William McCleary

William McCleary

First Published: December 09, 2018
Following a lengthy stint as an Entertainment Reporter in Hollywood, William focuses on writing for the travel and lifestyle sectors. His clients include Google, Hotels.com, and AccorHotels, specializing in website content, SEO-friendly blog posts and product-marketing copy. He also pens a wide range of feature articles, microcopy and a slew of social media content.
  1. Articles by William McCleary
  2. Deep Dive of Breitling Superocean Watches

    Deep Dive of Breitling Superocean Watches

    Those after an amazing dive watch might want to look to the Breitling Superocean Heritage. True, it’s only natural that pilot watches may first come to mind when you think of Breitling. The Swiss watchmakers are best known for aviation timepieces and even feature wings in their logo. But they’ve also specialized in undersea pieces for more than half a century. Their dedication to dive watches is no better personified than in the flagship Superocean line. We take a deep dive into an extraordinary timepiece that has impressed watch aficionados for decades. A Reaction to Omega and Rolex The history of the Superocean takes us back to the 1950s when dive watches were first in vogue. The Omega Seamaster and Rolex Submariner ruled the niche, both for their rugged good looks and ability to withstand the pressure of deep dives. Breitling knew it had to compete to stay relevant. So in 1957, it debuted the Superocean, a watch which was heralded as water resistant up to 100 meters, doubling the benchmark set by the Seamaster a few years earlier.   Breitling Superocean Heritage After decades of producing different dive-watch incarnations, Breitling took a trip back to its roots in 2007 with the release of the Superocean Heritage. It was a retro route but never felt like false nostalgia. With the Heritage going for a minimalist style but still feeling modern. Ranging from 38-mm to 46-mm in case size, it never lost sight of its true purpose — a durable dive watch. The Heritage is water resistant up to 200 meters with an easy-grip rotating bezel and it’s a true chronometer.   Now Breitling again takes the Heritage out for a retooled spin, this time as the Breitling Superocean Heritage II. One of the more eye-catching versions is the rose gold and stainless steel model. It is elegantly offset by the sophisticated black of the dial, bezel and Milanese strap. The watch can come off a bit too dressy for a dive watch (of course, most people don’t have a problem with “too elegant”). But as it implies with its name, the watch stays true to the heritage that began in 1957. The bezel’s impact-resistant ceramic inlay, durable domed sapphire crystal and water resistance up to 200 meters.    Steelfish Chronograph Since its 2014 debut at Baselworld the Steelfish has been one of the most coveted in the Breitling Superocean line. A true divers’ dive watch, the Steelfish was made for underwater visibility with a formidable unidirectional rotating bezel with rubber-coated indices and numerals. Large Arabic numbers, coated with luminescence, are featured on a dial with a plus-sized day-date window. Beyond the ability to read the watch in extreme conditions, the 44-mm stainless steel case can withstand water pressure up to 500 meters.   Superocean Chronograph M2000 Limited Edition As you probably guessed from its name, the limited edition M2000 Superocean is water resistant up to 2,000 meters. Of course, that’s kind of a gimmick, since most recreational divers only go about 40 meters tops, and possibly one of the reasons that only 250 pieces were made. But it’s still pretty cool to have a watch this ultra durable. Serious divers will appreciate its large luminescent hands for easy underwater readability and a decompression valve to vent helium. It’s also a watch Batman would be proud to put on his wrist, offered with a black steel case, black dial, black rotating bezel, and black leather strap.   Superocean Automatic 42 Orange Steel At Baselworld 2019, Breitling rolled out new Superoceans in sizes (and one bold new color) that many did not expect. The case sizes run from a compact 36-mm, to more traditional 42-mm and 46-mm. They even offer a whopping 48-mm for those who want to make a massive statement on their wrists. While most of the shades are pretty much what we’ve come to expect with Superoceans, the Orange Steel received the most attention. Much brasher and flashier than arguably any Breitling Superocean before it. The orange dial with a black bezel makes a striking entrance.  A Glittery Diamond Breitling Superocean There’s a good reason “bling” and “dive watch” are rarely uttered in the same sentence. They hail from two different worlds. One is for land and the other sea, and so the two would hardly even meet at a cocktail party. But Breitling dispensed with conventional thinking with its Diamond Breitling A13340 Superocean Stainless Steel. One of the most popular in the Superocean line, a diamond-beset bezel with a stainless steel case creates a stunning impression. Worn by men and women with equal enthusiasm, it’s an eye-popping accessory to nearly any outfit.  Breitling Superocean Conclusion So sure, you can still consider classic dive watches such as the Rolex Deepsea or Tudor Black Bay Heritage. They are some fine pieces with history and heritage of their own. Now you just might think of a Breitling Superocean for the next time you take a deep dive into the blue sea.

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  3. Rolex Sea-Dweller Is a Sure Thing

