Andrew O'Connor, Author at Exquisite Timepieces
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Author: Andrew O'Connor

When watch enthusiasts think of pilot watches, many likely gravitate towards large, time-only watches styled after those famously used in World War II and built by German-speaking brands. While originally utilitarian, the stark look attracts many.

Pilot watches can also mean chronographs and slide rules, as timing events, calculating distances, and other necessary math were crucial aspects of a pilot’s job, especially before onboard computers. Possibly the most famous brand manufacturing such chronographs is Breitling. 

Breitling’s History and Creation of Pilot Watches

Breitling started in 1884 in Saint-Imier, Switzerland by Léon Breitling. In 1914, the business was passed on to his son Gaston. Gaston’s son Willy took over in 1935. Their early historical developments centered around the automobile and making improvements to the chronograph.

Adding a tachymeter, a second reset pusher, and creating one of the first wrist-worn chronographs were all developments made by Breitling between 1905 and 1934. In 1938, Breitling founded the “Huit Aviation” department, their own research and development arm aimed at meeting the needs of both civil and military pilots.

In 1940, Breitling unveiled the Chronomat, short for “chronograph-mathematique.” The slide-rule inner bezel allowed for a myriad of calculations. In 1952, Willy Breitling started adapting the Chronomat for aviation-specific use, including calculations for speed, distance traveled, fuel consumption, and ascent rate.

In partnership with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Navitimer was born, and became publicly available in 1956. In 1962, the Cosmonaute was developed. Geared towards space use, the 24-hour format and enlarged bezel were tailored to space flight.

Scott Carpenter successfully orbited the Earth with his custom watch, which was later made publicly available. Family control ended in 1979, as the remaining members had no interest in the business. Breitling was bought by Ernst Schneider of the Secure Company.

This era saw the beginning of quartz movements being used and the beginning of Breitling’s focus on “instruments for professionals.” The Chronomat model we are more familiar with today was released in 1984, and partnerships were made with various groups, including the “Frecce Tricolori” model.

In 2017, CVC Capital Partners purchased a major stake, and then in 2018, they purchased the remainder. In December 2022, a Swiss investment and private equity firm called Partners Group took over the company.

The Best Breitling Pilot Watches

Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 (ref. AB0137211B1P1)


Originally, the Navitimer was 41mm wide. Modern Breitling, since the early 2000s, has been known for large sizes, and this specific Navitimer is no different. Measuring 46mm wide, 13.95mm thick, and 51.8mm lug to lug, the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 will not be missed while on the wrist.

The look has been modernized while staying close to the original Navitimer design and maintaining the original functions. Only water resistant to 30 meters, this Navitimer is strictly for aviation and dry land use. Inside is Breitling’s own B01 caliber.

A tri-register chronograph with date, the B01 has a 28,800 bph beat rate, with 47 jewels and a 70-hour power reserve. This modern column wheel chronograph with a vertical clutch has a track record of being reliable after years of refinement. The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 retails for $9400 on a leather strap. 

Breitling Super AVI B04 Chronograph GMT 46 Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair (ref. AB04451A1C1A1)


Inspired by the Ref. 765 AVI that was released in 1953, the Breitling Super AVI B04 Chronograph GMT 46 Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair is geared towards modern pilots. The large dial and 46mm case size are to ensure easy legibility. The bezel is knurled, and the crown is oversized to allow easy use, even while wearing gloves. 

The addition of the red 24-hour hand adds extra functionality for the frequent traveler, allowing for the tracking of multiple time zones. Water resistant to 100 meters, it will withstand aquatic adventures too.  The Super AVI B04 Chronograph GMT uses Breitling’s B04 calibre. Built upon the B01 movement, the B04 adds the GMT functionality.

The GMT function does add some thickness, but the watch is purposefully large, to begin with. The 46mm wide case measures 15.9mm thick, 51.5mm lug-to-lug, and has a 24mm wide lug width. The Breitling Super AVI B04 Chronograph GMT, 46 Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair, retails for $11,100 on a steel bracelet. 

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph (ref. AB01821A1C1X1)


Intended to withstand the worst anyone could throw at it, the Avenger line is built to be a no-nonsense pilot watch. The bezel, crown, and pushers were all designed to be usable with gloves. The 45mm wide steel case is water resistant to 300 meters.

Not for the faint of heart, at 15.76mm thick and 55.7mm lug-to-lug, legibility and usability take precedence over a svelte stature.

The Avenger B01 Chronograph uses Breitling’s B01 movement, supplying the chronograph and date functions to the watch. This specific model is a limited edition of 500 pieces. The Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph retails for $7500 on a textile and leather strap. 

Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747 (ref. AB01383B1G1P1)


To celebrate the discontinuation of the Boeing 747, Breitling released this special edition of 747 pieces. The color scheme used on the Navitimer 43 Boeing 747 is meant to recall the original colors used when the 747 was released in 1969. On the case back, “One of 747” and “The Original Jumbo Jet,” are engraved, again paying homage to the iconic Boeing airplane. 

Inside is the Breitling B01 movement, providing the chronograph and date functions. This 43mm wide watch measures 13.69mm thick, and 49mm lug-to-lug with 22mm lug spacing. The stainless steel case is water resistant to 30 meters. The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747 retails for $9600 on a leather strap. 

Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 (ref. AB0119131C1P1)


The Aviator 8 collection is intended to be a simplified version of their pilot watches. While intended to be incredibly useful and practical, the Navitimer may be too busy and complicated looking for some. If that is so, the Aviator 8 collection is worth looking at. The Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 is 43mm wide, 13.97mm thick, 51.1mm lug-to-lug, and has 23mm lug spacing.

The steel case is 100 meters water resistant, and inside is the Breitling B01 movement. In addition to the chronograph and the date, there is a rotating 12-hour bezel that can be used to time additional events or to track an additional time zone. The Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 retails for $8300 on a steel bracelet. 

Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 43 (ref. A32397101A1X1)


Again, the Avenger series is intended to be Breitling’s modern tool watch series. This Avenger Automatic GMT measures 43mm wide, 12.28mm thick, 52.6mm lug-to-lug, and has 22mm lug spacing. Inside is the Breitling 32 movement, which is based on the ETA 2892-2. 

This movement offers a 42-hour power reserve and an adjustable 24-hand in addition to the time and date. While largely intended as a pilot’s watch, the Avenger GMT could also be used as a diver with its 300 meters of water resistance, high contrast dial with lumed indices, and a lumed pip on the rotating bezel. The Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 43 retails for $4300 on the leather strap with a tang buckle. 

Breitling Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute (ref. PB02301A1B1A1)


As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Cosmonaute was Breitling’s Navitimer adapted for space travel. The original was the first Swiss-made chronograph worn in space on May 24th, 1962, at the personal request of Scott Carpenter when he boarded the Mercury-Atlas 7.

The 24-hour format was used to differentiate between AM and PM, as the concept of day and night does not exist in outer space. The Breitling Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 is a modern re-issue of the original. Made in 362 pieces to mark the 60th anniversary of the original mission, this special edition features luxury updates, including a platinum bezel and sapphire caseback.

The 41mm steel case is 30 meters water resistant, and measures 13mm thick, 47mm lug-to-lug, and has a 22mm lug width. Inside is the B02 movement, which is the same as the B01, but modified to display 24-hour time. The Breitling Navitimer B02 Chronograph 41 retails for $11,500 on the steel bracelet.

Breitling Aviator 8 Automatic 41 (ref. A17315101B1X2)


This version of the Aviator 8 is maybe one of the more fashion-oriented Breitling’s featured here. While still maintaining a clear legible dial and rotating bezel marking elapsed time, the tan lume and lack of additional marking on the bezel are less utilitarian and more vintage-inspired, recalling designs from the 1930s and 40s. 

The 41mm steel case of this Aviator 8 is water-resistant to 100 meters, measures 10.74mm thick, 48.7mm lug-to-lug, and has a 21mm lug spacing. Inside is the Breitling 17 movement, which is based on the ETA 2824-2. The movement has a 38-hour power reserve, a date function, and is chronometer-certified, keeping with Breitling’s tradition of chronometer watches. The Breitling Aviator 8 Automatic 41 retails for $4250 on a leather strap with a folding clasp.

Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 (ref. AB0139241C1P1)


Much the same as the Navitimer 46 already mentioned, this 41mm version is closer to the original Navitimer, with a modern movement and case finishing. The smaller case size pairs down the dimensions, measuring 13.6mm thick, 47mm lug-to-lug, and has 22mm lugs. 

Additionally, the 41mm gets unique colorways that are different from the other sizes. Pictured here in blue with black sub-dials, it may be the most suitable for daily wear. The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 retails for $9200 on a leather strap.

Breitling Aerospace Evo (ref. E79363101C1E1)


The Breitling Aerospace was originally released in 1985 and was a groundbreaking multifunction watch at the time, including developments such as a thermo-compensated quartz movement, mixed analog and digital display, and a digital minute repeater. 

Today, the Breitling Aerospace continues to maintain the usability of the original. Equipped with the Breitling 79 Super-Quartz movement, it is based on the ETA 988.352 movement and has a battery life rated to 3 to 4 years. 

The 43mm titanium case measures 10.8mm thick, 52mm lug-to-lug, and has a 22mm lug width. The case is also rated 100 meters of water resistance. The Breitling Aerospace Evo retails for $4450 on a titanium bracelet. 

Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition (ref. AB0910371B1X1)


Vintage re-editions have their place. While some enthusiasts want something entirely new, some enjoy vintage watches’ look and feel. Vintage watches have their own problems, as they can be difficult to service and maintain because of their age.

This is where vintage re-editions come in, as they present many of the charms of a vintage watch with the reliability and durability of a modern watch. The Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition aims to match the original Navitimer as closely as possible. The dial text and printing present as if someone found a new-old-stock example.

The case was measured to replicate the exact dimensions of the original. Breitling even used a high-domed Plexiglas crystal instead of sapphire to heighten the vintage look. Inside is a modern B09 movement, a COSC-certified hound-wound version of Breitling’s B01 movement. 

The stainless steel case measures 41mm wide, 12.98mm thick, 48.7mm lug-to-lug, and has a 22mm lug width. Because of the Plexiglass crystal, the weight is notably lighter, weighing in at 75g on the strap. True to the original, the watch is rated to 30 meters of water resistance. The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition retails at $9050 and is limited to 1959 units.

Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition(ref. AB0920131B1X1)


Breitling gave reference 765 the same treatment as reference 806 with the Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition. Limited to 1953 watches, this watch re-creates the reference 765, which served as the inspiration for Breitling’s current AVI collection. Here, Breitling went with a more aged look with the luminescent paint on the dial.

The stainless steel case has an external bidirectional bezel, is water resistant to 30 meters, and measures 41mm wide, 14.06mm thick, 48.7mm lug-to-lug, and has a 22mm lug width. Inside is the same hand-wound B09 movement as the 1959 Navitimer Re-Edition. 

The Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition retails for $9050.

Breitling Avenger Automatic 45 Seawolf (ref. A17319101I1X1)


Maybe best suited for underwater duty with a staggering 3000 meters of water resistance, the bright yellow dial and large 45mm size of this Avenger 45 Seawolf should still be legible if reading in a cockpit. Like other Avenger watches, this watch is designed to be used as a tool, with the functions being easily utilized in a variety of environments.

The steel case measures 45mm wide, 18.39mm thick, 55.2mm lug-to-lug, and has a 22mm lug width. With those dimensions, this watch is not for the faint of heart, as the thickness is more than the strap widths on many dress watches. Inside is the Breitling 17 automatic movement. The Breitling Avenger Automatic 45 Seawolf retails for $4350 on a leather strap with a tang buckle.

Breitling Emergency (ref. V76325221B1S1)


The Breitling Emergency is similar to the Aerospace Evo, with the Breitling 76 thermo-compensated quartz movement inside. In addition to the chronograph, 4-year calendar, countdown timer, and second timezone, a dual-frequency distress beacon can be used in emergencies. 

Should one find themselves in an emergency situation far away from conventional communication, the distress beacon can be accessed by unscrewing and pulling the crown on the bottom lug, releasing the antenna. Once activated, emergency responders will be able to pinpoint your location and provide assistance. 

The DLC-Coated titanium case is water resistant to 50 meters and has a bi-directional external bezel. The case measures 51mm in diameter, 21.6mm thick, 65.5mm lug-to-lug, and has a 26mm lug width. The battery life of the Breitling 76 movement is rated at 2-3 years. 

The Breitling Emergency retails for $18,760 in titanium on a rubber strap. Additionally, should you activate the emergency beacon in a non-emergency situation, there is a very, very, large fine. 

Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission (ref. V13375101C1X1)


The “super” part of the title of this watch is not to be taken lightly, as it likely refers to the bold 48mm wide case dimension of the watch. Made in DLC-coated titanium with a blue dial and strap, these aspects will provide some much-needed visual and physical levity to the timepiece. 

The Super Avenger Chronograph 48 uses the Breitling 13 movement, which is based on the Valjoux 7750. In addition to the large case diameter, the case measures 17.73mm thick, 59mm lug-to-lug, has a 24mm lug width, and is rated to 300 meters of water resistance.

The titanium will lessen the weight, but this watch is definitely about presence. The Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission retails for $6400 on a leather strap with a tang buckle. 


Breitling’s history has been devoted to building purpose-oriented timepieces that are still attractive objects of horology. Even today, while some watches are quite large, their size and design are still oriented toward utility. Breitling’s aviator timepieces are aimed at those who are both technically and adventurously minded and are in need of a timing companion for their excursions.

15 best minute repeater watches

Long before the days of glowing indices and hands, telling the time in the dark was a complicated ordeal. Before clocks, sundials obviously were of no use. With the advent of clocks, if there was not enough light to see the time, lighting a flame was the only way to see.

That involved finding a source of flame, something to maintain the flame, and blowing it out when no longer necessary. This tedious task was solved by the idea of telling time with sound. Then, instead of chiming at regular intervals, what if the sound could be recalled on demand? Auditory time-telling was the wave of the future until the prominence of gas lighting and luminescent paint came into being.

A Short Guide to Chiming Watches and Repeaters

Minute repeaters have become a holy grail for many collectors, but there were chiming clocks before there was any sort of repeaters. 

Chiming clocks are clocks that chime the passing of time, usually every hour and sometimes at other intervals, such as every fifteen or thirty minutes. The first chiming clocks appeared in Italy in the 13th century. While many clocks for homes and watches with chiming functions have on-and-off abilities, they do not chime on command. 

Both Edward Barlow and Daniel Quare claimed the invention of the repeating watch before 1700, with the patent filing going in favor of Quare in 1687. However, Edward Barlow’s creation of the rack and snail striking system in 1676 has become the standard for repeating timepieces ever since.

If you imagine a grandfather clock, or even larger, a church clock, certainly the size of the bells and gongs in those clocks are much larger than anything that could fit in a watch. Early repeating watches had small bells in the case, but around 1800, the first wire gongs came into use. Because of their size, watchmakers could fit the repeating complication into much smaller watches. 

Most repeating watches before the 18th century were quarter repeaters, meaning they would repeat the hours and quarter hours. Around 1750, John Ellicot was the first to produce minute repeaters in somewhat large numbers. Minute repeaters chime hours, quarters, and minutes. 

In the 19th century, innovations by Abraham Louis Breguet made the minute repeater more common, but they were still very expensive, and reserved for the most prestigious clients. Around the same time, they also fell out of favor as industrial manufacturing made watchmaking more inexpensive, and gas lighting became widespread. 

Today, chiming watches are still coveted by collectors. Even though they do not serve the practical function they once did, they are still magnificent displays of watchmaking as a craft. 

Difficulty and expense of manufacturing make it so any chiming watch is quite expensive. While module-based complications can make them more affordable, they are still an order of magnitude more expensive compared to other complications. 

Listed below are fifteen modern repeating watches, displaying the best of what these brands have to offer and some of their best creativity alongside audible complications.

15 Best Minute Repeater Watches

1. Patek Philippe 5178G-001

Patek Philippe 5178G-001

The Patek Philippe 5178G was introduced at Baselworld 2017 and has been discontinued as of Watches and Wonders 2023. Any watch from Patek Philippe is unique, and any complicated watch from Patek Philippe is even more so. With chiming watches, Patek Philippe goes above and beyond in regard to finishing, making every aspect of the piece a considered work of art on its own. 

While the 40mm white gold case appears simple from the front, the slide pusher on the side of the watch reveals the minute repeater complication. What makes the 5178G even more special compared to other repeaters is the use of cathedral gongs in the calibre R 27 PS. 

Cathedral gongs are longer and more difficult to produce than standard gongs used in more conventional repeaters. As a result of the larger gongs, the sound is louder and more resonant. While in production, the retail price was set at 360,000 CHF, but today, prices are dictated by the secondary market. 

2. Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie (ref. 26395BC.OO.D321CR.01)

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie (ref. 26395BC.OO.D321CR.01)

The Supersonnerie developments from Audemars Piguet started with the RD1 Acoustic Research. The goal of these developments was to produce a minute repeater that not only was acoustically superior in terms of volume and sound quality but also to build a minute repeater that could meet the expectations of durability required for a modern watch. 

To achieve the improvements in sound, Audemars Piguet considers the case a resonant body, similar to an acoustic string instrument. There is space and channels within the case that allow sound to resonate, changing the timbre and the volume of the chimes. 

The gongs are also mounted to a separate resonating soundboard instead of being mounted to the main plate of the movement, as would be the case with a conventional repeater. Finally, the governor has been reworked to act as a shock absorber, making the repeating aspect of the movement much more durable.

The 41mm wide 18k white gold case of the Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie is water resistant to 20 meters, a notable achievement for a repeating watch. Inside is the hand-wound calibre 2953, which includes the Supersonnerie improvements mentioned. 

While the case may present plainly from the front, turning the watch to view from other angles reveals a timepiece that is incredibly architectural in design. The sculpted case and concave crystal make for a quite dynamic design. 

Audemars Piguet has moved away from publishing retail prices for many of its pieces and suggests making an appointment to express interest in this watch. Regardless of how one pursues this watch, the price may be best presented while sitting. 

3. Breguet Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon

Breguet Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon

Modern Breguet has little to do with the brand’s namesake, as it is now operated by the Swatch group. Still, they do make an effort to pay tribute to Breguet through pieces like the reference 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon. 

Part of its Tradition collection, the Breguet 7087 combines both a minute repeater and a 60-second tourbillon in a 44mm 18k gold case (either rose or white). While elements of the 7087 keep a traditional style expected from the oldest operating watch brand, the 7087 is a thoroughly modern piece. 

The 565DR uses a peripheral oscillating rotor to wind the automatic movement to its full 80 hours of power reserve, allowing for a full view of the back of the movement. 

The movement is finished and designed to recall Breguet’s early pocket watches, but the bridges are titanium. Numerous components are made of silicon, allowing for magnetic parts to be part of the movement!

The governor for the chime is a series of magnets designed to repel and attract each other at a consistent rate, allowing for the chime to be consistent use after use, and silent. The gongs are mounted on the dial side to the bezel of the watch, allowing for a more efficient transfer of the vibrations.

The hammers can be seen underneath, striking the gongs perpendicularly for efficiency. While looking very steampunk and modern, the transmission chain recalls Breguet’s original pocket watches. The Breguet Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon is really a modern interpretation of Breguet’s innovations as if they asked, “What would Breguet make today if he was still around?”.

It is truly a fascinating watch that is a mechanical enthusiast’s dream. At the time of release in 2015, the Breguet 7087 retailed for 450,000 CHF. 

4. A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater (ref. 606.079)

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater (ref. 606.079)

The A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater is the first minute repeater produced by the brand. Most minute repeaters are made of gold, and even some modern ones are made of other materials due to better resonance.

Interestingly, A. Lange & Söhne chose to release this watch in platinum, which is typically thought to sound dull as it is pretty dense and soft. Even if platinum is not ideal, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater shows off what A. Lange & Söhne does best, and that is finishing.

The dial and case are exquisitely finished, with distinct contrasts between brushed and polished surfaces on the case. Complicated watches can become quite large very quickly, but Lange managed to keep things restrained, with the timepiece measuring 39 mm wide and 9.7 mm thick. 

The hand-wound L122.1 movement is truly something to behold. Completely finished by hand, the hand-engraved elements and beautifully chamfered edges are second to none. The governor for the repeater is finely finished, with a mixture of polished and brushed surfaces.

While the repeater is the centerpiece, the governor may steal the show when viewed through the case back, as it spins rapidly when the repeater is engaged. Keeping with the prestige of the brand, the A Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater is priced upon request. 

5. Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon Platinum (ref. 6500T/000P-B100)

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon Platinum (ref. 6500T/000P-B100)

Vacheron Constantine’s announcement of the Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon in 2016 was a big accomplishment. The 2755 TMR movement inside was completely designed, developed, and produced by Vacheron Constantin.

While part of the Holy Trinity of watchmaking, it is not uncommon for any watch company to rely on outside resources to create a new movement. Vacheron was truly flexing their horological mite when releasing this watch.

Combining a tourbillon with a minute repeater is no small feat. While the hand-wound Geneva Seal certified movement and 18,000 bph beat rate point towards old-school watchmaking, the 58-hour power reserve, 44mm wide case, and 30 meters of water resistance are definitive indications of modern advancements. 

The dial features a hand-guilloché motif, and there is a power reserve indicator in the movement, seen through the case back. Another interesting detail is that Vacheron worked the Maltese cross into the design of the tourbillon cage. 

