The Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Jersey Shore won’t hit their Coppertone-soaked peak season for at least two months, but spring 2014’s first onset of warm weather reminds us that a return to the beach is imminent. As collectors of prestige watches turn their collective attention to the outdoors, timepiece durability and casual style become priorities.
Winter is a time when dress watches reign. In the absence of outdoor environmental constraints, hard knocks, and bathing suits, formal watches with three-ATM water resistance and fluted gold lugs are par for the course.
However, unless an upscale steakhouse is part of the equation, office watches are a no-go in places where surf meets turf.
Omega’s Seamaster has been a mainstay of discerning beachgoers since 1948. The quintessential Omega sports watch, the Seamaster line has given birth to endless variations of style, size, and functions during its sixty-four year run. The Seamaster Aqua Terra is the perfect watch for the transitional weather of early spring.
When a watch may see water but still must look sharp for indoor occasions, the Aqua Terra is the ticket. This model splits the difference between Omega’s formal DeVille dress line and the no-holds-barred sporting references elsewhere within the Seamaster family. The Aqua Terra features simple, highly legible, and classically proportioned hands and indexes to represent the time.
A vertically striated texture imparts the appearance of depth to the charcoal-colored dial, and super luminova allows the watch to remain just as striking to behold in low-light conditions. Omega’s deployant stainless steel bracelet provides an aesthetic compliment to the matching case and is supremely comfortable.
Inside, the proprietary Omega caliber 8500 features a unique coaxial escapement that ensures chronometer-levels of stability over longer periods than conventional wheel-and-lever arrangements. The mechanism is visible under a sapphire display caseback, and a screw-down crown ensures 150 meters of water resistance – more than enough to keep Cape Cod tidal pools at bay.
Watch enthusiasts who plan to venture beyond the break of incoming waves require a more robust solution. While the Aqua Terra is a versatile charmer in either bathing suits or business suits, serious watersports, diving, and offshore adventures require a highly evolved companion for the marine environment. Panerai’s PAM 24 Luminor Submersible sits at the top of the food chain.
This prestige watch proves that premium materials and bloody-knuckle attitude can co-exist. The PAM 24’s stainless steel case is massive, imposing, and finished to a standard rarely seen in such a committed deep-dive tool. Contrasting polished and brushed surfaces are as striking to behold as the width and thickness of the screw-down caseback; this watch is a beautiful brute.
Panerai’s signature crown bridge and locking lever permit rapid setting and winding of the watch without any need to fumble with a screw-down crown. This feature is particularly welcome when wearing gloves for watersports. Additionally, this model, from the “Submersible” line, features an exceptional water resistance of 300 meters. With such a high degree of protection, this watch is ready to shake-off deep SCUBA adventures or massive hydraulic shock from waterskiing wipeouts.
A calibrated bezel permits timing of short dive intervals, and the Luminor’s famous painted luminous material keeps the watch visible during the darkest dives.
When prestige watches and water have no choice but to mix, beach-ready references answer the call. Whether the occasion calls for a two-way watch that can handle the indoor/outdoor shuffle of April showers or the full-blast Jet Ski rush of mid-August, 300watches offers beach-friendly prestige watches that are ready to take the plunge.