What is your ideal summer watch? It’s a question that pops up every year and one that always has a highly personal answer. In this series of articles, we ask our Fratello editors what they are looking for when picking their perfect summer watch. Is it a dive watch, or can it be something else? Our writers will share their thoughts on the topic and their favorite summer watches for 2023. The sun is out, so let the fun begin!

I have the honor of kicking off our series of articles discussing the best summer watches. It’s a great honor but also not the easiest of questions because the list of requirements is very personal. A commonly claimed characteristic of the ideal summer watch is versatility. It should perfectly suit informal, aquatic settings during the day while also feeling like a fish in water during a nice dinner. So we need an adaptable watch with a good dose of character and a sporty list of specs. But that still leaves a ton of options.

A suitable set of specs

This much-desired versatility often translates into a dive watch. Where it used to be a tool watch, the diver in today’s watch world is the true jack of all trades. From turquoise waters to chic dinner parties, a great dive watch will suit almost any situation. But does a summer watch also need to be colorful? Maybe. It’s an important detail to get that summer vibe going, so color plays a big part for many people.

Affordability is another factor at play. Sometimes, it’s because people will buy a new summer watch every year. Other times, it’s because the ease of wearing an affordable watch makes the summer a stress-free experience — as it should be — since you don’t have to be as careful as you would be with a more expensive watch. A summer watch should be able to serve you without stress, right? Anyway, there are so many different factors at play, and they are all personal. You will find that during this series of articles as each writer explains his picks. Now, let’s get going!

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 summer watches

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Titanium ref. 226627

My first pick is not just the perfect summer watch. It is way more than that. With the new Rolex Yacht-Master 42 in RLX titanium, I believe the brand has struck gold. Lex explained that the Yacht-Master is finally the “Super Sub” it was always meant to be, and I fully agree. The Yacht-Master name has been connected to luxury yacht life ever since the 18K yellow gold Yacht-Master ref. 16628 debuted in 1992. Therefore, the Yacht-Master series is perfect for the summer. But it’s not just its name that makes this particular model so perfect. Thanks to the titanium construction, the watch is significantly lighter and, therefore, easier on the wrist during the hot summer days than its stainless steel peers, the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller.

On top of that, the brushed finish makes the titanium Yacht-Master a lot less flashy than the current generation of Rolex dive watches. I much prefer this look over that of the shiny Sub. The brushed titanium looks great, especially with the stealthy matte Cerachrom bezel with polished numerals. In combination with the matte black dial, this lets the lume-filled polished hour markers pop like never before. The visual balance of all the elements is brilliant, and while the Rolex designers excel at this in general, for some reason, it feels just perfect on the titanium Yacht-Master. I would honestly spend a lot of my summertime admiring every single detail of this stunner.

Rolex Yacht-Master 42

The Yacht-Master in titanium is a logical step

The Yacht-Master line has always been a platform for Rolex to experiment with new materials or combinations of them. That’s why the Yacht-Master in titanium made sense. Sure, we have seen the completely over-the-top Deepsea Challenge in titanium, but it can hardly be called a regular Rolex. The new Yacht-Master, however, very much is. Besides its €14,000 price, I would prefer this over the current Submariner, and not just as the better summer watch. Let summer be why you will buy the new Yacht-Master 42 in titanium, but wear it all year round because it is a stunning piece.

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 titanium

With its roots in yachting, the use of lightweight material, and the excellent execution and finish, it is hard to think of a better Rolex summer watch. Perhaps the only thing that could top it would be this watch on an Oysterflex bracelet. If/when that becomes an option, it will make that year’s list of “Best Summer Watches” as well. While the Daytona took this year’s spotlight among Rolex’s releases, the Yacht-Master 42 in titanium is my favorite of 2023.

Aquastar Deepstar II summer watches

Aquastar Deepstar II Blue Ray

Now we move from the ultra-balanced modern summer watch to something quirky and vintage-inspired. I love a great-looking retro piece for summer as well. While there are plenty of options to fulfill that need, there aren’t that many that bring the distinct character that Aquastar’s Deepstar II adds to your summer days. As Balazs explained in his review, the Deepstar II is not a re-edition of one of Aquastar’s great classics. While the 41mm and 39mm Deepstar Chronographs hark back to watches from the past, the Deepstar II is a smaller time-only model with similar quirky but charismatic looks.

