The Watches I’ve Taken On My Summer Holiday — Daan Shares His Picks From Blancpain, Seiko, And Swatch
This year, it was a bit more difficult to make my watch selection for my summer holiday. Usually, we travel by plane to visit my wife’s family in Ponferrada, Spain. But this year, because of the chaos at the airport in Amsterdam and the high prices for renting a car, we decided to drive all the way there. And when you’re driving as many as 2,000 kilometers one way, you need to make some stopovers. That means it’s not very safe to bring along a large part of my watch collection. And besides, who needs dress watches or more fragile pieces when most of my days during our five-week trip will be filled with pools, beaches, and sunbathing?
I’m sure many could even do without a watch in such a situation. As a watch enthusiast, though, I enjoy wearing a watch at all times. So at first, I thought about just bringing two affordable, sub-€1,000 watches with me. But then I realized that I have a travel watch roll with three slots. Why not bring another one along? I took another good look at my collection and decided that I could bring one of the more expensive pieces. I figured that if I didn’t feel like it was safe to leave the watch in the car or at the place where we were staying, I could just wear the more expensive piece and leave the other ones behind. And that’s exactly what I did. Let’s start with the least expensive one, but certainly not the least desired one.
Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch Mission to Saturn
Just before we left for our trip to Spain, we had some tropical weather in Amsterdam as well. Temperatures rose to well over 30°C, and I didn’t feel like wearing one of the heavier stainless steel watches from my collection. So I went with the MoonSwatch Mission to Saturn on a two-piece fabric strap from Esprit NATO. It wears so light, yet it still kind of looks like you’re wearing a serious watch. This is, most certainly, due to the case, which has the exact shape of the Omega Speedmaster Professional. And even though the Mission to Saturn is “just a Swatch“, it’s certainly not just another quartz watch.
I know the MoonSwatch saga is still causing quite a lot of discussion, and I totally get why many people are already fed up with the whole thing. It’s true that Swatch makes it almost impossible to easily acquire one. But as a lucky owner of the Mission to Saturn, I can tell you that wearing one is just as fun as many imagine it to be. And as a member of the Fratello team, I also imagined that it would allow me to post pictures for #SpeedyTuesday during my holidays. The only problem is that the MoonSwatch is not exactly the best watch to bring around pools, beaches, or other watery destinations. That’s where my second choice comes in.
Seiko SPB317J1 — My brand-new diver
The Seiko SPB317J1 entered my collection very recently and quite unexpectedly. But what a dream of a summer watch it has been, now one week into our trip! Of course, €950 is still a lot of money, and it’s not like I’m trying to damage it on purpose. But I just feel so confident that this watch can take whatever I throw at it. Moreover, it’ll look better and better the more it picks up some good wear and tear. Just look at the various vintage examples of the original 6105-8000 that are still around. This is the watch on which the SPB317J1 was based. It’s such a good-looking watch, especially when it’s a bit beaten up. And that’s exactly how watches get when you travel with two small kids!
I don’t have the time to take care of my watches while running after them, covering them in SPF 50+ sunscreen, or helping them eat their daily dose of ice cream. I don’t want to have to worry about my watch while jumping into the pool with them a million times or preventing them from yet another fall. In the end, the focus during this holiday will be on the kids’ safety, not the safety of the watch on my wrist. And even though this Seiko is a brand-new addition to my collection, I still feel it’s the perfect watch for the job. What’s also perfect is its extended power reserve of 70 hours. Even if I don’t wear it for a few days, I won’t have to worry about winding and setting it. Honestly, the MoonSwatch and the SPB317J1 would make a sweet combo for the summer holiday. But when I looked at my watch box once again, I knew I had to bring one more watch.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in 38mm
It just felt weird to leave the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe behind, especially on the Bonklip bracelet, which is perfect for an expanding wrist on a hot summer’s day. That bracelet in combination with the Bathyscaphe’s modest sizing makes it wear very light for a stainless steel watch. It also feels good to bring one of my higher-end pieces as a kind of representative of the rest of the collection that I left behind. Besides, it can serve as a more dressed-up option for a night out for dinner, for example. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be babying this little beauty all the time.
It might be a more expensive piece, but it’s also a very capable one. The ceramic bezel won’t scratch on a frolic with the kids, and the Bathyscaphe literally feels like a fish in the water. And just like the Seiko, it has an extended power reserve, but this time, of no less than 100 hours. Now, the fact that it’s more expensive could also mean that it’s more attractive to thieves. I have the feeling, however, that the Bathyscaphe is still one of those under-the-radar pieces that I don’t really have to worry about. Let’s hope I’m right! For now, I really enjoy switching between the Seiko and the Blancpain. They are two great divers that can be worn at any time, and both eat tons of different straps alive for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Mix it up with different strap options
Both watches share the same lug width and are not the most outspoken choices when it comes to color. That’s why I brought a bunch of additional straps that work great on both. I packed a few tropic straps from Wolbrook that I recently reviewed and a few different NATOs to play around with. When I’m at home, I usually wear a different watch every day, so it’s taking time to get used to only having three options. But putting the watches on different straps helps to add some variety to the wearing experience.
So there you have it! The MoonSwatch, the SPB317J1, and the 38mm Bathyscaphe are my wrist companions for this summer holiday. I must say, I debated bringing the Reverso, especially on its great Casa Fagliano Collection summer strap. In the end, though, its lack of water resistance convinced me to leave it at home in Amsterdam.
What do you think about this selection and the reasoning behind it? And what watches are you bringing on your summer holiday this year? Let me know in the comments!
If you’d like to see more wrist shots of the above watches during my holiday, you can find and follow me on Instagram @fliptheparrot.