David Castagno, Author at Exquisite Timepieces
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Best Luxury Military Watches

As watch enthusiasts, we tend to love the rich history and stories behind the timepieces we wear on our wrists. So much so that the industry as a whole tends to perpetuate these stories and ride their popularity until even the most hardcore of collectors roll their eyes at yet another “special/limited edition”. 

*Cough cough*, looking at you, Omega.

But, with that said, there is a category, a subculture if you will, in the watch community that will always amass followers and evangelizes them with stories of renown, bold adventures, and true tool watch lore. 

That, my dear reader, is the loved/lusted by many, luxury military watch. And yes, while I’ll be the first to admit it does sound like an oxymoron, the timepieces on our list today have a true tool watch lineage and have served a purpose for the original wearers far before becoming the desk divers they are today.

So, strap on your best all-black multicam tactical loadout because today we are talking about the 25 Best Luxury Military Watches. 


I think it is safe to say that many of us in the watch enthusiast community have a pretty good understanding of what a luxury military watch is, but for those who might be new to the obsession, let’s do a high flyby with the basics.

In short, a military watch is a timepiece that has been used in military service in some way, shape, or form. Pretty basic and easy to understand. But the idea of a “luxury” military watch is a bit of an oxymoron or misnomer. So, if I were going to define a luxury military watch, I’d say that it is a timepiece initially created for a purpose and has since seen a meteoric rise in popularity and price due to the demand from the enthusiast community.


So as stated before, military watches have always been used in a professional manner by those men and women in the armed forces. But, it wasn’t until the watch market exploded that the demand for some of these vintage military timepieces also exploded.

In turn, you saw an increase in demand for watches that weren’t as mass-produced as others. This led to watch manufacturers capitalizing on the opportunity to produce and release new or reissue variants of these timepieces with more modern materials for a modern market.

And just like that, the luxury military watch was born.

It goes without saying that in the world of watches, some of the most sought-after timepieces are those that have been on the wrist of an armed forces member. 

In today’s article, we will discuss vintage military watches that have become “luxury” and modern luxury military timepieces that have seen their share of work, stood the test of time, and have since been reissued to watch nerds around the world. 


To begin, we need to understand what constitutes a military watch and what the daily use of one might entail.

Again, as we’ve discussed, a military watch is going to see hard use. It will likely be used as a tool; with that said, a luxury military watch should follow the same guidelines as its less-expensive brethren. Below are some characteristics to look for in a luxury military timepiece. 


I think one of the most important things a military watch needs to be is tough. This means it can withstand daily use by someone who might be doing lots of exercising, rucking, or other forms of physical activity that might subject the timepiece to some bumps and bruises. Toughness also means using the proper materials that will handle the hard knocks with ease; we will discuss more about materials soon. 


A proper luxury military timepiece needs to be legible. If there is one thing that I have learned from friends and family members who have served in the military, it is that cleanliness is next to godliness, and timeliness is a close second. 

With that said, it is important to be able to read the time at-a-glance so as not to be punished for your tardiness. 


As discussed earlier in the toughness section, a luxury military watch needs to use quality materials that can withstand the hard use of said timepiece.

While stainless steel is the go-to choice for many of these timepieces, the use of alternative materials like titanium, carbon, or high-strength polymers can also be found in this category of watches.

It is important to note that there are also different finishings/coatings that increase the toughness and quality of the materials being used, such as Sinn’s TEGIMENT process, DLC coating, or modern-day PVD coating. 


The build quality and water resistance are of the utmost importance when it comes to luxury military timepieces. 

I think it is obvious that you want an accurate timepiece, but you also want one that is put together well. A solid piece that will not waver when confronted with challenges, one that will not croak on you in the middle of an important mission, even if that mission is to free the cookies from the confines of its jar at 2:00 AM.

But, while the build quality is important, you don’t want a timepiece with such tight tolerances that it takes a master watchmaker to fix.

Much like the idea of an EDC or Duty pistol, you want something that is reliable and durable, like your Glock, S&W M&P, or Sig pistols, as opposed to your high-end custom shop 1911 pistols that take a true master to work on. 


Last but certainly not least, I think every military watch needs to have some sort of water resistance.

Now I’m not saying that they all need to accompany James Cameron to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. But, it is important that they can withstand certain water pressures, especially in the instance of a maritime mission to the bottom of the sink or an emergency water landing as you drunkenly fall into the pool. 


Alright, now that we have any idea of what luxury military watches are, their history (if we want to call it that), and what characteristics to look for in one, let’s get into our list of watches.

1. Marathon Large Diver’s Automatic (GSAR) Official USMC™ (ref. W194006)

1. Marathon Large Diver’s Automatic (GSAR) Official USMC™ (ref. W194006)

Perhaps one of the coolest timepieces on our list and what happens to be my next watch purchase, the Marathon Government Search and Rescue, more commonly known as the GSAR, is definitely a contender for the toughest and most robust on the list.

With a case diameter of 41mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm, and a case thickness of 14mm, the GSAR is a great size for anyone with an average-sized wrist. But in the event you have a smaller or larger than average, Marathon also makes a 36mm and 46mm case in the SAR line.

One of the standout features on the GSAR has got to be the lume. Unlike typical timepieces that use Super-LumiNova or some kind of proprietary lume, the GSAR uses Tritium-filled gas tubes with a half-life of 12 years. The GSAR is powered by the Sellita SW200 and retails for $1,500 on a rubber strap.

2. Benrus Type I – Original Military Dive Watch

2. Benrus Type I - Original Military Dive Watch

While we are only on our second watch, the Benrus Type 1 is the first reissue watch on our list. The Benrus Type I was originally produced in 1972 as a more robust alternative for American Soldiers during the Vietnam War.

The Type I was built more specifically to meet the standards and requirements for the Underwater Demolition Team or UDT divers. The Benrus Type I has a case diameter of 42.5mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 47.5mm, and a case thickness of 14.6mm.

The standout feature of Type I is the unique asymmetrical case design that protects the crown without the need for crown guards. Much like the original, the Type I utilizes a two-piece seatbelt NATO and is water resistant to 30 ATM. Unlike the original version, the new Type I is available to the public and has an MSRP of $1,695.

3. Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono (ref. H71706830)

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono (ref. H71706830)

Next on our list is a brand that has had its timepieces featured in over 500 films, Hamilton. The Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono is just one of the many timepieces to be featured in Hollywood.

While it wasn’t this exact reference, but a slightly different sleek, and tactical all-black version seen on the wrist of John Krasinski as Jack Ryan, Hamilton proves that their military heritage inspired Khaki Chrono is as at home on a soldier’s wrist as it is on the big screen.

The Khaki Chrono has a case diameter of 44mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 52mm, and a case thickness of 14.15mm. Considering that the Khaki Chrono is packing an automatic Hamilton H-21 movement (Valjoux-7750 Base), it is a rather slim chronograph.

The standout feature of the Khaki Chrono has got to be the nostalgia-laced design language. With a bead-blasted stainless steel case, classic Khaki dial layout/markings, retro bund strap, and an MSRP of $1,945, this Hamilton is sure to please the vintage enthusiast.

4. CWC 1980 Royal Navy Divers Watch Reissue

The CWC 1980 Royal Navy Diver is a watch that might not be on the average enthusiast’s radar, which is a shame because it is a timepiece that is just dripping with 80s cool. It was the watch that kicked off the relationship between the Cabot Watch Company (CWC) and the British Royal Navy.

Much like the Benrus Type I, the CWC 1980 is a reissue based on the first CWC watch produced for the Royal Navy. The watch was issued to Royal Navy Divers and was actually the watch to replace the venerable Rolex Milsub (which we’ll talk about later), which means that it had to meet certain criteria, one of the most important being fixed lugs.

The idea is that standard spring bars are failure points in a watch’s design. If you take away that failure point, you have a timepiece that is far less likely to be lost during underwater dive missions, hence the reason for fixed lugs.

The 1980 is definitely a watch for those who like the fauxtina look. With a case diameter of 45mm (including crown guards), a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm, a case thickness of 12.7mm, and a price of around $3,000, this slim and capable successor to the Milsub throne should definitely be on your shortlist for vintage inspired military dive watches.

5. Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale (ref. L2.833.4.93.2)

5. Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale (ref. L2.833.4.93.2)

The number five spot on our list goes to a company whose military heritage and back catalog of timepieces is as impressive as any.

The Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale, unlike a few watches on our list so far, is not a reissue per se but rather a reinterpretation of the Longines 5774, a timepiece originally produced in the 1940s for the Marine Nationale (French Navy).

With a case diameter of 38.5mm, larger than the original, this modern-sized reinterpretation is a perfect example of making slight changes for a modern consumer.

One of the standout features of the Heritage is the attention to detail when designing the dial and its layout. The painted numerals, blued hands, and “Fab Suisse” imprint on the dial make this perfectly proportioned dial a real looker.

The Heritage has an MSRP of $2,300 and is the perfect modern interpretation of a Longines classic. 

6. Laco Squad Watches Seven Seas (ref. 861703)

6. Laco Squad Watches Seven Seas (ref. 861703)

The Laco Squad Watch Seven Seas was born out of the need for a watch that met the high standards and requirements for those serving as firefighters, police officers, and members of the German military.

Made in close collaboration with the German Army, the Seven Seas is a great example of a modern luxury military timepiece not based on a watch from the past.

With a case diameter of 45.8mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 55.3mm, and a case thickness of 16.65mm, this oversized timepiece was made with toughness in mind. The robust nature of this watch can withstand some of the harshest conditions and will continue to serve you well.

With 1,000m of water resistance, this ETA-powered behemoth is sure to stand up to whatever recreational water sports you use it for. The MSRP is $2,350, and while it is lacking a bit in the movement department, it more than makes up for it in the rugged toughness department. 

7. Longines Heritage Military RAF (ref. L2.819.4.93.2)

7. Longines Heritage Military RAF (ref. L2.819.4.93.2)

The next watch on our list is another Longines. Remember when I said that they have an extensive back catalog and impressive military heritage? Well, I think being one of two brands on our list to have multiple timepieces represented is a clear indicator that I wasn’t lying.

The Longines Heritage Military RAF is similar to the Marine Nationale in that it was produced for a specific branch of the military, in this case, the Royal Air Force.

Much like the Marine Nationale, the RAF has a case diameter of 38.5mm and is highly legible and very easy to use. The standout feature on the RAF is the blued steel hands which give a great pop of color to the parchment-colored printed dial.

The RAF is yet another excellent example of the military and, more specifically, aviation heritage that Longines is so proud of. With an MSRP of $2,425, the RAF is a beautiful timepiece with a little old-world charm that could make for great everyday wear.

8. Montblanc 1858 Automatic (ref. MB119907)

One thing I’ve always found interesting about Montblanc is, for the most part, people know them as the luxury pen manufacturer and tend to disregard their watches which is a shame because, within the Montblanc 1858 line, there are some very neat timepieces.

The Montblanc 1858 Automatic is a timepiece inspired by the professional Minerva watches of the 1920s and 30s, originally produced for military use and exploration.

The 40mm polished and satin case sits in a sweet spot for most wrist sizes. The large crown and cathedral hands give the 1858 a true early 20th-century design language that is seen in timepieces of the first world war.

The 1858 has an MSRP of $2,670 and harkens back to the days Hemingway waxed poetic about and a time when the spirit of adventure was beckoning. 

9. Bremont Broadsword “Dirty Dozen”

9. Bremont Broadsword “Dirty Dozen”

The Bremont Broadsword “Dirty Dozen” is the first watch on our list to tackle a modern interpretation of the famous and beloved “Dirty Dozen” watches of WWII.

