Lord of the bling: 8 watches that prove diamonds can also be a man’s best friendZach Blass
Many guys dismiss the idea of wearing a diamond watch out of fear it’ll seem ludicrously over the top. Admittedly, countless celebrities rock blinged-out watches smothered with so many diamonds you can barely see the metal. But there are other, more subtle alternatives to the fully iced-out look you may want to explore. It is no secret diamonds can add hefty premiums to watch prices, especially when bought at retail. Here are eight of our favourite men’s diamond watches – ranging from the more affordable entry-level pieces all the way to six figures.
Probably the most interesting thing about the Tudor Royal is the number of configurations and sizes available. With more than 50 combinations to choose from, fans of the design have no shortage of options. When you think diamonds, you typically don’t imagine entry-level pricing. But Tudor is an extremely trustworthy manufacturer that delivers quality offerings at more approachable price points. In this instance they have done so with diamonds, and in a sporty package you can swim with no less. The integrated stainless-steel build doesn’t hurt either. Price: $2950 USD
Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126324
Little brother not enough? Then Rolex may be your best bet. The Datejust is a staple of the Rolex catalogue and is one of the most popular watches worn around the world. The bright blue dial on this classically sized 36mm (aka the perfect size – sorry Andrew) is the perfect backdrop for some subtle bling. Sure, when set into the bracelet and bezel, diamonds can risk looking a bit vulgar, but when utilised for the markers alone they present a less obtrusive display. With the diamonds under the robust sapphire crystal you don’t have to worry about knocking the precious material (not that diamonds are by any means fragile). It’s reassuring to know that a watch that oozes luxury on the wrist is also robust enough for outdoor activity and daily wear. Price: $10,500 USD
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang 42 Titanium ref. 641.NX.0173.LR.1104
A lot of men recoil from diamonds due to their feminine connotations. But with its 42mm tonneau case, the Spirit of Big Bang still brings the industrial and largely masculine presence associated with Hublot. The gemstone really blends well into the titanium, an interesting pairing considering the lightweight nature of the metal. Boasting 100 metres of water resistance and a sturdy titanium case, this is also not a watch you need to baby. Price: $26,200 USD
Cartier Santos ref. WJSA0014
This watch is arguably the most diamond-covered on the list, but it is also the smallest in diameter at 35mm across its white gold case. This, to an extent, mutes the effects of a full-frontal diamond assault and, because it is bundled with two straps with the “QuickSwitch” system instead of a fully set bracelet, the diamond aesthetic, in my opinion, is tastefully done. As a modern Santos model, it also has 100 metres of water resistance so you can bring the ice into the pool on a hot summer’s day. Price: $38,600 USD
Piaget Altiplano ref. G0A44076 (36mm) & G0A44075 (41mm)
I cannot stress how much this watch needs to be seen in the metal. When I worked as a sales rep for Piaget, this was always the watch I would want to get a closer look at when the store had a brief quiet moment. The gradient blue dial is so rich and offers a masterclass when playing with light. It can darken to pitch black depending on the angle, and then brighten to a nice glossy blue. It is odd to use the phrase “gloss” in relation to a gradient sunburst dial, but it almost has the look and texture of an ice cube in that you can see the grained texture despite its super-smooth looks. The thin bezel and lugs provide subtle real estate for the diamonds, making them an accessory to the watch instead of the main event. Price: $65,000 USD for the 36mm, $82,500 USD for the 41mm. Limited Edition of 88 pieces each.
Patek Philippe Chronograph, Annual Calendar ref. 5961R
Patek Philippe has made some very nice men’s watches with hints of diamonds of late, one of which is this 5961R. Like the Piaget above, it utilises baguette diamonds in its bezel, but it differs in that it has diamonds on the indexes and markers as well. The dial really displays Patek’s mastery of horology, packing so much complication into a balanced and relatively understated form. Again we see the balancing effect a leather strap can have on a diamond watch – the addition of any more precious materials would bring the watch into a whole other blingosphere. Price: $149,030 USD
Grand Seiko SBGD205
Grand Seiko is known for the mastery of their artisans, but it is rare they release watches that incorporate gemstones. What I love about this watch is that while it is a departure from their norm, it is still distinctly Grand Seiko. With the diamonds and sapphires under the crystal (besides the sapphire embedded in the crown), we still get the full and uninterrupted Zaratsu experience to the 43mm platinum case. Platinum as a white metal is less ostentatious than yellow or rose gold, yet is currently far more valuable and can really underscore the boldness of the gemstones. Surprisingly this watch is also quite robust, thanks to its spring drive movement and screw-down crown ensuring water resistance of 100 metres. Price: $185,000 USD. Limited Edition of 10 watches.
Bulgari Octo L’Originale Watch ref. 102957
Noticing a trend here? Slimmer bezels with baguette style diamonds really cater to men’s watch designs. They’ll pop under the light, but they work to frame the watch (quite literally) instead of trying to be the star of the show. The case is 44mm, and made of platinum, with a respectable water resistance of 50 metres. It presents a clean skeletonised movement that removes any clutter from view and offering a full window into the fascinating mechanics beneath its sapphire crystal. It’s a handsome watch for sure, and a stellar example of why Bulgari is known as the “Roman Jeweller of Time”. Price: Upon request