Available exclusively from Vacheron boutiques, the purchaser also receives a resonance boosting holder called “La Musique du Temps.”

6. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (ref. 1313520)

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (ref. 1313520)

Known as the watchmaker’s watchmaker for their history of supplying some of the best brands with movements and parts, Jaeger-LeCoultre is no stranger to high complications. Having produced over 200 different repeating calibers within their history, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon fits in with their tradition of creating finely crafted timepieces. 

The Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon was the thinnest minute repeater ever produced when it was launched in 2014. With the movement measuring 4.8mm thick and the case measuring 7.9mm thick, it may be surprising that the calibre 362 has a platinum peripheral rotor for automatic winding of the watch.

Additionally, the rotor is between the movement and the dial side of the watch, which can be seen through the dial cutouts that double as sound holes for the repeater. To further ensure the best sound possible, Jaeger LeCoultre utilized “trebouchet” hammers that allow the gong to be strong with the greatest force possible.

The gongs are mounted to the sapphire glass to improve acoustic volume. The 41mm case is made of white gold, chosen for the best quality of sound for a precious metal. At the time of release, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Tourbillon retails for 294,000 Euros. 

7. Blancpain Villeret Minute Repeater Automata White Gold (ref. 6033-1542-55)

Blancpain Villeret Minute Repeater Automata White Gold (ref. 6033-1542-55)

If watching the repeater hammers leaves you wanting, the Blancpain Villeret Tourbillon Minute Repeater Automata will definitely add some excitement to the owners’ minute repeating enjoyment. Automata, broadly speaking, refers to mechanical objects that complete actions following a set list of instructions.

Minute repeaters themselves are automata. In watchmaking, they generally refer to objects that mimic lifelike movement for the sake of entertainment. During the late 1600s, watchmakers made watches that included moving figures, frequently depicting scenes of human pleasure.

This delighted wealthy clients but did not delight the ruling and religious bodies of Switzerland, resulting in them being banned. Watches found to have lewd scenes depicted were confiscated and destroyed. Erotic automata did not effectively exist until the rebirth of the mechanical watch industry after the quartz crisis.

With modern Blancpain being reborn from this period, they brought back this art form with their Villeret Minute Repeater Automata. Released in 1993, the caliber 332 utilizes cathedral gongs, and the “piece unique” indication on the dial refers to the scene on the back, as each scene is unique to each watch. 

Measuring 37.5mm wide and 10.3mm thick, the conservative front-facing appearance is reinforced by the case dimensions. It is also quite impressive to consider that they managed to fit both the repeater and the automata in a relatively thin case. This reference is still in the current Blancpain catalog and has a retail price of 278,100 USD. 

8. IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater (ref. IW544907)

IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater (ref. IW544907)

Minute repeaters are truly amazing feats of engineering and craft, but they almost exclusively carry lofty price tags with them. While the IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater is still pricey at 89,100 USD, it is definitely one of the more affordable minute repeaters when purchased new. 

The 44.2mm wide case is made of 18ct 5n red gold. The manual wound 98950 calibre is an IWC manufacture movement and stays with the Portugieser tradition of a large movement placed in a large case. 

Unfortunately, while the movement is beautifully finished, the showpieces of the minute repeater, the hammers, and the governor, are not on display through the case back. Even though the price tag is still large, compromises have to be made to keep the cost in check. 

If there is such a thing as a minute repeater on a budget, the IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater would be as close as one can get. Even with the complication not on full display, lucky owners still get to experience a luxurious case material and sonorous complication. 

9. Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater (ref. 458.HX.1170.HX.YOS)

Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater (ref. 458.HX.1170.HX.YOS)

High-end complications are often reserved for the best of what watchmakers have to offer, usually resulting in precious metals being used for the cases. While gold and platinum are undoubtedly luxurious, many modern collectors desire modern materials. 

The Hublot Big Bang Integral Minute Repeater was produced in a limited edition of 18 pieces, each in both black and white ceramic. This is the first minute repeater to be produced in a full ceramic case, bezel, and bracelet. Additionally, Hublot made the watch water-resistant to 30 meters, which is quite the feat of engineering considering the material and complications. 

At 43mm in diameter, this is definitely not a small watch but relatively restrained by Hublot standards. The MHUB801 manually wound caliber inside features an 80 power reserve, showing off Hublot’s ability to engineer movements with long power reserves, especially with complicated movements. 

The Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater retailed for 280,000 CHF, which looks reasonable considering the engineering needed to create this timepiece, compared to other watches on this list. If high-level complications and modern design are desired, this is definitely a watch to look at. 

10. Omega Speedmaster Chrono Chime (ref. 522.

Omega Speedmaster Chrono Chime (ref. 522.

Omega really impressed the watch world by releasing the Speedmaster Chrono Chime in 2022. Instead of the traditional chiming complication that somehow represents the current time, the Chrono Chime audibly represents the elapsed time of the chronograph.

The Calibre Omega 1932 was developed in partnership with Blancpain. While the repeating function is built like a traditional minute repeater, as mentioned previously, it chimes the elapsed time of the chronograph. 

It will chime a high tone for the elapsed minutes, two tones for the elapsed 10 seconds intervals, and a low chime for individual seconds. Additionally, the 15-minute chronograph is fully integrated into the movement and has a rattrapante function, allowing for the timing of two separate events. 

The watch itself is as luxurious as Omega gets. The 45mm wide case and 21mm wide bracelet are full 18k Sedna gold, Omega’s proprietary red gold alloy. The dial is blue aventurine “Grand Feu” enamel and features 18k red gold hands, markers, and sub-dials.

The presentation box includes a resonance plate in spruce to amplify the sound of the chimes. A numbered edition, but not limited, the Omega Speedmaster Chrono Chime retails for 486,000 USD. 

11. Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater (ref. 103669)

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater (ref. 103669)

The original Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater was released in 2016, with this updated version released in 2022. Bulgari set the record for the world’s thinnest minute repeater in production with this timepiece, with the movement measuring 3.12mm thin, and the case measuring 6.61mm

While not a sports watch, the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater is maybe one of the more sporty looking. The 40mm case is made of sandblasted titanium, and the blue strap is made from FKM rubber. While not suitable for water sports, the case does manage to maintain 30 meters of water resistance.

The blue dial features cutouts for the indices, which are done to amplify the repeater’s sound.  Additionally, titanium makes for a great minute repeater case, as it does not dampen the sound as much as precious metals.

While the case width seems moderate and the thinness is remarkable, Octo Finissimos have a bold presence on the wrist, wearing more like a large cuff bracelet than a traditional watch. At the time of its release in 2022, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater retailed at 195,000 Euros. 

12. Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater (ref. J031033200)

Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater (ref. J031033200)

Jaquet Droz is likely the most famous watchmaker in regard to automata. Much tamer than Blancpain already mentioned, some of his most notable works are the three-doll automata. Consisting of the musician, the draftsman, and the writer, these mechanical wonders from the last half of the 1700s are still functioning today. 

Drawing on that tradition is the Bird Repeater. In addition to the minute repeater, the automata on the dial depict a scene of baby birds being fed by their parents. The small birds move, seemingly begging for food, while the two adult birds move to feed and protect the offspring. 

This particular reference is a limited edition of eight pieces. The 47mm wide red gold case houses the RMA88 movement, a hand-wound caliber featuring Jaquet Droz’s contemporary signature, and an offset dial.

The time-telling part of the dial is black onyx, with the background being hand-carved and painted mother of pearl, along with the birds being hand carved and painted as well. 

The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater is a remarkable combination of engineering, creativity, and craftsmanship. Offering something unique to the brand, it would be a stand-out piece in any collection. The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater retails for 508,600 USD. 

13. F. P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine

F. P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine

Largely considered one of the best living watchmakers, Francois Paul Journe has created some of the best contemporary masterpieces in horology. While watches like the Chronometre Bleu get a great deal of attention from collectors, it does not come close to representing what the brand is capable of. 

The F.P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine contains a tourbillon with remontoir d’égalité, a minute repeater, sidereal hours and minutes, a 2nd timezone, a moon phase indicator, an annual calendar, an equation of time, a sunrise and sunset indication, a dead-beat second, and all settings are set via the crown. 

The last is particularly notable, as many complicated watches similar to the Astronomic Souveraine utilize pushers in the side of the case to adjust the complications. Additionally, to enhance the sound of the minute repeater, the 44mm wide case is made of stainless steel, chosen for its quality of sound compared to precious metals. 

The retail price of the F.P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine in 2019, upon original release, was 889,000 CHF. 

14. Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto

Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto

The focus on chiming watches in general at the beginning of the article comes into play with the Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto. Released in two 300-piece limited editions in blue and green, the 41mm titanium-cased Bel Canto features a Sonnerie au Passage complication, meaning the watch chimes every hour at the top of the hour. 

Christopher Ward accomplished this by using their own jump-hour module on top of a Sellita SW200-1. The chiming components of the watch can be seen on the dial side of the watch, with the hammer at the bottom of the dial, and the gong running around the periphery. 

Priced at 3,595 USD on a strap or 3,975 USD on a bracelet, the Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto offers a great entry point into mechanical chiming complications. It is definitely the most affordable watch on this list, and it may be even more mesmerizing to consider it is around the same price as a Tudor Black Bay. Since the original release, other dial colors have been released as part of Christopher Ward’s current collection. 

15. Breitling Aerospace Evo (ref. E79363101C1E1)

Breitling Aerospace Evo (ref. E79363101C1E1)

Should the function of a minute repeater, along with many other complications, appear to be immediately practical, but durability and affordability are of concern, then the Breitling Aerospace Evo may fit the bill. 

The Aerospace was originally released in 1985 and features a mixed analog and digital display. The main time telling is done via the hours and minutes hands on the dial, while the additional functions are displayed via the digital screens.

While many may disregard this watch as it does run off of the Breitling Quartz Caliber 79, this SuperQuartz movement is thermocompensated, contains a 1/100th of a second chronograph, 4-year calendar, countdown timers, 2nd timezone, alarm, and minute repeater. The 43mm wide case is made of titanium and is water-resistant to 100 meters. It also has a unidirectional bezel to cover additional timing needs. 

For the right enthusiasts, the Breitling Aerospace Evo offers a great deal of value. While maybe not a mechanical marvel in the same way as some of the other watches featured, it does have its own charms and feats of engineering. The Aerospace Evo on a titanium bracelet currently retails for 4,450 USD. 


Chiming watches are truly mechanical wonders. Even though they have always been intended for the most affluent of clients, there are aspects that all watch enthusiasts can appreciate. The engineering and craftsmanship needed to execute a chiming watch well require watchmakers at the top of their craft. 

