Many of the guys on staff here at the Loadout Room have been to some places and done some things, and in the process have been able to figure out what works and what doesn’t. In other words, we have an eye for quality dependable gear. We recently created a Men’s Lifestyle category to highlight some more of the gentleman style side of gear and yes that includes watches. If you haven’t read the article Rex Nanorum did on his Suunto Observer watch and where it’s been, you need to do so. It’s an epic article and proves what a quality timepiece can go through.
I polled the team of guys here at the Loadout Room and asked them to highlight the one watch that they wear the most and why.
Out of my watch fairly large watch collection, the one I wear most often is my HELM Vanuatu – a vintage style dive watch. It is not my most expensive timepiece, nor is it my most refined. However, it is my “tank” watch. It has been in the ocean, on many outdoor excursions, and through countless routine daily activities.
The stainless steel bracelet pairs with whatever I happen to be wearing each day, and if I want to mix it up with a NATO strap or leather band that is always an option. The Vanuatu is incredibly durable with a flat Sapphire Crystal and 300-meter water resistance rating. It is a bit on the heavy side, but I find that to be a good thing as I like being aware that it is on my wrist. For under $300, the HELM Vanuatu offers great value for an automatic watch (NH-35A movement). If you are interested in picking up your own, you’ll have to sign up for the wait-list though. HELM’s Vanuatu inventory is sold out, so be on the lookout for the announcement of their next small batch release. – Nick C.
What we have here is my classic Museum style Movado watch. Black face, black bracelet, direct and to the point. What got me into the Movado in the museum design particularly was really my family. My uncle always had a Movado, my grandpa always had one, and my grandma as well. She’s pictured with me wearing her’s before she passed away more recently.
Although the Movado is a Swiss made watch, for whatever reason, it seems like every Italian-American in the Northeast has one, so that may explain my family on the Scotto side being enthusiasts of the timepiece. This is really my everyday watch for everything. If I’m working out, I do switch it out for the basic Casio G-Shock, but for anything else, it’s truly a versatile watch. Whether you’re out at a bar or a wedding, it really suits any outfit in my experience.
One piece of advice for anyone looking to get a Movado, always get any adjustments made by an authorized Movado dealer. I’ve learned this the hard way with a past watch. Something simple like getting a battery replaced from a local jewelry store will likely result in a waterlogged watch the next time you take a dip in a pool. This should not be the case for a watch meant to be resistant up to about 30 meters. So go about it the right way. – Ian Scotto (SOFREP Radio)
My one favorite watch is my Sinn 104 I St Sa. The Sinn 104 is more than my everyday watch, it is my every-occasion watch. I own plenty of watches to rotate around but I would be more than happy to just own one if this were it. I wear the Sinn almost exclusively on an AlphaShark Luxury NATO strap. The AlphaShark has a smoother “seat belt” weave pattern than other nylon straps on the market, so it not only looks incredible, but it’s incredibly comfortable as well.
While German watches might not be well known outside of watch enthusiast circles, Sinn has been pushing technological developments to challenge and redefine what constitutes a high-quality mechanical wristwatch. The beauty of the Sinn goes beyond its aesthetics and its appeal beyond its craftsmanship. This is a tough watch built to last a lifetime, to inherit memories along the way, and worthy of becoming an heirloom. – Matt J.
“My go-to watch is the UDT from RESCO Instruments. RESCO is owned and operated by Rob and Nicole Smith. Rob served on the SEAL Teams for over twenty years until his recent retirement. Based in Coronado, California -home of the West Coast SEAL Teams- RESCO instruments hand builds all of their watches with Swiss internals and prides themselves on a watch that can stand not only BUDs training, but the test of time. Because as Rob once said, no one will hand down their iWatch to their Grandson.
The UDT comes in at 42mm, which is a perfect size for all occasions and the main reason why it’s my first choice when traveling. The UDT, as the website says, “offers a classic look to your next demolition dive or cocktail party”, and this statement could not be truer. The watch demands a second glance but also doesn’t scream “mug me” like a Rolex would. I’ve had many bar stool neighbors ask me about it and once I tell them the story, they’re looking up the company online. Built to withstand the test of time, yet elegant enough to pair with a suit, there is a reason this timepiece finds a place on my wrist most days. After all; no one was impressed by a Fossil. – Nick B.
This watch is a first-year production when Tudor relaunched into the North American market. It still uses the Iconic Tudor Rose logo and ETA 2824 movement which was discontinued and replaced after only 1 year of production with the new Tudor Shield logo & in-house movement. I saved a long time for this watch and its amazing in its simplicity and its how durable the brand and model it. It’s at home on the boardwalk or in the boardroom, diving or night clubbing. It’s the kind of watch you buy and keep for the rest of your life. The iconic Tudor snowflake hands are unlike any other brand. It’s more than a watch to me. – Rick D.