For those who might not know the nomenclature, the “Dirty Dozen” is the nickname given to a group of twelve watches commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD). Produced by twelve different Swiss watch manufacturers, the “Dirty Dozen” were meant to be tough, durable, and reliable.

The Broadsword, a modern interpretation of the “Dirty Dozen”, has a two-piece stainless steel case that is both polished and satin-finished with a diameter of 40mm. Much like the Montblanc 1858, it is a great-sized timepiece.

One of the characteristics of a “Dirty Dozen” styled military timepiece is the sub-seconds register at six o’clock. The Broadsword has a beautifully laid-out dial and is a great modern version of a military classic.

Powered by the first chronometer-certified movement on our list, the Broadsword retails for $3,445 and is the perfect companion for binge-watching Band of Brothers over a long weekend.

10. Oris ProPilot Altimeter (ref. 01 793 7775 8734-Set)

10. Oris ProPilot Altimeter (ref. 01 793 7775 8734-Set)

Oris is a company that always seems to amaze me. They are one of the few independent watch manufacturers who give us timepieces at a large volume without sacrificing quality, design, and, most importantly, innovation.

The ProPilot Altimeter is a perfect example of the innovation that Oris brings to the consumer. The ProPilot Altimeter is in its second generation and is the world’s only watch to combine a mechanical altimeter with an automatic movement. The Altimeter is equipped with a pressure box that can accurately gauge your altitude up to 19,700 feet.

While it has a case diameter of 47mm, the ProPilot Altimeter is made of a carbon fiber composite, meaning it only weighs 98 grams! To put that in perspective, a Rolex Submariner, which is six to seven millimeters smaller in diameter, depending on the reference, weighs 155 grams. The Altimeter is a unique watch, most certainly for the pilot in your life, and retails for $6,500. 

11. Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF

11. Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF

For those who have read any of my other articles, you will know that I am a self-proclaimed Sinn fanboy. While I do understand why some might not be into the Teutonic, stoic, and almost surgical aesthetic, it definitely rings my bell.

The Sinn we will be discussing today, the EZM 10 TESTAF, is the first watch to be tested and certified to the Technical Standard for Pilot Watches, better known as TESTAF, hence the name.

This means that the pilot’s chronograph, whose bead-blasted titanium case with a diameter of 46.5mm, lug-to-lug distance of 53.2mm, and a case thickness of 15.6mm, meets all time measurement requirements of a professional pilot.

Like many of Sinn’s other premium offerings, the case is Tegimented to ensure maximum durability. It is also water resistant to 200m, uses Ar-Dehumidifying Technology, and has a mission-timer design for great legibility.

The Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF retails for $5,290 and might just be the most McGuyver watch on our list.

12. Accutron Astronaut “T” (ref. 2sw8a002)

12. Accutron Astronaut “T” (ref. 2sw8a002)

The Accutron Astronaut “T” is a rather unique watch on our list due to it being the first watch on the list created specifically for, as the name would suggest, the US Space Program.

While the original Astronaut made its debut in 1960 with the use of some revolutionary technology, the tuning fork movement, the new limited edition of only 300 pieces is powered by a Sellita SW-330 and still offers the same great GMT functionality as the original. The Astronaut has a case diameter of 41mm and a case thickness of 13.8mm. 

The standout feature of the Astronaut, unlike the physical features we’ve seen on other watches from this list, is the history and use of the timepiece by the CIA. Due to the accuracy of the Astronaut, the CIA equipped its pilots of the then uber-secret and ultra-fast A-12 spy plane with the timepiece, which for history and watch nerds is awesomely cool.

The Astronaut has an MSRP of $3,500 and is a great way to get 60s space-age timepieces into the collection. 

13. Tudor Pelagos FXD (ref. M25707B/23-0001)

13. Tudor Pelagos FXD (ref. M25707B/23-0001)

It is safe to say that this list would not be complete without the timepiece that set the watch world ablaze when it was released in 2021, the Tudor Pelagos FXD.

The FXD is the modern variation of the Tudor Snowflake, which we will discuss later in this article. As a modern interpretation of a classic, it is made with modern materials and in a modern size.

The FXD has a case constructed of titanium and has a diameter of 42mm, a case thickness of 12.75mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 52mm. While the length may seem a bit long, it is worth mentioning that, like the CWC 1980, the case with integrally designed fixed spring bars allows the watch to flare across the wrist more than traditional spring bars.

The Tudor Pelagos FXD retails for $4,100, and with their historic collaboration with the Marine Nationale, Tudor has created a true purpose-driven tool watch that has a great story to tell your dinner guests when you inevitably find yourself in awkward silence.

14. CWC Pilot Chronograph Limited Edition Valjoux 7733

14. CWC Pilot Chronograph Limited Edition Valjoux 7733

As the second CWC entry on our list, the Pilot Chronograph with the Valjoux 7733 is probably one of the more rare watches on our list. Limited to only 100 pieces, CWC actually recommissioned the vintage original movements making the Pilot Chrono that much more special.

Similarly to the Benrus Type I, the Pilot Chronograph has an asymmetrical case design with a diameter of 40mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 46mm, and a case thickness of 12mm.

This compact chrono is a great reissue of the first watch contract awarded to CWC by the MoD.

With a price of around $6,500, the CWC Pilot Chronograph Valjoux 7733 is a history nerd’s dream and a great addition to any collection.

15. Breitling Chronospace Military (ref. M78367101B1W1)

15. Breitling Chronospace Military (ref. M78367101B1W1)

The Breitling Chronospace Military might be one of our list’s most unique watches due to its analog and digital capabilities. Unlike any watch on our list so far, the Chronospace is powered by the Breitling Caliber 78 SuperQuartz movement, which is COSC-certified.

The stainless steel DLC-coated case has a diameter of 46mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 56.5mm, and a case thickness of 15.5mm, which means this behemoth of a timepiece is ready for large-wristed individuals who can handle its size.

The Chronospace comes equipped with a chronograph, digital calendar, alarm, second timezone, and UTC world time.

With an MSRP of $6,200, it is safe to say that the Chronospace will have you prepared for anything your day-to-day can throw at you.

16. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph U.S. Navy Squadrons

IWC introduced its first pilot’s watch 87 years ago in 1936 and has since embodied what it means to be a pilot’s watch. With unbelievable legibility, build quality, and the use of unique materials, the IWC Pilot’s Chrono U.S. Navy Squadron is a perfect reminder of what IWC does really well.

The Navy Squadron line of pilot’s chronographs comes in three very distinct flavors to honor three different Naval Squadrons. There is a watch for the Royal Maces, the Tophatters, and the most famous, the Blue Angels.

All three watches share the same dimensions with a case diameter of 44.5mm and a case thickness of 15.7mm and are powered by the in-house caliber IWC 69380, which has a power reserve of 46hrs.

Each watch has a unique color scheme and, most notably, uses a ceramic case. The Royal Maces has a black case with yellow accents and a squadron badge, the Tophatters has a black case with red accents and a squadron badge, and lastly, the Blue Angel variant comes in a blue ceramic case with yellow accents and a squadron badge.

These incredible pilot’s chronographs have an MSRP of $11,200. 

17. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de Combat” (ref. 5015E-1130-B52A)

17. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de Combat” (ref. 5015E-1130-B52A)

Much like many brands on this list, Blancpain is a brand that needs no introduction. They have carved their name into the history books. Not only are they the oldest watch brand on earth, but they, along with Rolex and Zodiac, produced the first ever commercially available dive watch in 1953.

The “Nageurs de Combat” in the name translates to “Combat Swimmers”, and this limited edition of 300 pieces is the perfect tribute to Blancpain’s long-time collaboration with the French Military.

With a case diameter of 45mm, a case thickness of 15.6mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 50.6mm, this large military-inspired timepiece is best suited for those with larger wrists, but due to the relatively short lug-to-lug, comparatively speaking, it will work fine on a number of wrists.

The “Nageurs de Combat” is powered by a Blancpain 1315 and retails for $16,300.

18. Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech™ (ref. PAM00961)

18. Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech™ (ref. PAM00961)

The name Panerai has always been synonymous with military use. Anyone who knows the brand’s history knows that since the first prototype of the now famous Panerai Radiomir in 1935 for the Italian Navy, Panerai has been pushing out larger-than-life tool watches for those enamored with 80s and 90s action flicks.

The Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech is, in typical Panerai fashion, a large, oversized watch for an oversized man and is limited to a mere 33 pieces. 

The Submersible comes in at a whopping 47mm, with a lug-to-lug of 56.5mm and a case thickness of 16mm. The case is constructed of Panerai’s proprietary Carbotech material, which is a carbon fiber-based material with an uneven matte black appearance, giving it a very stealthy look.

The matte black case, coupled with the OD Green handset, markers, subdial, and rubber strap, make this Submersible legible and strikingly masculine.

It is powered by the Panerai P9010, which has a three-day power reserve, and it retails for an astounding $39,100

19. Omega RAF CK2292

The Omega RAF CK2292 marks the spot on our list where we move from discussing new and modern watches to discussing vintage timepieces. With that said, I will not include the price for the remaining watches on the list.

The Omega RAF CK2292 is likely different from other pilot’s watches you’ve seen in that it has a white dial. While there are a number of companies who produce white-dialed pilot’s timepieces, it is rare, and you’re more likely to find black-dialed (obviously) pilot’s watches.

The story goes that at the beginning of WWII, the RAF wanted a pilot’s watch with Arabic numerals, railroad markers on the dial, and a white face for legibility in low-light situations.

Omega answered the call with the CK2292, and the rest is military history.

The CK2292 is a small watch at 33mm. But, the perfectly proportioned dial with Arabic numerals and blued handset make this a highly legible watch for anyone looking to snag a piece of history for themselves.

20. Smiths W10 Military Watch

The Smiths W10 is a watch that is loved by enthusiasts due to its application in the field. Being a field watch, it was tested day in and day out by the soldiers who wore it. The Smiths W10 truly is the real deal when it comes to British watchmaking at its finest. 

The 35mm W10 is a classic example of a highly legible, durable, and reliable military timepiece. Its matte black dial has a somewhat traditional pilot-style dial, with Arabic numerals, railroad track markers along the outer edge, and sword hands. 

But what makes this watch uber cool is the “Made in England” printed at the bottom of the dial and the Broad Arrow insignia, identifying it as property of the Ministry of Defense, just above.

21. Omega “Weems” CK2129

The Omega “Weems” CK2129 is a timepiece that has a very storied history when it comes to being used by Spitfire pilots during WWII.

Originally introduced in 1940, the CK2129 was given the “Weems” nickname after the watch’s designer Philip van Horn Weems.

The “Weems” has a case diameter of 33mm, very small by today’s modern watch standards, and much like the RAF CK2292 we featured earlier on our list, the light dial with black printing was meant to be highly legible.

One really unique design feature of the “Weems” is the second crown at the 4 o’clock position, which acts as a locking mechanism for the free-turning bi-directional bezel. This interesting solution was created due to the pilot’s utilizing the bezel for navigation or mission timing purposes.

So, if you’ve got a smaller wrist and still want to feel like Tom Hardy in Dunkirk, the “Weems” is the watch for you.

22. Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner Marine Nationale ref. 9401

22. Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner Marine Nationale ref. 9401

Making its second entry on our list, this time vintage, we will discuss Tudor and the Marine National ref. 9401.

The Marine Nationale ref. 9401, known colloquially as the “Snowflake”, was introduced in 1975 to replace the Tudor “Snowflake” ref. 7016, which was introduced at the end of the 1960s.

The 9401 was marked with “TUDOR M.N.” on the caseback to signify its use by the Marine Nationale or French Naval Divers.

The 9401 was produced until the 1980s and was in service with the French Navy until the early part of the 2000s.

While there could probably be a long article written about the Tudor “Snowflake” and their partnership with the Marine Nationale, this is just a high flyby, but it is safe to say that the relationship between Tudor and the Marine Nationale might just be one of the most significant in horological history. 

