, but we feel that it is also more comfortable and practical for any strenuous activities such as swimming in butterfly stroke where arm movements are greatly exaggerated.
IWC Aquatimer 2000
When it comes to IWC watches, both the Pilot’s and the Portugieser collection are probably what most collectors are familiar with. However, we believe that the Aquatimer series offers collectors not only an excellent alternative but also the historical provenance of being recognised as the progenitors of contemporary dive watches when IWC worked with Porsche Design to create an innovative and unique modern diver’s watch.
Our choice for this article today is the Aquatimer Automatic 2000. The Automatic 2000, as its name suggests, is an incredible dive watch that is rated for up to 2,000m water resistance. It might be a little over-engineered for swimming but given that you a likely to spend more time out of water than in it, the many different details and aesthetic cues which come from “over-engineering” make for fascinating inspection. We chose this piece for two reasons: lightweight titanium case, as well as the watch’s stylish design.
While the likes of Submariners and Seamasters are definitely more popular with the consumers, we reckon the Aquatimer gives its competitors a run for their money as well. It also offers a variety of complications, which we think that it will appeal to collectors who wish to own a dive watch that comes with different functions like depth gauge or even a perpetual calendar. However, if one wishes to opt for something that is simpler and cleaner, then Aquatimer Automatic 2000 (retailing at S$13,900) that is pictured above will be the watch that you should look at.
Richard Mille RM27-02 Rafael Nadal
Thus far, our selection has either been affordable or immensely practical but in order to celebrate the surprising gold medal win, we found it appropriate to introduce a challenge from beyond the field of recognised dive watches. Cue the Richard Mille RM27-02 Rafael Nadal.
It was a watch specifically engineered for Rafael Nadal and his sport of choice – tennis. You are now probably wondering why (or how) on earth could this watch be a swimming watch. Well, the reasons are rather simple – it is one of the lightest and strongest watches that is available in the market out there today. Weighing just shy of 19g through a combination of NTPT, titanium, and LITAL, the RM27 is extremely light yet incredibly durable. On top of that, the watch is extremely well-built- Despite its sandwich construction, the tourbillon movement within is able to withstand shocks of up to 5,000Gs. More importantly, it was a watch which Nadal happened to trash four other prototypes (the last one from waterproofing issues while showering after a game of all things) before Mille himself perfected the timepiece for public release. More information on the incredible movement, as well as the composites used, can be found in our review article here.
In short, the RM27 is the stuff of legends. It is incredibly robust, extremely light, and stylish in terms of appearance as well. In fact, we will say that this is one of the most all-rounded sports watches that currently available. The price, however, is a bit daunting though – it retails at € 777,000 (approximately S$1,167,000).
This week’s Throwback Sundays covered six watches that we reckon will work well as swimming watches, and while there are many watches which make the grade in terms of water resistance, with our more stringent criteria, there aren’t any watches (as far as we are concerned) that can be categorised under this genre.
Most of the six watches that we have chosen today are either cased in titanium or composites. This ensures that the watches are lightweight, which are pivotal and practical for a sports like swimming. (Just check out this article on Schooling’s parents and the technical knowledge required on stroke speed and reaction times needed to become an competitive elite athlete), in short, weight of a timepiece would matter.
Do our choices resonates with you? What are some of the watches you think should have made it into the list? Let us know in the comments section below, and till the next article, cheers!