Green Rambles: The Vacation Watch Dilemma

During this time of year, most people are taking their summer vacations. The fun of this always starts with the preparations; where are we going this year, what can we see there, what are good places to eat, and when you are a watch enthusiast…. what watch am I going to wear?

Personally, it is in particular this last question that comes with some stress, surprisingly. Once we have settled on a destination, accommodation and have explored what activities we want to do, I can ponder weeks, if not months, about what watch to take with me. On a normal day, I switch watches at least three times a day. In part this is because they are my profession and I need to test quite a few of them, but on vacation, I don’t permit myself that luxury. I am also very hesitant to travel with more watches than the one on my wrist as I am both not too keen on hotel safes, and further know that for many countries’ customs— what we call a vacation, they see as import/export, with all the unpleasant fees that come with the declaration.

As if picking just one watch to travel with isn’t already challenging enough, I am a big fan of dress watches but like active vacations— not the most ideal combination. I also like to avoid precious metals when traveling due to the unwanted attention they can attract at some destinations. I love some excitement during my holiday, but being robbed isn’t one of them. The good thing is that it brings me a bit out of my comfort zone and challenges me to try new types of watches. Over the years, this made me aware that I am a bigger fan of diving watches than I expected, although I still prefer them in a more modest diameter.

An obvious solution as a watch journalist is to simply vacation with a loaner. While I have done this a few times, it proved less than ideal. First of all, my girlfriend is not too keen when we have to stop in the craziest places as I see a photo opportunity with the watch I’m reviewing. Secondly, I tend to be even more careful with watches that aren’t mine, and while usually nothing bad happens, you tend to be paying more attention to this aspect. Both are ingredients for making the vacation slightly less relaxing, the opposite of what it is supposed to be.

So what am I wearing this year? I don’t know yet, but I do know that exploring all options is, to me, as much fun as selecting the vacation itself. It is part of the anticipation process and after all, a big decision, at least when you are a watch enthusiast!

Any suggestions on what watch I should wear on my vacation? Let me know in the comments, and please include your own watch of choice for your summer vacation!

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  1. Gerard (Gerry) Hartung

    I’d take a watch like the newer Hublot that has “quick change” watch bands. I have blue, orange, black w red strip and brown. I believe they also have white, red and grey. Gives you lots of choices with just one watch.

  2. Mike Beck

    My FIRST thought on vacations is which watch I’ll wear. I like a sports watch with a steel bracelet in case I go in the ocean. Gray is usually the dial color since it’s goes with just about anything I wear. The watch can not just look good, but look good on me.

  3. Joseph Aure

    Great article Martin! Nice to know that I’m not the only who ruminates over curating vacation timepieces. One approach that works for me, with similar constraints as you mentioned, is to pack a (non Grand) Seiko such as a Prospex on a SS bracelet for dressier usage and bring a rubber/silicone strap to sport it up for more active pursuits. Solid performance with almost universal awareness that it is not a 5 figure piece and thus less likely to meet the fate like Leclerc’s Richard Mille. Enjoy your vacation

  4. Anders Schreiber

    Hi Martin

    Thanks for your article regarding vacation watch.
    This year I brought a Rolex Datejust model no 16014 with me to San Remo in Italy on my two weeks vacation stay at this place and I was very pleased to wesr this watch during the evenings. During the days I wore a Seiko Divers watch model no SKX007 which is very sporty.

    Best regards

  5. Humberto Pacheco

    Normally, for vacationing at my summer home at the Pacific, in Costa Rica, I’ll take my IWC Ocean; if at my apartment in Klosters at my winter apartment, my IWC Compass. The rest of the year I rotate MOST of my collection one per week to “feel” that particular watch, whose next turn is 2.5 to 4 years away.

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