23. Omega Seamaster 300 British Royal Navy ref. 165.024

23. Omega Seamaster 300 British Royal Navy ref. 165.024

The original Omega Seamaster 300 was released in 1957, a few years after Blancpain and Rolex released the Fifty Fathoms and Submariner, respectively.

But, in 1964, the Seamaster 300 was redesigned and, in turn, found more success than the previous generation ever had. Gone were the days of the smaller 39mm case and thin bezel.

Dimensionally the Omega 300 increased only a few millimeters to 42mm, but. The big standout feature was the bezel and dial design. The new thicker bezel was fully graduated, and the broad arrow handset was replaced with large sword hands.

The watch was issued to the British Royal Navy until it was no longer produced in 1970. 

For those who love Omega, like me, it is easy to see the influence of the Seamaster 300 in new, more contemporary timepieces like the Planet Ocean.

24. Rolex Submariner “MilSub” ref. 5517

24. Rolex Submariner “MilSub” ref. 5517

The Rolex “Milsub” 5517 is, for some watch enthusiasts, the purest form of tool watch expression ever produced, and, funnily enough, it was the watch to replace the previous watch on our list, the Omega 300.

To some, the 5517 might just look like another variation of the venerable Submariner, but to those who know their history, the 5517 is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of timeless and awe-inspiring timepieces.

Much like the Tudor “Snowflake” and the (Spoiler Alert) upcoming Rolex Submariner COMEX ref. 5514, the 5517 Milsub could have an entire article written about it, including every detail of how it came to be, who wore them, and what they go for at auction today.

But in an attempt to not get lost in the minutia of the 5517, I want to look at it from a design perspective.

This, in my mind, is a perfectly designed watch. It was designed to function as a tool, to be purpose-driven, and it does just that. In typical Submariner fashion, the 5517 is 40mm in diameter, but what sets the “Milsub” apart from your run of the mill Submariners is the fully graduated bezel, use of sword hands, and the use of fixed spring bars.

Again, all of these were used in order to make the 5517 as functional as possible. Especially the fixed spring bars. Like some watches we’ve discussed earlier, eliminating a failure point is a way to ensure that the watch remains fixed to the wearer’s wrist.

While I can continue to wax poetic about the PERFECT Submariner, I will resist the need and urge you all to read about the 5517 and all its glory.

25. Rolex Submariner COMEX ref. 5514

25. Rolex Submariner COMEX ref. 5514

As we discussed with the 5517, Rolex and, to a degree Tudor have created the most important relationships with armed forces in all of watch history. They have been on the wrists of some of the most badass guys to ever walk the Earth, and that is why we love them. 

But in a strange twist of fate, one of the Holy Grails of Rolex collecting doesn’t really have a connection to the military or iconic Hollywood figure.

Instead, it has a connection to COMEX, pioneers in industrial diving, badasses in their own right, so infatuated with going deeper and deeper that in partnership with Rolex created the first ever HEV or Helium Escape Valve, which allowed divers to have a proper tool on their wrists while working in the harshest of environment.

COMEX is a company that helped push Rolex to its limits and squeezed every last ounce of performance out of their timepieces. It is safe to say that the modern Rolex line would not be what it is today without the help of COMEX.


To keep it brief, I will end with this. Enthusiasts of this crazy obsession we call watch collecting are attracted to, like so many other things in life, the bold, unique, and adventurous. The things we always hope to be as children. 

So, it goes without saying that the watches that truly grab our attention, the ones that make us daydream, the ones we have as screen savers or backgrounds, those watches have a rich history of adventure and intrepidness, and I’m willing to bet that for most of us, they are military watches, built for the toughest of all adventures.

What is a Rolex Buckley Dial

Watch enthusiasts, like many other enthusiasts, whether it be cars, sneakers, EDC (Everyday Carry), or anything else out there worth collecting, tend to enjoy their communities and the fun eccentricities and nuances that come with them.

For example, if you are a big EDC enthusiast, there is a good chance that you can have an at-length conversation about the different metal alloys that make the very best EDC knife. Or, if you are a big sneakerhead, there is no doubt that you’ve argued over the greatest and worst sneaker releases of all time.

To an outsider looking in, these conversations might as well be in a foreign language. But to the enthusiast, the nuances that the common person can easily overlook or ignore are precisely what makes them an enthusiast. With that said, watch enthusiasts might just be the most diehard of all.

In the pantheon of highly respected, famous, and even infamous timepieces, we, as enthusiasts, have always enjoyed and adored the nicknames that we give to our watches. Now, I don’t mean personal nicknames or pet names that you give your personal collection; I’m talking about the well-known aliases given to timepieces by the community at large.

Some of the most famous are the Pepsi, Batman, Paul Newman, Dark Lord, Arnie, Snowflake, Ed White, and my personal favorite, the Pussy Galore. While there are hundreds of examples of fun, playful nicknames that every watch has earned from the community, the list above is just a tiny example.

With that said, today we will be discussing the Rolex “Buckley Dial,” what it is, where the nickname came from, and a few models that are sure to pique your interest.

The Many, Many Unique Dials of Rolex Watches

Rolex is likely the most popular and sought-after brand in the watch community and likely one of the most recognizable brands in the world. From its sponsorship of sporting events like Formula One racing, golf, and tennis to its sponsorship of the arts, the Rolex name extends beyond the enthusiast community.

With that said, the public image of Rolex has changed over the years. Gone are the days of true tool watches created for a purpose, and in are the days of status, notoriety, and achievement.

So, it is no surprise that in this new age of Rolex, there is a lack of fun, quirky, and unique dial options that were ever present in the old days of Rolex. The joy of yesteryear has given way to a more sterile, safe, and palatable catalog.

Having said that, let’s explore some of the most unique dial offerings from Rolex’s past. Rolex first introduced some incredibly unique dial options in the 70s with an array of stone dial options that are sure to boggle the mind.

With dials ranging from actual wood like birch, African mahogany, and walnut to stones like onyx, tiger eye, malachite, and coral, the use of these incredible materials is proof that Rolex had a sense of fun and uniqueness that is not as common on modern Rolex timepieces.

So, What is Buckley Dial?

For those vintage Rolex collectors and connoisseurs, the Buckley Dial is surely on your radar and possibly in your collection. But, for those who might be new to vintage Rolex or watches in general, let’s break down what the Buckley Dial looks like from a design standpoint and how it differs from similar modern Rolex dials.

The Buckley Dial is generally found in vintage Datejust models that date back to the 70s and 80s. Most commonly found on Datejust references 1601, 1603, 16014, and 16030, the Buckley dial seems to have come into existence around the same time period that Rolex began using the hard stones we discussed earlier.

But like most vintage Rolex, which can be a bit of a mystery, the Buckley Dial has seen use in other Rolex models like the Day-Date and Oysterquartz. What makes the Buckley Dial so unique from a design language point of view is the use of printed Roman Numerals vs. applied Roman Numerals seen on modern Rolex watches.

While some will argue that the use of applied Roman Numerals in some flavor of precious metal or diamond makes the watch more luxurious, I’ll say that the modern dials with applied numerals feel a bit cluttered.

That is what is so beautiful about a printed Buckley Dial, the use of space and dial layout. Due to the particular font thinness, compared to modern applied numerals, the dial has the opportunity to breathe, stretch its legs, and allow for the nuanced “feet” that adorn the numerals to fill some of the empty space.

The crisp printing of the numerals also allows for a highly legible dial that makes reading the time at a glance incredibly easy.

Who is Buckley?

Like many Rolex models named after individuals, most notably the Paul Newman Daytona and the McQueen Explorer II, which he may not have actually worn, the Buckley Dial is named after an individual who is neither a movie star nor a household name.

John Buckley is the owner of Tuscany Rose, a pre-owned watch shop that caters to vintage lovers and in the world of vintage Rolex, Buckley has a wealth of knowledge and expertise on the subject, so much so that he now has a Rolex nicknamed after him!

The story goes that John Buckley, vintage watch dealer extraordinaire renowned for his expertise in the field, became so passionate about vintage Rolex with printed dials that his enthusiasm and interest helped thrust the rare references into the limelight, gaining popularity on the pre-owned market.

Due to his passion and excitement for a reference that could have been lost to time, the watch community decided that the watch should be nicknamed after him. The rest is history.

Buckley Models to Adore

In an attempt to keep this section concise and quick, I will touch on a few standout Rolex models that use a Buckley dial and give a brief description of each timepiece. This will be by no means a definitive guide, but it should act as a decent jumping-off point for anyone looking to start the search for a Rolex model with a Buckley Dial.

Rolex Datejust Ref. 16030- Gray Dial

Rolex Datejust Ref. 16030- Gray Dial

The Datejust ref. 16030 was first introduced in 1977 as a replacement for the Datejust ref. 1603 and would be produced and eventually taken out of production in 1988. In true vintage Rolex Datejust fashion, the ref. 16030 has a case diameter of 36mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 44mm, and a case thickness of 11mm.

The acrylic crystal comes with the signature cyclops over the date, which in tandem with the printed Buckley Dial, makes this timepiece highly legible. While we’ve discussed the Buckley Dial and design, we haven’t touched on dial colors.

I think the standout feature for me is the gray dialed reference. There is a beautiful monochromatic eeriness that works so well with the engine-turned bezel and patina’d lume plots.

Rolex Datejust Ref. 16014- Blue Dial

Rolex Datejust Ref. 16014- Blue Dial

The Datejust ref. 16014, like the ref. 16030, was introduced in 1977 and saw production until 1988. This beautiful reference comes with a beautiful blue dial and white Roman Numerals. The white printing on the blue dial references truly pops.

The highly contrasted dial is an excellent example of simplistic and conservative beauty. The white gold fluted bezel gives the already charming timepiece a luster that can only be found in the use of precious metals.

Many Datejust references, especially vintage ones, are usually found on a leather strap or an original stretched-out jubilee. The reference shown as an example comes on an amazingly well-cared-for jubilee that looks as good today as it did the day it left the factory floor.

Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601- White Dial

Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601- White Dial

Last but certainly not least, Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601 with a white dial is likely going to be the most common Buckley Dialed Rolex out there.

While, as it stands, the Buckley Dial will always be a more unique and rare reference, the bright white dial with black printed numerals will be the one most often found in quality and well-regarded vintage watch shops.

The white-dialed reference is definitely a great do-all timepiece like the rest of the Datejust family. You get a watch that can be easily paired with both casual and formal attire, one that is not ostentatious or overly bold but an understated timepiece that can act as the perfect companion in whatever situation you put it in.

Parting Thoughts

In the wide world of vintage timepieces and, more specifically, vintage Rolex, enthusiasts and collectors are always looking for the next watch that will be highly sought after.

The Buckley Dialed Rolexes used to be just that. A watch that flew under the radar, a watch that only a few people gave much time and attention to, and one that one man saw the future potential of.

John Buckley and his now-loved Buckley Dialed Rolex watches are proof that in this weird hobby/obsession that we call horology, your passion and love for those unique outliers can earn you a spot in history!

tudor vs tag heuer watches

It’s safe to say that in today’s watch world, we have more access to more brands than ever before. But, somehow, in the sea of microbrands, revival brands, and options, we, as enthusiasts, are still drawn to the offerings from manufacturers who have provided the consumer with quality timepieces for decades.

So, it is no surprise, when discussing watches, even with the most freshman of enthusiasts, that Tudor and TAG Heuer are generally in the discussion. For many, Tudor and TAG (as I’ll be referring to it moving forward) are the perfect entry point into the luxury watch “hobby”.

While some collectors might find these brands boring, even predictable, they are still powerhouses in the world of watches and offer us, the consumer, an incredible product that we can be proud to own. So, let’s dive into the world of Tudor and TAG and figure out which iconic brand is right for you.