    Rolex Sea-Dweller Is a Sure Thing

    One of the world’s best dive watches with an intriguing history, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has been the choice for serious divers for decades. We look at how this watch came into being and the unlikely icon it was to become.  When we think of Rolex watches the Sea-Dweller is not likely the first thing to come to mind. James Bond seared the Submariner into both our collective psyche and timepiece history. The Day-Date has stunned with its golden elegance since the 1950s. The Rolex Datejust has the esteemed honor of being the dignified forefather to the modern dress watch. The Sea-Dweller has always been slightly out of the spotlight, and that’s one of its strengths. SeaLab Found a Flaw Let’s jump into the Wayback Machine for a trip to 1967. Everything was going groovy for the Rolex Submariner, one of the world’s most-popular dive watches at the time. Or so it would seem. Serious divers, notably those on the U.S. SeaLab team, came across a problem with the Submariner. The pressure of post-dive decompression would often cause the crystal to pop off. Oops! Rolex had to address the weakness and they did so by building a watch.  The watch was better equipped to handle the rigors of professional deep diving. Still, Rolex met the extreme challenge with the Sea-Dweller (along with some technical help from NASA and the French diving company COMEX). But it wasn’t all about durability. Rolex, being Rolex, wanted something with inimitable style. While it may have seemed like a small touch at the time, the two lines of red text across the original Sea-Dweller’s face earned it the nickname “Double Red” and helped to make the watch the much-sought-after collectible it is today. Depending on the model and year (they were made from 1967 to 1977), an original Double Red can go for up to $200,000 USD! Ever adaptable, the watch changed with the times. In 1977, when Jaws became the highest-grossing movie on the planet, the latest Sea-Dweller was aptly dubbed the “Great White,” swapping out red letters for white. Known as the “Decade of Greed,” the 1980s saw the Sea-Dweller get suitably glossy with a high-polish dial.  A Look at Today’s Timepieces Watch history is all well and good, but what makes a Sea-Dweller so special today? The more-modern incarnation of the watch came in 2008 with the debut of the DeepSea Ref 116660. That watch is notable for its patented Ringlock System, which includes a sturdy ring between the titanium case back and the sapphire crystal that makes the watch water resistant under more-extreme pressure. The 2008 model also includes a helium escape valve which can easily handle that decompression problem SeaLab first discovered decades earlier. The watch got an update in 2014 with the Sea-Dweller 4000, with Cerachrom alloy bezel that’s just about scratch proof and immune to ultraviolet light, all but guaranteeing it won’t fade with time. Add in the Glidelock bracelet system and Oysterlock clasp and Sea-Dweller aficionados were suitably impressed. That gets us to the Sea-Dweller that bowed in 2017, the 50th anniversary of the first, with a return of red lettering in an homage to the original. While it is much the same classic as ever, the case grew from 40 to 43-mm and a magnifier appeared on the crystal over the date window.   What’s the Sea-Dweller for Right Now? Let’s talk about two-tone! The latest Sea-Dweller to gain attention is the Ref. 126603, a two-tone steel and yellow gold model that’s markedly more elegant than most of its predecessors. It shares many of the attributes we saw in 2017, with a 43-mm case that features a helium escape valve on its left side. It has the same high-end bezel and runs on the same formidable caliber 3235 movement. But now it all comes in a glowing golden package that Rolex dubs “Yellow Rolesor.” The links of the outer bracelet and case are made of steel, while the inner links, crown and bezel ring are solid gold.  The watch caused some controversy at Baselworld 2019. Purists felt that the Sea-Dweller was straying too far from its tool-watch roots with this swerve toward gilded luxury. What right-thinking pro diver wants gold on their wrist while exploring the dark depths of the sea? But more practical-minded watch lovers are quick to point out that the Sea-Dweller (like most dive watches really) are more often worn on land. They’re for making a statement at work or for adding some upscale flair to a dress-casual ensemble. Why not go for the gold? You shelled out big bucks for a new Rolex and deserve to brandish a bit of bling!    Options for Everyone Luckily, there’s still the classic for those who wants a dive watch with an amazing heritage. You can pick up a traditional model in full Oystersteel. It’s an alloy that was specially developed to resist corrosion and maintain a fine high-polish finish. It’s more stunning when paired with the Sea-Dweller’s iconic black dial with red lettering and Chromalight display.  This dive watch was built specifically to handle the rigors of the world’s most-advanced deep-diving teams. It’s waterproof up to 1,220 meters. The watch has a helium escape valve should you ever encounter extreme conditions that would warrant its use. Nickel-phosphorus movement is nearly impervious to magnetic interference. And Paraflex shock absorption means the watch can get banged around without a hint of damage. Sure, there are other great dive watches out there. You may like the Omega Seamaster, TAG Heuer Aquaracer or Tudor Heritage Black Bay. But if you want to stand just apart from the dive-watch crowd, if you want a piece of history that began with a SeaLab discovery, check out a Rolex Sea-Dweller.  

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  4. 7 Excellent Swiss Military Watches

