Style Guide: Watches Meant for Sun & Surf


After what seems to be a long winter, it’s time for the sun to come out and play and let summer finally welcome us with rising temperatures! I know some of us are tired of hearing ‘polar vortex’ so let’s put away the down jacket and pull out the board shorts. Maybe time for a beach destination as well? Spoil yourself! Life’s too short.

So you’re off to enjoy the sandy beaches and you say to yourself,

“Which watch should I bring?”

Since you’re exposing your watch to the elements, you need a timepiece that can keep up with your awesome vacation. Now, depending on what you value the most, you need to take into account several factors when choosing the right beach watch. You typically want a timepiece that’s relatively affordable because who are we kidding, you will lose it.

But Gracious Watch, I’m a responsible person… Why can’t we bring a Submariner to the beach? You can, by all means! But don’t blame us when the cabana boy sees that thing and gives you a five-finger discount. We’re not saying that all cabana boys will do that, but… It’s a Rolex. What would you for Rolex watch!?

Don’t tell us. Just read up and see what other alternatives are better.

Criteria


There are several criteria to consider when picking a beach watch. With price completely dependent on you and your budget, the following should be taken into account when purchasing a beach watch.

Great Water Resistance

This one is an obvious one: you need a watch that can keep up with you from the pool to the ocean. Especially with whitecaps taking over your vacation, you need a watch that is basically waterproof. When looking for water resistance, it will either be measured in bar or meters. They’re just different measurements that essentially mean the same thing. The conversation rate is,

10 bar = 100m

So if you see a 20 bar watch, it has 200m water resistance. Anything over 10 bar or 100m water resistance is more than enough for the beach, while 30 bar watches are meant for diving.

Added Functionality

So if you’re into catching swells, maybe tracking time elapsed is something of value to you? I know it is for me when I’m setting laps around the pool. Maybe a tide watch is more your thing, where it tracks tide forecasts, real-time conditions based on GPS location, so you’re on top of things? Or maybe you’re a fitness guru and you want something to track calories? Depending on what you value the most will play a critical part in your selection.

Materials

Typically, a rugged watch should either be made of a strong metal or have rubber/polymer accents to protect itself from shock/bumps/bruises/smacking your face with the board. Not sure how the watch will help you with the last part, but nonetheless it’s something to keep in mind.

Rubber is also resistant to fraying as leather won’t survive against seawater and fabric straps are troublesome with the ocean or chlorine water. Steel bracelets are definitely durable but may burn you if extended exposure to the sun occurs. Some keywords to pay attention to include, but not limited to,

  • Anti-shock
  • Stainless steel
  • Rubber coating/strap

Fun Colors

Since you’re on vacation, it’s time to have some fun! Let yourself loose and live a little. Beach watches are available in wide array of colors, typically neon bright for safety reasons as well due to it being an indicator if any rescue attempts are required. Hopefully not, but why do you buy travel insurance? No harm in having extra.

Our  Picks

Without further ado, have a look at our recommendations…

Casio G-Shock
Rescue Concept


Price

$69

Where:

Amazon

Size

50mm

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Movement

Quartz Digital

Why?

It. Will. Never. Break.

One thing that’s synonymous with durability is G-Shock.

Known for surviving the harshest elements, the G-Shock collection is a great companion to any beach adventure. With a rubber coating to protect the casing within it, these watches are built to last, with shock-resistant technology and impeccable water resistance.

The Rescue Concept is a 50mm Baywatch-red that pays homage to the lifeguards that put themselves on the life for your safety.

It has the typical G-Shock amenities you expect such as:

  • Chronograph
  • Auto EL backlight
  • World time
  • Daily alarm

But the Rescue Concept has a neat moon/tide graph, 200m water resistance, which are valuable features to a surfer chasing the waves.

See also: Casio G-Shock Brand Guide

Nixon
Base Tide


Price

$100

Where:

Amazon

Size

38mm

Water Resistance

100m / 330ft

Movement

Quartz Digital

Why?

Snazzy style with a tide monitor built in. Sweet.

If you’re looking for dedicated surf watch, then we look no further than the crew at Nixon. With origins in surfer-central SoCal (Southern California), Nixon created a fashion brand that fit with their lifestyle: relaxed, colorful, and always beachside. They developed several timepieces that provide anyone with information so they can catch the first wave anytime, anywhere. In comes the Tide Collection.

Depending on your budget, you can have the smartwatch version of the Tide Collection, that has GPS connectivity providing real-time updates whenever, wherever.

The Base Tide is the entry-level iteration of their Tide Collection, that has the digital time and a tide graph in one easy-to-read screen. With 100m water resistance, the 38mm silicone watch with polycarbonate gasketed pushers will give any wearer an indication on when the best waves are coming. Surf’s up – because it’s time to catch one! There are various colors available, but the teal one intrigues us the most.

Citzen
Eco-Drive Promaster BN0088-03E


Price

$275

Where:

Amazon

Size

47mm

Water Resistance

300m / 990ft

Movement

Eco-Drive

Why?

Incredible water resistance & solar power.

If you’re looking for something more adaptable and seen as ‘traditional’, then the folks at Citizen would be able to help you out. A Japanese staple, Citizen has created many timepieces that can keep up with what life has to offer and their most famous creation, the Eco-Drive technology is present in the Promaster. Eco-Drive harnesses the power of the sun to continue powering the watch, effectively removing the requirement of a battery replacement.

The Promaster has the Eco-Drive technology on top of a stainless steel case, a bright orange silicone strap, and water resistance to 300m. A true diver’s watch, the Promaster can hold their own to a day at the beach but if you’re looking to go snorkeling or finally doing the Scuba test, then you can bring this along for the ride.

Seiko
Pepsi Dial SKX009K1


Price

$200

Where:

Amazon

Size

42mm

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Movement

Automatic, Seiko 7S26

Why?

Seiko’s affordable automatic diver.

If you’re into the more conservative approach to a beach watch, then Seiko has a great example of a dependable, water-resistant watch that’s more than enough for the sand. The SKX series is their famous collection of diver’s watches, well-designed for easy readability and chunky operation for easy use with gloves. The multi-colored bezel, known as the ‘Pepsi dial’ due to the red and blue color scheme, provides a 20 minute dive time window for safety reasons.

At 42mm, it’s a slightly bigger example of a timepiece but it’ll look good in the sun and any dinner plans that come after lounging around during the day. With a blue dial, contrasting white hour markers, a day/date window, and 200m water resistance, the SKX009K1 can deliver what is expected of it.

Tissot
T-Race T048.417.27.057.03


Price

$200

Where:

Amazon

Size

42mm

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Movement

Automatic, Seiko 7S26

Why?

Seiko’s affordable automatic diver.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced watch that will attract a crowd alongside your impressive Rodeo Flip, well let the people at Tissot be your wingman. As part of the Swatch Group, they’re known for being the mid-tier watch brand offering watches that are geared for the casual consumer. Providing sport-infused timepieces for many teams, the team at Le Locle has been hard at work providing the best value watches with a fashion-forward, modern design. Case in point: The T-Race.

At 43mm, it’s a big timepiece but with an accurate quartz movement, all you have to worry about is landing those tricks when you’re riding the whitecap. With a bright yellow silicone rubber strap, 100m water resistance,the contrast black bezel and yellow accents put the whole package together to something that’s attractive and useful.