As I write this overview of the best summer watches, I’m looking through the window of my hotel on Mykonos. It’s quite picturesque, with an incredible view of the beach, some yachts, and those typical white houses on the hills. It could be worse, much worse. But this is still a working trip, and although I feel privileged to get to see some of the nicest places in the world, it’s only a holiday when I’m with my family and away from my laptop.

Best summer watch: the PloProf 2009 - 2019

My holiday watch

My best summer watches, not (just) holiday watches

It is summer, though, and we decided to write some articles on our editors’ favorite summer watches, not holiday watches. Like many watch enthusiasts, I usually pick slightly different watches during the summer than during the rest of the year. In the winter, I like warmer tones, dressier designs, leather straps, and perhaps a little bit of precious metal. On warmer days, I prefer bracelets, and especially when it’s the season for T-shirts and polo shirts, I like wearing sportier watches. I realize that I tick many conservative boxes when it comes to taste.

Now, we’ve reported a few times on watch robberies and the like. Wearing short sleeves and a gold Rolex might attract unwanted attention from shady individuals. But it also has to do with common sense. Don’t flash your expensive watch in the London Underground, when enjoying the Amsterdam nightlife, or when dining on a terrace in Barcelona. It’s all quite logical, I would say. Truth be told, though, I’ve never really felt unsafe with my watches, not even in the bigger cities. I am quite aware of my surroundings, though, and I do pick wisely when I go somewhere. Just be sensible with your watches and where you wear them. If you’re in a location where it’s all safe, as Brandon recently reported, more power to you!

Best summer watches Omega Seamaster 300M

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M

I bought my first Seamaster 300M 2531.80 all the way back in the summer of 2000. At the time, I was still a student and had worked hard to be able to purchase this then-grail watch. I can’t recall the price, but I received a nice discount at the time from a friendly authorized dealer, and the watch was mine. A few years later, I sold it and kept flipping Seamasters until late 2017 when I realized I just wanted one permanently in the collection. It’s a great watch for the summer, no matter which dial color you will pick. Mine has the classic blue color, and I wear it on the nine-row bracelet.

A lot to choose from

There have been so many variations of this watch since 1993, even in different sizes, so it’s hard not to find a 300M that’ll suit you. I can’t recall many watches afterward that gave me the same joy as when I bought this particular one. You can still pick up one of the old ones for less than half of what they cost new these days, but I also would not mind a new Diver 300M, to be honest. The choice would be difficult, but I think I’d end up with the green one or the white-dial model with the black bezel on a rubber strap. Let’s stick with my 20-year-old Seamaster 300M for now, powered by Omega’s caliber 1120, based on the ETA 2892-A2. In theory, the watch is all good for me to submerse in the pool, but I can’t remember when it was last serviced or when the gaskets were last checked, so I won’t.

Nacho’s 2254.50

I also remember going to a local Omega dealer just across the border in Germany and seeing the Seamaster 300M 2254.50, the one that Nacho is so fond of. In hindsight, I think that’s the coolest one to have, together with the white-dial GMT version. Chrono24 is your friend when you want to buy one of these neo-vintage Diver 300M models. The new Seamaster Diver 300M retails for €6,400 (on bracelet). The reference 2531.80 that I have can be found for way less.

Best summer watches Tudor Black Bay GMT

Tudor Black Bay GMT

I don’t own and have never owned a watch from Tudor. There’s no particular reason, but I just can’t buy everything I like, even though several models sing to me. One is the Tudor Pelagos LHD, and another is the Tudor Black Bay GMT. While many people seem to be bothered by the thickness of this watch, I am not. I agree that it’s quite a big block (no pun intended) when looking at it from the side, but that’s also simply a trait of the Black Bay design. The 41mm case fits my wrist perfectly, and I love the big beveled edges on the lugs. The reason I chose this specific model, though, is the opaline dial. In my opinion, only a few watches look good with a white dial, and this is one of them.

Tudor tool watches

The GMT complication comes in handy when traveling, of course. Inside is Tudor’s MT5652 movement, which is developed and produced by the Kenissi factory in Le Locle. This chronometer-certified caliber has a power reserve of 70 hours. As I’ve said before, I much prefer a bracelet over a strap in the summer. The Oyster-style bracelet on this Tudor looks good, so that would be my configuration of choice. I realize there’s no on-the-fly adjustment mechanism on these bracelets, but I’ve hardly ever needed it as a watch owner.  I guess I have a very stable wrist size. Tudor’s Black Bay GMT is water resistant to 200 meters, so no worries here.