Model: Black Bay Blue
Model #: 79220B
Movement: Swiss ETA 2824
WR:200 Meter / 660 Feet
If you’re a watch guy like myself, you’ll want a quality timepiece that is rugged, dependable and looks bad-ass. For that, I recommend NFW Watches. A watch is an ultimate way to finish off your look. I own both the Auto Pilot and Valor from NFW and they are nothing short of rugged, dependable and bad-ass. NFW is a smaller American owned and operated business with a great reputation and mission statement. My choice for a day to day watch is the NFW Valor.
Everything from the price point to the build quality and ease of maintenance makes this a no-brainer for me. I can swap out the straps easily and quickly depending on the occasion. If I’m needing to class it up a bit I’ll roll with either the metal band or brown leather band. If I’m going outdoors, then I’ll opt for the nylon nato-style band. The Valor uses screw-bars instead of the more popular spring pins, making the watch that much more durable. Combine that with the Sapphire crystal and stainless steel body and you have an affordable watch with features found on more expensive luxury watches.
For each Valor watch sold, NFW donates $50 to Honor Flight, helping to fly WWII Veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the monuments and treat these aging Heroes like kings. We’re honored to help raise funds & awareness for such an outstanding organization!
Like many trigger-pullers past and present, I’m a firm believer that there is a hammer for every nail and a tool for every task. While my old standby (a Suunto Observer) has been relegated to “church watch”, my current go-to for hard use is a Garmin Tactix Charlie. Being feature-rich, the Tactix Charlie is a whole bundle of problem-solving. Time, chronometer, altimeter, GPS, maps, exercise programs, barometers and even a HALO jumpmaster mode. You can even customize the watch face and background.
For durability, the Tactix Charlie combined sapphire crystal, titanium and fiber-reinforced polymer for a massively tough package. It is even water-resistant down to 100 meters, so it will measure your heart rate long after the Kraken drags you down to the inky depths.
Just don’t ask about battery life if seeing low % readings stress you out. – Rex N.
Watches are a necessity in life, in the field, and they are a timeless piece (no pun intended) of style that men and women wear. I like the simple old school watches. I’m not really a believer in digital watches because batteries come into play, so I received a brand new Invicta Pro Diver 23696 for the commissioning of my ship back when I was in the Navy. It was with me my final year in the Navy and has been with me on countless operations as a private military contractor. I tend to keep my Bulova at home when I am away for work as it has a special meaning to me and in fact, it usually sits in my safe 75% of the time because It only has a water resistance rating of 100m. The Invicta Pro Diver has a resistance rating of 200m and in all honesty, this watch has been beat up. Whether I was on a ship or am on an operation it has been hit on walls, metal bulkheads, fast attack vessels, propellers, guns, I mean you name it its been hit on it due to its size of 50mm, it still hasn’t lost time nor does it even have a scratch on it. I wouldn’t change it out for the world though. It has never let me down.
Brand new it has a price tag of $459 which is steep for a “Rolex Knockoff” (the reason people don’t really like Invicta) but now a days you can get them for as cheap as $150 online. Well worth it. They are made of stainless steel so if you don’t like heavier watches this probably isn’t the watch for you. The crystal face is flame fused for extra durability. The band is made of polyurethane and stainless steel so it fits the wrist snug but is still flexible and comfortable. It has “night lights” for deep sea dives or for low light operations which is handy. With Invicta, I wouldn’t recommend other designs because I have heard mixed reviews but so far for the couple years I have had it, I don’t have one complaint. What watches do you wear in the field or just regular day to day life? – AJ
The problem was apparent when I was ordering a foam insert for the top drawer of my dresser. Cutting out slots to organize a collection of watches and knives. I’ve had a watch thing for a long time. Hey, my mother is Swiss so I blame her for my love of watches, pocket knives, cheese and chocolate. Although wearing a timepiece is quickly becoming disfavored you will rarely find me without one on. I gravitate towards the classic over engineered dive watches. However, picking just one is tough when I open that top drawer in the morning. It’s like peering through the glass at an ice cream shop. Lately, the flavor I’ve been selecting is the Kauffman model from Resco Instruments. Resco, a newer American company, designs, assembles and tests their watches in Coronado, CA. With their flair for the dive watch and geographic location, it shouldn’t be too hard to connect the dots. It has Navy SEAL written all over it.
Sculpted from Bead Blasted 316L Stainless Steel, the rugged 44mm case is rated to 200 meters. I spec’d the ETA2824 Automatic Movement over the Quartz movement mainly for nostalgic reasons. My other “Automatics” are a Breitling Super Avenger and a Supermarine from Bremont. Those watches are amazing yet almost too nice to wear daily. The Resco Kauffman fits nicely into that “daily driver” price point. It arrives from Resco HQ in a nice sealed UK hard case that can store additional watch bands and tools. With a healthy selection of accessory bands, one can easily change the entire character of the watch. Resco also allows the buyer to select different dial colors as well as hands and case finishes.
So for now, it’s the Resco Instruments Kauffman. My name is Erik…and I have a watch addiction…
*Featured photo courtesy of Resco Instruments Facebook page