Before I get started, I’d like to mention Vincent Deschamps’ Why Everyone Needs an Everyday Watch. It’s a great article detailing the concept of an everyday watch, some good examples, and Vincent’s thoughts on the matter. As he mentions, the concept is highly personal. For some people, an everyday watch is a Timex Weekender. For others, it’s a Hublot Tutti Frutti. If you’re a watch enthusiast, you might just wear 5 different watches a day. As such, I’d like to share my viewpoint of the everyday watch. Hearing multiple perspectives might help you make the right decision.
What to consider
For me, an everyday watch is versatile and understated. If I’m wearing it every day, I want it to go with everything: every outfit, every setting, and every condition. Usually, this calls for simple colors on a simple layout. Legibility isn’t just for divers and pilots – I want to be able to read my watch. In terms of technical specs -- again -- I’m looking for versatility. Put simply, I don’t want to worry about my everyday watch. I don’t want to set the time every day, worry about the rain, or look at unsightly scratches on the crystal. As such, my everyday watch should have at least 40 hours of power reserve, 100 meters of water resistance, and preferably, a sapphire crystal. So yes – I’m picky. The good news is most modern watches will abide by these constraints.
Watch dimensions are relative to the individual. I recommend trying on as many watches as you can, paying attention to three variables: case diameter, case thickness, and lug-to-lug (length of the watch case excluding the bracelet/strap). If you try on five different 40mm watches, one will feel better than the rest. Still, you shouldn't get caught up in the numbers. Plenty of variables aren’t easily quantified, and they can make or break a watch: curved lugs, color/texture contrast, or just comfort, to name a few. With these things in mind, try on every watch you can. Pictures can only do so much.
Rolex Explorer I
When I think ‘everyday watch’, I think Rolex Explorer I. It’s a timeless look: black, white, and steel. This is undoubtedly one of the most handsome watches on the market. It’s easy to read, tough as nails, and modestly sized. If you’re willing to buy used, or guinea pig Rolex’s new certified pre-owned (CPO) program, you have two sizes to choose from: 36mm and 39mm. You can’t go wrong with an Explorer I as your everyday watch. It looks good in every setting. If you want to dress it up or down, consider putting it on a rubber or leather strap. Everest tailor-fits these straps specifically for Rolex Explorer.
Another great everyday pick is the Tudor Ranger. This is a no-frills tool watch from one of the industry’s most respected brands. There are a few references to choose from, but I recommend the most up-to-date Ref. 79950. The case is 39mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, and 12mm thick. . . fairly middle-of-the-road. The dial is incredibly straight forward, which I appreciate in an everyday piece. If you’re interested in the Tudor Ranger, and the role of watch legibility in today’s market, check out my last article: Watch Legibility and the Tudor Ranger.
Grand Seiko Evolution 9
Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 collection is massive. There are plenty of references, colors, and complications to choose from. However, the DNA of this watch serves itself to being a great everyday wear. They’re made from titanium – just as strong as steel, but just half the weight. Grand Seiko describes the Evolution 9 as having “precision, legibility, and beauty”. It’s a bit dressier than a Ranger or Explorer, but it’s versatile enough to be worn on most occasions. My one piece of advice – if you’re buying a Grand Seiko, get a Spring Drive movement. It’s one of the most precise mechanical movements ever made, not to mention its perfectly smooth sweeping seconds. The Evolution 9 collection has a number of standout everyday watches. Remember -- those without complications or a GMT hand will be thinner.
At the end of the day, you should wear what you like. Consider these watches not as recommendations, but as starting points. Which features do you like? Which do you dislike? Your perfect everyday watch is specific to you. Choosing the right one is just a matter of trial and error. What's your current everyday watch?