Fortunately, there are a few companies that occasionally come up with a way to make a chiming watch slightly more democratic in terms of pricing, allowing for a few more enthusiasts to appreciate the delight of chiming watches, even if they are redundant in modern society. 

Best Seiko Solar Watches for Men

Quartz watches were watchmaking’s crowning achievement when they debuted in the late 1960s. Seiko unveiled their first quartz watch on December 29th, 1969, the Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ. At the time, it cost 450,000 Japanese Yen, which was as much as some cars at the time.

Today (March 2023), 450,000 JPY is equivalent to 3,300 USD. Even though early quartz watches were the pinnacle of accuracy, and brands charged accordingly, Seiko quickly figured out how to mass-produce quartz watches to make them affordable.

This sparked the quartz crisis, as quartz watches are more durable, accurate, and cheaper to produce and maintain than mechanical watches. From the perspective of practicality, quartz is much better than mechanical. But what if the battery never needed to be changed?

Seiko Solar Quartz: Background and Range of Models

To add to quartz watches existing practicality, Seiko unveiled their first solar-powered quartz watch in 1978, eliminating the pesky battery change every few years. Provided the user could keep the watch in some sort of light regularly, it would run accurately.

Modern solar-powered watches have power save modes that preserve battery life, should the owner stick the timepiece in a drawer for a short while. In their most basic configuration, solar-powered watches operate much like conventional watches. You set the time normally via the crown, and as long as the battery has power, it’ll keep time within the tolerances allowed by the movement.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are Seiko’s Astron GPS Solar watches, which host a wide range of complications, and sync to GPS signals, allowing to correct any inaccuracies with the movement, ensuring that the watch always displays the correct local time. 

Seiko offers a range of solar-powered watches in their current catalog, from very simple and affordable to quite complicated and high-end, and everything in between. The most affordable models will be made with mineral crystals, have a small amount of water resistance, and will only show the time and maybe the date. 

As the price increases, features such as titanium cases instead of stainless steel, sapphire crystals, higher water resistance, additional complications, and GPS functionality will enter the picture. In terms of battery life, simple models will run for approximately 10 months on a full charge. 

More advanced models will have a power reserve of 6 months. Still, with the addition of a power saving function (similar to a computer’s sleep mode), the watch will continue to keep accurate time for 2 years internally. But it will not display any functions until the watch is worn and exposed to light. 

Due to the many benefits of solar quartz watches, they have proven popular with many consumers. Seiko has taken this into consideration and offers a wide variety of solar quartz watches and various different prices.

The Best Seiko Solar Watches

1. Seiko SNE039

Seiko SNE039

With a retail price of 195 USD, the SNE039 is very much on the affordable end of the spectrum. The splash-resistant rated stainless steel case measures 37.4mm wide and 9.2mm thick and has 20mm lugs. The black dial and lumed hands and indices are covered by a Hardlex crystal. 

The V158 Solar movement inside is rated to +/- 15 seconds per month and has a 10-month power reserve when fully charged. The movement also features a day/date display and has a function that prevents overcharging of the battery. While the style of the watch is versatile, the limited water resistance limits this watch to desk duty. If hassle-free and unobtrusive are the order, the SNE039 will be a great fit.

2. Seiko SNE529

Seiko SNE529

The SNE529 has the same V158 movement inside, but the finishing on the 40mm wide case is much improved. There are contrasting brushed and polished sections on the case and bezel, and the sunburst green dial with gold indices is covered by a sapphire crystal. 

The 20mm wide brown leather strap may indicate more dressy attire, but a strap change will make this watch more water worthy with its 100 meters of water resistance. These upgrades do increase the cost to 240 USD, but they do make the watch very suitable for everyday wear. The SNE529 makes for a worry-free ownership experience. 

3. Seiko SNE329

Seiko SNE329

If dress watches are not the desired style, the SNE329 may be a better fit. At 195 USD, the blue pilot-inspired dial with lumed hands and indices is covered with a Hardlex crystal, but the sporting design is backed up with 100 meters of water resistance. 

Significantly larger, the 43mm wide stainless steel case comes with the V158 movement inside and is attached to a blue nylon strap. The SNE329 is casual and bold and will definitely be more of a statement on the wrist. 

4. Seiko SSC667

Seiko SSC667

Part of the Recraft series, the SSC667 is inspired by Seiko designs from the 1960s and 70s. The case design and blue and orange color scheme is indicative of the era, inspiring notions of motorsport ambitions. The V175 movement is rated to +/-15 seconds per month.

It features a 60-minute chronograph, 24-hour indication, and date display. The battery will last up to 6 months when fully charged and includes an overcharge prevention feature. The sunray-finished bright blue dial and tachymeter are covered by a Hardlex crystal. 

The 43.6mm wide case is 12.2mm thick, has 100 meters of water resistance, and the nylon strap measures 22mm wide. The 350 USD retail price is largely due to the added complication of the chronograph. Seiko’s solar-powered chronographs have been an enthusiast favorite, as they offer a reliable and affordable way to add a chronograph to the collection. 

5. Seiko SUP880

Seiko SUP880

Many collectors focus on sports watches but realize that their favorite dive watch is not always appropriate. If the need for a true dress watch is a rare occasion, a solar-powered dress watch is a great solution. The long power reserve and lower cost compared to a mechanical watch make these watches easy to wear whenever needed. 

The SUP880 is powered by the V115 movement, displaying only the time, and has a 12-month power reserve when fully charged. Measuring 28.4mm wide and 6.1mm thick, the dimensions may seem small, but rectangular watches wear larger than their dimensions suggest.

The Hardlex crystal and splash-resistant rating may not put this watch in consideration for one of the most durable, but it should still be able to handle a formal evening out. The SUP880 has a retail price of 195 USD.

6. Seiko SNE549

Seiko SNE549

The convenience of a solar quartz watch still applies to sports watches. While mechanical movements are fascinating and charismatic, solar quartz watches allow for a low-maintenance user experience. The SNE549 is a PADI Special Edition dive watch that measures 43.5mm wide and 11.6mm thick, with a 20mm wide bracelet. The Hardlex crystal may be preferred in this context, as it is less prone to shattering than sapphire. 

Inside is the V157 movement, which adds a quick start function, which starts the watch after the battery has been depleted, and the seconds hand will move every two seconds. With 200 meters of water resistance and a unidirectional bezel, the SNE549 is an ISO-certified dive watch, ready for water adventures. The SNE549 retails for 395 USD and provides a great affordable, low-maintenance option for a dive watch. 

7. Seiko SSC811

Seiko SSC811

Coming from Seiko’s Coutura collection, the SSC811 is one of Seiko’s boldest designs. The large 45.5mm wide case measures 56mm lug to lug and 12.3mm thick. The stainless steel case is colored black with a hard coating, and the textured black dial with rose gold accents is covered by a sapphire crystal.

Inside is the V192 movement, which offers accuracy rated to +/-15 seconds per month, a 6-month power reserve, a 60-minute chronograph, power reserve indication, date, and 24-hour indication. Backing up the sporting looks of the SSC811 is a water resistance of 100 meters and a screw-down crown.

The silicone strap is integrated into the design, allowing for a cohesive look between the case and strap, but limits strap options to those offered by the brand. The added complications and more premium features increase the retail price to 495 USD, which is still a relatively low price for a reliable watch with a bold contemporary design. 

8. Seiko SNJ025

Seiko SNJ025

The SNJ025 has been nicknamed “The Arnie” after the watch the famous actor wore in Commando and Predator. This 47.8mm wide watch has a large demeanor to match the famous actor, but a relatively restrained 50.5mm lug-to-lug and 13.8mm thickness allow it to maintain some semblance of wearability.

The SNJ025 is utility focused, with the H851 Ana-digi movement inside. This solar quartz is rated to +/-15 seconds a month, with a 6-month power reserve, and 20 months when in power save mode. The movement functions include a 100-hour chronograph, alarm function, perpetual calendar, low battery warning, and an LED light function for the dial.

Rated to 200 meters of water resistance, and with a unidirectional rotating bezel, screw-down crowns and case back, this dive watch is prepared to deal with whatever can be thrown at it. The Hardlex crystal’s improved shatter resistance is preferred in this application over a sapphire crystal. The SNJ025 retails for 525 USD. 

9. Seiko SSG015

Seiko SSG015

Adding a world time function and radio sync functionality to the previously discussed solar-powered chronograph and date movements, the SSG015 with the 8B92 movement inside ensures accuracy while traveling the globe. The quartz movement alone is more accurate than a mechanical watch, but the radio sync automatically receives radio signals to adjust the time, making certain the accurate time is displayed. 

The 45mm wide black coated case measures 13mm thick, 50mm lug to lug, and is rated to 100 meters of water resistance, 13mm thick. The black dial with Breguet-style printed numerals is covered by a Hardlex Crystal. The SSG015 had a retail price of 595 USD but has been discontinued. New old stock and used examples are readily available, with prices varying depending on condition. 

10. Seiko SNE575

Seiko SNE575

A common complaint of many modern dive watches is their larger size. While larger dials aid in legibility, the case sizes also increase, making them difficult to wear for many people with smaller wrists. Additionally, some buyers prefer a smaller watch. The SNE575 is a PADI special edition dive watch with 200 meters of water resistance, a unidirectional bezel, and a screw-down crown.

The case measures 38.5mm wide, 10.6mm thick, and 46.5mm lug to lug. Behind the dial and sapphire crystal is the V147 movement, with a rated accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month, a 10-month power reserve, low battery indication, and a date display. While the size is smaller, the SNE575 is no less capable than many other dive watches on the market. The SNE575 retails for 495 USD.

11. Seiko SSC813

Seiko SSC813

The SSC813 has been a recent fan favorite of the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer collection. With a conventionally sized 39mm wide case and tri-compax dial layout, the SSC813 allows collectors to own a conventional-looking chronograph without the headaches of a vintage mechanical one.

The white dial with dark sub-dials is covered with a curved sapphire crystal. The V192 movement is rated to +/- 15 seconds per month, has a 6-month power reserve, 60-minute chronograph, 24-hour display, and date.

The 100 meters of water resistance will also ensure durability for daily wear. The case measures 13.3mm thick and 45.5mm lug to lug, making it wearable for various buyers. With a retail price of 675 USD, a modern feature set, and good looks, it is easy to see why enthusiasts have been excited about the SSC813.

12. Seiko SNE455

Seiko SNE455

If a bold design without complications is desired, the SNE455 could be a good fit. Measuring 42.9mm wide and 10.99mm thick, the larger case diameter, angular case, and bracelet design will draw attention. Inside is the V157 movement, rated to +/- 15 seconds a month and a 10-month power reserve, with low power indication and date function. 

The sapphire crystal and 100 meters of water resistance make this watch more than capable of handling daily wear and can handle light swimming use. The SNE455 retailed for 440 USD but has been discontinued. Fortunately, plenty of used and new old stock examples are available with some light research online.