About Tudor (The Watches, Not the English Royal Dynasty of Welsh Origin)

For those new to the “hobby”, Tudor has quite an interesting history, one steeped in mystery, intrigue, and an attempt to take over the watch world!

Just kidding. The Tudor trademark was originally registered in 1926 for Hans Wilsdorf by Veuve de Philippe Hüther, a Swiss watch dealer. If the name Hans Wilsdorf sounds familiar, it’s probably because you know him as the founder of one of the most recognizable brands in not only the watch but the entire world, Rolex.

In 1936, Wilsdorf took over the Tudor name, creating, for all intents and purposes, a more affordable alternative to its big brother, Rolex. But, it wasn’t until 1946 that the “Montres TUDOR S.A” name was established as a way to enter new market segments with the backing and guarantee of the Rolex name.

The idea that Tudor, for the longest time, seemed to live in the shadow of its big brother was one reason the company decided to remove all Rolex-branded components from their watches. So, in 1996 and in honor of their 50th anniversary, they did just that.

The remainder of the ’90s and early 2000s saw a decline in sales. So much so that in 2004, Tudor stopped selling watches in the US market. While this was certainly a hit to Tudor’s market share, it wasn’t long until Tudor would make its comeback stateside.

In 2013, a refreshed and rebranded Tudor re-entered the US market, focusing on the brand’s illustrious history as a tool watch manufacturer, taking many of their design cues from the Tudor archives.

With the use of both in-house and off-the-shelf movements, Tudor had certainly made a splash in the watch scene as it made its way back to the US, proving once again that they could still turn heads with great classic designs that never go out of style.

So, it’s no surprise that for their almost 100-year history, the Tudor name, regardless of Rolex, has been synonymous, for most enthusiasts, as a highly capable and historically proven tool watch manufacturer.

Some of the best examples of tool watch excellence in the Tudor archives are the Milspec Tudor “Snowflake” timepieces made for the Marine Nationale and many other military forces around the world, including the USA and UK forces.

But the modern Tudor lineup offers many excellent tool and casual watches that are sure to be a mainstay in your collection for years to come.

TAG You’re It (Time for a History Lesson)

While the Tudor name is a relatively new name (comparatively) to some watch brands, the TAG Heuer name is much older.

Founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer under the name Heuer Watchmaking Inc in St. Imier, Switzerland, the Heuer name has always been the embodiment of innovation, a bold style, and a unique design language that really became a signature for the brand during the middle of the 20th century.

In 1933, Heuer produced a new kind of dash counter for cars, boats, and airplanes. This new device, called the Autavia, would be the precursor to the chronographs that would adorn the wrists of pilots and drivers in the decades to come.

During the years leading up to WWII and the decades that followed, Heuer would focus on Chronography and aim to create the most accurate chronographs the watch world had ever seen.

1958 was a big year for Heuer. It was the year that Jack Heuer would join the company and begin a legacy that endures to this day, with the creation of some of Heuer’s most iconic timepieces like the Autavia, Monaco, and Carrera.

In fact, it was Jack Heuer who made the name Heuer synonymous with motorsports. While cars and watches have always gone together like Richard Mille and compensating for something (just kidding!), Heuer would bring together some of the most famous racers and watch relationships in the racing world.

While the ’60s and ‘70s were the golden eras for motorsports, it was in 1973 when Jack Heuer inked a deal with the biggest name in motorsports history, Enzo Ferrari, making Heuer the official timekeeper of the Ferrari Race Team.

Heuer would go through its ups and downs through the later part of the century and would eventually be acquired by TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde) in 1985, forming what we now know as TAG Heuer.

TAG has always been at the forefront of design and innovation and, to this day, offers enthusiasts everything from entry-level Swiss quartz models to models worn on the wrists of Hollywood royalty like Steve McQueen.

So, if you are looking for a timepiece whose history has a definite cool factor, one that will make you feel like a Formula 1 playboy (or girl), TAG will always have something to adorn your wrist.

Tudor vs TAG: Battle of the Icons

I think as a consumer, when it comes to purchasing a luxury watch, it is important to be informed so you have the information you need when making a decision, especially one that involves more times than not a hefty price tag.

With that said, I want to take some time to compare Tudor and TAG. We will be discussing brand recognition, model variety, build quality & durability (materials, water resistance, etc.), movements, and price/availability/resale value.

Brand Recognition

Firstly, I think it is important to understand what brand recognition is. Brand recognition is the ability of consumers to recognize an identifying characteristic of one company versus a competitor.

With that said, I think both brands have rich histories and accomplishments that rival any other brand in the watch industry. 

Tudor has its brand recognition in the world of tool watches and milspec divers, while TAG has its brand recognition in the world of motorsports. While yes, I understand that both brands are known for so much more, I think we can distill it down to these two worlds in regard to what Tudor and TAG are most famous for.

While both Tudor and TAG won’t carry the same recognition as, say, Rolex, AP, or Patek, I still believe that from a brand recognition standpoint, you can go anywhere in the world and find someone who knows these two brands. Which depending on where you are in the world, could be a good or a bad thing.

Regardless, both brands offer name recognition to watch nerds and common folk alike. With beautiful designs, both are sure to impress and turn heads no matter where you might go. 

Model Variety

When purchasing a timepiece from iconic brands, you will likely have certain expectations. One of those expectations being variety. I don’t think it is unfair as a consumer to want options, and when we look at both the Tudor and TAG catalog, we have plenty.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Tudor really only invests its time and efforts into the Black Bay collection, and TAG really only focuses its efforts on the heritage lines. While you aren’t necessarily wrong, both brands offer an array of collections that is sure to appeal to all sorts of enthusiasts.

I urge you to go into both the Tudor and TAG catalog and look at options outside what the brands are most known for. For example, while doing some research for this article, I found myself rediscovering the unique beauty that is the TAG Link and the brutalist design that is the Tudor P01.

Both unique in their own right and far from the popular kid in class, these two examples show that the variety is there; you might just need to expand your horizons a little. 

Build Quality & Durability

I believe as a consumer, build quality and durability should be a major deciding factor when choosing the right timepiece for you. Especially depending on the application in which you will be utilizing your watch. Are you a shirt-and-tie office guy, a delivery driver, or a construction worker?

Different professions will put you and your watch in different scenarios. With that said, depending on your day-to-day, it is important to make sure you have a good durable, and reliable timepiece. It goes without saying that both Tudor and TAG make incredibly durable watches.

Being that we are discussing “modern” Tudor and TAG, many of their collections tend to lean into the tool watch category, which means their robust build quality offers the owner assurance that it can take a few bumps and drops.

This is due to their use of modern materials, like sapphire crystals and more refined case materials, which ensure proper water resistance and anti-magnetic properties.

For what it’s worth, I believe that with their use of more unique case materials like carbon, ceramic, and titanium, just to name a few, TAG gives the consumer more options when searching for something different and/or unique.


If you ask me, the battle of in-house vs. none-in-house movements has gotten a little out of control over the last decade or so.

Some will argue that a lot of what you’re paying for is the movement, which makes consumers a little angry when they end up paying a premium for an off-the-shelf movement because of the name on the dial, hence the reason for wanting an in-house movement for their money.

But, while I understand that sentiment, I’d argue that the movement inside, while obviously playing a very big factor in the watch, being the beating heart and all, needs to do one thing, keep accurate time.

So, whether it is an in-house movement or off the shelf if it is performing the way it should, there shouldn’t be an argument. Luckily, for those of us who are impartial to the argument, both Tudor and TAG offer timepieces with in-house movements and off-the-shelf ETA movements, both with COSC-certified options.

The two in-house movements that have proven to be reliable, accurate, and durable are Tudor’s MT5602 seen in the Black Bay line, and TAG’s venerable Caliber 11 seen in the Monaco.

Price, Availability, and Resale Value

Both Tudor and TAG offer tons of options under $5,000, which seems to be the top end of the budget for many new enthusiasts trying to find their first luxury watch. While both brands have watches above that threshold, they still very much play ball within that ballpark.

When discussing availability, you’ll be happy to hear that both Tudor and TAG have boutiques in many cities and are also sold in major jewelers, depending on where you live. This means that the availability is there but with a few caveats. One of those being when new models are released. 

Generally speaking, when the new hype comes out, there is definitely a wait but worry not, you won’t be waiting around for the better part of your formative watch collecting years for a one *cough cough* Rolex.

The second being rare models. There are some limited editions for both Tudor and TAG that will always be more difficult to find.

The watch community is funny. I think collectors fall into two categories, those who genuinely love their collection and rarely part ways with any of it and those who are always on the hunt for the next timepiece. While they might not be considered a flipper per se, they are in love with hunting and the rush of finding a new timepiece. 

This ultimately leads them to research the resale value of the timepieces they are buying. Good and bad news for that type of enthusiast. Both Tudor and TAG offer amazing timepieces that, depending on the model, will retain most of their value. That said, with the exception of rare models, very few accrue value, especially in the volatile market that is timepieces.

Tudor vs TAG: Top Model Comparison

In this next section, we are going to break down some of Tudor and TAG’s top models, compare them, and give you a chance to see how they stack up to one another. We will be discussing a chronograph, a diver, and a simple three-hand timepiece.

 Model   Tudor Black Bay Chrono TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 
  Case Size Diameter: 41mmThickness: 14.6mmLug-to-Lug: 50.1mm  Diameter: 44mmThickness: 15.27mmLug-to-Lug: 51mm
  Materials Stainless Steel case with fixed 316L steel bezel and a matte black anodized aluminum insert  Stainless Steel case with a black ceramic bezel
 Water Resistance  200m/660ft 100m/330ft
  Movement In-house Calibre MT5813 (COSC) with a 70-hour power reserve.Beat Rate of 28’800 (4 Hz)  In-house Calibre HEUER02 Automatic with an 80-hour power reserve.Beat Rate of 28’800 (4 Hz)
 Strap Options  Available on a steel bracelet, fabric strap, leather strap  Steel Bracelet
 Additional Features  Faux-rivet style bracelet for the vintage enthusiast and Panda/Reverse Panda dial options  Black, Blue, and Green dial variants.There is also a guild-dialed variant on a leather strap.
 MSRP  $5,450 $6,400
 Model  Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Date 
  Case Size Diameter: 39mmThickness: 11.9mmLug-to-Lug: 48mm  Diameter: 40mmThickness: 11.54mmLug-to-Lug: 47mm
  Materials Stainless Steel case with unidirectional dive bezel in steel with matte black anodized aluminum insert  Stainless Steel case with a brushed steel unidirectional dive bezel
 Water Resistance  200m/660ft 200m/660ft
  Movement In-house Calibre MT5402 (COSC) with a 70-hour power reserve.Beat Rate of 28’800 (4 Hz) Calibre 5 Automatic (Non-In-House, ETA 2824-2) with a. 38-hour power reserve.Beat Rate of 28’800 (4 Hz)
 Strap Options  Available on a steel bracelet, fabric strap, leather strap  Stainless Steel bracelet with folding push button clasp
   Additional Features Comes in 10 different variations.Yellow Gold and Sterling Silver case options available The Aquaracer men’s line comes in 30 different variants. Sized at 40mm, 43mm, and 45mm. Available in GMT and Chronograph variants. 
 MSRP  $3,950 $2,850
 Model  Tudor Black Bay  TAG Heuer Carrera Date  
  Case Size  Diameter: 31/36/39/41mm  Diameter: 39mmThickness: 11.5mmLug-to-Lug: 47.3mm 
  Materials Stainless Steel Case with Polished and Satin Finish a Stainless Steel Bezel Brushed and Polished Stainless Steel Case with Polished Stainless Steel Bezel 
 Water Resistance  100m/330ft 100m/330ft
  Movement In-house Calibre MT5602 (COSC) with a 70-hour power reserve.Beat Rate of 28’800 (4 Hz)  Calibre 5 Automatic (Non-In-House, ETA 2824-2) with a. 38-hour power reserve.Beat Rate of 28’800 (4 Hz)
  Strap Stainless steel bracelet, polished and satin finish, with “T-fit” folding clasp and safety catch  Black Leather Strap with Stainless Steel Folding Push Button Clasp
  Additional Features Comes in four case diameter variants with three dial color options, blue, anthracite, champagne.  Slim design with 6 o’clock date and lume at the hour indices and hands
 MSRP  $3,950 $3,050

Tudor vs TAG Heuer Watches: A Final Take

After falling down the Tudor and TAG rabbit hole while researching for this article, I became an even bigger fan of both brands.