Deepstar II summer watches

I fell in love with the 41mm Deepstar Chronograph that came out in 2020. While it fits my wrist perfectly, I also understood that its massive lug-to-lug might be a bit too much for many people. And a year later, Aquastar graced us with the even-better 39mm model. On top of that, the brand introduced the Deepstar II. There is just something that I love about the original Deepstar’s combination of a skin-diver case with the unique dive bezel and the quirky dial, and all of those elements are present here as well. Forget symmetry and the standards of dive-watch design. Aquastar did, injecting it with plenty of vintage charm and several standout design elements that make it a typical Deepstar.

Deepstar II

Smaller in size with the same standout presence

The 36.75mm case that is 12mm thick with a 46mm lug-to-lug is in line with its bigger brothers. When it comes to the dial, the designers took the big-eye sub-dial at 3 o’clock and moved it to 9 o’clock. What also stayed are the oversized markers, now placed at 3, 6, and 12 o’clock, and the polished bidirectional no-decompression bezel. Inside the case, you will find the Swiss automatic Sellita SW290 movement to be a reliable engine. Currently, you can get the Deepstar II in black, gray, and a beautiful shade of dark blue. Needless to say, the blue option is the most summery, and it also happens to be my favorite.

Of course, the sold-out limited edition that we did with Aquastar would be the perfect pick for the summer. The one problem, however, is that there were only 50 pieces available in total, so it might turn out to be impossible to get. The next-best pick in line is the Blue Ray version of the Deepstar II. That one is available now and looks stunning on either the beads-of-rice bracelet for some extra vintage power or the NATO strap for a sporty summer look. Or you can do as Balazs did and wear it on a matching Tropic strap for the ultimate in capability and comfort. At a little under €2,000, this is my perfect second summer watch.

Seiko 5 Sports Rowing Blazers summer watches

Seiko 5 Sports SRPJ71

What better way to end this list of three summer watches than with an affordable sports watch with a colorful dial inspired by the preppy world of rowing? Or maybe it’s better to praise the entire series of Seiko 5 Sports × Rowing Blazers models that came out last month because all four models could be the perfect summer watch. The first three come with a colorful pink, purple, and yellow dial respectively. The fourth, and my pick for this list, is the SRPJ71, which comes with a white dial and colorful retro-inspired hour markers. It is a great piece that continues a series of collaborative watches Seiko and Rowing Blazers have developed over the past few years.

After the first very successful series, the second debuted in October 2022, and the third drop happened about a month ago. While the first series was based on the dive-inspired Seiko 5 Sports models, the two later series were playful versions of the Explorer-esque Seiko 5 Sports. As I explained in my article about the best Seiko 5 Sports limited editions, the black-dial version from last year is my favorite overall. But regarding summery vibes, this year’s drop turns the volume up to eleven. Essentially, you can pick any one of the four models to be your summer watch.

Summer watches Rowing Blazers Seiko 5 Sports

Finding one should not be hard

There is one slight issue. The hype surrounding these watches caused the white-dial SRPJ71 and pink-dial SRPJ69 to sell out very quickly. Currently, you can still get the purple-dial SRPJ65 and the yellow-dial SRPJ67 through the Rowing Blazers store. You could also track down one of the two sold-out versions for a premium. While these premiums go from decent to completely bonkers, getting one of these models for a decent price is not impossible because there are many on offer.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPJ71 summer watches

What makes this such a fun summer series? It’s the combination of the 40mm Seiko 5 Sports case with the colorful retro-inspired dials. The styles match perfectly and create some great-looking pieces. They all come with a bracelet for more serious occasions as well as a colorful NATO strap for diving or lazy days on the beach. Add the affordable (retail) price of €590, and these Rowing Blazers models make for a great series of summer watches. The SRPJ71 wins it for me because the white dial is a fantastic canvas for the colorful hour markers. While that one might have you pay a bit of a premium, it would bring a big smile to my face when wearing it for the long summer days.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPJ71 summer watches

An abundance of summer watches!

There you have it — my selection of three summer watches that I would love to wear over the coming months. Obviously, though, there are a ton of different options on the market. That’s why I turn the question over to you. What are your favorite timepieces for the warmer months? We would love to read about your picks in the comments section. I’ll hand the baton over to Thomas, who will present his three picks this Friday. Have a good summer!