It's about time... the borders are reopening, and flight schedules are ramping up again. It's almost possible to feel the sand twist between your toes once more. But world travel isn’t just beaches, bikinis, and coconuts. You can’t beat the odd city break and, of course, many of us travel the globe for work. This got me thinking: which watches match up best with the major cities around the world?
When I think of Paris, London, New York, and so on, what traits come to mind? Would it be possible to find a watch that expressed some of the same characteristics? Would that watch then be the perfect expression of that city, its culture, and its people? It seemed like a fun exercise, so let’s dig into the best watches for ten of the most visited city destinations on Planet Earth.
The city that never sleeps requires you to have a watch that can keep up morning, noon, and night. It might be cliché as heck, but in looking for a cosmopolitan all-rounder, it's hard to argue with a Rolex GMT-Master II. And what better colorway to have your back in Gotham than the Batman?
Check out this pre-owned black and blue bezel automatic watch here.
Elegance, grace, effortless style… What’s not to love about Paris? For me, the obvious choice here was something fashion-forward with a credible engine under a luxurious hood. The Hermes brand was the first to come to mind, given its incredible dedication to improving the technical abilities of its offering. My choice? A Pre-owned Hermes Arceau Le Temps Suspendu Automatic Brown Dial Watch AR8.97A powered by a whimsical movement that can stop time. Quality and class in a neat little package.
Possibly the capital of class, London’s reputation alone goes some way to salvaging the remnants of the “cool Britannia” fever that swept the globe in the late ‘90s. If you want the London look, keep it classy with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche Automatic Watch. It's just about the most watch you can buy for under ten thousand bucks, and it is worth every cent. The quality of this thing makes it far more versatile than you might imagine. You can wear this with pretty much anything, and it will always ooze sophistication. You can pick one up with 13% off the suggested retail on Jomashop.com right now.
When it comes to horological royalty, the conversation cannot be adequately had without mentioning the name of Konstantin Chaykin. It's fair to say that Russia doesn’t necessarily have the best international reputation for humor. If you look past the face the government is presenting to the world and instead at the individuals within the nation, there is a lot of color and character that quickly bubbles to the surface. And when it comes to KC himself, the pot is truly bubbling over. His Wristmon series of the past few years has been one of the most amazing things the industry has ever seen.
If you have been to Berlin in the last 15 years or so, you will know the city is rapidly becoming gentrified. The hip Kreuzberg area will probably soon price out the artists, musicians, designers, and generally creative folk. While that made it such a desirable place to live in the first place, there is life in the old dog yet! Home to the design agency of NOMOS Glashütte, you can’t make a better choice than a classic NOMOS Tangente. It ticks all the boxes and doesn’t cost the Earth to boot.
What to choose from the capital of watchmaking itself? So many brands call Geneva home, emblazoning the city's name on their dials, it is hard to choose. However, I will go down a traditional route with a twist. The brand I've chosen is Patek Philippe, and the model is the often unheralded Calatrava Rare Handcrafts Automatic Blue Dial Watch.
This 38.6mm white gold watch bears an enameled image of the Matterhorn on the dial, thus making it the most (the most) Swiss watch out there. First, it's in the Calatrava family; which is about as classic as it gets. Coming in the white (as opposed to yellow) gold case, while also having the almost goofily luxurious dial, makes it fly under the radar. You gotta love that!
The Dutch are cool, laid back, and certainly colorful characters. As such, it makes sense to rock something that ticks those three boxes when strolling the streets of the Dam.
The Richard Mille RM 11-03 McLaren Transparent Dial Unisex Watch RM 11-03 McLaren is a vision in orange. Not only is it a special edition, but it is also the perfect complement to a day out by the canals.
Intellectual sophistication sure seems like the line to tread when considering the perfect Oslo timepiece. However, the Norwegians are far more practical and rugged than the high livability index or the bulging GDP of their nation suggests to the outside world.
I’m giving this Scandinavian gem of a city a Certina DS Eagle Black Dial Black Rubber Watch, also available on Jomashop.com.
Am I going to go for something from Grand Seiko to be obviously patriotic? No. I will not. I won’t do it. It seems like the easy choice, but it is actually the wrong one. You see, Grand Seiko (and even Seiko to a certain degree) is a style very much connected to nature. You can see it in all of their designs. In fact, both brands particularly place that kind of stuff front and center in their communications to the press. As much of a flagship brand Grand Seiko is for Japan, it sure as heck isn’t representative of Tokyo.
Instead, you obviously need a highly functional, preferably bright-colored, definitely wildly-styled Casio G-Shock. One of the new Casioak models might be an attractive choice, but as long as you go big and bold, loaded with a can-do attitude, you really can’t go wrong. How about this example available on Jomashop.com right now?
It would be almost impossible to look in any other direction than at Bvlgari when discussing which brand to take along on your next trip to the Circus Maximus. Why? Bvlgari is known for its status as Rome’s most internationally jeweler. However, just because the brand is from Rome, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the watches look like they are designed there.
But the thing is, they actually do look like that. From the Roman coin-inspired Bvlgari Bvlgari bezels to the unfathomably complex architecture of the Octo Finissimo case, the brand brings the city and her glorious (if somewhat bloody) history into its wares. I find it hard to top that kind of integration and wholeheartedly support anyone that wears anything from this brand.
My pick? I would go for the Octo Finissimo Extra Thin Automatic Gold Dial Watch, which is available on Jomashop with a stunning 34% saving. That saves you over 12 grand. Yep, that is enough money worth having.
Bonus: Atlantis (bear with me)
The absence of proof isn’t the proof of absence, as my old professor used to tell me. He was right. As such, I’ve been defending the existence of Atlantis ever since. If questioned about the veracity of my claims, I would just drop that annoyingly irrefutable line.
So if you don’t mind humoring me, let’s say Atlantis is real. And let's pretend not only is it real, but it's also a thriving center of commerce, an international conference hotspot, and a tourist hotspot. Effectively, it's a sunken Leipzig with fewer Germans and a tone of super-duper organic tech.
There could only have been one choice for the best watch to rock while strolling the submarine streets of the lost city. The MB&F HM7 Aquapod is the one. It looks like a jellyfish and wears like one too. It is impossible not to notice it strapped to your wrist, and trust me, wrist-mounted jellyfish are anything but subtle.
That watch may be an absolute no-brainer, but it is also almost unattainable such as its price. My (slightly more) budget-friendly Atlantean suggestion (available on Jomashop.com) is the Atelier Jumping Hour Retrograde Minute Black Dial Watch. It retains the hi-tech look and pure luxury you’d probably need to have at hand to fit in with the greatest civilization history has never seen, but it is much more affordable than the MB&F.