Not only do they both manufacture some unbelievably great timepieces, but they’ve also been doing it long enough to know what works and what doesn’t, giving us the enthusiast options that will always feel at home on your wrist.

So, if you’re looking for your next timepiece and can’t decide between the two, take a minute to look through the catalogs and find one that calls to you. 

Maybe you’re looking for a funky and chunky tool watch that will help you stand out from the crowd (hint: BB P01), or maybe like me; you think it’s hip to be square (hint: TAG Monaco in Titanium) and want to feel like your Hollywood hero.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, Tudor and TAG will make you smile every time you look down to check the time because these two iconic watch brands will always find a way to make us remember what it is that drew us to the world of watches.

Best moonphase watches

“Take the path that moonbeams make. If the moon is still awake, you’ll see him wink his eye.”

As a child, I was always enamored by the moon. It was always there when I couldn’t sleep, a night light that never went out, and the source of my adventurous imagination that allowed me to be the hero of a Sci-Fi story that played out in my dreams.

But it wasn’t until I got older that I realized many myths and legends surround the moon, its existence, and its role in our lives.

For example, most of us who paid attention in school know that the moon controls the earth and impacts our lives in three distinct ways: time, tides, and light. If it were to suddenly disappear, the Earth’s tilt could vary dramatically, and without its gravitational pull, Earth would no longer be held in place.

But for the romantics, the daydreamers, and lovers of whimsical tales, the moon plays a much more fanciful and adventurous role in their lives. While I’m not suggesting they don’t believe in the scientific facts of the moon, it is the myths, legends, and lore surrounding the moon that dictates how they look at life.

Take the Lakota Tribe, for example; they believe that the Sun and Moon were created to tell the importance of love. Or in many Eastern cultures, the moon is home to a mythological white rabbit who makes the elixir for immortality.

While yes, the myths and legends from ancient cultures were a way to give meaning to a world not yet fully understood, it is the romanticism that surrounds the tales that remind me of the reason we, as watch enthusiasts, love our moonphase timepieces.

Are they a particularly helpful complication? Well, not really. But they are beautiful and constantly remind us why we fell in love with this absurd obsession. So, sit down, put your feet up, maybe have a drink as the sun begins to fade, and let’s talk about the best moonphase watches for every budget.

About Moonphase Watches

I think it is safe to say that many of us in the watch enthusiast community have a pretty good understanding of what is and isn’t a useful complication. And while I’ll admit I have had timepieces with complications that fall into both categories, I’ve never owned a moonphase watch. 

It wasn’t because I didn’t have the opportunity to own one; I just never saw the point. That was until I started writing this article. Over the course of the research and writing of this article, I found myself as enamored with the idea of a moonphase watch as I did with the moon as a child.

So, in an attempt to justify what will likely be my next purchase, let’s discuss the history of moonphase watches and why they are so cool.

History of Moonphase Watches

Man, where to begin? I guess way way way back in ancient Greece. The earliest of moonphase complications was actually discovered in the mysterious Antikythera mechanism, which is the oldest known example of an analog computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses.

While I understand that this might not be an example of a horological moonphase, it is worth noting that the idea and use of moonphase complications date back further than most of us probably realized.

But it wasn’t until the Renaissance (14th Century) that we saw the use of the moonphase complication in a “modern” clock when it was used in astrological clocks built in the great churches and cathedrals of Europe.

As we progress through time and the history of the moonphase complication, we see the use of the moonphase being incorporated into smaller and smaller clocks, starting with the Grandfather Clocks of Germany and England, then into pocket watches, and finally in the 20th century, we see the elegant complication being used in wristwatches.

As watchmaking became more and more technologically advanced, the moonphase became more and more accurate. Many of today’s most influential and prominent watch brands produce moonphase timepieces accurate to well over 1,000 years!

I’m sure you’re probably saying to yourself, “That’s cool, but what does it matter if I don’t understand how they work?” But fear not, my dear reader, we will tackle that topic next!

Moonphase Watches: How They Work

To begin, we need to have a definition of what a moonphase complication is. To make it as simple as possible, a moonphase complication is a display of the current phase of the moon in a window or aperture on the dial of a timepiece. Now that we have a definition for the moonphase complication, it’s time to discuss how it actually works.

The moonphase complication involves putting two moons on a disc under the dial. This disc is powered by a 59-tooth wheel which uses a mechanical lever to advance the disc once a day. After the 29.5-day lunar cycle is complete, the second moon on the disc will appear, signifying a new moon and the start of a new lunar cycle.

So, without a doubt, the moonphase complication is an amazing feat of engineering. But in today’s world, where we have more access to more knowledge more of the time, is it necessary? Simply put, no.

But that isn’t the reason we, as enthusiasts, wear antiquated technology on our wrists to begin with. We do it because the art and beauty of a manual timepiece will always trump the need for form and function. So, before we get into the list of our 30 best moonphase watches, I suggest taking a bathroom break before you continue because it is gonna be a long one.

The Best Moonphase Watches

1. Orient Sun & Moon (ref. RA-AK0011D10B)

1. Orient Sun & Moon (ref. RA-AK0011D10B)

In the world of affordable watches, very few brands offer what Orient offers in their catalog. While known for their great budget-friendly dive watches like the Ray II, Mako II, and Kamasu II, Orient definitely offers much in the way of dress watches.

For example, the Orient Bambino might just be the best affordable dress watch for under $200.

But the standout for me is the Orient Sun & Moon. This moonphase watch has a case diameter of 42.5mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 50.5mm, and a case thickness of 14mm.

The Orient Sun & Moon comes packed with features, including a day/date complication, a 24-hour indicator, a moonphase (obviously), and an exhibition case back to display the in-house automatic Orient Caliber F6B24.

At the current price on the Orient website of $355, you will be hard-pressed to find another moonphase watch packed with as many features and looks. 

2. Citizen Calendrier Moonphase Eco-Drive (ref. BU0050-02L)

2. Citizen Calendrier Moonphase Eco-Drive (ref. BU0050-02L)

As of late, Citizen has been making waves, so to speak, with the release of the ultra-cool 70’s inspired Promaster Mechanical Diver nicknamed the “Fujitsubo.”

But, prior to the brand’s modern reinterpretation of a classic Citizen dive watch, it was the use of their Eco-Drive technology that really wowed the watch world in 1976 with the world’s first-ever light-powered analog quartz watch.

Citizen has continued to perfect the Eco-Drive movement and uses it in many of their watch lines, including the Citizen Calendrier Moonphase Eco-Drive.

The Citizen Calendrier has a case diameter of 44mm and a somewhat unconventional lug width of 23mm. Along with the moonphase, the Calendrier also features a month, day, and date complication, which is laid out on a beautifully symmetrical blue dial.

As of writing this article, the Calendrier can be found on the Citizen website for $332.50, with its normal MSRP of $475. That is quite the bargain for a watch that will never need a battery.

3. Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase (ref. T122.423.16.043.00)

3. Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase (ref. T122.423.16.043.00)

For those who have read our article on the 15 Best Tissot Dive Watches, you will probably already know the brand and what great value they offer for your hard-earned bucks. While many of us know them for their Seastar Collection and, most recently, the PRX Collection, Tissot offers so much more.

One of those offerings is the Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase. With a case diameter of 40mm and a case thickness of just 7.6mm, this elegantly refined moonphase watch is the perfect companion for a date night out.

The slim stainless steel case will slide under the tightest of dress shirts. The rich blue dial adorned with Roman numerals and the subtly placed moonphase offers a Bauhaus-esque minimalist design that will be sure to turn a head or two. The quartz-powered Carson has an MSRP of $350 and can be bought directly from the Tissot website.

4. Seiko Premier Kinetic Moonphase (ref. SRX015)

4. Seiko Premier Kinetic Moonphase (ref. SRX015)

For many enthusiasts, Seiko is the entry point into the world of watches due to the affordability of many Seiko timepieces and the unique design languages within the plethora of Seiko Collections.

Now, I will admit, from a design/looks point of view, I am not a huge fan of the Seiko Premier Kinetic Moonphase, the next watch on our list. But I do think that it has a lot to offer from a technology standpoint.

Much like the Citizen Calendrier, the Seiko Premier Kinetic runs off of a power source that is a little different from your typical quartz watch.

The Premier Kinetic packs a lot of functionality into the 42.5mm case offering a Moonphase, Date, Day, GMT, Second Time Zone, Hour, Minute, Second, and Power Reserve Indicator for just under $600.

5. MU:N Watches Creators No. 29

While researching for this article, I was pleasantly surprised when I found MU:N Watches. After all, it isn’t every day that you stumble across a completely new (to me) watch brand that seems to have the same sane love of the moon and stars as yourself!

MU:N watches, from what I can deduce, is a collaborative effort to bring the watch enthusiast community into the creative process when designing each timepiece they produce. Which, if you ask me, is a great way to build a closer community centered around the things we love.

The MU:N Creators No. 29 is the first MU:N watch and is limited to a mere 70 pieces. The No. 29 has a case diameter of 38mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 46mm, and a case thickness of 11mm.

Powered by a Sellita SW288-1a, this hard-to-find minimalist stainless steel moonphase watch is most definitely on my shortlist of timepieces if I can find it at its MSRP of around $1600.

6. Oris Artelier Moonphase (ref. 01 781 7703 4031-07 5 21 75FC)

6. Oris Artelier Moonphase (ref. 01 781 7703 4031-07 5 21 75FC)

For most, the Oris brand is heralded as one of the last great, affordable, and privately owned watch brands not owned by a massive watch conglomerate.

And while they are best known for their Aquis, Big Crown, and ProPilot collections, there is a hidden gem of a dress watch collection, the Artelier, that I think offers a lot for the price.

The Artelier Moonphase is a simple and beautifully symmetrical timepiece that offers not only a moonphase complication but a day, date, and second time zone.

With a case diameter of 40.5mm, the Artelier Moonphase is a sweet spot for many wrist sizes. The white guilloche dial, accented with blue indices, offers a refined palette that will look at home on any wrist and be the perfect accent to numerous styles.

At $2,150, the Oris Artelier Moonphase is a great timepiece for anyone looking to take a step into the world of moonphase watches. 

7. Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow

Do you remember earlier when I said that the writing of this article had convinced me to purchase a moonphase watch? Well, the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow, as of now, is the front-runner for my next timepiece. 

The C1 Moonglow is an uber-modern timepiece that offers an insane amount of detail in its 40.5mm case. It is powered by an in-house JJ04 movement that can accurately track the moon’s orbit for 128 years. But the standout feature of this Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow is the dial.

The Super-LumiNova-coated three-dimensional moons are applied to the end of the rotating disc, which gives the dial great depth, dimension, and an extraterrestrial glow. With an MSRP of $2,325, the C1 Moonglow offers a beautiful view of the night sky any time of day. 

