Fratello Favorites: Summer Watches — Thomas’s Picks From Doxa, Seiko, And Tudor
It is time to talk about summer watches! I am writing this from the home office, next to an open window that lets in a soft, warm breeze. The sun is out, and I have a tall glass of water with an oversized ice cube next to me. It feels like summer! More than any other season, summer always triggers a desire for very specific watches in me. Nacho set me the challenge of identifying three watches I would buy today if I were shopping for a new summer watch, so here we go!
Now, what constitutes a great summer watch is probably highly personal. So in this article, I describe what I look for, and point at three watches I would happily strap on this summer.
Summer watches — what are my criteria?
It really is quite simple for me: my perfect summer watch is a diver on a bracelet. Not that I technically need one; I don’t dive, and I hardly ever swim. But I just get this irrational craving for a cool dive watch as soon as the sun’s out. It just feels right.
Water resistance is a must for me in the summer. Whether I go sailing or play with my son in a backyard inflatable mini-pool, I like to wear my watch. Granted, you really don’t need 200m water resistance for that. But it is nice if your watch is a little over-specced, is it not? Truthfully, it really is just a style thing. I love dive watches, and I particularly love them in summer. Get off my case, will ya?
The bracelet does matter a lot to me in a summer watch. I just find bracelets infinitely more comfortable than any strap when it is hot. I absolutely hate the feeling of a sweaty leather strap on the wrist. Rubber straps are fine, but I still prefer steel. I could make a NATO work, but then I always get tired of the height of a diver on a NATO quite quickly. I am a bracelet guy year-round, but in summer, particularly, my straps rarely see daylight. I like a colorful summer watch from time to time, but not always. So, that leaves plenty to choose from, right? Let’s check out three divers on bracelets, colorful or not, that I would consider today.
The colorful summer watch: Doxa Sub 300 Professional
If you follow my articles, you know I purchased a Doxa Sub 200 in Divingstar yellow last summer. To me, Doxa is probably the ultimate summer-watch brand. I just associate Doxa’s watches with diving off the Calypso in a bright blue part of the Mediterranean. They bring me back to my childhood, watching Jacques Cousteau explore the underwater world on TV.
Admittedly, my purchase of the Sub 200 was partly driven by my budget. I wasn’t prepared to spend €2,690 on a summer watch last year. This was not in the last place because I was unsure if I would actually wear a brightly colored watch. As it turns out, I do wear it, so I would happily go for the orange bigger brother next.
I like the wide, flaring tonneau case paired with the tiny dial and domed crystal. It is such an original and distinct look. I cannot think of a more recognizable watch, especially in the classical Doxa orange or “Professional” color scheme. And, of course, that beads-of-rice bracelet not only looks cool but is also super comfortable to boot.
Seiko SPB153 on shark mesh
My second pick would be another tonneau-shaped diver, the Seiko SPB153. This is the green version of the Captain Willard-inspired Prospex model. It is a 6R35-powered mid-range diver with a sapphire crystal. There is no mistaking it for anything but a Seiko, sharing so much of the DNA with its Prospex siblings.
What I particularly like about this one is the odd case shape. I have tried it on, and it looked almost like it melted over my wrist. It is a totally different approach to the tonneau case than the Doxa above. I also like the colors on this specific version. The moss-green bezel is warmer in hue than most greens. It is slightly disharmonious with the more sage green of the dial, which somehow turns out very cool.
The Seiko SPB153 comes on a rather nice rubber strap. I would, however, swap it out for a shark-mesh bracelet. You know, one of those coarse mesh bands without a capped piece between the lugs. I think this combination is absolutely badass and, like the Doxa, triggers those ’70s vibes. There are plenty of specialist suppliers of these bracelets, and the 20mm lug spacing makes it easy to source one. I found one from Strapcode that looks neat. The watch itself comes in at €1,200.
The lightweight summer watch: Tudor Pelagos 39
I wanted to throw in a slightly more serious-looking watch as my third option, something with a black dial and a slightly less intimidating stance on the wrist. I have to admit, it was a very close call between three watches — the Sinn T50, the Tudor Black Bay 54, and this Pelagos 39. To be fair, I would happily own any of the three, but let me pick the Pelagos 39 for now.
I agree with many of the critics that the watch has a bit of an identity crisis. I don’t know what agency was behind the “clubbing lifestyle” positioning, but I can only assume they know zilch about watches. The sunburst dial, although not as prominent in real life, is a bit out of character too. But still, something keeps pulling me back to the Pelagos 39.
I love the dull, dark shade of the Grade 2 titanium. The hard monochromatic dial with just one touch of red works great with it. I particularly like the case and its finishing quality. Have a look at those crown guards, for instance. The machining and finishing make the watch feel like a truly high-end product. And the size is spot-on for a dive watch for me. I could see myself wearing the comfortably light Tudor all summer, with the occasional colorful change of pace with a Doxa. I would have to part ways with €4,590, though.
Closing thoughts on summer watches
There you have it — my very simple definition of the perfect summer watch and three examples currently on the market. I thought I had quenched my thirst for a summer watch when I purchased my Doxa Sub 200 last year, but the watches above softly whisper my name in this warm summer breeze. I hope it is just the heat getting to me!
What about you? What would you consider the perfect summer watch — or, if you are anything like me, watches? Let us know in the comments below!
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