13. Seiko SSH065J1

Seiko SSH065J1

As a full expression of what Seiko is capable of in solar quartz watches, the SSH065 is part of their higher-end Astron collection. The 42.8mm wide case and 21mm wide bracelet are made from titanium with a super-hard coating. Measuring 14.7mm thick and 50.3mm lug to lug, the watch will wear a little large, but some of the size is due to accommodating the various functions. 

The 5X53 movement is a GPS-syncing solar quartz movement, which allows for accurate time display as long as the watch is able to receive a GPS signal. The battery life is rated to 6 months and 2 years while in power save mode. The movement also features a perpetual calendar, world time function, dual time display, day and date display, power reserve indicator, the ability to swap the two time displays, daylight savings time setting, and automatic hand position alignment. 

In a way, this could be the ultimate traveler’s watch, as it will automatically keep accurate time and display the correct local time anywhere in the world, assuming there is a GPS signal. With 200 meters of water resistance and a sapphire crystal, the SSH065 should be able to handle a wide variety of situations and look good doing it. The SSH065 retails for 2500 USD. 

14. Seiko SNE479

Seiko SNE479

With an integrated bracelet and minimalist dial, the design-oriented look of the SNE479 makes for a striking watch. The 40.1mm wide and 9mm thick case features a hard coating and a Hardlex crystal. Inside is the V157 solar movement seen before. 

While the hard coating will protect the case and bracelet from small scratches that result from daily wear, the watch is only splash resistant, making it unsuitable for sporting activities. However, the bold look of the large minimalist black dial and integrated design can handle a night out. The SNE479 retails for 250 USD, leaving room for another round. 

15. Seiko SNE586

Seiko SNE586

Should the SNE575 be a bit bland, the SNE586 offers a more contemporary and bold take on the smaller dive watch. Featuring the same case dimensions and features as the SNE575, the change to the rose gold plated case, and a black silicone strap to match the black dial and bezel make the SNE586 more fashion-forward.

While the look is more daring, it is no less capable than the SNE575, maintaining 200 meters of water resistance and a sapphire crystal. The SNE586 has the same retail price of 495 USD, making the decision between the two a matter of aesthetic preference rather than differences in specifications.


Seiko’s development of their own solar quartz technology has allowed them to create a wide variety of watches for a wide variety of buyers. With long power reserves, no need to change batteries, and great accuracy, solar-powered quartz watches have many benefits. 

Should the worry-free ownership experience be appealing, Seiko undoubtedly makes a watch that will suit any desired needs. These 15 watches offer a brief overview of the Men’s models Seiko has available. 

seiko 5 vs prospex

In the eyes of many consumers, Seiko has always been associated with value. They have consistently offered a variety of watches at different price points and consistently high quality. As one of the few completely integrated manufacturers, Seiko offers a wide range of consumers the opportunity to own a fully in-house watch. 

Prior to 2010, Seiko’s high-end brand Grand Seiko was not available in Japan, and it was not until 2018 that Grand Seiko opened a corporate office in the United States. With that came other corporate changes and rebranding.

Some of Seiko’s most famous models, such as the SKX, Monster, Samurai, and Turtle, were originally part of their standard offerings. Today, descendants of those enthusiast favorites exist in the Seiko 5 and Seiko Prospex brands.

The Purpose of Seiko 5

The original purpose of the Seiko 5 brand was to offer consumers a very affordable mechanical watch with five key features; a self-winding movement, a day-date display at 3 o’clock, water resistance, a crown at 4 o’clock, and a case and bracelet built for durability.

The original Seiko 5 watches all had these features, with models from the recent past resembling pseudo-dive watches, often with 100m of water resistance, to more casual and dress-oriented watches with 30 to 50m of water resistance. 

In 2019, Seiko relaunched the Seiko 5 brand with a line of watches resembling the SKX collection. The SKX007, along with other variants of the beloved dive watch, was a consumer hit for many years. It could easily be found at an affordable price and had proved itself to be extremely reliable.

They were full-fledged dive watches with ISO certification, 200 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown, and a uni-directional rotating bezel. The new Seiko 5 SRPD line of watches offered much more variety in terms of colors and bracelet options, but they only had 100m of water resistance and a push-pull crown.

While the new SRPD series kept the SKX style, they also marked the discontinuation of the SKX line. While Seiko 5 as a whole is aimed to be more of a mass-market product than the SKX series, many enthusiasts lament the replacement. The Seiko 5 line now offers other models that include smooth-bezel options to the SKX-inspired design, a GMT complication, and field-inspired watches.

With that, Seiko has drifted away from the original 5 characteristics, with the GMT model not having a day function and the field watches having 3 o’clock crowns. They have maintained their affordability and durability, being more than capable as everyday watches for most people, and aimed at new enthusiasts and those wanting a mechanical timepiece for an affordable price. 

The Purpose of Seiko Prospex

Seiko’s history of making modern tool watches starts with its first purpose-built dive watch released in 1965. Since then, Seiko has been an innovator in diving technologies, including developing the first wrist-worn dive computer in 1990.

The Prospex line is Seiko’s professionally oriented watch line. Prospex focuses on dive watches, but there are others, including a variety of field watches, chronographs, and ana-digi models (watches with both analog and digital displays). 

Included in the recent reorganization of Seiko’s model lineup is the Prospex line. Initially reserved for the most rugged sports watches, Seiko has relaunched much-loved models such as the Turtle, Monster, Samurai, and Sumo. Once part of the standard Seiko dive watch offerings, these models were updated and are now part of the Prospex model line. 

With that came a price increase, but the inclusion of sapphire crystals, ceramic bezels, and upgraded dials made the price increase worthwhile. Even though these models are more expensive, they are still affordable, often found for under $750.

Seiko has created space within the Prospex line for high-end watches. Ranging from mechanical chronograph movements to high-end Spring-Drive divers and GMTs that share movements with Grand Seiko, these watches have retail prices over $3000. The Prospex line aims to make some of the best sports timepieces available at various prices. 

Seiko 5 or Prospex?


Since forum readings and many watch enthusiasts have all pointed towards Seiko as the best value for money, your budget is the first thing to consider. While prices under $1,000 are considered entry-level in the broader watch-collecting hobby, the difference between $300 and $600 can be staggering.

Twice the money does not buy twice the watch (unless you are buying two pieces). Other factors should be taken into account when determining your next watch-buying goal, but having firm financial guidelines will be extremely helpful. 

Build Quality

While doubling the price does not necessarily increase the quality, a price increase does improve many of the watch’s aspects. Comparing the SRPD51 to the SRPE05, even though they both have the same movement, the crystal and bezel of the SRPE05 are upgraded compared to the SRPD51 (sapphire versus mineral for the crystal, ceramic versus aluminum for the bezel). 

The SRPE05 is also rated to 200m of water resistance compared to the SRPD51’s 100m, making the SRPE05 a true dive watch. The 100m rating and lack of a screw-down crown on the SRPD51 make it only suitable for casual water usage (surface swimming, maybe some shallow diving).

If these upgrades are considered worthwhile, it may be worth saving a little longer to get the SRPE05 from the Prospex line. If style is the top concern, the Seiko 5 will serve well. Aside from the more easily discernible aspects, there will be many differences in quality between the Seiko 5 line and the Prospex line.

The Prospex line will have a range of quality case finishing and bracelets, from slightly better than the Seiko 5 line to competing with higher-end luxury brands. Comparing the SPB155 (Prospex) to the SRPG29 (Seiko 5), the case finishing and bracelet quality of the SPB155 is a notable upgrade over the SRPG29. The straps and buckles on the Prospex models will also be an improvement over the Seiko 5 models.


As mentioned earlier, the movement quality in the Prospex range can vary significantly compared to Seiko 5. Entry-level Prospex can have the same movements as the Seiko 5 range. In contrast, mid-tier and high-end Prospex models can have more well-regulated movements and finish than what is available in Seiko 5 models. The Prospex range also includes a variety of quartz models, including time and date divers, ana-digi models, and solar-powered chronographs. 


Finally, the Seiko 5 models are more widely available. In the United States, many Seiko 5 models can be found in shopping malls and department stores in almost every town and city. Entry-level Prospex models will likely be available in many moderate to large-size markets, but finding a store with higher-end Prospex models will be more difficult.

If buying in person is a must, this can be problematic. Fortunately, internet access and a global economy have made access to even the most hard-to-come-by models possible. The most important aspect of purchasing a watch is whether or not it resonates with the end user. From there, factors such as use case, desired traits, and budget can filter and help inform the final decision. 

Seiko 5 and Prospex Collections

Seiko 5 SRPD

Seiko 5 SRPD

The SRPD lineup consists of watches most closely resembling the original SKX line. Inside all of them is the caliber 4R36, which hacks, hand-winds, and offers 41 hours of power reserve. They all have 10 bar of water resistance (equivalent to 100 meters of static pressure), a unidirectional bezel, mineral crystal, and a display case back. These watches are 42.5mm wide, 13.4mm thick, have 22mm lugs, and are 46mm lug to lug.

A model such as the SRPD55 will be the most conservative offering, with a conventional black dial with silver outlined indices and hands with white lume. The SRPD55 comes on a 3-link style bracelet instead of a more ornate 5-link style seen on the original SKX line. It is one of the most versatile watches in this collection but could be viewed as stale compared to other models. The SRPD55 retails for $295.

The SRPD71 is more stylized than the SRPD55, with a blue dial and bezel, white chapter ring, and vintage-inspired tan lume on the indices and hands. This model is under the “SKX Suits Style” collection, suggesting that this watch is intended to be more stylish than utilitarian with the colored dial elements and Milanese strap. The SRPD71 commands a slight premium at $350 retail.

One of the more significant departures from the original SKX line is the SRPD81. With a completely black case, dial, and bezel, with blue lume and bezel markings, this model takes influence from enthusiasts that modified their SKX watches. Aftermarket suppliers would create parts that allowed collectors to alter their timepieces and make them their own.

With colored lume, black cases, and different strap offerings, models such as the SRPD81 enable consumers to have these more unique offerings direct from the original manufacturer. Even though it does not come on a metal bracelet, the other aesthetic changes increase the retail price to $335.

Seiko 5 SRPG Collection

Seiko 5 SRPG Collection

The Seiko 5 SRPG collection consists of the brand’s field watch offerings. A long-standing style in the Seiko 5 collection, even before the brand revamp, the biggest departure is the movement of the crown position. The current Seiko 5 SRPG watches have their crowns at 3 o’clock instead of 4 o’clock, which is typical for Seiko 5. 

The SRPG watches still maintain other hallmarks of the Seiko 5 collection with the day-date feature, water resistance, mechanical movement, and durable case design. These watches have the same 4R36 movement, 10 bar water resistance rating, mineral crystal, and display case back as the SRPD series. The SRPG Field watches measure 39.4mm wide, 13.2mm thick, have 20mm lugs, and measure 48.1mm lug to lug. 