    7 Excellent Swiss Military Watches

    From affordable options such as Wenger Swiss military watches to higher-end selections from the likes of IWC, field watches offer a wonderful opportunity to put both vintage flair and modern action on your wrist. You may love the great outdoors and revel in an on-the-go lifestyle. Maybe you just wish to appear like you do. Whether you’re scaling a mountain or just want to look sporty at brunch, a Swiss military watch is a great way to express your inner adventurer.  But which do one you choose? And do you have to spend a lot of money to own a piece of military heritage? To help you sort it out, we take a look at some of the best options on the market today. 1: Wenger Analog Swiss Quartz Field Watch If you want a classic at an amazing price, you can’t do much better than the Wenger Analog. They might be better known as the originators of the famed Swiss Army Knife. Wenger’s foray into watches has yielded high-quality timepieces at affordable prices. They’re simple, straightforward and without pretense. The Swiss Quartz watch is for everyday use but can be fitted with a stainless steel bracelet or soft brown calfskin strap that dresses it up nicely. Choose a black or white face, both with an inner ring of markers that keeps 24-hour military time. While you can pick one up for about $100 don’t let the price fool you on longevity. It’s Swiss Quartz movement and water resistance up to 100 meters mean it’s built to last.    2: IWC Swiss Pilot A quintessential field watch that proudly displays its military lineage, the IWC Pilot Chronograph exudes ready-for-action cool with its strap, complementing anthracite dial and scratch-resistant sapphire window. It’s plenty durable with a black ceramic titanium case and features Swiss automatic movement and a flyback function. While it was made for action, it positively beams laid-back charm and pairs well with any casual ensemble. As a premier brand, IWC will cost more than the average military watch but the quality is well worth the price.    3: Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick Sold under the banner “the perfect blend of elegance and function,” the Swiss Army Maverick stands up to the scrutiny of that bold claim. (Well, “perfect” might be a stretch, but close anyway). With a water resistance of 100 meters, it’s solid but not the most rugged watch out there. However, the Army Maverick makes up for this with a bold presentation in a 43-mm case, 10.9-mm profile and band width of 20-mm that comes of as hefty on even the sturdiest of wrists. A matte blue face with white numerals is simple and elegant, showing the world the no-nonsense attitude of its wearer. Priced at under $300, its an affordable option as well.      4: Longines Heritage Military COSD For a breezy look that goes with any casual outfit, the Longines Heritage Military is ready to serve. A round brushed stainless steel case meets a traditional green canvas strap to conjure up an unmistakable military mode. Opt for a black face for a dressier look but its really hard to beat the nostalgic charm of the vintage ivory dial with Arabic numerals that stays true to the watch’s history. The Swiss watches were issued to British paratroopers during World War II and today still reflect the now-vintage style of the era. You can usually pick one up for under two thousand dollars, making this piece of military heritage within reach of most watch lovers.    5: Oris Big Crown ProPilot The Big Crown tells the world that it sits squarely in the realm of military watches other than getting pigeonholed as a pilot piece. The watch opts for a bold matte black face and oversized numbers. While the round case at first glance reflects the contours of traditional pilot watches. The coin edge is an undoubted nod to popular military watches we saw in the first part of the 20th century. Straddling the worlds of pilot and field watches, this timepiece is exceedingly versatile, dressed up with calfskin or down with canvas, it can be worn with just about anything short of black-tie attire. 6: Marathon Swiss Made Military Field Army Watch Marathon makes military watches in the truest sense. The renowned Swiss watchmakers have a longstanding contract to make rugged timepieces for the United States military under strict durability guidelines. Instead of an old-school aesthetic found in many a military watch, Marathon Field Army watches take a modern approach with fiber shell cases that can take a beating and durable black nylon strap. Best suited for weekend wear and outdoor adventures, this watch handles well on the go.   7: Wenger Swiss Military Dark Brown Leather Chronograph The contrast of dark brown leather against a gleaming silver case means that this military watch will get noticed. It has a Swiss quartz movement and is water resistance of up to 100 meters. It’s also fairly reliable when it comes to durability. The black and white motif makes no mistake that this watch was made for function in the field. Yet, the Wenger is a perfect casual companion and can even stand in for dressier moments. And you won’t have to shell out big bucks as Wegners can be picked up in the $100 to $200 range.

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  5. Hands-On with Montblanc TimeWalker Chronographs

    Hands-On with Montblanc TimeWalker Chronographs

    Montblanc watches are usually not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of classic chronographs. The brain is more likely to conjure up images of a TAG Heuer Carrera, Rolex Daytona, Omega Speedmaster or Breitling Chronomat. But Montblanc has steadily made a name for itself in the esteemed (and really crowded) world of chronographs. The brand has shown its sporty side with its most recent Montblanc TimeWalker chronographs. Montblanc TimeWalkers at a Glance The Montblanc TimeWalker was designed for both the young and the young in spirit. We take a look at the Manufacture Chronograph Automatic 43-mm with a classic Panda dial and its slightly sleeker cousin the TimeWalker Automatic Chronograph, a 41-mm watch with an eye-catching Reverse Panda dial. But let’s start with a short (and fun!) history lesson.  Made in the Minerva Tradition The uninitiated may ask, “Montblanc are the pen people, right?” Montblanc gained fame for creating some of the world’s most-coveted writing implements. Some functions often take a slight lead over form and attention to detail is paramount. This pragmatic and keen-eyed approach followed its foray into timepieces, with some help from a watchmaking legend. With over 150 years of crafting fine timepieces, Minerva traces its humble roots to a small Swiss village in 1858. There, two brothers began an enterprise that would grow to become a major player in the watch world of the 20th century. Near the dawn of the 21st century, Montblanc took the reins of the brand that still handcrafts its watches in an original workshop dating to 1902. Still with employees who have carried on the Minerva tradition for decades on end. Montblanc put a laser focus on Minerva’s specialization in chronographs and made the world stand up and take notice. Montblanc TimeWalker, A Modern Ode to Classic Chronographs The Montblanc TimeWalker’s Panda dial is an unashamed homage to vintage timepieces. Harkening back to the time when these bold black-and-white faces saw a surge in the 60s and 70s. The most well known of which is the Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman.” It was famously worn and promoted by the late movie star and Formula One driver. The Reverse Panda design offers a contemporary take in a striking mix of black, white and silver. This throwback flair gives the watch an old-school aesthetic without feeling dated that’s distinct and sure to garner attention.   While both dials serve as nods to the gauges that racers relied upon in the motor sports of yesteryear, they leap into the modern age with hands and indexes that are coated in Super-LumiNova. And these present well under almost any circumstance! Whether you’re dealing with high speed or low light, the second hand, a notable tribute to the iconic Minerva arrow, is clearly visible. The same goes for the hour and minute hands, which are rhodium plated for increased visibility. Slimmer and More Versatile We get to the age-old question of “does size matter?” Given that many watch aficionados find a 45-mm wide case just too big and bulky. Both the 41-mm entry level and 43-mm cases offer refreshingly slimmer and more understated choices. Scaling back the bulk makes the new Montblanc TimeWalker watches much more wearable, pairing as easily with a sporty ensemble as they do with dress-casual attire.    Beyond the versatility of a slimmer size, the Montblanc TimeWalker can be fitted with calfskin, stainless steel or rubber straps. The latter seems like the obvious choice with a sporty aesthetic that best suits the watch’s racing heritage. Asymmetrical holes in the rubber and calfskin straps complete the design homage to the world of high-speed racing gone by. But slipping on a stainless steel bracelet instantly dresses up the watch for more formal environments. The Bracelet and Sub-Dials of a Montblanc TimeWalker The bracelet also more uniformly matches a stainless steel case. Its design cues from the alloy wheels of vintage roadsters. The satin-finished case exudes a simple, almost basic, elegance with a polished beveled edge and a solid one-piece black ceramic tachymeter bezel. Three-dimensional sub-dials are designed with legibility in mind. It also features white registers against black and vice versa. Adorned by the Montblanc star, the sub-dial at the nine o’clock position on the Panda model meshes seamlessly with a black-on-black motif. As you might have guessed, it’s the opposite on the Reverse Panda piece with striking white against a silvery-white palette. Montblanc TimeWalker Inner Workings While both are similar in form and function to a TAG Heuer Carrera, the Manufacture Chronograph Automatic has MB 25.10 in-house movement while the slimmer Automatic Chronograph has Calibre MB 25.07 powered by the Sellita SW500. Delving into Monblanc TimeWalker’s Durability Water resistant to 100 meters, a Montblanc TimeWalker also has ceramic bezels that are scratch resistant. A durable smoked-sapphire crystal takes its design cues from the engine houses of classic race cars. But what really tests these timepieces is the Montblanc proving grounds. Following those collection’s was the “Instruments of Glory.” The chronographs undergo the rigors of the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, a series of rough-and-tumble exercises that recreate the wear a watch will weather in its first 500 hours.     So while chronograph purists may still feel more secure seeking out TAG Heuer Monacos, Breitling Navitimers or Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks, a whole new wave of watch lovers are putting Montblancs on their wrists.

