Summer Splash: What Is The Best Summer Watch? Lex’s Picks — Sinn, Casio G-Shock, And Seiko
Roll up, roll up! The summer has hit The Hague and Fratello is keen to celebrate. After the fizzing success of March Mania, we are back with a new knock-out competition conceived to find the very best summer watch out there, according to YOU, the Fratelli. And guess what? You can win prizes! No, there won’t be a watch available this time but there WILL be some of the finest water-firing weapons money can buy: the Spyra 2 water cannon is reputedly the strongest of its kind ever made. Fancy getting your hands on one? Read on and take part in the poll and comments section of the Summer Splash.
This time around, eight Fratelli editors will choose three of their favorite summer watches and pitch them to you. The rules? The watches must be under €5,000, water-resistant to at least 100 meters, and actually available to buy. That doesn’t mean they can’t be limited, but they can’t be sold out at the time of writing.
The logic behind Summer Splash
The logic? We want this to actually help people to decide what to buy. Crucially, therefore, whichever watch wins has to be in stock. For the sake of our consciousnesses remaining clear, it has to be something that is able to stand up to the environments it’s likely to meet as a summer beater. And while you might disagree with us here, we don’t think that many people want a super expensive watch on their wrists when jumping into the pool, kayaking rapids, scaling fearsome peaks, or getting drunk on mojitos to the point where the watch on the wrist is in danger of serious damage.
… a contest to find a hootin’ and hollerin’, rough and ready rider to stick with you …
Don’t go looking for Haute Horlogerie in the Summer Splash, this here is a contest to find a hootin’ and hollerin’, rough and ready rider to stick with you through the thick and thin of planet Earth’s most bodacious season. Enough talk, it’s time to SPLASH!
What is the best Summer watch? Sinn 358 Sa PILOT DS
A chronograph, a diver, and a traveler went on holiday. Sounds very much like the opening line of a bad joke, but it’s not. My top three Summer Splash watches may be very different, but they do serve the same purpose; to be carefree, aesthetically pleasing, and functional time-keeping companions during a much-needed vacation.
My first Summer Splash pick is the €2,750 Sinn 358 Sa PILOT DS with its unique gray Zifferblatt. Now, why did I pick a pilot’s chronograph as one of three favorite Summer watches? Because, it’s waterproof to 10 bar, so it meets the technical requirements as per the DIN 8310 standard — it also has a very cool feature I can talk about poolside.
A conversation piece
And that’s the feature found on the lower left side of the case; a drying capsule to keep the movement safe all summer long. This capsule is part of the Air-Dehumidifying Technology (ADT) that solves an essential problem that mechanical watches have to deal with: humidity that can infiltrate and damage the movement. The ADT Sinn uses is based on three technical elements: a drying capsule made from copper sulfate, EDR seals — that are of a much higher quality than a standard rubber seal — plus a protective gas inside the case. The capsule informs the wearer of its humidity saturation. The copper sulfate shifts in color, from a very pale blue to mark at 0% saturation, all the way up to a dark blue to mark 100% saturation. This Sinn is a conversation piece for sure!
When sunlight hits the dial…
The 358 Sa FLIEGER DS comes in a robust 42×15mm case made of brushed stainless steel topped with a highly curved sapphire crystal, with an anti-reflective (AR) coating on both sides. The sapphire crystal in the screw-fastened case back is only anti-reflective on the interior, but that doesn’t matter to me. The highlight of this watch isn’t the reliable movement inside, but rather what’s on the front of the watch, and how it catches the sun.
The individual grinding makes each 358 Sa PILOT DS unique.
The dial has been finished with a manually engraved decoration resulting in a texture that makes for an exciting play of colors, as some parts differ in how they reflect light. The individual grinding makes each 358 Sa PILOT DS unique. Despite the decoration, there’s more than sufficient contrast between the white indications and the gray of the dial. In the dark Super-LumiNova lends an extra hand to assure perfect readability.
I picked the Sinn because it looks so fantastic and just makes sense in all kinds of different scenarios. I know that after a sweaty and wet Summer the gray fabric strap with a leather lining has probably reached the end of its lifespan. But that’s a sacrifice I’d be willing to make. And by the way, a version with a closed case back and a signature Sinn brushed steel bracelet is just €225 more. But the fabric strap fits the overall look and feel of the watch just perfectly. It wears extremely comfortably, and can quickly be adjusted to better fit your wrist on a hot day.
On the movement side of things, the 358 Sa PILOT DS has an automatic Sellita SW500 movement with seconds stop function. It’s also anti-magnetic as required by DIN 8309. With this casual-functional-instrumental Sinn, I can time my laps in the pool, then continue to look good after as I catch my breath poolside on the towel. And it will shine just as bright on terraces and boats, in restaurants and bars, and particularly under the sun thanks to its dynamic one-of-a-kind dial.
If you want more info on the 358 Sa PILOT DS, please visit Sinn’s website.
