Ten years ago, this phenomenon only existed in the uppermost echelons of the watchmaking world – the waiting list. There’s a lot of wild speculation around why waitlists for certain models exist, with some suggesting market forces, and others suggesting less passive forces.
Regardless of their cause, they don’t appear to be disappearing anytime soon, which gave us reason to pause and wonder – what are the best steel sports watches you can buy without suffering on a waitlist?
After some consideration, here is our list of the best steel sports watches currently on the market – which you can buy on a whim without having to wait.
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato is one of the original luxury sports watches in steel from the 1970s. Born in the same year as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, it has an aesthetic that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. The blue dial is a particular example, and can be found at retail without too much challenge.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm, in steel on bracelet, $16,080
Tudor Black Bay Steel
While some pieces within the Tudor family are not immediately purchasable, the Black Bay Steel is able to be found at most authorised dealers. Finished in a rugged brushed steel, the Black Bay Steel is a great example of successfully blending vintage aesthetics with contemporary technology.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel, on leather $4160, on bracelet $4540
Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Diver
A model that has been within the Omega collection for a number of years, the Seamaster Professional 300M got a facelift in 2018. It has the feel of a very well-made watch, with details like the wavy dial that makes it a strong contender in this list.
Omega Seamaster Professional 300M Diver, steel on steel bracelet, $6525
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic
What makes the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris different is its eye-catching super compressor style case. Originally designed in the middle of last century, the super compressor case maintains its water resistance by letting water pressure keep it tight. As a result, the bezel is found within the case, operated by a separate crown. It also offers a unique piece of dive watch history without waiting a few years for the pleasure.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic, steel, $9600 (indicative)
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph
Only released this year, the brand new Autavia Isograph from TAG Heuer is a significant value proposition. Utilising groundbreaking patented technology in the escapement to increase both accuracy and reliability, it is also available at a price that should keep everyone happy.
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph, steel on leather, $4700
Longines HydroConquest Automatic
The Longines HydroConquest is some of the best value for money in Swiss watches. Featuring a reliable workhorse movement, a solidly machined steel case and bracelet, and now with several dial options. With black, blue and grey to choose from, there is something for everyone.
Longines HydroConquest 43mm, on bracelet, $2100
Piaget Polo S
Despite coming as something as a shock when first released, the Polo S definitely has a place. With steel sports watches not the typical fare of Piaget, it was a totally new collection for the brand when it was released in 2016. Featuring a tasteful blend of brushed and polished surfaces on the case, it feels both sporty and elegant.
The Piaget Polo S, $15,600
Panerai Luminor Marina
When you think Panerai, you think about a specifically Italian flavour of masculine elegance. This DNA comes across into their Luminor Marina family, available in full steel with steel bracelet. The blue pop of the seconds hand adds character to a watch that is unreserved in its self-confidence.
Panerai Luminor Marina PAM00977 (42mm), $11,900; PAM00978 (44mm), $12,000
Hublot Big Bang Steel Diamonds
While not fully in steel, and not fully a sports watch, the Hublot Big Bang Steel Diamonds is a watch for someone who likes a little bling in his or her sports watches. At 38mm it is a great unisex size, making it very wearable for a range of wrist sizes too. With 126 diamonds set into the bezel and a flexible rubber strap, this watch is a meeting of haute stone-setting and everyday comfort.
Hublot Big Bang Steel Diamonds, 38mm, quartz movement, $13,500
Seiko Diver’s Re-creation Limited Edition SLA033
Based on the iconic 6105 series, this is a faithful remake that is a quintessential example of what the brand does best – attractive case and a build quality that can take a beating. While there isn’t technically a waitlist, this vintage reissue is a limited edition watch, and a crowd favourite among lovers of Seiko, therefore meaning if you want one, you should probably move fast.
Seiko Diver’s Re-creation Limited Edition SLA033, limited to 2500 pieces, 4350 euro (indicative).