8. Longines 1832 (ref. L4.826.4.52.0)

8. Longines 1832 (ref. L4.826.4.52.0)

Longines’ rich history in the world of horology dates back to 1832, hence the reason for the name of the next watch on our list. The 1832 Collection and, more importantly, the moonphase variant pays tribute to the Longines of yesteryear.

The 1832 Moonphase has a case dimension of 40mm and offers a date complication surrounding the moonphase dial. The watch is powered by a Longines L899, which is an ETA-based movement that offers a very impressive 72-hour power reserve.

Coming in at $2,400, this classically designed moonphase will fly “under the radar” for anyone not in the know and offers a great classic look with modern materials and reliability. 

9. Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono Moonphase (ref. H32696731)

9. Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono Moonphase (ref. H32696731)

The Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono Moonphase has an incredibly Avant-Garde design that is reminiscent of its namesake, jazz. For those that don’t listen to jazz music, jazz is very much based on traditional African ritual music with its roots in blues and ragtime.

But what makes jazz truly unique is its Avant-Garde improvisation. The Jazzmaster Chrono Moonphase is no different. While it has its roots in traditional chronograph watches, its design language is unique.

With an “open heart” dial design and gold accents, the 44mm cased moonphase watch would look as much at home in a smokey jazz club as a trumpet being played. The Jazzmaster comes in at $3,200 and is powered by a Valjoux-7751. 

10. Meistersinger Lunascope (ref. LS908G)

10. Meistersinger Lunascope (ref. LS908G)

Meistersinger is known for being the brand that makes one-handed watches. And while I applaud them for their uniqueness and design language, they just never made my clock tick, if you catch my drift. That was until I saw the Lunascope.

The Lunascope, much like the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow, caught my attention because of the detail and beauty that went into the design of the watch.

While the Lunascope follows the same design language as the rest of the one-handed Meistersinger collection, the attention to detail in the dial’s layout and configuration makes it such a beautiful watch.

The 40mm timepiece is powered by an ETA 2836-2 with a Meistersinger moonphase module and comes with a gorgeous blue dial and an almost ecru-colored moon with matching Arabic numerals. The Lunascope has an MSRP of $4,649 and gives you the option of a leather strap or bracelet.

11. Montblanc Star Legacy Moonphase (ref. MB126079)

Montblanc certainly has its detractors, but when given a second look by many, it is clear that Montblanc has really taken strides over the last few years to find their design language and create timepieces with classic designs that will always remain in style.

The Montblanc Star Legacy Moonphase is one of those timepieces. The classic design of the Minerva pocket watch-inspired case has a diameter of 42mm and is adorned with an onion-shaped crown that works perfectly with the design.

Where the watch really shines is the dial. The guilloche dial starts at the six ‘o’clock position with an exploding Montblanc star and is perfectly matched with blue leaf-style hands.

The well-balanced Roman numerals give the Star Legacy Moonphase an old-world charm, and at an MSRP of $4,500, this moonphase timepiece is certainly one to look at for those looking for a refined heritage-styled piece. 

12. Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture (ref. FC-705S4S6)

12. Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture (ref. FC-705S4S6)

As we continue down our list, we are seeing more and more timepieces that offer in-house movement. The Frederique Constant Slimlione Moonphase is no different. Powered by the FC-705, this manufacture movement delivers accuracy as well as performance as it drives the minutes, hours, date, and moonphase complications.

With a case diameter of 42mm and a case thickness of 11.2mm, the Slimline Moonphase is a great-sized dress watch for those with bigger wrists or those who just like the feel of a bigger timepiece.

One very neat feature of the Slimline Moonphase is the ability to change all functions through a single crown. This means no pushers to adjust the moonphase. The FC Slimline Moonphase has an MSRP of $3,562.

13. Zenith Elite Moonphase (ref. 03.3100.692/03.C923)

13. Zenith Elite Moonphase (ref. 03.3100.692/03.C923)

As you have seen on our list so far, every watch mentioned has come in under $5,000, which seems to be a very healthy budget for many and what could be considered a reasonable budget for entry into the luxury watch space. 

With that said, the Zenith Elite Moonphase marks the spot on our list where the timepieces take a substantial jump in price and begin with immense attention to detail in the quality and craftsmanship.

The Zenith Elite Moonphase has a case diameter of 40.5mm, which is a great size for all wrists, and is powered by an in-house Zenith Elite movement.

The slate-grey sunray-patterned style oozes sophistication while a display case back shows off the beautifully yet simply finished Elite movement.

With an MSRP of $7,000, the Elite Moonphase is a great addition to any collection that’s missing a beautifully simple and classic moonphase watch.

14. IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase (ref. IW516401)

14. IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase (ref. IW516401)

When the name IWC is mentioned, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is a tool watch of some variety, whether it be a dive watch or a pilot’s watch, it most likely isn’t a dress-style watch with a moonphase that retails for $13,900.

But the next watch on our list is just that, an IWC from the Portofino collection, which, next to the DaVinci collection, might be the least popular of all the IWC collections.

The IWC Portofino Moonphase is a 45mm stainless steel cased moonphase timepiece that is powered by the in-house manually wound calibre 59800 movement, which has an amazing 192-hour or 8-day power reserve.

While I’ll admit it wouldn’t be my first pick if I was to buy an IWC, the Portofino Moonphase is a watch that certainly delivers classic looks with modern size and presence.

15. Cartier Drive Moon Phases (ref. WSNM0008)

15. Cartier Drive Moon Phases (ref. WSNM0008)

Cartier is a brand that is well known for the Santos and Tank. One was the first-ever pilot’s watch, and the other was such an icon of design it has adorned the wrist of Hollywood stars and Royalty alike. But I think a collection in the Cartier lineup that gets overlooked is the Drive de Cartier.

The Cartier Drive Moonphase has a case diameter of 41.2mm, a lug-to-lug of 47.11, and a case thickness of 12.15mm. The unique case shape, which is neither a circle nor a square, but somewhere in between, means this watch wears incredibly well on a variety of wrist sizes.

The classic design of the dial layout with Roman Numerals is typical Cartier, but the absence of a date complication is what makes me love this watch so much. With prices ranging from $8,000 to $10,250, the Cartier Drive Moonphase is a timepiece that will have fashionistas fawning.

16. Omega Speedmaster Moonphase (ref. 304.

16. Omega Speedmaster Moonphase (ref. 304.

Being the watch that went to the moon, there has to be some sort of ironic punchline when discussing the Speedmaster Moonphase. But for those who are into brevity, we will save that for another time.

The Omega Speedmaster Moonphase has a case diameter of 44.25mm, a lug-to-lug of 50mm, and a case thickness of 16.9mm which means this chunky monkey is definitely best suited for our big-wristed readers.

Now I know you are all rolling your eyes at yet ANOTHER Speedmaster, but the moonphase does offer a tremendous blue sun-brushed dial with small seconds, date, and photo-realistic moonphase on top of the chronograph that the Speedy is known for.With an MSRP of $10,900, this unique Speedy is definitely a must-have for any collector.

17. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon (ref. Q1368471)

17. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon (ref. Q1368471)

Jaeger-LeCoultre has been nicknamed the “Watchmaker of Watchmakers” due to its incredible history of innovations and the creation of over 1,200 calibers. So it is no surprise that on a list of thirty moonphase watches, they were bound to show up.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Moon is an excellent example of understated luxury from a brand that should really have the “Holy Trinity” moniker changed to the “Holy Quartet.”

With a case diameter of 39mm and a case thickness of just 9.3mm, the Ultra-Thin Moon is the perfect black-tie companion. The sophisticated black sunray-brushed dial is perfectly accented by the rhodium-plated markers.

Powered by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 925, the Ultra-Thin Moon has a 70-hour power reserve and an MSRP of $11,900.

18. Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar (ref. 1-90-02-42-32-61)

18. Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar (ref. 1-90-02-42-32-61)

Glashütte Original is a brand that offers the enthusiast an incredibly diverse set of offerings in its small-ish five-collection catalog. While I am a massive fan of the Spezialist and Vintage Collections, it is the Pano Collection that really showed me the attention to detail that Glashütte Original puts into every timepiece.

Like the rest of the Pano Collection, the Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar can be identified by its unique asymmetrical dial layout, which is an unmistakable design queue from Glashütte Original.

The standout feature on this 40mm stainless steel timepiece is definitely the galvanized silver dial with a matte opaline finish. It is so impressive that it takes master craftsmen a forty-step process to complete the beautiful dial.

The PanoMaticLunar has an MSRP of $9,600 and is the perfect piece to scratch that German itch we all have.

19. Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 (ref. AB2510201K1P1)

19. Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 (ref. AB2510201K1P1)

Breitling, for what it’s worth, has had a bit of a renaissance since Georges Kern took over as CEO in 2017. Gone are the days of the gaudy Breitling for Bentley timepieces.  I think I speak for most when I say “Thank God” because those abominations almost tanked the brand that has given us some amazing timepieces.

With that said, the Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 is supremely cool and likely the most refined chronograph in the entire Breitling catalog.

Equipped with a full calendar and moonphase and powered by a Breitling B25 movement, this 42mm stainless steel cased, copper-dialed timepiece has as much to offer in the function department as it does in the form department. The Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 has an MSRP of $14,000. 

20. Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar Moonphase (ref. 6654-1127-55B)

20. Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar Moonphase (ref. 6654-1127-55B)

Blancpain is a brand that needs no introduction. Though the watchmaker is best known for being the creator of one of the first ever commercially available dive watches, the Fifty-Fathoms, they have made our list for an entirely different reason.

The Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar Moonphase, much like the previous Breitling entry, comes equipped with a full calendar as well as the moonphase.

What is amazing is that the Blancpain manages to fit a whole lot of complications into a very sleek package with a case diameter of 40mm and a case thickness of 10.9mm, which is a pretty amazing feat.

The Blancpain Moonphase has a very muted color palette with black-on-white printing, applied silver indices, and even a grey moonphase.

It is powered by the Blancpain Caliber 6654.4 and has a power reserve of 72 hours. With an MSRP of $15,700, this is the perfect watch for someone looking for a more monochromatic moonphase timepiece.

21. Hublot Classic Aerofusion Moonphase Black Magic (ref. 547.CX.0170.LR)

21. Hublot Classic Aerofusion Moonphase Black Magic (ref. 547.CX.0170.LR)

Hublot is the brand that many enthusiasts love to hate. With their bombastic and sometimes questionable design choices, it is easy to do. But, with their use of unique materials and reserved design, I think the Hublot Classic Aerofusion Moonphase Black Magic is a rather nice watch.

With a case diameter of 42mm, the Black Magic is a great size. With the use of a fully ceramic case, this watch is lighter and more scratch resistant than both steel and titanium-cased watches.

The transparent dial gives you a front-row seat to the HUB1131 movement, which offers a full calendar complication and has a power reserve of 42 hours. But, with an MSRP of $18,100, it is safe to say that we are now getting into big-baller shot-caller territory on this list.

22. Rolex Cellini Moonphase (ref. 50535)

22. Rolex Cellini Moonphase (ref. 50535)

With all the hype and chaos surrounding Rolex sport watches, it is no surprise that some other timepieces in the catalog get lost in the shuffle and never really get the credit they deserve.

That said, I think the Cellini collection and, more specifically, the now discontinued Rolex Cellini Moonphase is a hidden gem within the Rolex catalog. With a 39mm rose gold case, the Cellini Moonphase is the first watch on our list to be cased in precious metal.

The beautiful white lacquered dial is contrasted by the blue enameled moonphase depicting a full and new moon. The Cellini Moonphase is powered by the Rolex Caliber 3130, has a 48-hour power reserve, and due to being discontinued, can be found anywhere between $23,000 and $28,000.