The SRPG29 comes with a blue dial, silver indices and hands with white lume, and a 3-link style metal bracelet. The dial layout is typical for a field watch, with large numerals to facilitate reading the time. There is a 24-hour inner track on the dial, allowing for easier reading of 24-hour time. The SRPG29 retails for $275.

Keeping the same dial layout and case as the SRPG29, the SRPG31 comes with a blue-grey textured and a matching colored textile strap. The color is more muted than the SRPG29, making the watch better suited for casual situations, especially with the textile strap. The SRPG31 retails for $275.

The SRPG41 is further stylized, adding a textured dial that also mimics a faded look, with a lighter dial color in the center and progressing to a darker color towards the outer edges. The press photos make this look more pronounced.

In real life, this color differentiation varies depending on lighting, ranging from utterly dark grey to a more pronounced brown-to-black fade. The lume is also vintage-inspired with a light tan coloration, and the case is covered with a black hard coating. Coming on a leather strap, this is another more style-oriented model than a function-focused one. The SRPG41 retails for $315.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT Collection

Seiko 5 Sports GMT Collection

Released in 2022, the SSK series launched to a world that was excited to travel. These watches use the same case design as the SKX, measuring 42.5mm wide, 13.6mm thick, 22mm wide bracelets, 46mm lug-to-lug, mineral crystals, and are rated to 10 bar of water resistance. These watches come on a 5-link style bracelet, closer in style to the original bracelets found on the SKX. 

The launch of this watch also unveiled the new 4R34 movement, which has an adjustable 24-hour hand, allowing for the tracking of multiple time zones, in addition to the rotating 24-hour bezel. This combination allowed for a very affordable dual-time watch from a notable brand, as many Swiss brands are easily twice as expensive for a dual-time zone timepiece. 

The SSK series comes in three dial colors, black (SSK001), blue (SSK003), and orange (SSK005). They each have two-toned bezels, with the blue being the most pronounced and the orange and black being more subtle, and they vary depending on the lighting.

These watches also depart from the Seiko 5 tradition, removing the day complication at 3 o’clock but maintaining the date. They also now have a date magnifier, which allows for easier reading of the date.  Regardless of color variant, each of these watches retails for $475. 

Seiko Prospex Alpinist

Seiko Prospex Alpinist

The Seiko Alpinist has long been an enthusiast favorite. It offers a more rugged alternative to conventional time and date watches, such as the SARB033. The inner rotating bezel controlled by the crown at 4 o’clock is meant to be used as a manual compass but can also be utilized to time events, similar to a dive bezel.

The iconic model for the Alpinist line is the variant with a green dial alongside gold indices and hands. When Seiko relaunched the Alpinist as part of the Prospex line, it was released as the SPB121. The SPB121 measures 39.5mm wide, 13.2mm thick, and 46.4mm lug-to-lug. It has a 20mm wide strap and contains the 6R35 movement that has a 70-hour power reserve, date function, hacks, and hand winds.

The case has 20 bar of water resistance, facilitated by a screw-down crown. The front crystal is sapphire, and the clasp is a deployant style instead of a pin and buckle, as seen on the Seiko 5 models. The SPB121 retails for $725. Should a green dial not do the trick, other dial, strap, and bracelet options are available. 

Should the general style of the Seiko Prospex Alpinist be appealing, but the second crown of the SPB121 is off-putting, the SPB243 should be considered. Slightly smaller at 38mm wide, 12.9mm thick, 19mm lugs, and 46.2mm lug-to-lug, these dimensions allow the watch to be more svelte on the wrist. The SPB243 uses the same 6R35 movement and has 20 bar of water resistance with a screw-down crown. 

The dark sunburst dial covered by a sapphire crystal will be more flexible than the green dial with various attire, and the lack of the date magnifier will be a plus for many buyers. To appeal to the vintage origins of the original Alpinist from 1959, the lume is done in a faux-patina color. The SPB243 retails for $750. Again, other dial, strap, and bracelet options are available. 

To display the higher end of the Seiko Prospex range, there is the SJE085. In 2021, Seiko launched a limited edition recreation of the original 1959 Alpinist. They took inspiration from the original, incorporating elements from the original dial design and the jagged stitching on the bund-style strap.

The SJE085 measures 36.6mm wide and 11.1mm thick, with 18mm lugs, and 43.8mm lug-to-lug. The movement inside is Seiko’s 6L35, which has a higher accuracy rating than the 6R34 and is intended to be a more high-end movement, sitting below those from Grand Seiko. 

The SJE085 has 10 bar of water resistance, less than other Prospex models, but is more than enough for daily wear. The case is also more finely finished, all in high polish, which will make it easy to wear with a suit with a change of strap. It was a limited edition of 1,959 pieces, making availability difficult. The original retail was $2,900, but used prices have settled south of that mark. There are also deals to be had on models still in inventory.

Seiko Prospex Dive Watches

Seiko Prospex Dive Watches

In the Prospex line, we see modern versions of many of Seiko’s mainstay models, such as the Samurai, Sumo, and Turtle. Seiko could rely on the popularity of those models alone, but in 2022, they released the Prospex Diver Re-Interpretation. 

Offered in a variety of colors, strap, and bracelet options, this watch does combine several elements from various favorite Seiko dive watch models and molds them into a new and unique design that stands on its own. Measuring 41mm wide, 12.3mm thick, 20mm lugs, and 46.9mm lug to lug, it is one of the more wearable Seiko divers and is the thinnest one they’ve ever made.

The watch is rated at 200 meters of water resistance and is an ISO-certified diver. Inside is the Seiko 6R35 movement. The Seiko Prospex SPB317 featured here has a black dial and black rubber strap. The retail price is $900, and slightly more for models on a bracelet.

Another modern re-interpretation is the SPB301 Save The Ocean special edition. This case shape has been nicknamed Captain Willard as this watch resembles the watch famously seen in the movie Apocalypse Now. The SPB301 measures 42.7mm wide, 13mm thick, 46.6mm lug-to-lug, and has 20mm lugs.

Inside is the 6R35, and the SPB301 is ISO-Certified, rated at 200 meters of water resistance. This version stands out with its grained white dial, reminiscent of the Grand Seiko White Birch dial, and textured blue bezel. The SPB301 retails for $1,300. 

Towards the top of the Seiko Prospex dive watch range is the impressive SNR029. Representing the Spring Drive equipped models from the Prospex range, the SNR029 features a titanium case and bracelet with Seiko’s proprietary “super-hard” coating to protect from scratches.

Equally impressive are the dimensions, as the case measures 44.8mm wide, 14.7mm thick, and 50.9mm lug-to-lug. The relatively short lug-to-lug measurement will make it wearable for most people. The SNR029 is still a very large watch. 

The SNR029 is rated at 300m of water resistance and is ISO-certified for saturation diving, giving the SNR029 improved capabilities over the standard Prospex Divers. Inside is the Seiko 5R65 Spring Drive movement, rated at +/-1 second per day, and offers a 72-hour power reserve that can be tracked via the indicator on the dial. It also has a very cool ratcheting clasp system to allow for minor adjustments and to fit the watch over a wetsuit. The SNR029 retails at $6,000 and is among the best of what Seiko has to offer.

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Watches

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Watches

Drawing on Seiko’s history with timing sporting events, the Speedtimer collection references their first watch with their Caliber 6139, the world’s first automatic chronograph with a column-wheel and vertical clutch. 

Representing the line of mechanical Speedtimers, the SRQ037 was released in 2021 as part of Seiko’s unveiling of the Prospex Speedtimer collection. Inside is the 8R46 automatic caliber, a 30-minute chronograph with a column wheel and vertical clutch. The 8R46 has a rated accuracy of +25/-15 sec per day and a 45-hour power reserve.

The mechanical Speedtimers measure 15.1mm thick, 42.5mm wide, 50mm lug-to-lug, and 20mm lugs, and have a water resistance rating of 10 bar. The SRQ037 specifically comes with a black dial, tan faux-vintage colored lume, and a metal bracelet. The Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SRQ037 retails for $3,000 

Offering a more accessible approach to the chronograph, the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph collection has quickly become an enthusiast favorite. Focusing on the SSC813, the dial is white with black subdials and blackened hands and indices.

The Speedtimer Solar Chronographs use the solar-powered V192 quartz movement, allowing for an accuracy rating of +/-15 seconds a month. The chronograph measures up to 60 minutes and includes a 24-hour indicator for the displayed time at 3 o’clock.

The case measures 13mm thick, 39mm wide, 45.5mm lug-to-lug, has 20mm lugs, and is rated to 10 bar of water resistance. The size, finishing, and the more affordable retail price of $675 have made it a fast favorite in the broader Seiko Prospex collection. 

Should the SSC813 be too small, there are the larger Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronographs. Compared to the SSC913, the case holds the same movement and has the same 10 bar of water resistance but measures 13mm thick, 41.4mm wide, 45.9mm lug-to-lug, and has 21mm lugs.

The SSC913 has a blue dial with red accents for the running seconds, chronograph seconds hands, and part of the tachymeter bezel. The slight increase in size will be preferable for those who have grown accustomed to larger watches, but the still restrained 45.9mm lug-to-lug allows it to be worn and a wide variety of wrists.

There is a slight price increase to $700, but the choice between the different solar-powered Speedtimers should be based on size and color preference. 

Spoiled for Choice

Seiko has cultivated its following in enthusiast circles based on its track record of building dependable watches. When looking for a sporty watch, buyers have many options in the Seiko 5 and Prospex collections.

Instead of one being overwhelmingly better than the other, it is more a matter of style preference, desired features, and overall budget. Given the number of options available between the Seiko 5 and Prospex collections, there should be something for almost every buyer. 

best white dial sports watches

Sports watches are one of the most popular categories of watches, with prominent models such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Phillipe Nautilus, and many Rolex sport models taking center stage. Their versatility in style and durability are desirable traits for many watch buyers, even beyond enthusiast groups.

These watches are designed for durability, aimed to withstand the trials and tribulations of an active lifestyle and to look good while doing it.  With attire standards becoming increasingly casual, the versatility of sports watches often makes for a one-watch collection. Usually more boldly designed than traditional dress watches, they also frequently feature dark dials, emphasizing their sporting character and increasing their versatility.

While not as popular, white-dialed sports watches can increase a watch’s visual impact, often making them appear larger. Some designs can offer even more visual contrast, improving legibility. This article will explain the history of sports watches and offer 15 white-dialed sports watches for your consideration. 

What Is a Sports Watch?

This may seem obvious to those involved in watches for some time, but it’s a worthy distinction, especially compared to hardcore tool watches. Sports watches are usually aimed to have an element of durability over a dress watch. That usually means being made of non-precious metals (steel, titanium, even ceramic), increased water resistance (above 50 meters usually), and the inclusion of a bracelet or non-leather strap (textile or rubber). 

