Just like the watch industry itself, the landscape of sports watches has changed. Where in the past, flashy, not necessarily useful sports watches have dominated the spotlight, that’s no longer the case. In the place of these ‘out there’ watches are highly usable sports timepieces that are priced realistically and are versatile, durable timepieces meant to be used and abused. That being said, however, even sports watches have to strive to stand out from the pack, and they do that in several ways with an intriguing package of features, unique designs, professional specifications, or a combination of all of these.
The attraction of sports watches
One of the reasons people are attracted to sports watches is that they are rough and rugged and suited for just about anything. They don’t have to be water resistant to 200 metres to go into the pool, into the hot tub, running or mountain climbing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Consumers buy sports watches so they don’t have to worry about them – no matter what they do. You can’t wear a sophisticated dress watch to go snorkeling in Hawaii, you’d ruin it, but you CAN wear some of today’s sports watches to the office or a stylish dinner. Some customers buy sports watches for a specific activity, with an appropriate list of features and specifications, while others buy sports watches to be their primary watch, easily moving from activity to activity, from office to gym and anywhere else. Here’s a look at some of the newest sports watches introduced on the market this year.
Mix Of features
There are some great features that sports watches can offer that other watches can’t – because they are bigger, there is more room for things like chronograph sub dials, tachymeter, telemeters, pulsometers, unidirectional rotating bezels, dual time zones, large, easy-to-read displays and more. This year, many companies presented sports watches that offer useful features. Here is a selection of the best: TX, part of the Timex Group, continued to introduce traditional mechanical complications in quartz form, at incredible prices. This year saw the debut of the TX 650 GT Fly-back Chronograph, using a movement unique to TX. In addition to the Fly-back chronograph, this watch also offers a tachymeter scale, dual multifunction retrograde displays and a second time zone. Another introduction for TX at BaselWorld was the TX 600 Pilot Fly-back Chronograph in unique grey on grey and blue on blue variations.
EXPEDITION MILITARY by Timex
Staying in the Timex group, they also introduced a great looking collection called the Expedition Military. Drawing on vintage military designs, this 45mm collection is available in Chronograph and Classic variations. In addition, Timex introduced the Sports Luxury series, featuring Asian mechanical movements with exposed balance wheels, retrograde calendars and power reserve indicators. Also, Timex introduced the 200 metre water resistant Expedition Dive, the Expedition E-Instruments that feature compass, tide and thermometer and the WS4 Carabiner, a caribiner timepiece with a wide screen display that shows time, altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer.
Breitling debuted its new B01 in-house chronograph movement, available only in its Chronomat collection for now. An incredible accomplishment, as an integrated chronograph is one of watchmaking’s ‘holy grails’, the B01 is a result of years of development and testing and will be the basis for a number of complications moving forward. Breitling also revisited the SuperOcean, going back to its launch in 1957 to gain design inspiration. Water resistant to 1,500 metres, this is an attractive, rugged watch that comes in five inner dial ring colours – blue, yellow, red, silver or black.
CHRONOMAT and SUPEROCEAN by Breitling
Victorinox Swiss Army is staying with its commitment to chronographs – 35 per cent of its watches are chronographs, which is double the industry average. Some of the great watches introduced at BaselWorld this year were the Infantry Vintage, which is the first automatic chronograph in the Infantry collection, a new silver dial in the Alpnach Chronograph and the Chrono Pro collection. For the company’s ladies chronograph see Sophie Furley’s article in this issue.
Ball Watch introduced the Engineer Master Diver Worldtime – this spectacular automatic watch, which is a day date world timer, water resistant to 300 metres, was the best value at the show, retailing for $2,200! Incredible.
ENGINEER MASTER DIVER WORLDTIME by Ball Watch
Tissot’s T-Touch series saw the introduction of the Sailing Touch, with dedicated sailing features. The standard and professional T-Touch watches are feature-laden, giving the customer great ‘bang for the buck’, as they include alarms, a chronograph, temperature, barometer and a compass.
Cimier, who works with an eclectic mix of sporting ambassadors, including Swiss gold medal snowboarder Tanja Frieden, introduced two very attractive Seven Seas automatic models, the Barracuda and the Blue Marlin, automatic chronographs with a second time zone indication on the bezel, along with a day and date display and water resistant to 100 metres.
BARRACUDA by Cimier
- PART 1 of 4 – Sports watches 2010 – real value is back
- PART 2 of 4 – Unique designs in sports watches
- PART 3 of 4 – Professional specifications for sports watches
- PART 4 of 4 – Sporting associations
Source: Europa Star June - July 2010 Magazine Issue