What Is The Best Summer Watch? Casio G-Shock Frogman GWF-A1000XC-1A
It may not be as stylish as the Sinn or (spoiler alert) the Seiko which will come after the Frogman, but this G-Shock sure is the most adventurous and sturdy one of the three. The analog display is something completely new for the latest Frogman generation and it looks more mature than ever. But not so serious it can’t have fun when on holiday. Its many hands will indicate everything there is to know. For the dive time function, the oversized hour and minute hands overlap each other and move in unison as a single hand making the dive time measurement easily readable. After all, there is nothing quite as intuitive as a traditional analog layout.
Everything else is modern-day high-tech. Like the three dual-coil motors and the G-Shock Connected app. The link with the smartphone makes it possible to view hugely detailed dive logs, locations, and more. The fact that it is solar-powered makes it so that all the functions keep running.
… the tough case is more than just functional.
And so does the ultra-robust monocoque case that measures 56.7×53.3×19.7mm. Monocoque means that the case is made from a single, seamless lightweight chunk of carbon fiber reinforced resin. The electronic module is perfectly safe in there. And the tough case is more than just functional. It also looks the part.
On the back, you will find the extremely cool Frogman logo, as well a the model number and some of its features. On the side of the case, six screws securely fasten the metal ring that is press-fit to the glass. This component helps ensure water resistance to 200m. For €1.199 you get an over-engineered, over-achieving, multi-functional sports watch that can handle every situation you might throw at it. The Frogman is a tad clunky, but that’s also part of its charm and appeal.
What I particularly like about the Frogman GWF-A1000XC-1A is the resin and metal bracelet. It wears comfortably — something you need with a big and clunky watch on the wrist — and it shows some nice technical and functional features like the folding clasp with a solid diver’s extension. But it’s more than solid, it also has a smooth and accurate fine-adjustment system you operate with a small tumb-wheel. Clever engineering for sure.
The carbon fiber bezel goes really well with the matching center links of the bracelet. The touch of orange also looks good on this Frogman. It gives him a certain military appeal. The nonchalant yet tactical good looks of a navy SEAL commander. And isn’t that exactly the look we’re all striving for?
You can find out more about the super robust and sporty Frogman GWF-A1000XC-1A right here.
What Is The Best Summer Watch? Seiko Presage Sharp Edged GMT SPB221J1
What to do when you want to bring a mechanical Grand Seiko GMT watch on your holiday, but you can’t? Not that you actually couldn’t, but the Grand Seiko GMT does fall outside the Summer Splash budget. That’s why I would reach for a budget-friendly alternative with a lot of aesthetical similarities and that still gets half of the name right. I’m talking about the €1,500 Seiko Presage Sharp Edged GMT SPB221J1 which is my third watch in our big Summer Splash showdown.
A proud GMT
The crisp lines of the Presage Sharp Edged GMT case hint at the famous design of the 44GS. Quite a generously proportioned case that measures 42.2×13.7mm. The size, shape, and the contrast of the fine edges and brushed and polished finishings give the watch a ton of wrist presence.
… the prominent bezel with 24-hour indication leaves nothing to the imagination; this is a travel watch.
And if that wasn’t enough, the prominent bezel with 24-hour indication leaves nothing to the imagination; this is a travel watch. The GMT hand in a contrasting red color has, just like the other hands and applied indexes, plenty of LumiBrite on it for easy readability. Furthermore, the GMT can also act as a dual time indicator. As when setting the hour hand, the minute and central seconds hands continue to go about their business unmoved.
And then there’s the ornamental approach to the dial design. For the Presage Sharp Edged GMT the Seiko designers chose a Japanese Asanoha, or hemp leaf pattern to decorate the dial. And the color of the SPB221J1 is inspired by a special kind of black ink, Sumiiro. The way the light bounces of the textures of the geometric Asanoha pattern and plays with the black background is pretty spectacular. Adding to this effect are the brushed and polished faceted hour indexes and large dual-finish Dauphine hands.
Time and other trivialities
To power the Presage Sharp Edged GMT Seiko uses the eight-beat-per-second, automatic GMT caliber 6R64. This 29-jewel movement has 45 hours of power reserve. I’m not too sure if that should be considered sufficient for a modern automatic GMT, but I think I can just about get over it.
… exact timing is not really a priority while vacationing.
Especially on vacation when I can’t be bothered too much with trivialities — I’m here to unwind, not to worry about the mainspring in my watch and how long it takes to unwind. Anyway, if you really can’t let it go, the power reserve indicator will help you keep things in check. Seiko claims the Caliber 6R64 to be accurate to +25 to -15 seconds per day. And though also not hugely impressive by modern standards, just like power reserve, exact timing is not really a priority while on your summer holiday.
For more information, please visit Seiko’s dedicated Presage website.
That’s it! A Frogman watch you can wear all day, every day, anywhere. A rather dressy Seiko Presage on an lovely steel bracelet with the added GMT functionality. And last but most certainly not least, a Sinn chronograph that you can take off every now and then when the going gets a bit too wild. Disconnecting from time (and just about everything else) during a holiday is a personal priority which is why the Sinn is my top choice, but is it yours too? Let me know by choosing your best Summer Splash watch of the three in the poll below.
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