23. Breguet Classique 7787 (ref. 7787BB/29/9V6)

23. Breguet Classique 7787 (ref. 7787BB/29/9V6)

Breguet is the third oldest watch brand in the world and can trace its history back to 1775. For decades Breguet has attracted enthusiasts with its timeless designs and unbelievable quality. These are just two of the many reasons the Breguet Classique 7787 is on our list.

The 7787 has a 39mm white gold case, fluted case band, and a sapphire display case back, so the Breguet Caliber 591 DRL can be seen. One of the standout features of this timepiece is the Grand Feu white enamel dial. The crisp white is perfectly coupled with the blued Breguet hands.

The well-proportioned moonphase sits at 12 o’clock while a power reserve indicator sits at 6 o’clock.

With an MSRP of $31,900, the Breguet Classique 7787 is a classically designed moonphase from one of the oldest watchmakers in the world.

24. H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Moon (ref. 1801-0402)

24. H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Moon (ref. 1801-0402)

H. Moser & Cie. is a brand I have become increasingly infatuated with over the last few years. Not only do I find their beginnings as a true outsider in the watch world intriguing, I think that in the world of independent watchmaking, no one does it quite like they do.

Enter the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Moon, the sleekest, most ultra-modern, and minimalist timepiece on our list.

With a 42mm rose gold case, the Perpetual Moon offers a minimalistic moonphase display powered by the HMC 801, a movement that can accurately display the current phase of the moon within one day’s deviation every 1,027 years!

Accuracy and technology aside, the Perpetual Moon has an exquisite Aventurine dial that, in the right light, shines like the starry night sky. The Perpetual Moon is unfortunately limited to 50 pieces and MSRPs for $44,400.

25. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date (ref. 4010U/000G-B330)

25. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date (ref. 4010U/000G-B330)

If there is one feature on a timepiece that really gets my gears moving (all pun intended), it would have to be a retrograde complication. Whether it is for minutes, power reserve, or in the case of the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde the date, I am here for them and will always be fascinated by them.

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date is a 42.5mm 18k white gold timepiece that has a case thickness of just 9.7mm.

With the retrograde date and the 12 o’clock position and the moonphase at the 6 o’clock position, this wonderfully symmetrical dial is easy to read and doesn’t feel cluttered.

The attention to detail is so well executed that the polished gold moon and starry sky moonphase complication has what looks to be constellations. It is powered by the Caliber 2460 R31L/1 and has an MSRP of $49,400.

26. Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune Black Sahara

Where to begin with the Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune Black Sahara? Well, I suppose we can dive right into the design since this is an Hermès timepiece, and it is certainly one of the best-designed watches on our list.

One of the most unique aspects of the de la Lune is the meteorite dial which gives the timepiece a truly extraterrestrial design language.

But, what truly makes this moonphase a work of art is the actual moonphase display. Instead of having a rotating disc that displays the current phase of the moon, the de la Lune utilizes the two discs showing the hours and minutes and the date to rotate over the dial, which portrays two mother-of-pearl moons.

What we are left with is a dual moonphase watch that shows the moon in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Truly amazing, but being limited to 36 pieces and with an MSRP of $54,100, this one might be tough to find.

27. A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase (ref. 192.025)

27. A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase (ref. 192.025)

There isn’t much that can be said about A. Lange & Söhne that hasn’t already. So instead of waxing poetic about the brand and its sublime finishing and meticulous attention to detail, I’ll just jump right in with the details.

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase is a platinum timepiece with a case diameter of 38.5mm with a case thickness of 10.2mm and is powered by the L121.3 manually wound movement with a 72-hour power reserve.

The Lange 1 Moonphase is without a doubt one of the highest finished watches on the list, and with an MSRP of $56,970, you can bet it will be a treasure to pass down for generations.

28. Patek Philippe Complications Moon Phase White Gold (ref. 5205G-013)

28. Patek Philippe Complications Moon Phase White Gold (ref. 5205G-013)

Patek, much like A. Lange & Söhne, has a reputation for perfection. Outside of the hype machine that is the Nautilus, Patek has been known for their amazing Grand Complications and truly beautiful design language.

So I’m sure it is no surprise that the Patek Philippe Complications Moon Phase White Gold is on our list. As the name suggests, the Complication Moon Phase has a white gold case that measures 40mm and has a case thickness of 11.36mm.

The intoxicating blue sunburst dial, which fades to black at the edges, meets the white gold applied indices rounding out an amazing layout that includes day, date, and month complications. Powered by the caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/206, the Moon Phase has an MSRP of $57,370. 

29. Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar Moonphase (ref. 26394BC.OO.D027KB.01)

29. Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar Moonphase (ref. 26394BC.OO.D027KB.01)

The Code 11.59 had its fair share of haters when it was released. I was not one of them. I am particularly fond of the green-dialed three-hand variant. But that is neither here nor there.

While some will say they aren’t particularly unique or exciting, I think they will be surprised by the next watch on our list. The Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar Moonphase has a case diameter of 41mm and comes in 18kt white gold.

With its absolutely breathtaking blue aventurine dial with white gold applied hour markers and hands, this timepiece is sure to blow the socks off of anyone, even if they aren’t watch people.

It is that beautiful! So for anyone looking for a uniquely beautiful 11.59, something that is, say, the cost of a condo, then boy, is the Perpetual Calendar Moonphase the watch for you. Coming in at an astounding $106,000, the Perpetual Calendar Moonphase certainly is a stunner. 

30. De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky

30. De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky

The last entry on what seems to be the watch equivalent of the Never-Ending Story is the De Bethune DB255 Moon Phase Starry Sky. For those who might be new to watches, De Bethune is an independent watch brand founded in 2002 that tends to make less than 150 watches per year. So, to say they are rare is an understatement.

With that said, if you are one of the select few to be part of the “club”, might I suggest trying to get yourself the De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky. In an attempt to keep the description short, we will be discussing the dial and all of its glory.

The blue titanium dial is accented by inlaid diamond indices and white gold stars, which do an incredible job of showing the beauty of a night sky. But what is truly amazing is the spherical palladium moonphase at 12 o’clock, which gives the dial a great sense of depth.

The case is made of 18kt white gold and has a case diameter of 40mm and a case thickness of 11.7mm. The watch is powered by a true work of art in the calibre DB2105 which is a masterfully crafted hand-wound movement.

While it is tough to price, the Starry Sky has been seen on the secondary market priced between $109,000 and $129,000.

Parting Thoughts

As I researched and researched and researched for this article, I found myself falling for this romantic, poetic, classical type of watch. I can’t say that in my time writing, I’ve never finished an article with so much passion and excitement for my next watch purchase. 

So take it with a grain of salt, but if you have a love for watches that are “other-worldly” but are very much grounded in classical watchmaking, please use this list as a stepping stone and resource to your very own moonphase watch.

Best Sinn dive watches

For those who grew up on 80s/90s movies, like me, we lived through a time in the action film genre that is now fading into obscurity. We no longer have films being made with strong and stoic heroes. 

While some will argue that this is a good thing, I believe that there is always space in the pop-culture zeitgeist for the rough-and-tumble, take no prisoners type.

So, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that one of my favorite watch brands is Sinn, the quintessential stoic, overbuilt, rough-and-tumble brand known for its manufacturing of timepieces that can endure some of the world’s most extreme conditions.

Sinn, a brand that is loved by enthusiasts and can be described as an uber utility/ultimate tool watch, was founded in 1961 by Helmut Sinn, a former WWII pilot. Initially manufacturing navigation clocks and pilot’s chronographs, Sinn would explore the last frontier (space) before they explored the depths of our oceans.

In an attempt to highlight some of Sinn’s best terrestrial timepieces, we will be discussing the 15 Best Sinn Dive Watches, so take a deep breath, hold it in, and prepare for some in-depth content.


I think it is safe to say that many of us in the watch enthusiast community know Sinn as the perfect entry into German watchmaking. 

While some of its German counterparts e.g. A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, and even to some degree NOMOS Glashütte, are known for their high degree of finishing and stylings, they aren’t necessarily known for their pursuit of durability and functionality.

With that said, I think that is the reason Sinn should be on your radar.

Sinn offers incredibly well-made, durable, and highly legible tool watches that encompass a very German design language at a very affordable price. 

While I understand that affordability is a subjective matter, I do think that for an enthusiast looking for a German timepiece to add to their collection, Sinn is an amazing brand that still offers some great value-for-money timepieces with some of their entry-level collections.

Some great examples of this are the Sinn 556, a modern tough-as-nails answer to the Rolex Explorer, and the Sinn 105 UTC, a wonderful GMT alternative to the Rolex Explorer II. Both can be had for less than $2,000 on the secondary market.


While Sinn has produced many timepieces with water resistance ratings that align with any modern dive watch, it wasn’t until the mid-90s that Sinn started to push technological advances specifically for dive watches.

In 1995, Sinn developed Hydro technology. This meant that a watch would be filled with crystal clear oil with the same reflexive index as the sapphire crystal, allowing the watch to be legible from any angle without glare, free from fogging, and pressure resistant at “all possible diving depths.”

But, it wouldn’t be until 2005 that the utilitarian German brand would release the dive-focused legend that is the Sinn U1. So, without further ado, let’s jump into our list and start it off with the legend itself.

The Best Sinn Dive Watches

1. Sinn U1 Diving Watch (ref. 1010.010)

Sinn U1 Diving Watch (ref. 1010.010)

As stated above, the Sinn U1 was first released in 2005 and has since become one of the industry’s most easily recognized dive watches due to its unique design language.

The U1 has a case diameter of 44mm, a case thickness of 14.7mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 51mm. The U1 is by no means a watch for smaller-wristed enthusiasts, but due to its rather compact lug-to-lug distance, it wears much smaller than the dimensions would suggest.

Like all of Sinn’s dive watches, the U1 is made from media-blasted submarine steel, which is a harder steel than 316L thus being more corrosion resistant. But, like all Sinn timepieces, the U1 wouldn’t be what it is without Sinn’s quirky, Bauhaus-esque design language. 

The matte black dial and bright white printed indices make the U1 highly legible while the red accents that adore the syringe-style hands give the stark dial a much-needed splash of color.

2. Sinn U2 EZM 5 Mission Timer (ref. 1020.010)

Sinn U2 EZM 5 Mission Timer (ref. 1020.010)

The Sinn U2 EZM 5 Mission Timer ref. 1020.010 is an amazing example of Sinn’s ability to create highly functional and large timepieces that work well on a multitude of wrist sizes.

Like the U1, the EZM 5 Mission Timer has a case diameter of 44mm. Where it diverges just a bit is in the case thickness of 15.7mm thick, the extra thickness is due to the added functionality of this wonderful dive timepiece.

The EZM 5 not only offers dive watch capabilities with its elapsed time dive bezel, but it also offers the ability to track a second time zone in a 24-hour format.

But, hands down, one of the coolest features on the EZM 5 is the Ar-Dehumidifying technology that is offered with this watch. This means that the watch is nitrogen-filled, removing moisture and impurities. This is indicated by a copper sulfate capsule at 6:00.

3. Sinn U50 Diving Watch (ref. 1050.010)

Sinn U50 Diving Watch (ref. 1050.010)

In the last three to four years, we have seen a movement towards smaller/midsize dive watches. For example, we have seen some big players like Tudor release the incredibly popular Black Bay 58, which comes in at 39mm, the Pelagos 39, and even more recently at Watches and Wonders 2023, Tudor released the Black Bay 54, a midsize dive watch that has a case diameter of 37mm.

With that said, it is no surprise that Sinn followed suit in order to reach a wider audience who love the Sinn aesthetic but not the Sinn size. So in 2020, Sinn released the U50, the little brother to the U1.

With a case diameter of 41mm, a case thickness of just 11.2mm, and a lug-to-lug of 47mm, this compact 500m dive watch is easily the most wearable in the Sinn dive collection and one that works with a variety of wrist sizes.