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  6. Deep Blue Watches You Need to See

    Deep Blue Watches You Need to See

    One of a handful of companies at the forefront of the recent surge in affordable divers watches, Deep Blue Watches has been making a name for itself since it splashed on the scene in 2007. It wasn’t love at first watch. Early efforts were panned as copycats of traditional dive watches and Deep Blue’s 1000-meter depth resistance was only begrudgingly applauded. But while Switzerland dominates the high-end market, from IWC Aquatimers and Omega Seamasters to Breitling Superoceans and TAG Heuer Aquaracers, Deep Blue has prompted all to turn their eyes to its New York City operation. We take a look at some of the stunning timepieces that Deep Blue watches have produced.   Daynight Scuba Let’s start with the size. This is a big one. With a 45-mm case, the Daynight Scuba is a hefty timepiece by any measure. But it doesn’t wear as large as its dimensions suggest. The deep-cut diver’s bezel does add some clunk but still keeps things within traditional lines. At a glance, you are apt to notice striking flat tritium tubes on the dial which stand in bold contrast to the matte black surface. During the day, the tubes seem like merely vibrant markers in an almost kitsch color dollop that adds a dynamic element to the face. At night, however, these tubes glow green with an intensity that can’t be understated. It’s quite a presentation and leads you to easily understand how these tritium tubes have been at least one of the secrets to the success of Deep Blue watches.    Pro Sea Diver As you might have guessed by its name, the Pro Sea Diver is built to withstand the rigors of some serious undersea exploration. But first, let’s look at the style. This is another hefty offering, with a case diameter of 46-mm. The donut-style stainless steel case is topped by a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Which makes for nice visibility in underwater conditions over glare-prone domed crystals. Give the rotating bezel a spin — it clicks! A cool blue dial is nicely complemented by a bright orange minute hand. That can match the bezel should you choose orange over the black or blue bezel options. Coated with Lume Superluminous, the dial components give off a serious glow in low light. But strength and durability put the “pro” in the Pro Sea Diver. A 24-jewel Seiko NH36 movement powers the formidable 40-hour power reserve. It’s water resistant up to 1,000 meters and has a manual helium valve for saturation diving. So this is a nice option if you’re heading out for a day of diving or just want to look as if you could. Fleet Admiral The Fleet Admiral is an unusual entry in the Deep Blue repertory. It’s not really a dive watch, having a depth rating of just 100 meters (maybe we should call it a swim watch?). It does have the tritium tubes found in the brand’s dive watches. Slip a calfskin strap with a tang buckle on this timepiece and you have yourself a dressy watch. But it’s not exactly a dress watch either.  Leaning more to the sporty side with a weighty 45-mm case. But don’t call it a sports watch, because it doesn’t really fit that definition either. The inability to pigeonhole the Fleet Admiral is its strength. If you’re someone who wants to stand apart from the fray you’ll likely be drawn to this nearly undefinable watch. The contrasting categories into which the watch can fit (or not) are personified on the dial. It revels in the juxtaposition of high-gleam blue against polished silver or jet black and rose gold.    Juggernaut IV Swiss Automatic The sunray wave pattern that ripples across the dial is the feature that’s most likely to catch your eye when you gaze upon a Juggernaut IV. Whether you choose a black, silver or head-turning yellow face, it’s a pretty cool design detail. Contrast those dials with striking turquoise markers and you have a showpiece on your wrist. Even more so when the lights go out and the luminous ceramic bezel and Superluminova hour markers and hands put on a glowing show. In keeping with Deep Blue’s love of bulk, this is a sturdy entry with a 44-mm width. It’s also built for some serious diving with 1,000-meter depth rating and a helium release valve at the ten o’clock position. Master 2000 If you’re looking to do some really deep dives, look to the Master 2000. As its name suggests, the dive watch is water resistant to a depth of 2,000 meters. Most of the watches in the line are of polished stainless steel only. But the black PVD coated Master 2000s really stand out when contrasted by Deep Blue’s signature orange-trimmed hands or luminescent blue. The watch is big and bold with a 46-mm case and 17-mm thickness., It was built tough and has a 4-mm thick sapphire crystal that can withstand the pressure of lower depths. Movement is protected against harmful magnetic fields up to 7,000 amperes per meter. With so many amazing dive watches found at entry level prices these days it’s a buyer’s market that seems to be exponentially growing in favor of the consumer. So while you can still shell out big bucks for a Rolex Deepsea or Tudor Heritage Black Bay, you can come close to upper-echelon quality with a fine Deep Blue.   

