Editor’s Note: Every single watch journalist in the world has a readymade answer / answers to the question, “So, watch writer, what should I buy if I’m going to get just one good watch?” This was a recent stab at it for Executive Style in Melbourne.
The Mark Zuckerberg bombshell regarding his wardrobe choices should be received as very good news for those wanting to buy one great watch, and be done with it. Quizzed on his daily ensemble, which consists primarily of a grey t-shirt, he said in a Q&A session with the Telegraph: “I want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. There’s a psychology theory that even making small decisions around what you wear…or things like that make you tired and consume your energy.”
With this in, mind we felt that it would be prudent to hunt down the very best single watch you could invest in for everyday wear. So your mind, like Zuck’s, can be free to focus on greatness. Let us be clear. ‘Everyday wear’ means all the days of the week. The work days, the weekends and the odd trip to Wet’n’Wild for good measure.
Not just a dress watch, or a sports watch, but one that could be all things to all the people, and all the settings, in your life: your mates at the pub, your boss in the boardroom, your beloved on date night. The following options are proffered with a guarantee of minimal buyer’s remorse. Each model has vintage and modern alternatives, to account for both tastes. The criteria for these ‘one watches’ is bang for buck, recognisability on the wrist and, importantly, that they be ‘hackable’ – which means their personalities can be modified with different strap options.
OMEGA SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL
There is no need for a ‘vintage’ and ‘latest’ image here as they are one and the same: the ‘Moonwatch’ has remained practically unchanged since it was worn by Buzz Aldrin when he walked on the surface of the moon in 1969. “The Speedmaster Professional as it is is what the consumer wants,” Omega ex-president Stephen Urquhart says. “And NASA are very happy with the watch as it is too.” The Moonwatch is the ultimate functional chronograph, with a supremely legible matt dial and a chameleonic character which completely changes on bracelet, NATO or leather strap.
Ironically, it’s one of the least ‘Rolex’ looking Rolexes on the market, and yet it fits the bill. The original Explorer was 36mm but the current has grown in proportion to 39mm. While it will feel slight next to most modern watches, the smaller version of the Explorer is in fact truer to the model that conquered Everest, its most famous feat. Note the polished white gold numerals which gives the watch some extra lightplay and a slightly more refined, dressy feel.
THE TUDOR SNOWFLAKE SUBMARINER / PELAGOS
The vintage Tudor ‘Snowflake’ Submariner (the nickname referring to the shape of the handset) is not only a great choice in terms of its classic, adaptable style, it’s also a wise investment as an affordable – well, compared to Rolex – collector piece. The even fading of the bezel on this 1967 model back to a denimy blue gives it a patina edge over newer models and sure gives you a story to tell about its uniqueness. The updated version of Tudor’s Submariner is the Pelagos – introduced in 2012. It’s the ultimate wrist warrior, with a stealth, matt appearance which contrasts with the current slew of dressier dive watches. It would look absolutely mean with a tuxedo. Plus it’s tough, adaptable and as capable as a Navy SEAL. The latest version is powered by Tudor’s MT5612 in-house movement.
TAG HEUER CARRERA
Along with perennial favourites like the Rolex Daytona, the Carrera, first released by Heuer in 1963, is one of the classic chronographs. It makes sense that TAG Heuer selected it to showcase their heavily marketed 1887 movement when they released it in 2010. The first watch is the second version of the 41mm Carrera 1887, and only available in select countries for a short period of time. It was soon replaced by the third version (below), which added a tachymetre and a slightly shinier, more blinged up look thanks to the chrome accented subdials.
IWC BIG PILOT
You don’t need to be deeply into watches to pick up that there is something of a cult following for the fabled IWC Big Pilot watch, which always leaves an impression thanks to its size, aviation style and simplicity. When you discover that its more famous devotees include John Malkovich, Bradley Cooper, Orlando Bloom and Jude Law the myth only gets spicier. Pictured is the original and the best Big Pilot with nuances like the polished metal flange around the date window at six, the numeral ‘9’, and slimmer hands than the current version. The more modern ref. 5004 is a slightly more clinical execution of the style with a modified dial layout, an index at nine and slightly chunkier hands.