Much like its big brother, the U50 is highly legible and incredibly robust. The U50 even comes equipped with a Tegimented bezel. Tegimenting is a chemical process that raises the hardness level of the base metal, making it even more durable and resistant to daily wear and tear.

4. Sinn T1 EZM 14 (ref. 1014.010)

Sinn T1 EZM 14 (ref. 1014.010)

The Sinn T1 EZM 14 is another timepiece that is part of the Sinn Mission Timer series of watches. With that said, like many of the other EZM watches, the T1 is a purpose-built tool, which means it needs to be durable, accurate, and legible.

The T1 is all of the above, especially durable. The T1 is made from high-strength grade-five titanium, which means that the T1 is not only durable, titanium being stronger than steel, but it is lightweight and even more resistant to saltwater, making the T1 an excellent option for a dive watch.

The T1 also has a different case shape from the other Sinn watches that we have talked about thus far. The cushion-styled case of the T1 has a case diameter of 45mm which sounds huge, but with a lug-to-lug of only 49mm, the T1 wears very compactly, especially with a case thickness of 12.5mm.

Aesthetically the T1 differs from other Sinn divers. The T1 was the first Sinn dive watch to use an arrow for the minute hand. Due to the hour and minute hands being so different, they are easily legible and distinguishable in low light.

5. Sinn U1 SDR (ref. 1010.040)

Sinn U1 SDR (ref. 1010.040)

In the pantheon of legendary Sinn dive watches, the Sinn U1 SDR is a timepiece that exudes a certain type of toolish charm with just a hint of ultra-modern styling.

While, yes, the U1 SDR is basically just a U1 with a black bezel, I think it looks the part for a modern, highly legible tool watch with the same capabilities and functionality as the classic U1.

But, if you are looking for a great German dive watch and the U1 is just a little too sterile, or maybe the right wear is surgical, I think the black bezeled U1 SDR is the perfect timepiece for you.

6. Sinn 206 Arktis II Diving Chronograph (ref. 206.012)

Sinn 206 Arktis II Diving Chronograph (ref. 206.012)

As we continue our deep dive into Sinn dive watches, we come to our very first chronograph on the list, the Sinn 206 Arktis II Diving Chronograph ref. 206.012.

The Sinn 206 Arktis II has a case diameter of 43mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 48.9mm, meaning that this highly polished stainless steel dive chronograph wears very compact considering its case diameter. For reference, the Arktis II falls right between the Tudor Black Bay 41 & 58 in regard to its lug-to-lug distance.

One of the stand-out features on the Arktis II is the beautiful sunburst ice-blue dial. The blue dial and satin metallic bezel are a great two-tone combination for anyone looking to add a hint of subtle color to their stable of timepieces.

Powered by a top-grade Valjoux 7750 movement with Sinn’s proprietary extreme temperature technology (tested to -45 degrees Celsius), the Arktis II is the perfect dive chronograph for the enthusiast looking for something a little different.

7. Sinn U2 SDR (ref. 1020.040)

Sinn U2 SDR (ref. 1020.040)

As discussed earlier in our list, the U1 and U1 SDR, the Sinn U2 SDR ref. 1020.040 is a black bezeled version of its classically styled (by Sinn standards) U2 EZM Mission timer. And, much like the U2, the U2 SDR is an amazingly capable dive watch with the added functionality of a GMT.

What sets the U2 and U2 SDR apathy from other “dive gmt” watches has to be its actual water resistance rating of 2000m. The closest competitors within the same price range are the Seiko Prospex SPB383 diver GMT with 200m water resistance, the Tudor Black Bay GMT with 200m of water resistance, and the Oris Aquis GMT with 300m of water resistance.

So to put the astonishing U2 SDRs water resistance rating into perspective 2000m is roughly 1.25 miles, the same distance traveled during the Kentucky Derby! So if you are looking for a dive GMT with true dive capabilities, the U2 SDR might just be the piece for you.

8. Sinn T50 (ref. 1052.010)

Sinn T50 (ref. 1052.010)

For anyone who has followed Sinn over the last decade, it makes sense that the Sinn T50 would be the successor to the already popular U50. But it was still an unexpected release to start 2023.

The newest addition to the Sinn lineup is the Sinn T50, a bead-blasted titanium-cased version of the hugely popular and much-loved U50.

While the T50 definitely gives off IWC/Porsche Design Titan vibes, the T50 gives enthusiasts the same wearable/liveable U50 design and dimensions in an even lighter, stronger, and more durable titanium case. 

While the T50 resembles the U50 in almost every way, the biggest departure and one that I happen to love is the new handset. Sinn opted to change the classic Sinn syringe handset to a sword-style handset. A welcomed change for me. It gives me Rolex Milsub vibes that might just scratch an ever-present itch that I may never be able to get rid of.

9. Sinn EZM 3 Diving Watch (ref. 603.010)

Sinn EZM 3 Diving Watch (ref. 603.010)

The Sinn EZM 3 might be one of my favorite dive watches on this list.  The Sinn EZM 3 has a case diameter of 41mm, a case thickness of 12.5mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm, which means, like many of the watches on our list, it is highly wearable on a wide range of wrist sizes.

Like the last timepiece on our list, the T50, the EZM 3 gives me Milsub vibes, not because of the sword handset, but because of the fully graduated dive bezel and no-nonsense stylings of this awesome Mission Timer.

One great feature of the EZM is the soft iron inner cage similar to a Rolex Milgauss, which means that this watch is antimagnetic up to 80,000 A/m. 

The EZM 3 is a great dive watch that could be the perfect daily wear for some of our left-handed readers due to the crown being on the left-hand side of the case. But, fear not, it will wear just as comfortably on any right-handed wearer and offer more for the money than some other options within this tier of the market.

10. Sinn U50 SDR (ref. 1050.040)

Sinn U50 SDR (ref. 1050.040)

I know I said that the EZM 3 was one of my favorite watches on the list due to its simple yet functional design and fully graduated dive bezel, but there is something to be said about a black bezeled U50 with classic Sinn syringe hands.

I’m not sure what it is, but there will always be something intangible about the U50, especially with a black bezel that will always draw me in like a moth to a flame.

Again, like its sibling, you have 500m of water resistance in a submarine steel case that has a diameter of 41mm, a case thickness of 11.2 mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm. The differentiating factor, and the one that won me over, is the black bezel.

The black bezel adds a certain familiarity to a dive watch that might be missing in the original U50 but, nonetheless, creates a vibe evocative of a true tool that can be used in almost any scenario.

11. Sinn UX EZM 2B Mission Timer (ref. 403.030)

Sinn UX EZM 2B Mission Timer (ref. 403.030)

After discussing some of Sinn’s technological advances earlier in the article, we haven’t actually discussed a watch that utilizes the HYDRO technology until now. The Sinn UX EXM 2B is a mission timer designed for the special forces with the ability to withstand the most extreme of situations. 

Powered by a Lithium-Ion battery the robust, highly precise quartz-driven ETA 995.652 movement is reliable even in temperatures ranging from -25 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius.

The UX EZM 2B has a case diameter of 44mm and a case thickness of 13.3mm, which means that this purpose-driven dive watch is a great option for anyone looking to add a little tactical bravado to their wrist.

12. Sinn U1 S Mother-of-pearl S (ref. 1010.0242)

Sinn U1 S Mother-of-pearl S (ref. 1010.0242)

If I’m being honest, the Sinn U1 S Mother-Of-Pearl S ref. 1010.0242 doesn’t do it for me. In my mind, it doesn’t make sense. Now, don’t let that discourage you from looking into this timepiece; if MOP is your thing, it just doesn’t happen to be mine.

While I understand that Sinn is trying to appeal to a different market with the U1 MOP, it just doesn’t seem to make sense. 

You have a legendary tool watch that is purpose-built for a reason, with a dial that is more difficult to read, with no added benefit other than aesthetics.

The only redeeming feature on this U1 MOP is that the case and bracelet are all coated in a “Black Hard Coating” that gives this timepiece an amazing tactical look with the added durability of a DLC coating. 

If Sinn utilized the “Black Hard Coating” on the U1 with a fully lumed dial, similar to the Tag Heuer Night Diver, you could bet I’d stand in any line to get that timepiece.

13. Sinn EZM 13.1 Diving Chronograph (ref. 613.011)

 Sinn EZM 13.1 Diving Chronograph (ref. 613.011)

When discussing Sinn, most enthusiasts’ minds tend to drift towards a functionality they are very well known for, the chronograph, but more specifically, a pilot’s chronograph. But, as we have seen so far on this list, Sinn does an amazing job with their dive watches, so it goes without saying that a Sinn dive chronograph would be no different, an incredible piece.

With that said, the next watch on our list is the Sinn EZM 13.1 Diving Chronograph. With a case diameter of 41mm and a case thickness of 15mm, the EZM 13.1 has a Destro case design meaning the crown and pushers are on the left-hand side of the case. In Italian, Destro translates to right, which is typically the wrist that a left-handed person would wear their watch on. 

So long story short, the watch is designed to be worn on the right wrist, but much like the Tudor Pelagos LHD, the EZM 13.1 can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of the wrist it is on.

14. Sinn T50 GBDR (ref. 1052.020)

Sinn T50 GBDR (ref. 1052.020)

Sinn has always stayed true to their design language. I know this is something that we have already discussed and made mention of in this article, but it is something that just can’t be ignored when discussing the brand.

Their design is so unique and so very Teutonic that a Sinn watch is unmistakable. But, just when you think Sinn is set in their ways, they break the mold and release the brother to the already discussed T50, the T50 GBDR.

The T50 GBDR, for all intent and purpose, is the same exact watch as the T50, but with one glaring and obvious difference, a bronze dive bezel in a Sinn-developed and patent pending alloy called Goldbronze 125.

While the use of somewhat unconventional materials is common for Sinn, the Goldbronze 125 used on the T50 GBDR is a departure from their traditional stoic design style.

So, if you’re looking for a Sinn that is a little unconventional by Sinn standards, the T50 GBDR, with its use of titanium and Goldbronze 125, might just be the Sinn for you.

15. Sinn U212 EZM 16 Diving Watch (ref. 212.040)

Sinn U212 EZM 16 Diving Watch (ref. 212.040)

For many of us, Sinn timepieces straddle the line between just right and slightly too big. While they generally wear smaller than their dimensions would have you believe, the last timepiece on our list, the Sinn U212 EZM 16, is large, in charge, and would wear perfectly on any 80s action hero’s wrist.

The U212 EZM comes in with a whopping 47mm case diameter but with a case thickness of only 14.5mm, meaning that this extra-large timepiece seems to wear a little flatter than the U1, U2, or UX series of watches due to its expanse on the wrist.

The almost entirely black and white colorway has just a splash of red to denote the water resistance (1000m!) and borrows the same sword-style hands from the U2 and the UX.

And, finally, the fully graduated bezel has a little trick of its own. While it isn’t specific to the U212 but rather all of Sinn’s timepieces with a rotating bezel, the bezel of the U212 is a captive bezel meaning it is retained by tiny screws and can withstand the hardest of blows.

Parting Thoughts

Today’s list was a fun one. Before starting, I was already a bit of a self-proclaimed Sinn fanboy, but from the research aspect, I was pleasantly surprised and learned more about Sinn than I could have ever wished. 

Sinn is the no-nonsense Teutonic watch brand whose name is synonymous with quality and ruggedness. Sinn is also undoubtedly a brand that constantly reassures its wearers that what they have is special. 

They are true purpose-driven tools, that in their brief history, have given the watch community a stoic hero to root for.

So if you are in need of your next go anywhere, do anything tool watch, check out Sinn’s dive watch line for an adventurous option that stands out from the crowd.

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