It’s difficult to make comparisons, but I do feel that Tudor is producing watches that have the same appeal to me as Rolex’s five-digit models did back in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Tudors have similar tool-watch characteristics, I guess. Anyway, the red, white, and blue color scheme looks cool, and it’s the model that fits the summer best for me. The retail price of the Tudor Black Bay GMT (ref. M79830RB-0010) is €4,270.

Best summer watches Breitling Chronomat GMT

Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT 40

This might come as a surprise to you, but I do have a weak spot for Breitling. The brand was always big where I live, and it still is — large watches for large Dutch wrists, I guess. I have one of the Aerospace models from the 2000s, which is very modest compared to some of the bigger or flashier pieces.

Did you ever watch the Seinfeld show in the 1990s? Ever since then, I’ve had a crush on Breitling’s bullet bracelet. In my opinion, it’s one of the coolest-looking bracelets around! I’ve often looked for one of the vintage models, à la Jerry Seinfeld, but I also concluded that those bracelets don’t live up to today’s standards. These bracelets, also referred to as “rouleaux,” were the inspiration for the new bracelets.

The new Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT 40 has a modern bullet bracelet, and it simply looks good! With the blue sunburst dial, you’re ready for the summer for sure. I also like the combination of the case and bracelet with a brushed finish and some polished elements, such as the bezel and the small links. We also find nice beveled lugs on the case. If you’re planning to take this watch on a holiday, I do believe it’s one that can do it all, including accompanying you to a fancy dinner.

The chronometer-certified Breitling caliber 32 (based on ETA’s 2893-2) throws in a GMT complication on top. The case, measuring 40mm in diameter and 11.7mm thick, is very nice and compact on my wrist. As with the Tudor Black Bay GMT, this one has a 200m water resistance rating, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy the occasional swim. The retail price of this Chronomat GMT is €5,900. The watch is available in several dial colors, but for the summer, I’d pick the blue one.

Best summer watches Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy

01 733 7771 4055-07 8 19 18 – Divers Sixty-Five

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy

The two Oris watches I own are from our Fratello stable — the Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date with the oxblood dial and the more recent Divers Sixty-Five Fratello Limited Edition. Both are 40mm watches, and though the size is perfect for my wrist, I am greatly intrigued by the 38mm Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy model in blue — on the stainless steel bracelet, that is. It’s not the first time that Oris has used the “cotton candy” theme. In the past, there were some bronze models, and my wife expressed her interest in them, but the bronze was not for her as it quickly develops a patina. Those were quite successful, though, if I remember correctly. So it’s a good reason for Oris to introduce the Cotton Candy in steel.

Divers Sixty-Five, 01 733 7771 4055-07 3 19 02S, 01 733 7771 4057-07 3 19 03S and 01 733 7771 4058-07 3 19 04S

Summer candy

The Oris Cotton Candy models are also available on a Perlon strap (for €200 less than the bracelet version), but I am not a huge fan of these straps. I like the looks, but the material is often like sandpaper on the wrist (and the case back if it’s a single-pass Perlon strap). Anyhow, I like to have a bracelet in the summer. I have my Sixty-Five Fratello Edition on the riveted bracelet from Oris, and it’s a comfortable and good-looking bracelet.

With a 100m water resistance rating, it’s safe to use this watch in the water. The screw-in case back and the screw-down crown will ensure that water stays out. Inside this Oris model is the caliber 733, which is a self-winding movement based on the Sellita SW200-1. It’s not as fancy as Oris’s manufacture Calibre 400 series, but it does the job, I’d say. Although the other available colors could also be nice (there’s a green and pink one), I prefer the blue version. The price of the Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy on a bracelet is €2,350.

Best summer watches Tissot Sideral

My summer selection

My bonus pick would have been the Tissot Sideral in yellow, but Daan already picked that one. When I saw the original Tissot Sideral in the archives in Le Locle, I realized that Tissot did a great job on this recreation. With a retail price of €1,075, it is a very attractive summer watch with a clever rubber strap. I know I wrote that a summer watch is not always the same as a holiday watch, but this Tissot Sideral would make for a nice holiday watch too.

What is the definition of a perfect summer watch for you, and what are your picks? Let me know in the comments!