Inside Watchmaking: Selecting a Summer Watch

It’s that time of year again. The sun is coming out after months of hibernation. And even though this article is far more suited to the States than it is the British Isles I call home, I’ll play ball just for the sake of it and provide some tips for selecting a summer watch.

So how does the spike in temperature affect the selection of which watch to wear? Summer fashions are obviously far more casual than your winter wardrobe, and so the choice will almost certainly reflect that, but there a few more practical things that I would suggest you look for.

Image supplied, courtesy of Omega

Water Resistance

This one is obvious, so I won’t spend too long discussing it. Despite the summer months being the driest of the year, you are never more likely to be suddenly doused by a bucket of water, or pushed into a swimming pool. Nor is it common for people to dive into the med in mid-November. It makes sense that you’d choose a watch with at least 100m water resistance. Anything less is really not worth looking at. Remember, if a watch is going to leak, it is more likely to leak in the first few inches of submersion, when the external pressure is not great enough to compact the case components (which closes the tiny gaps between the gaskets and the metal). Additionally, watches leak more in hot weather due to material expansion (again, those gaps between the metal and the gaskets increase), so pick something with some deep sea credibility if you want to be on time when autumn rolls around.

Bell & Ross Watch
Image supplied, courtesy of Bell & Ross

Case Material

This is one that I imagine will raise a few eyebrows, but bear with me here. In the summer months you are likely to wear shorter sleeves and less jewellery. This places the emphasis on the case material, or, more pertinently, case colour coordinating with your skin tone, rather than your cuff links, shirt studs, belt buckle, or tie pin. If you are a proficient tanner, you might want to stay away from warmer case colours like rose gold or bronze. Steel looks great against bronzed skin, and is a far sportier choice, but it has one significant drawback – it is very heavy. For that reason, you might find a brushed titanium case being the best choice for these more active months. Failing that, you might even invest in a plastic or polymer housing if you’re too scared to wear a luxury piece on the beach or by the pool. And that leads me to my next point.

Richard MIlle Watch
Image supplied, courtesy of Richard Mille


That exclamation point is there for a reason: Summer is when we’re all allowed to go a little crazy (blame it on the heatstroke). While plastic is not exactly a luxury option, it does know how to make use of wild and wacky colors. But vibrant greens, shocking yellows, and eye-blitzing blues need not be the reserve of low-end watches. Just look at Richard Mille or Hublot for examples of how a luxury watchmaking company can exploit color to its advantage! Hublot is the butt of many a joke, but I find it hard to deny the presence and pop of a Big Bang Unico, dangling on the wrist of some tight t-shirt wearing Adonis as he strolls about the deck of his yacht. When you consider the price tag, it suddenly makes sense why Hublot make their watches so big (it’s so you can see them from the shore as you lust over that yacht).

Perlon Watch
Image supplied courtesy of Perlon

Strap Material and Style

Steel bracelets are way too weighty for the summer months; the lifespan of leather is greatly reduced when forced to contend with a perennially perspiring wrist. I’m a huge fan of rubber straps at the best of times, but my actual pick for the summer is a thin, nylon NATO. These straps are affordable, colorful, absorbent, and prevent any metal from coming into contact with the skin. You have loads of vogue options for temporary summer straps (such as Perlon), and it’s never been more acceptable to wear your Rolex Explorer (a great summer watch when chosen with the white dial to balance that tan) with a stripy NATO. Nylon dries pretty quickly too, and straps like the Perlon can be incrementally adjusted to fit any wrist thanks to their ‘punch-it-through’ buckle. Perfect for this time of year when heat expansion must be considered.

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About the Author:

Rob Nudds is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market. You can read more of his work on