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  7. 8 Elegant Hybrid Smartwatches

    8 Elegant Hybrid Smartwatches

    Hybrid Smartwatches Unless you’re auditioning for the next Star Wars movie, a lot of today’s smartwatches just look a little too high tech to suit your style. Enter hybrid smartwatches! These elegant hybrid smartwatches keep you digitally connected while still grounded to the time-honored analog world of fine watchmaking.  1: Skagen Connected  Hybrid Smartwatches With a minimalist design that captures the essence of elegance in its truest and simplest form, Skagen Connected is a formidable entry into the hybrid realm. And that’s before considering the price tag of under $100! Sounds too cheap? No, don’t turn your nose up at the budget Danish watchmakers without considering their wares. On the hardware side, Skagens have sturdy titanium cases that are water resistant up to 100 feet. Enjoy software that manages your music, camera, and phone contacts. For price, value and looks, Skagen watches stands apart. 2: Fossil for Him Fossil has also made strong entries into the hybrid universe with watches that span class, gender and convention. For a guy in want of something bold on his wrist, there’s the Fossil Q Men’s. A black metal case measuring 45mm connects to a luxurious leather strap. While it may appear to be a traditional watch, this high-tech timepiece is Bluetooth enabled and has many of the features of a smartphone. 3: Fossil for All And most everyone seems to favor the Fossil Q Commuter, a minimalist smartwatch with a built-in fitness tracker, music and camera control along with a host of smartphone apps. 4: Frédérique Constant Hybrid Smartwatches Take a step way up in both price and quality of craftsmanship with the Frédérique Constant Hybrid Manufacture. The Swiss makers of affordable luxury watches have been pushing forward with a hybrid line that retains the workings of a true automatic. In fact, many say this is a first of its kind, a true hybrid in which technology is integrated with the mechanics of the watch. While the app integration and overall technology are impressive, what lifts one to accept the $3000-plus cost of this watch is its styling. Roman numerals give a sense of stately grace to the face that lies under Breguet hands. The classic contours of a round 42mm case with an onion crown serve as sophisticated camouflage for the tech that lies beneath.   5: Michael Kors Access Slim Runway Back among the lower price range for a solid go-to timepiece, there’s Michael Kors. Notably elegant, the Michael Kors Access Slim Runway comes in a smart stainless steel case with a metal band to match. Or swap in a stylish black or pink silicon strap on the versatile timepiece. Then get ready to connect because this is a true touchscreen-enabled smartwatch with a screen at the face’s center. Powered by Google Wear OS, the watch can do a multitude of smartphone tasks and track your activity each day. It’s also water resistant up to 50 meters. And it all comes for less than $100! 6: Mondaine Helvetica Hybrid Smartwatches Mondaine has long been known for honoring Swiss railroad clocks with their designs. With a name that pays tribute to an elegant font, Mondaine Helvetica looks like a traditional watch to the unassuming eye. An understated 44mm stainless steel case meets a soft leather strap. But Mondaine’s foray into the world of hybrids is technologically impressive. True, it doesn’t have the capabilities of full-on smartwatches such as Apple or Google, but still packs in digital pluses. Enjoy compatibility with iOS and Android, track your fitness and view the results on the watch face’s second dial. 7: Kate Spade Grand Metro Hybrid Smartwatches It’s likely that nobody will guess you are wearing a hybrid watch when you are sporting the Kate Spade Grand Metro on your wrist. True to Spade’s iconic and cheerful designs, the hybrid comes different colors. Including sleek black, rose gold, silver and with an assortment of straps. As for its technology? It’s got all you need without committing to a full smartwatch: music control, and a remote hookup to your smartphone’s camera and apps. 8: Kronaby Nord Hybrid Smartwatches If you’re willing to spend a bit more than average to get a well-crafted hybrid you could step up to Kronaby. The Nord 38mm is one of the most elegant minimalist hybrids on the market. It has an understated sterling silver-plated dial and subdued numerals enclosed in a polished stainless steel case. Control music and manage phone calls with the power of a virtual world that lies just underneath the traditional face. Kronaby can get you into a higher-end hybrid for anywhere from $250 to $1000. Maybe you’re not really a smartwatch fan, but hybrid smartwatches might make you feel different. Maybe you want your watch to reflect your personality and not tell the world you have stored 12 terabytes of Star Trek episodes. If you want to be connected to both the wireless age and the timeless art of watchmaking, maybe a hybrid is right for you.  

