Travel Timepieces

Most elite travelers take a great deal of care when planning vacations, from exclusive itineraries that elevate the experience to elegant modes of travel like yachts and private jets that afford the ultimate in luxury and privacy. The same amount of care should be taken when choosing a timepiece to accompany you on your journey.

To help you select the perfect luxury watch for your travels we turned to two top experts: Paul Altieri, founder of online luxury watch boutique Bob’s Watches, who is also one of the world’s top Rolex collectors; and Blake Buettner, Head of Watches at StockX, the live “bid/ask” marketplace backed by Eminem and Mark Wahlberg where collectors can build their portfolios of luxury timepieces.

“Rolex invented the dual time zone watch, the ultimate travel timepiece, and they’re still the ones to beat,” Altieri declares. “No matter where you go in the world a Rolex is like a passport to all the finest things in life, whether you’re trying to get a table at the best restaurant in Venice or the attention of a beautiful woman at Paris’ Hemingway Bar. However a few other manufacturers are worth a look as well.” On a true adventure, he adds, “a watch like like the Rolex Explorer can help actually help you navigate. And if you’re wearing an expensive watch, in a worst-case scenario you can always sell or trade it and get yourself out of a sticky situation. Try that with a Timex.”

“A great travel watch should start life as a great watch, period,” Buettner notes. “That means it should be easy to wear, easy to use, and pair easily with most of my wardrobe. A watch that can be quickly and accurately adjusted on the fly has a far greater chance of accompanying me on my travels than a watch that doesn’t. That generally means a watch that tracks multiple time zones simultaneously via 24hr hand, second hour and minute hands, or a world timer that can be adjusted on the go. However, sometimes less is more. I love traveling with a simple time-only watch that allows for a quick change without the need to stress about throwing any calendar complications out of sync.” Here are some essentials to strap to your wrist:

Opening image: Bob’s Watches


Rolex GMT-Master II

“In the 1950s Pan Am commissioned a tool watch from Rolex for pilots to wear during their flights,” Altieri explains. “The watch had to be able to indicate GMT time and local time simultaneously and Rolex obliged with the GMT-Master watch in 1955. It was the first watch to have this function and has been the one all others are measured against ever since. This is the ultimate travel watch, period. The blue and red ‘Pepsi’ dial is the classic but don’t overlook the black and red ‘Coke’ version.”

“Perhaps the father of all travel watches, the Rolex GMT Master can still be considered the gold standard of the genre thanks to its genius simplicity,” Buettner agrees. “The GMT Master is, for all intents and purposes, a sport watch with high legibility and rock solid build quality. The addition of a 24-hour hand and a rotating 24-hour bezel against which to read it, make it an amazing travel watch.”

From $8,895

Image: Bob’s Watches

Patek Philippe World Time

“Patek World Timers are legendary, and the 5130 is no exception,” Buettner says. “Jumping between time zones with the press of a button makes this high-end timepiece ultimately practical for globetrotters. All the usual benefits of owning a Patek Philippe are also present, so expect impeccable finishing both inside and out, and investment grade reliability.”

From $48,000

Image: StockX Watches

Omega Speedmaster

“The Omega Speedmaster is one of the finest watches ever made, and with its ability to calculate speed and distance it’s definitely a great watch to travel with, especially if your itinerary involves a high speed car chase. It was good enough for NASA’s moon missions and it’s good enough for anything you can throw at it. And James Bond wears an Omega in every film.”

Vintage from $11,495

Image: Bob’s Watches

Tudor Black Bay

“The Tudor Black Bay isn’t really a travel watch, but it fits the bill for a few simple reasons,” Buettner says. “First and foremost, it’s dateless dive watch, so legibility and ease of use are excellent. Adjusting the time is a breeze thanks to it being a time-only three-hander – so there are no date or calendar functions to worry about; set the time and go. Plus, it’s just a great looking watch. All of the same benefits apply to a dateless Submariner from Rolex, but being from Tudor, you can get into a Black Bay for nearly a quarter of the price. “

From $2,350

Image: StockX Watches


Vacheron Constantin Overseas

“Vacheron Constantin is an overlooked luxury brand in many ways,” Altieri notes, “but the first time you strap an Overseas Chronograph to your wrist won’t be the last. Automatic and antimagnetic with various useful functions, it’s an essential and very low key but extremely elegant travel companion. It’s called the Overseas for a reason, and Vacheron declares the watch itself is an ‘invitation to travel.’ ”

From $17,800

Image: StockX Watches

IWC Pilot Worldtimer

“The IWC Pilot is an icon amongst pilot watches, and this example features a world timer built in, making it a great candidate for a travel companion,” Buettner says. “This will require a bit of user input, however, with a rotating 24-hour ring that can be aligned with the timezones at the outset.”

From: $5,000

Image: StockX Watches

Rolex Explorer II

The Rolex Explorer was inspired by the watch that Sir Edmund Hillary wore when conquering Mt. Everest, and it has exuded an air of gentlemanly adventure ever since,” Altieri says. “The Explorer II is a larger, more rugged version and has the exclusive feature of being able to indicate due North with its orange 24-hour hand – which is also designed to help you explore caves, cabarets and other dark places.”

From $6,795

Image: Bob’s Watches

Nomos Zurich World Time

“It doesn’t get much easier than the Nomos Zurich World Time,” Buettner says, “a watch that allows you to breeze through time zones with the press of a single button, all while maintaining home time via 24 hour disc at 3 o’clock. Couple that with an award-winning design, truly in-house movement, sub $6,000 price, and it’s easy to see why people love this watch.”

From $5,300

Image: StockX Watches

Rolex Sky-Dweller

“Not only is the Sky-Dweller an annual calendar equipped with the date and month, but it also indicates an extra time zone on the 24-hour disc on the dial – perfect for jet setters who frequently find themselves in another city,” Altieri says. “This is also the watch Conor McGregor wears and it has an air of rugged luxury that says you can afford the very best but you can also get tough when you need to.”

From: $18,595

Image: Bob’s Watches

This article was originally published on Pursuitist. Republished by permission.