It’s time for a great vacation. We’re here to make sure your summer trips have a watch (or two) to match.
The real answer to what makes a great vacation watch is a question along the lines of, “What’s your idea of a great vacation?” or “Why would I need a watch on vacation?” Good question, though if you’re joining the growing ranks of vacationers whose summer plans include a digital detox, you’re going to need some way to keep track of time without your trusty (and toxic) smartphone.
With summer upon us, we couldn’t think of a better time to start providing answers to which watch wears best on vacation. So rather than hit you with the obvious, like “Dive watches are great for any vacation with a beach in the picture!” or “Planning a whirlwind 10 countries in ten days getaway? Plan on bringing a dual time watch for the trip!”, we’re going to give you some less-than-obvious insights that’ll outfit your wrist in luxury and ensure your vacation is a great time.
SIZE & STYLE
If your travel wardrobe includes both dress and casual clothes—dressing for dinner isn’t the same as dressing for diving, after all—there’s worse things you can do than pack both a dress and sport/casual watch. We know one of the things you’re taking a vacation from is looking like you’re on the way into the office, but the blazer and khakis you brought for dinner will pair better with a 38-42mm classic dress watch than a bold action/adventure-oriented timepiece.
And if you’re worried about what kind of statement traveling with a “watch wardrobe” will make to friends and family, relax. In a recent survey, vacationers were asked how many watches they usually take on vacation. More than 55% responded with “2 or more.” Granted, the survey took place on one of the more prominent sites geared to watch lovers, but watch lovers need vacations too.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Checking the weather for your getaway is for more than just shorts versus slacks, because not all weather works well with leather. Even a few days of warm, wet, humid weather can affect your leather strap, even if you’re not wearing it ‘round the clock. What’s even worse is that you won’t realize it for a while, until one day you notice the fit and feel of your premium leather band no longer fits or feels like it did before you took it on vacation.
If you can’t imagine a vacation without your top timepiece, just swap the original leather strap with one of the many respectable alternatives made from textile (aka NATO straps), Silicon/Rubber, or even steel mesh. Everyone knows that the next best thing to a new watch is getting a new band (or two) for your favorite watch.
COMPLICATIONS? KEEP IT SIMPLE
A timepiece isn’t just for timekeeping on a vacation. We know you’ve been dying for a chance to show off that new dual time zone GMT, so what better place and time than a new place with a different time? A dual time zone complication is a useful and eye-catching variation for your vacation wear, whether you’re keeping track of the time in your next destination or showing off at dinner on your last night out.
In terms of your other complications, unless you’re spending a vacation at a NASCAR event or the Olympics you may want to keep your chronograph at home. Chronos and lounging on the beach just don’t mix, unless you’re prepared to get sand in the movement when a fellow guest asks “to see your stopwatch”. Care and attention can keep your timepiece safe, but is that what you want to think about while you’re trying to unwind?
Speaking of unwinding, if you plan on bringing a quartz-powered watch be sure it’s either new or has recently had the battery replaced. There’s nothing worse than getting caught without the time, and the cost of replacing a watch battery at a tourist destination gives whole new meaning to the phrase “tourist trap.” Or, you can avoid the problem—and sky high costs— entirely by bringing a trusty automatic or manual wind watch. And if you don’t have one, a vacation is the perfect excuse (sorry, “reason”) to add one to your collection.
TIMEPIECES THAT WON’T MAKE YOU A TARGET
New place, new people, new chance to show off your latest watch acquisition with your fellow guests/travelers, right? Depending where you are, fellow guests and travelers aren’t the only ones you’ll be sharing it with. More than making friends, flashy timepieces can also make you a target of less than savory types with no interest in being your friend and much interest in making your watch theirs. While you always want to dress to impress, it’s best to keep the heirlooms at home where they belong. And in case you think it can’t happen to someone with your level of situational awareness: that’s what the Cartier and Chopard people thought at the Cannes Film festival a few years back when, despite tight security and one of the largest network of surveillance cameras in France, $20 million in watches and jewelry from “going missing”.
BE READY TO GET WET
One final suggestion: just like with complications, your watch should match what you’re doing. If your vacation is taking you to a beach, chances are you’ll encounter some water. All watches offer water resistance in some form these days, but is it enough? Here’s a quick reference to what you can really expect from your watch’s water resistance rating:
30 Meters/3ATM: Safe around splashes or during a quick cloudburst. Not meant for anything that involves towels and/or bathing suits.
50-100 Meters/5-10ATM: Rated safe for the same as above, plus casually immersive activities like doing the dishes, showering, bathing, and “shallow water” swimming and snorkeling.
200 Meters/20ATM: Rated safe for the same as above, plus skin diving and serious water sports.
Be sure to double check your watch’s ATM before jumping in; there’s nothing that ruins a vacation like a water-logged dive watch.