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  8. Closer Look at the Tissot Le Locle

    Closer Look at the Tissot Le Locle

    Ready to get up close and personal with the Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80? Tissot has straddled the worlds of fine watchmaking and everyday access for over a century and a half. Famous for mass producing a pocket watch in 1853, the Swiss watchmakers have since become a favorite of both the rich-and-famous and everyday folk alike. Tissots have been spotted on the wrists of Elvis Presley and Grace Kelly. Angelina Jolie has worn them in films and basketball star Tony Parker serves as a brand ambassador. But you are just as likely to see a well-dressed office-mate sporting a Tissot. This beloved dichotomy is ever present in the Tissot Le Locle.   A Watch Centuries in the Making What’s in a name? Well, if we’re talking about “Le Locle” it’s about a town at the heart of Swiss watchmaking history. Watchmaking began there in the 1600s and the town of Le Locle has since been home to some of the world’s most prestigious timepiece workshops for centuries. Given the spot’s import in the pantheon of Swiss timekeeping, it’s no surprise that Tissot chose the name of Le Locle for its premier line. Elegance Over Opulence If you are wearing a Tissot there’s a good chance you’re not hopping across the globe in your private jet (okay, maybe Angelina is). Yes, Tissot is known for leaning to the luxury side, but it’s equally well regarded for its functionality and overall versatility. This nexus where practicality meets refinement is proudly on display with the Tissot Le Locle. You can slip it on for dress occasions and the watch can even step in with formal wear, but a Tissot Le Locle is just as comfortable accompanying you out and about on a casual weekend. Size, Shape and Subtle Touches Catering to its refined nature, the case is on the smaller side with a diameter of 39.3-mm and thickness of 9.8-mm, standing in stark contrast to most sport watches with their bulk on amped-up display. In size, shape and overall feel, the Tissot Le Locle falls easily into the dress-watch camp. On a black crocodile strap, it adds a graceful and understated touch to a suit or dress-casual ensemble. The leather strap employs a deployment clasp that further enhances the good looks with the added value of a secure and snug fit. Of course, deployment-clasp detractors will always point out that they can sometimes be more difficult to unclasp. If not entirely head-turning (Tissot leaves that to its T-Sport line), the Tissot Le Locle’s face is sure to catch the eyes of many. The silver guilloche dial and stainless steel domed-bezel epitomize subtle elegance, seamlessly complemented by silver tone markers and hands. The matte black and chrome model exudes something of an Art Deco vibe with equal sophistication.     It would be hard to imagine anything but Roman numerals to complete the sophisticated presentation (again, Tissot correctly assigns Arabic numerals to its sporty offerings). That “1853” on the Le Locle dial is a nod to the year of Tissot’s founding and the italicized “Le Locle” marking radiates a charming vintage vibe. The sapphire crystal is slightly domed but gives off a flat appearance. You won’t find many extras on this timepiece (nor should you seek them) other than a date feature. While it does boast water resistance of up to 30 meters, best not to take this one swimming. It’s a watch meant for landlubbers and best treated as such. Still, feel secure in that any unintended rainfall or sink slip-up won’t destroy your watch.   A Window Into the Inner Workings Flip over the case to behold a work of art. You can get just a glimpse of the inside movement through a semi-exhibition caseback. The rest of the rear real estate features engravings and embossments that tell the watch’s story in fine style.    Keeping in line with many upscale Swiss offerings before it, the Tissot Le Locle employs Swiss-made ETA movement. While not in-house (a seriously expensive proposition) the movement from SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse is a solid choice. Tissot will tell you that the movement is accurate up to 20 seconds a day but users have reported an average loss of much less. A Half Dozen Different Styles While overall they’re the same, such as case size and shape, numeral style and the guilloche pattern dial, the variations of the Le Locle offer decidedly different moods. You can go with a black or silver dial. Cases come in silver, gold and rose gold. As for straps, you can opt for brown leather, black leather or a stainless steel bracelet.      Tissot Le Locle Value Versus Quality Given that you can shop online and find a host of Tissot Le Locles for under $500, we’d have to call this one an amazing deal. With Swiss-made quality, a sapphire crystal and impeccable looks to boot, the low entry-level cost is considerable. Quality? Check. Affordability? Check. Inimitable style? Double check. If you’re looking for a smart dress watch to fill out a well-tailored look it’s hard to beat the Le Locle.  

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  9. Matching Your Watch with Your Summer Clothes

