Fratello Favorites: The Best Summer Watches — Lex’s Picks From Longines, Casio G-Shock, And Certina
The summer is for traveling to a destination that will enable you to live your very best life. First, you have to get to your destination in style and on time — cue the first watch, the Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT 39mm. And once you get to the temporary paradise of choice, you want to shine — Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000PG-9 from the 40th Anniversary Recrystallized Series — and have fun swimming, diving, running, cycling, hiking, etcetera — Certina DS Action Diver 38mm. Here are my picks for the best summer watches.
There’s a time and place for everything, including different watches. Are you attending a wedding? That’s the perfect time and place for a dress(ier) watch. Come to think of it, I do have a wedding to attend to at the end of August. Hmm, I picked my three favorite summer watches based on my vacation plans, but maybe one of those three will also work as a festive timepiece that will match my yet-to-acquire outfit.
Lex’s best summer watches: Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT 39mm
From the moment Longines launched the Spirit, I was a fan. The watches in the lineup are balanced compositions with elements of pilot’s watches, sports watches, a bit of history, and also a healthy dose of contemporary horology. They are all excellent daily wearers, and maybe there’s even someone’s GADA watch in the Spirit assortment. For the upcoming summer, I made the choice between the Spirit Titanium and the recently released 39mm Spirit Zulu Time GMT. I picked the GMT — the steel and gold one, no less. Why? Because the Longines is going to be used to travel to my holiday destination and back home, and the Zulu is a travel watch after all. And I’ll be traveling in style because the watch is “crowned” with a bezel capped in 200 microns of 18K yellow gold with a brown bezel insert. And there’s also a gold crown.
The Spirit Zulu Time GMT will also help me catch the plane and keep track of the different time zones I will have to deal with. Inside the 39 × 13.5mm case beats a COSC-certified Longines caliber L844.4. This movement is based on the ETA A31 caliber, beats at 25,500vph, and has a 72-hour power reserve plus an antimagnetic silicon balance spring.
My summer/travel watch of choice has a price of €4,450 on a brown leather strap. But I would wear it on the light brown NATO-style strap that’s also available for the same price. And just for your information, there’s also a bracelet version available that costs €4,650.
Lex’s best summer watches: Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000PG-9 from the 40th Anniversary Recrystallized Series
Once I’ve reached my destination, I’ll first want to relax, disconnect, unwind, and re-energize. Then I’ll want to wear something that puts a smile on my face, matches the sunshine, and reflects the summer vibe. Enter the Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000PG-9 from the 40th Anniversary Recrystallized Series. The golden glow of this cheerful “Square” is not the result of precious metal but of recrystallization and ion plating. This €870 watch looks ten times its price, and that has several advantages when on holiday. The golden glow of the GMW-B5000PS-1 will result in the best seat in the house when it comes to restaurants, beach clubs, bars, and terraces. Maybe if I switch from the Longines to the G-Shock just before I check into the hotel, it will get me a nice room upgrade.
A gold G-Shock Square might sound obnoxious, but the complete recrystallization of the case and bracelet gives the watch a frosty look that’s more shimmering than shiny. In other words, the gold-colored IP works really well on the wrist. The watch will light up in the sunlight, but it won’t blind anyone. It’s quite a subdued shine that kind of blends in. And once the skin gets properly sun-kissed, the golden glow of the GMW-B5000PG-9 will accentuate that very nicely. Hey, I don’t want to come across as overly hedonistic, but looking good is feeling good.
And I even have a practical argument to make regarding this “golden” Square: it has a positive display that’s easy to read. Oh, and if I happen to fall into the pool, it’s no biggie since the watch is water resistant to a depth of 200 meters. But for swimming in either the pool or the ocean, I have a different watch in mind.
Lex’s best summer watches: Certina DS Action Diver 38mm in titanium
Once rested and relaxed enough, it’s time for some action. And what better watch to wear than one with the word “action” in its name? The Certina DS Action Diver DS Action Diver (ref. C032.807.44.081.00) in its 38mm titanium case with a matching bracelet is my watch of choice to not only accompany me while doing aquatic stuff but also on hikes and rides I’ve planned. I once wrote that this €1,065 DS Action Diver could challenge the €4,590 Pelagos 39. That’s how pleasantly surprised I was by both the watch’s technical specs and its stunning good looks. Let’s not get into a heated debate here — it’s way too hot for that, won’t you agree? — but just enjoy the friendly looks of this Certina.
It’s the light blue Super-LumiNova in the gray setting that works like a charm. The light blue matches the azure sea, and the dark gray says “tool watch” in stylish, contemporary fashion. And besides its appealing exterior, the lightweight diver is also ready to rock. It’s built to ISO 6425 specifications, for instance. That means that the 38mm × 45mm × 12.20mm titanium case has a 300m water resistance rating. Safely tucked away inside the case beats the Powermatic 80.611 (Swatch Group) movement that provides an ample 80-hour power reserve. That’ll come in handy since I will be swapping between the G-Shock and the Certina while vacationing.
What will I wear at the summer wedding?
The question remains: which watch will I wear to the wedding? Not the Certina. It’s too gray, too “tool-watchy,” and not festive enough. So it boils down to the steel and gold Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT 39mm and the “full gold” and very sparkly G-Shock GMW-B5000PG-9. Difficult choice. The somewhat-dressy Longines goes well with the suit and tie I’ll most likely be wearing. And with its 39mm case size and the lustrous combination of steel and gold, it’s a luxurious and sophisticated creation that will sometimes casually pop out from under the cuff.
On the other hand, the G-Shock is festive and fun, and a wedding is a party. Yes, I will wear a suit, but not the entire day and night. At night, when the music starts and it’s time to dance, the jacket comes off, and the shirt sleeves get rolled up. That’s the moment I wish for something other than the Longines. That’s the moment I want to wear the flashy, sparkly, “golden” G-Shock that will reflect the disco lights. So, what is it going to be, the suave Zulu or the glam “shocker”? Both. I will put the G-Shock in a pouch and swap watches once the DJ starts spinning the wheels. Problem solved. Let me know if I got away with this cheat in the comments, and enjoy your summer!