Summer Splash: What Is The Best Summer Watch? RJ’s Picks — Seiko, Tudor, And Omega
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 the Summer Splash. 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 comments section of this article.
It is time for my picks for Fratello’s Summer Splash 2021. Three watches below €5,000 each, and with a water resistance of at least 100 meters. These parameters paint with broad strokes, as they leave so many options to choose from! But let’s have a look at my picks, and why I selected them for the Summer Splash 2021.
Every summer, it’s the same. Which watch(es) will I take with me on a holiday? Now for the second summer in a row, I won’t be traveling far, or to any exotic destinations at least, but nevertheless, there will be some swimming involved. MY watch is the last thing I want to worry about when I’m on holiday. And it would be best if I can take just one watch with me. One that will do just as well in the swimming pool as it will during diner in the evening in a nice restaurant. It also needs to hold up while playing with my daughter, which can be anything from playing hockey with her to building sandcastles. Now, a Seiko SKX007 or a Casio G-Shock would do perfectly fine for most of the occasions mentioned.
However, and this is not meant to be snobbish, I also enjoy looking at a nicely finished watch on my wrist in the evening when enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail. I want a nice allrounder, one that ticks all the boxes, including the two rather generic ones as mentioned in the introduction. The last proper summer holiday was in 2019, in the south of France, and I brought my Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200M. During summers prior to that, I often brought my Seiko Marinemaster 300 SBDX001, a Seamaster 300M (either my 2531.80 or 2296.80), or a Rolex. Either my Submariner (116610) or my Sea-Dweller (16600). For this selection though, my colleague Mike suggested that we should pick watches that are still available for purchase. That (as well as the price limit) basically excludes all the watches I just mentioned.
Seiko Prospex SLA021J1
The first watch I selected for the Summer Splash 2021 is the current model of my trusty “old” (2015) Marinemaster 300 SBDX001. Now, with sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel, instead of the Hardlex (mineral) crystal and steel bezel of my SDBX001. The price increased accordingly, to €3,200, but it can still compete with some of the offerings from the big (Swiss) brands. This 44.3mm steel case has a height of 15.4mm and a lug-to-lug size of 50mm, but despite these dimensions, it wears comfortably on my 19cm wrist. Seiko’s Prospex SLA021J1 (read my review here) is not a lightweight watch either, weighing in at 198 grams. But at least you will still know it is there at the end of a long Summer day.
Inside, is the impressive Seiko caliber 8L35(b) movement. An in-house developed movement that is based on Grand Seiko’s caliber 9S55. There are a few key factors contributing to my liking of this watch. The monobloc case, the fact that it uses a nicer movement than most other Seiko Prospex series, its classic 6159 / Marinemaster looks dating back to 1968, and the amazing finish and quality. I’ve been to Grand Seiko’s manufactures in Japan, and the Marinemaster and later variations are made in the exact same place where the mechanical Grand Seiko’s are made. And in my opinion, it shows.
Omega Seamaster Professional 300M
Since its introduction in 1993, the Diver 300M has been Omega’s signature piece for over 25 years now. In 2018, we saw the latest upgrade to the 300M collection, and with it the return of the wave pattern dial. A very good thing, in my opinion, as it simply belongs to this watch. When the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M was introduced in 1993, it was just a new watch. No specific watches from Omega’s heritage were used to design the 300M. It was well and truly refreshing. In 2018, despite the update, Omega has stayed true to the design of the 1993 Diver 300M, but now in 42mm and using all of its latest technology.
A new ceramic dial and bezel, a Master Chronometer certified caliber 8800, and updated bracelets and straps. What remained of the original was the manual helium valve at 10 o’clock, the skeletonized sword hands, and — as I already mentioned — wave pattern dial. The Seamaster Diver 300M 126.96.36.199.04.001 is my preferred model. With a white dial, black ceramic bezel, and a black rubber strap. The version with the 9-piece stainless steel bracelet is unfortunately not within the 5K budget, but I’d go for the rubber strap version anyway. It looks and wears great, and makes for a perfect summery combination. When compared to all other watches in Omega’s catalog, this Seamaster Diver 300M with Master Chronometer certification offers a ton of value for its price of €4,800.
Tudor Pelagos LHD M25610TNL0001
I don’t own a Tudor watch and have never done so in the past. However, some of my Fratello colleagues have one (or more) in their collection. I’ve tried many of them, but the one that still haunts me is the Pelagos. Where the Black Bay series shows a lot of inspiration from the Crown, the Pelagos is more unique. Perhaps also underlining the fact that Tudor is not Rolex — or its little brother for that matter. When Tudor introduced to us the Pelagos LHD, I was immediately smitten by its looks. Even though I don’t necessarily have much of a taste for titanium, or left-hand crowns, the Pelagos LHD makes me forget about that.
The 42mm titanium Pelagos LDH M25610TNL0001 has a depth rating of 500 meters, and an in-house developed caliber MT5612 movement with 70 hours of power reserve. The crown on the left side will also keep the top of my hand happy, as the crown on most dive watches is pretty good at leaving a mark on there. Tudor also throws in a complimentary black rubber strap with a signed buckle for the total amount of €4,320. Despite its utilitarian looks, this. is a watch that will do just as well during dinner parties on the beach as it would jumping into the pool.
Well, there you have it. Those are my picks for this first round of the Summer Splash! Let me know what you think of my picks. Would you have chosen differently? Make sure to vote for your favorite of the three below.