There are always exceptions, as there are plenty of sports watches made of precious metals, watches with more sporting designs with less water resistance, and sporty watches on leather straps. Sports watches exist in the space between dress watches and tool watches.

An example of a sports watch that overlaps with the dress category would be the Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso. Initially designed in the 1930s so that the reversing case would protect the glass front of the watch during polo matches, this is undoubtedly designed with sporting intentions and is one of the first sports watches ever made.

Nowadays, the art deco design and proportions, even with the larger models, lean more towards the modern idea of a dress watch than a sports watch. An example of a tool watch that overlaps with the sports watch category would be the famed Rolex Submariner.

Originally designed to be a tool for divers to time their dives (the rotating bezel would be used to time oxygen available during the dive), ever since Sean Connery wore a Submariner with a dinner jacket in Dr.No, the sartorial versatility of the Rolex Submariner has been cemented in popular culture.

Modern Submariners have more reflective surfaces and luxury appointments with white gold hands and indices, making the watch look and feel more high-end. This increases the flexibility between its originally utilitarian purposes and modern casual chic-ness.

Traditionalists would still shy away from wearing a Submariner or any dive watch with a suit, but modern tastes have allowed it for decades. Ultimately, if you look at a watch and question whether it is a dress watch or a tool watch, it will likely fall in the sports watch category. 

A (very) Brief History of Sports Watches

As mentioned with the Reverso, sports watches are very close to tool watches considering they are often designed with a purpose. Another distinction is that sports watches combine utility and style (the Reverso is a great example). 

Early Omega Seamasters are also quite dressy by modern standards but would have been considered sports watches back in their day, as they had more substantial steel cases and increased water resistance compared to the more traditional De Ville and Constellation collections in Omega’s catalog. 

It was not until Omega wanted to compete with the increasingly popular dive watch market of the mid to late 1950s that we saw the Seamaster resemble anything close to the Seamaster dive watches we are familiar with today.

The IWC Ingenieur reference 666 and Rolex Milgaus reference 1016 were tool watches in their day, offering increased durability in regards to magnetism, but with their clean but bold case designs leaning more into the sporting direction. 

In the 1970s, watch companies began to release watches closer to the modern idea of a sports watch, particularly integrated bracelet sports watches. With the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak being released in 1972 and the Patek Philippe Nautilus in 1976, the idea of a luxury sports watch took hold. 

The 1970s saw almost every major watch brand release an interpretation of the integrated bracelet steel sports watch. These watches varied in terms of thickness, water resistance, and durability of movements inside, emphasizing that sports watches are often more about style than all-out durability.

Compared to watches prior, these watches definitely made a bold statement, as they were larger than dress watches of the day, and the integrated designs made them appear even bulkier. These bold designs won favor with fashion icons and athletes. Fast-forwarding to the mid-2000s, brands were frequently partnering with athletes.

Audemars-Piguet and Hublot have released numerous limited editions commemorating sports stars they have partnered with. Even without celebrity partnerships, sports watches became the watch style of choice for many celebrities. This influenced consumers, as many wanted to mimic the style of their favorite stars. 

Why a White-Dialed Sports Watch?

As mentioned in the introduction, white-dialed sports watches are much bolder than dark-dialed ones. Some white-dialed sports watches will have silver hands and indices, which will make them appear more formal but will decrease legibility.

Colored watch dials have become increasingly popular in recent years; however, they are not for everyone. If you want to make more of a prominent statement with your watch than a black-dialed sports watch but are unwilling to jump to a brightly colored one, a white-dial sports watch should be on your radar.

15 White-Dialed Sports Watches

This list is not in any particular order; it highlights well-made models from various brands that offer white-dialed sports watches in their catalog (both past and present). Hopefully, this list will aid in narrowing down your own choice for a favorite white-dialed sports watch. 

1. Rolex Explorer II (ref. 226570-0001)

Rolex Explorer II (ref. 226570-0001)

The Rolex Explorer II was originally designed as a tool for cave dwellers. A prominent feature of the Explorer II is the fixed external bezel indicating the 24-hour time. This was of concern for people working in caves, as they would be without any reference to day or night for extended periods.

When the GMT-Master finally received an independently adjustable 24-hour hand, so did the Explorer II. This allowed the Explorer II to track two timezones and maintain its original functionality. 

In its current white dial configuration (reference 226570-0001), the Explorer II features black indices surrounds and outlined hands to increase legibility. The Explorer II also recently received a mild case re-design, creating more integration between the case and bracelet and allowing for a case design more reminiscent of vintage Rolex cases but at a modern 42mm. 

With 100 meters of water resistance, screw down crown, a 70-hour power reserve, and a steel bracelet with Rolex’s own “Easy-Link” that allows for 5mm of tool-less adjustment, there are more than enough modern features to make the 226570 an easy watch to live with (a desirable trait for a sports watch). 

With a retail price of $9,650, the Explorer II sits somewhere in the middle of the Rolex sports model range. The good news is that availability is increasing, but still difficult as of March 2023. If you are considering searching for a used one, you should still expect to pay a premium over the retail price. 

2. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (ref.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (ref.

When Omega redesigned the Seamaster Diver 300m in 2018, many enthusiasts were quite excited to see the return of the wave motif on the dial. This release marked the arrival of the Omega Caliber 8800 in the Seamaster Diver 300m, which features an increased anti-magnetism rating to above 15,000 gauss.

The METAS Master Chronometer certification also certifies the watch to -0/+6 seconds a day, ensuring a high level of accuracy. The slight increase over previous iterations from 41mm to 42mm may seem negligible. With thicker lugs, case height, and an updated bracelet, the watch is bolder on the wrist.

The white-dialed Seamaster Diver 300m features black outlined indices and hands, ensuring good legibility. While this is a dive watch, meaning it definitely has tool watch capabilities, the detailed finishing of the case and bracelet put this watch in the camp of what is often called a “dress-diver.”

It is still highly capable, but the case’s greater attention to detail and light-catching quality increase the jewelry factor. This may be a drawback to some looking for a more tool-oriented watch, but it also increases its flexibility with varying attire. With a retail price of $5600 on the bracelet, Omega is offering a great deal of technology, finishing, and innovation for the money.

3. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 (ref. 114300-0004)

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 (ref. 114300-0004)

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual line is the closest to the original Rolex Oyster design in the current catalog. Recent years have seen many updates, including various sizes and dial colors. For a short period from 2018 to 2020, Rolex offered the Oyster Perpetual in 39mm, which was favored by many but has since been replaced by a 41mm version of the watch.

Still, many watch enthusiasts consider the 39mm to be a goldilocks size, especially since Rolex Oyster cases wear slightly larger than their measured dimensions. The white dial reference does have silver-colored hands and indices, making it less legible but more versatile in its ability to be worn with more formal attire.

If this is a concern, this version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual would be a great choice, as the size and design are casual enough to handle the beach and can also be dressed up with a shirt and tie. Being an entry-level model from Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual does not feature a raised crown on the clasp, no flip-lock, and no Easy-Link adjustment on the clasp.

That does not, however, make the watch any less robust. Another downside of the white-dialed 39mm Oyster Perpetual is that it was discontinued in 2020. If you want to buy one, you are at the mercy of the used market regarding pricing. 

4. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra “GoodPlanet” (ref.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra “GoodPlanet” (ref.

This version of the Omega Aqua Terra features a titanium case and bracelet in a 38.5mm size. Coming from the previous generation of the Aqua Terra line, this case is slightly asymmetrical, similar to the Speedmaster, but does feature the Master Co-Axial anti-magnetic movement. 

The dial is smooth, unlike the teak texturing that has been a hallmark of the collection for the last two generations of Aqua Terra. With the addition of the blue-colored indices and hands, this model will present on the more dressy side of sports watches, much closer to the original Seamasters of the 1940s and 50s. 

While the style is pretty conservative, the watch still offers 150 meters of water resistance, making it a strong candidate for an only-watch collection. Should the bracelet be too sporty, a change of strap will allow this watch to pair with more formal attire easily.

The titanium case and bracelet will be a welcome upgrade for some, as it is hypoallergenic and significantly lighter than steel. If you are a fan of watches with more significant weight to them, then a standard stainless steel Aqua Terra may be a better option.

Another point worth considering is that the titanium models come at a slight premium over the stainless steel ones, and this model has been discontinued. They are available on the used market, and you may still be able to find a new-old stock example at a dealer. 

5. Grand Seiko “Snowflake” SBGA211

Grand Seiko “Snowflake” SBGA211

The Grand Seiko “Snowflake” has become a well-known model for the brand. Grand Seiko has been highly regarded for its case, dial, and movement finishing that competes with much more expensive timepieces. Grand Seiko has been more adventurous with dials recently, but the Snowflake was the first to garner mainstream attention. 

Similar to the Aqua Terra “Good Planet,” this watch also features a titanium case and bracelet. The SBGA211 utilizes Grand Seiko’s caliber 9R65 Spring Drive movement, which uses a mechanical gear train and a quartz regulating system. 

By doing so, Grand Seiko is able to offer accuracy that is rated to +/- 15 seconds a month. Another notable feature of the Spring Drive movements is the effortless glide of the seconds hand, moving across the dial much smoother than high-beat mechanical movements. 

Featuring silver hands and indices, and no luminescent on the dial, the SBGA211 is one of the dressier options on this list. While it won’t help in pitch-black situations, the hands and indices are polished so that they catch light in low-light conditions, so you should still be able to read the time if you find yourself in a dimly lit establishment late in the evening.

There is still a screw-down crown, and 100m of water resistance should the evening also involve a fair amount of water. Retailing at $6,200, Grand Seiko offers buyers quite a unique set of specifications, design, and fit and finish.

6. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-011

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-011

The first of the traditional “Holy Trinity” on this list (consisting of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin), the Nautilus is Patek’s offering in the steel sports watch realm. Designed by Gerald Genta, the Nautilus is softer and rounder in appearance compared to the Royal Oak. 

The black outlined indices and hands on the white dial make this reference stand out compared to the more conservative blue and dark grey dialed Nautilus watches that are more common. While maintaining a pretty thin profile of 8.3mm and still using a highly finished caliber 324 S C that is up to Patek Philippe’s standard of fit and finish, the Nautilus is rated to 120 meters of water resistance. 

This makes the Nautilus a more than capable sports watch and could be someone’s only watch. This would also be a great companion for a client’s sporting ventures while their more traditional watches stay safe at home, likely the original intention of Patek Philippe.

If there is ever an opportunity to see one in person, it will probably be quickly evident why the Nautilus is so popular. This model was offered from 2012-2020, and in typical Patek Philippe fashion, the prices quickly rose past the original retail price soon after discontinuation.

7. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (ref. 15400ST.OO.1220ST.02)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (ref. 15400ST.OO.1220ST.02)

Possibly the most famous of the integrated bracelet sports watches (alongside the Nautilus) is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This iteration is a more contemporary version in terms of movement and case size. The movement inside is more durable and up-to-date than the ultra-thin JLC-based movement used in the famous Jumbo iteration of the Royal Oak.

Featuring a full balance bridge to aid in balance spring stability, and a modern 60-hour power reserve, this movement is closer to the standards expected for a contemporary sports watch. While the Royal Oak has been offered in various sizes over the years, this 41mm version is one of the largest time-only Royal Oaks ever made and will have even more presence on the wrist, given the white dial.

The look on the wrist will be closer to the Royal Oak Offshore than the Jumbo. Fortunately, this watch is not as thick as the Offshore, measuring 9.8mm thick. The silver indices and hands will also help this watch dress up easily.

8. Vacheron Constantin Overseas (ref. 4500V/110A-B126)

Vacheron Constantin Overseas (ref. 4500V/110A-B126)

Rounding out the traditional “Holy Trinity” of watchmaking is the Vacheron Constantin Overseas. Originally designed by Vincent Kaufmann and Dino Modolo, the design took inspiration from Vacheron’s 222 model from the 1970s, which Jörg Hysek designed. While offering a very similar look and feel to the Nautilus and Royal Oak, the Overseas integrates the brand’s Maltese Cross logo in the design of the bezel and bracelet. 

While a tad thicker than the Royal Oak and Nautilus at 11mm thick, it is still slim enough to be worn with most dress shirts. A few benefits of the Overseas compared to the Royal Oak and Nautilus is that the Overseas is rated to 150 meters of water resistance and includes a leather and rubber strap along with the steel bracelet. The added durability and flexibility of these features allow the Overseas to fit into various situations, both in terms of style and functionality. 

With a retail price of $22,500 and still being offered in the brand’s current catalog, the Vacheron Overseas will be a good choice for many. It is still challenging to get from boutiques and authorized retailers, but more available than Nautilus’ and Royal Oak’s that are in their respective brands’ current catalogs. 

9. Omega Speedmaster Racing (ref. 329.

Omega Speedmaster Racing (ref. 329.

The Speedmaster Racing collection has been a line in Omega’s catalog aimed at the more motorsport-oriented clientele. With the staggered seconds indications around the outer edge of the dial, this design allows for a more facile reading of partials of a second (in this instance, a 1/4 of a second). 

Being a modern automatic Speedmaster, this reference uses a bi-compax layout (two subdials only). It still measures events up to 12 hours, with the hours and minutes totaled at the 3 o’clock subdial and the running seconds shown at 9 o’clock.

Another cool feature of the Omega Calibre 9900 is the jumping hour hand, which allows you to set the hours independently of the rest of the watch. This feature is convenient while traveling, as it enables the user to change the hours without completely stopping the timepiece.

Measuring 14.9mm thick and 44.25mm wide, this Speedmaster is quite large, but shortened lugs and a stepped case design allow it to wear well for its size. While less than other watches here, the rated 50 meters of water resistance is quite good for a chronograph and should be more than enough considering the intention is for motor racing and not water sports.

This watch also features Omega’s Master Chronometer technology, creating a modern and durable anti-magnetic movement. The Omega Speedmaster Racing retails for $9,100 on a steel bracelet. 

10. Tudor Black Bay Chrono (ref. M79360N-0002)

Tudor Black Bay Chrono (ref. M79360N-0002)

The Black Bay line has been a home run for Tudor. The Black Bay Chrono is no exception, as many enthusiasts see it as a more obtainable alternative to the Rolex Daytona. Tudor has managed to create their own identity, as their designs continue to differentiate itself from other brands.

With bold indices and “snowflake” hands, there is no doubt about the Black Bay’s sporting intentions. The Black Bay Chrono is similar to the Speedmaster Racing with its black-and-white theme and bi-compax layout. Here, the Tudor can only measure events up to 45 minutes with the counter at 3 o’clock and the running seconds at 9 o’clock. 

The Calibre MT5813 shares architecture with Breitling, as the two brands have partnered together to provide movements to one another. The MT5813 has a 70-hour power reserve, which adds convenience should you have a few watches you like to rotate through. 

With screw-down pushers, the Black Bay Pro can be rated to 200 meters of water resistance (with the crown and pushers screwed in). While shown here with a bracelet, which is the most popular choice, Tudor also offers a variety of straps should the bracelet not be to your liking. 

The 41mm dimension of the case seems quite reasonable on paper, but the Black Bay line typically has relatively long lugs, and large case sides, making the watch wear pretty large on the wrist. Combined with the fairly reasonable retail price of $5,450, the case dimensions have not stopped many buyers from being very happy with the Black Bay line. 

11. TAG Heuer Night Diver (ref. WBP201D.FT6197)

TAG Heuer Night Diver (ref. WBP201D.FT6197)

One of the more unique watches on this list is the TAG Heuer Night Diver. With a large 43mm black DLC-coated steel case, black ceramic bezel, and textured white dial, this watch will make a statement on the wrist. 

The dial has white lumed indices at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and black indices for the remainder, with a date at 6 o’clock as well. The black indices on a white dial are very bold and striking. The main attraction of this watch is that the entire dial is lumed, meaning the white dial glows green in the dark.

If nighttime legibility is of utmost concern for you, this should be towards the top of your list for white dial sports watches. While the watch comes on a rubber strap instead of a bracelet, the clasp does include a micro-adjust mechanism, making quick adjustments easy.

The movement inside is not an in-house, high-tech movement like many other watches featured on this list. The ETA or Sellita-based Calibre 5 will allow for easy service down the road. Given the black case and luminescent dial, the Night Diver likely won’t be as flexible sartorially compared to other watches on this list and will likely be best suited for casual and sporting environments.

Retailing at $3,750, the TAG Heuer Night Diver seems a bit expensive compared to similar dive watches, but few have such a bold, high-contrast look.

12. Breitling Superocean Heritage (ref. AB20303A1A1A1)

Breitling Superocean Heritage (ref. AB20303A1A1A1)

This specific Breitling Superocean Heritage was released as a limited edition for the Greek market in 2022 and was limited to 100 units. The good news is that for Breitling enthusiasts, this is definitely a watch to search for. The bad news is that it will be more challenging to find compared to standard models, and the secondary market will dictate prices. 

On the other side of the Tudor and Breitling partnership, here Breitling utilizes the Breitling caliber B20, which is based on the Tudor MT5612. The movement has a 70-hour power reserve and is chronometer certified.

The vintage-inspired design, blue accents on the dial, and blue bezel should allow this watch to pair well with various situations, from full-on water sports to cocktail attire dinners. The timepiece is large at 44mm, and the Breitling Superocean Heritage line does wear its size.

Even though the design is vintage-inspired, the modern movement and ceramic bezel will ensure that the watch will stand up to the trials and tribulations of an adventurous Mediterranean vacation. 

13. Panerai Luminor Marina (ref. PAM01314)

Panerai Luminor Marina (ref. PAM01314)

The Panerai Luminor is one of the brand’s icons (alongside the Radiomir). Designed for the Italian Navy, these watches were designed to be extremely durable and legible. One of the design hallmarks of Panerai is its use of sandwich dials.

This means that the dial is multi-layered, with the lower layer containing luminescent paint, and the upper dial has the numerals and indices cut out, allowing them to glow in low-light environments. More traditional Panerai watches have black dials with green luminescent or, more recently, tan luminescent to mimic vintage lume.

Here, the lume is grey with a white dial. While the monochromatic look may sound dull, it makes for a very striking watch, especially with the iconic Luminor case that features the prominent crown locking mechanism. While 44mm is a large watch, Panerai watches have always been large, which is part of the look.

The movement inside is Panerai’s P.9010 calibre, which uses two mainspring barrels to achieve a 72-hour power reserve. The watch is rated to 300 meters of water resistance, ensuring it can handle the aquatic duties the watch was originally designed for.

Additionally, Panerai watches have been known to look great on various straps, and there is a thriving community of Paneristi happy to share their favorite combinations online. 

The Panerai PAM01314 retails for $8,400.

14. Czapek Passage De Drake Ice White on Rubber Strap

Czapek Passage De Drake Ice White on Rubber Strap

Should owning something rarely seen elsewhere be towards the top of your priority list, the Czapek Passage De Drake Ice White should be considered. 

The Passage De Drake features contrasting brushed and polished finishing on the bracelet and case, with a mirror-polished bezel. The dial has a stamped “flinqué” dial, with an exclusive and registered “Stairway to Eternity” pattern. 

Inside is the Calibre SHX5 movement, an in-house micro-rotor movement with 60 hours of power reserve from a single mainspring barrel. The micro-rotor design has the rotor in line with the movement instead of sitting on top, which allows for a thinner case design. 

The Passage De Drake measures 40.5mm in diameter, 10.6mm thick, and is rated to 120 meters of water resistance. Also impressive is that Czapek managed to keep the watch thin with this water resistance and have a display case back to see this unique movement. 

The bracelet features a micro-adjustment system in the clasp and an “Easy Release” system that allows for easy changes between the bracelet and an additional calf leather or rubber strap.

If you like the general look of integrated bracelet watches but want something different than the usual suspects, the Czapek Passage De Drake is worth considering and worthy of high praise. 

The retail price of the Czapek Passage De Drake is $22,000. 

15. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (ref. 5015-1127-52A)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (ref. 5015-1127-52A)

Blancpain often does not get enough credit, as they were the first to market with the modern dive watch in 1953, beating Rolex. Their Fifty-Fathoms line is their flagship dive watch, with the current iterations based on a model revamp released in 2007. 

This Fifty-Fathoms uses the in-house caliber 1315, a high-jeweled movement with 35 jewels, and a 120-hour power reserve. While the finishing may look spartan in photos, in real life, the movement decoration is quite detailed and done to a high level.

Daytime legibility will be somewhat compromised with the white dial, silver hands, and silver with white luminescent indices. However, with the white bezel covered with a sapphire insert, and white strap, this almost entirely white watch is more of a fashion statement than a functional tool watch.

While highly capable with 300 meters of water resistance and more than enough lume on the dial and bezel, there will be no problem timing dives or the parking meter while on a night out. While no longer in the Blancpain catalog, some searching and patience should allow for a reasonable price on the used market. 


The popularity of sports watches is easy to understand. For many, a good sports watch could be the only one they own, as it is often designed with functionality and style in mind. Even collectors with many timepieces may purchase several sports watches, as they can vary significantly in design. 

Because of the variety of designs, there will certainly be a sports watch on the market that resonates with almost every buyer, whether their tastes align more on the slim and elegant side of sports watches or the more robust and utilitarian end. Should a white-dialed sports watch be appealing, hopefully, this list will aid in your search.

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