Travel. Love it, or hate it, is an activity that many people partake in. The experience of going to another place to chill and sight-see can be therapeutic and enriching. And going on a business trip is an essential part of doing business internationally. As they say, you cannot email a smile, or fax a handshake. Meeting eye to eye is still the best way to do business. But crossing timezones, being jetlagged, too much entertaining (read eating and drinking) can be tiring, so one may not be in full possession of one’s full faculties. Being on time for a meeting overseas or even waking up can be confusing. Enter travel watches. To assist the traveler to decipher local and home times. Be one’s companion when on the road. This week, we make our recommendations for travel watches.
Recommendations for Travel Watches
What makes a good travel watch? First thought would be one which can tell at least two timezones, one local and the other home time. While that is certainly one of the key characteristics, it is not totally an essential one. And there are other considerations like the destination, the activities, and even the level of security should weigh in.
Grand Seiko Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 GMT
The Grand Seiko Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 GMT is one of the best choices for a travel timepiece: it is extremely versatile and well-made. Grand Seiko timepieces are synonymous with great finishing, and this piece is no exception. We love how Grand Seiko plays with angles and different styles of finishing for its bracelet and case. The textured dial is beautifully manufactured as well. In terms of aesthetics, this watch scores highly for its attention to small details. We have some excellent photos of this timepiece from an article here.
As Grand Seiko Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 GMT features a second timezone function, the user can keep track of time in another region. A single pull of the crown will allow the hour hand to move in 1 hour increments to set to local time, while another hour hand directly below stays at home time making one revolution every 24 hours. This is important because it instantly tells the user whether it is day or night at home. Neat, though quite a common feature in dual timezone watches.
When it comes to watches with a good value-for-money proposition, the Grand Seiko is a winner here. It is relatively affordable, and yet its quality and finishing is excellent. And the bonus? It is a “stealth wealth” watch, and hence it is probably one of the watches that will not attract to much attraction, and generally safe even in more dangerous cities in the world.
Glycine Airman Airfighter
The Glycine Airman Airfighter is the watch that a collector should go for if one wants something that is functional and robust. The 46mm timepiece, which is powered by the ubiquitous Valjoux 7754 movement, features a chronograph and a date indicator. On top of that, it is capable of displaying the time of three different timezones.
As mentioned on our review article on this timepiece, an intriguing feature of this timepiece would be its sliding chronograph actuator. Unlike the usual chronograph buttons that we are familiar with, the Airfighter’s chronograph is activated by sliding the actuator at the port side of the watch. Although it is a small feature, but we reckon kind of fun.
Just like the Grand Seiko that we have featured above, this is a functional timepiece that is pretty value-for-money. It is a masculine timepiece, and it is an excellent choice if one wishes to go for something that is robust, useful, and interesting.
Tudor Heritage Chronograph
When one thinks of Tudor‘s Heritage Chronograph, one would inevitably be reminded of Monaco. Yes, it is partially because its predecessor was affectionately named the “Monte Carlo”, but a more plausible justification would be the fact that this just looks like a watch that a jet-setter will wear in the 70s. We can totally imagine a good-looking gentlemen driving a Ferrari Daytona along the picturesque Monte Carlo, and on his wrist a Tudor Heritage Chronograph. Yes, this is the kind of vibe that this particular watch exudes.
In terms of functionality, the Heritage Chronograph is on par with some of the watches that we have featured. Its bidirectional rotating bezel, for instance, can be used to indicate a second timezone. It also features a chronograph, and a date indicator. Overall, we think that although not designed to be one, it can work as one.
We reckon that this watch will be perfect for a short getaway, or a nice driving trip along a nice river like the Riviera or Lake Como. It is extremely comfortable and stylish, and yet functional enough for a travel watch. We did a feature on this watch sometime back. Head over and read it again.
Omega Seamaster 300
Unlike the few watches that we have highlighted earlier, the Omega Seamaster 300 is a little different from the others. This watch, as you might have realized now, does not have a dual timezone function. However, we feel it too can serve adequately as a travel watch.
A travel timepiece, in our opinion, should be something that is nice, robust, and comfortable. The 41mm Seamaster 300, in our opinion, fits the bill. The lack of a dual timezone function can be a bother for some, but not to others. And especially if one’s travel does not cross timezones, its perfect!
The Omega, we reckon, is definitely a recommendation for those who are looking for some fun and adventure. The Seamaster 300, as we have talked about earlier in our article, comes in different variants as well. While they are all equally beautiful, we feel that the Stainless Steel version is still the excellent watch for the job.
Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite
The Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite dial detail. Clear, legible, and very beautiful.
The Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite is perhaps the only dressy timepiece among the six travel timepieces that we are featuring today. Due to its functionality and its appearance, we thought that this should be the watch for the jet set.
One of the main highlights of this timepiece is that it is able to track 37 timezones simultaneously, including those obscure half hour and quarter hour intervals for some cities. This is a world’s first for a travel watch, and perhaps make it the ultimate for convenience.
More details can be found in our review article here. This is a very useful and exceptionally well-made timepiece.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time to be announced in BaselWorld 2015. It certainly created quite a stir amongst the cognoscenti and journalists in attendance. First, as mentioned in our review article, it has a uncanny resemblance to some of the other watches in its genre. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it is so unlike a Patek Philippe.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is actually a rather utilitarian and practical timepiece for travelling. First off, it has got the dual timezone function which is rather easy to operate. The two buttons on the port side, for instance, allow the user to advance or retreat the GMT hand in 1 hour intervals. Next, the watch, thanks to its large size and dial design is clear and legible.
This is the timepiece for those who wishes to own a Patek Philippe that is slightly less traditional. As a travel watch, this is practical and user-friendly. A great choice for business travel and a watch one can wear proudly to the Board Room.
This week’s Throwback Sunday covered a wide ranging spectrum of travel watches, consisting of tool watches like the Omega Seamaster 300 to the dressier alternatives like the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite. As we have mentioned, a travel watch does not necessarily require the dual timezone function, although that would be a pleasant bonus.
In our opinion, a travel watch should be something that is comfortable, and yet functional. Robustness is another factor to consider, especially when one is considering to partake in activities that may be rugged or physical. These factors should play a part as travel, especially by air can be hectic, and the airplane is not a kind place to watches.
Of course, another consideration that one should seriously look into is the security situation and crime rate at the particular location where one is going. A Rolex GMT-Master, although perfectly suited as it was designed to be a travel watch, may not be the wisest choice if one is going to an area when it is rife with crime as it is highly recognizable.
Ultimately, the best travel watch should be the one that you are most comfortable with. What do you think of our selection? Do you have a watch you always travel with? Tell us about it!