    Matching Your Watch with Your Summer Clothes

    Summer is nearly here! The weather is feeling great, the sky is getting clear and our summer clothes are coming out of the closet as the season approaches. Even though it’s summer, you still have to keep track of time. Here are some tips to help you match your fresh summer fits with your wrist accessory. Begin With the Belt and Shoes Yes, there will be times when you go without a belt (say dresses or overall outings). But on most other occasions you should build the belt and watch as one center-based element, conjoined style cousins if you will. You’ll also almost always wear shoes and they should also get early consideration when choosing the day’s watch.   Start with color basics. Black watch band, black belt, black shoes — it’s a solid trio you can build a lot of fashion around. It’s hard to fail with a classic Casio G-Shock, opting for an all-black GA 100 for a bold adventurous presentation that’s resistant up to 600 feet of water. Or consider strapping on a TAG Heuer skeleton in all-black with visible movement to draw the eye and a silicon band that says you’re ready for summer action. What can you do with all of this black? Mellow Summer Days in Monochrome Black is a perfect match for summer monochrome. It’s a simple enough principle and there are a ton of varieties. From a flowing grey summer dress for women to men donning earth-tone linen, black blends seamlessly with monochrome outfits. So combo up with black-and-white pattern pieces, shades of gray in jeans and t-shirts and summer-white ensembles to mix in with your best all-black watch.    Is khaki just for fall? The deep greens of autumn are for ushering in winter winds and it’s best to keep them for the fall. But lightweight khaki shirts, tailored trousers and light skirts are solid go-to looks in the summer stylebook and go great with a luxury black watch. Something for Summer Events A relaxed summer doesn’t mean months of slogging along in flip-flops. There are going to be times when you need impressive dress. But you don’t want to go too stuffy in the warmer months. Equally at home at a formal event or weekend brunch, the Longines Heritage line honors designs from the early 1900s with a classic rounded case and Breguet hands in solid 18 carat rose gold. A rich brown alligator strap and you’re ready for nearly anywhere that feels a fresh summer breeze. Another great dress watch that has equal ease at a food festival is the NOMOS Tangente, with blue hands cutting across a dial of white silver in a round stainless steel case that pairs well on dress straps and sporty nylon. Go from a lightweight grey suit at the office to a casual night in white by the waterfront.   Matching Your Watch with Your Summer Clothes When they’re at their best, summer ensembles fall into the “smart casual” and “casual” fashion buckets. That’s everything from a pair of cropped chinos and a short-sleeved shirt to sundresses and to a blazer and shorts if you are bold enough to rock the look. Summer wear often takes us to pilot, racing, dive and field watches. 1: Pilot Watches Setting yourself up with a pilot watch for summer days can take you to the gorgeous IWC Big Pilot’s Watch, a no-nonsense high-design piece in stainless steel with a black calfskin strap that is easy to pair with most smart-casual outfits. A Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT has classic charm almost to a fault as it honors the traditional watches aviators first used to guide flights. 2: Racing Watches Race-inspired watches just call out to hit your wrist on summer outings. Think of a TAG Heuer Formula 1 on a NATO strap that’s perfect for shorts at a garden party or catching a flight to a balmy isle. Or take a throwback tour with Tudor to revisit one of their beloved drivers’ watches. Inspired by a design from the 50s, the Black Bay Automatic Black Dial is also augmented with the iconic snowflake hands from Tudor’s late-60s efforts. 3: Dive Watches Dive watches are a given when talking about summer watches. If you’re looking for something gorgeous and have the cash to spare, there’s the Breitling Superocean chronometers. Go for a sporty model such as the Superocean Automatic 46 Blacksteel with a DLC-coated case, black dial and rubber strap that looks amazing with nice workout wear. For a dressier look that you can pair with a summer suit or neutral tones on a Friday night, there’s Breitling’s Superocean Automatic with a stainless steel case and steel link bracelet.   4: Field Watches Field watches are fun because they often take you into vintage territory. And the good vintage territory that looks amazing with your favorite jeans and not the retro that belongs in a royal parlor. While many lean to military design, the field watch is by no means for men only. The Hamilton Khaki Field Watch is a great example of a sturdy military-style watch that dresses up on a black or brown calfskin strap. With a 38mm case, it’s on the small side and not a bulky piece that’s bound to garner great attention. The basic black-and-white with stainless steel works well with fashion from suits to jeans. It’s also back to black as we’re talking about the Runwell from Shinola. With a black leather contrast-stitch strap, 47mm case and a black dial under a double curve sapphire crystal, this watch will get noticed. The flagship watch from the Detroit-based watchmakers, the Runwell pairs well with just about anything that basic black complements. Matching Your Watch with Your Summer Clothes So consider your collection and think about what you want on your wrist this summer. Will you be taking a dive watch to the beach, a field watch on a nature walk or will a dress piece accompany you to a summer wedding? However you choose, celebrating summer with a fine watch is a privilege to enjoy and cherish as you create new warm-weather memories.

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  10. Watches That Make Great Graduation Gifts

    Watches That Make Great Graduation Gifts

    From high school and university college to culinary school and law degrees, a lot of hard-earned diplomas are going out to graduates this spring. You’re going to want to commemorate the milestone moment with a gift that the graduate will hold dear for generations. Watches are an excellent choice when it comes to graduation gifts. It’s a sign of welcoming them to the real world! You can give them the gift of time to help them keep track of theirs. Here are a few ways to go when considering a luxury watch as a graduation gift. Occasion: Looking to College Life For many, high school graduation is less about high school reminiscing and more about what lies ahead: college. The high-school graduation watch you’re bestowing is really an off-to-college gift. And so it needs to feel fresh and alive with all of life’s opportunities. Think modern, a minimalist blank slate of possibilities but with a design that says you’ll look good on the ascent. Consider stainless steel and monochrome for high school graduates. Esteemed German watchmakers NOMOS Glashütte even crafted a watch for this specific niche. Their Club Campus series radiates promise with the casual coolness exemplified by its modified California Dial. The back of the stainless steel case just begs for a touching engraving to personalize the gift.  Made for the put-together everyman, the rounded steel case and deep brown Italian leather strap offer an optimistic view with easy charm. Or consider a Tissot Chronograph. The JPT CC38 manages to capture both a modern forward-looking feel with polished steel and the laid-back West Coast vibe that’s a hallmark of the California watchmakers. And it’s a bit of a conversation starter as the numbers are offset to place the zero in the ten o’clock position! Occasion: The End of University For many, this is the big one. Graduation from college marks a seismic shift in the lives of longtime students. It’s often seen as a marker from late-adolescence to adulthood and the watch you give should reflect this new stage of life. So you will want to go to the traditional choices first. Then maybe explore around to suit a graduate who enjoys stepping outside the norm. You drive right into the heart of classic town with a Rolex. It’s hard to go wrong here with watches that seem purpose-built for elegant commemoration. Start with the Submariner Date, the iconic James Bond watch with a refined Oyster case and much-recognized dial. Take a look at new additions to the Rolex Datejust family, such as the steel Lady Datejust 28 and Oyster Perpetual in steel and white gold. These watches all say “up-and-comer and doing it in style” and are sure to get noticed in the new workplace.   Personality: Do You Know a Creative Genius? Of course, a Rolex might not be for everyone. Consider a watch for the creative types. Inspired by classical music and launched nearly a decade ago, the Raymone Weil Maestro collection now features dozens of models that run from quirky skeleton watches to minimalist pieces in deep tones that would feel at home in a ritzy cigar bar. Speaking of music-inspired horology, Oris pens a love letter to a jazz great with the Dexter Gordon Limited Edition. One of the founding fathers of bebop, Gordon (or “Long Tall Dex”) is lauded with a rich cholocate-hued beauty with a subtle saxophone reed sitting at the twelve o’clock index. oris.chCreative minds love modern mechanical watches that retain vintage vibes. These graduates are up for project meet-ups at coffee houses and pitching to Hollywood studios. The Longines Flagship Heritage matches them nicely with a slim dress watch that brings back a design from 1957. While that classic watch was at home in the executive two-martini lunch days, the current versions feel like they have their eyes firmly set on 21st century possibilities. Personality: For the Explorer Some walk out of a school with a diploma and no path set in stone. They’ll travel for a while and seek new opportunities in unexplored lands. They’ll scour their surroundings for the unique and promising. For this graduate, you want something for an active lifestyle and yet stylish enough for dress up. This watch needs to be as versatile as the myriad of situations our graduate will navigate. Whether you’re preparing reports in your new office or waiting to hop a redeye train, a Hamilton Classic Jazzmaster Traveler GMT is a great companion that captures the essence of the frontier-busting American spirit. Few things are as tuned to an adventure as a pilot watch. Consider something from Alpina Aviation’s stunning line of chronographs that beg to be by your side on this exciting new phase of life.     Goals: It’s All About the Business Then we have your laser-focused grads. They studied business and mean to do some serious business out in the world. These diploma-holders need timepieces that straddle the spaces of business and dress watches. You want to keep it simple and elegant and go with the ever-classic design of a white face with a black leather strap. The IWC Portofino Stainless Steel fits the bill nicely in polished steel with a black alligator strap. But don’t limit things to monochrome as a nice timepiece with earth tones can be nearly as versatile.  True, we’re coloring inside the lines a bit here. We’re grouping graduates according to our perceptions and today’s generation of grads are reaching out to the world in ways never before conceived. Armed with newly-acquired knowledge, they’re tasked with finding solutions to challenges as equally unthought of just a few generations ago. So you may go steampunk or eye-blinding bling or bestow the latest smartwatch. However you choose, the gift will mark a momentous yet fleeting moment that can be commemorated for a lifetime.

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  11. Best Pilot Watches for Under 1,000

    Best Pilot Watches for Under 1,000

    When regular international flights first joined continents and created a new class of travelers, pilot watches were right there along for the high-flying ride. Today, they’re worn from casual to dressy occasions and the wide variety is only unified by form-fitting function and practical good looks. And yes, you have to pay for that level of heritage and design history. But do you have to go over a grand? There are a number of nice options to buy into the pilot-watch club without paying first-class prices. 1: Archimede Pilot If you want to go classic (and we mean really classic) without topping over the thousand-dollar limit, check out the Archimede Pilot 42 A. This one catches the eye and backs up its fine looks with precision ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Archimede grew up near a-century-old family business in Germany. Archimede has been creating solid timepieces at prices that can raise some eyebrows in delight. A brushed stainless steel case, bold, luminous hands and throwback dial make this Flieger-style watch a bold choice, especially so in the striking bronze and black combo. 2: Citizen Eco-Drive We have two favorites in the solar-powered Citizen Eco-Drive line. First, there’s the Nighthawk which you can pick up in the $600 range. It’s a solid, understated (if leaning bulky) choice with a chronograph, tachymeter and good water resistance. If you want all of those features and then some with sleeker packaging, you might want to go into the $800 range for the Satellite Wave GPS. No matter where you are on the planet, this world-class navigation tool finds out the local time and adjusts accordingly.   3: Longines Avigation For a watch that really draws you into the once cutting-edge world of classic aviation, look to the Longines Avigation. A black alligator strap exudes a sense of refined style, as do a black-matte dial and Arabic numerals. What takes this beauty out of tuxedo territory is its dedicated commitment to the pilot-watch credo of bold and straightforward function that never betrays its jet-set inspired design. 4: Alpina Startimer Automatic While some of Alpina’s offerings go over our price limit, they have an assortment in the Startimer Automatic line that comes in at under $1,000. They have over a century of experience making timepieces for the aviation sector. With a case that is large, enjoy the bulk of a true aviator’s trusted companion that has Swiss quartz AL-525 automatic movement and traditional dial finishing that is as elegant as it is timeless.    5: Damasko DS30 Classic, vintage, throwback — however you want to label it, the adherence to retro roots in pilot watches is ubiquitous across a wide spectrum of watchmakers. Not so fast decries Damasko! The German watchmakers add an unusual swirl of sophistication and style to the classic pilot-watch concept. The result is the Damasko DS30. With a 39mm case and 10mm thickness, the DS30 takes a sleeker form than most of the watchmakers’ military-inspired creations. And sleek it is with a solid black-and-white dial that evokes an Art Deco vibe. Worn equally well by both men and women, dressed up with calfskin or down with a nylon strap, the shockproof pilot piece comes in at just under the $1,000 line.    6: MKII Cruxible Another creation that also assimilates modern aesthetics into classic pilot-watch contours, MKII Cruxible celebrates aviation history with vintage flair.  MKII has built up a reputation for fine American-made tool watches under the helm of master watchmaker Bill Yao. It has a simple design featuring big numerals and a large crown, this wonderful timepiece looks by all measures to compare to watches that carry higher price tags.      7: AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane For value and reliability, it’s hard to compete with the AVI-8 Hawker. And the watch face is sure to grab your attention. With multiple hues of white offset by bits of color, the bold-lettered dial evokes a sense that stays true to the British roots of the watchmakers. A soft calfskin strap ups the refinement on this otherwise built-to-function timepiece. But can you rely on a $200 watch? Yes! The Hawker Hurricane is powered by Japanese quartz movement with a scratch-resistant mineral dial window. It’s also water resistant up to 165 feet, making this a sturdy favorite in the lower-end of the price range.      With dreams of adventures in far-off lands and flights that whisk us there in upscale style, we ponder the world of pilot watches. For less than $1,000 you can have one of these steady companions of aviators past, present and future.

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