These days, watch brands like to boast about the durability of their products in an effort to capture the hearts of prospective buyers. While a great deal of this does in fact revolve around marketing hyperbole, there are a few watches that actually do stand out in this category. Unfortunately, this can cause a lot of confusion when it comes to purchasing something durable and in the “luxury” space, there’s even more to consider. So let’s look at four tough luxury watches that have more than just good looks and a hefty price tag on their side.
After receiving its most recent refresh at Baselworld 2017, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is now front and center again. Its origins can be traced back to 1967 when a new Submariner was developed for the Comex S.A. industrial deep-sea diving company. The newest version can really handle anything you throw at it thanks to its chunky 904L steel case, Cerachrom bezel, and 4,000 feet of water resistance. In some ways, the Sea-Dweller’s utility is often shadowed by the element of luxury behind its name. But, we should never forget that this is one of the toughest and most capable tool watches ever created.
Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Full Magic Gold
Hublot isn’t exactly the first name you think of when the rugged watch discussion comes up but a recent development of theirs should be considered. It’s Hublot’s proprietary magic gold – a stand-out feature found on the Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Full Magic Gold. Because it clocks in at around 1,000 Vickers, Magic Gold is extremely scratch resistant, something gold watches usually have an issue with. Therefore, this is a watch that stands for more than just luxurious looks and falls more on the side of practicality and durability.
Like a lot of other brands that had to readjust their marketing positions after the Quartz Crisis, Panerai overtly ties their name to the idea of luxury. Their latest and most popular models can be seen as a bit flashy but the Submersible and (all of its most recent variations) stands out as a strong contender in this category. Additionally, Panerai now offers a smaller, 42mm version which is more appropriate for a range of situations and environments. Its burly case, tough rubber strap, and beefy crown guard all make for a significant attempt at true durability (something I’d love to test).
IWC Big Pilot
With origins tracing back to an actual World War, the IWC Big Pilot is another watch that walks a fine line between tough tool and luxury status symbol. Its large case, robust movement, and simple design make for a watch that’s sure to survive a few tumbles here and there. Also, one can argue that the latest versions are a sign that IWC is respectfully going back to their roots and incorporating more of a practical design aesthetic. So whether you’re tackling another glitzy dinner party or doing barrel rolls in a Messerschmitt Me 309, something like an IWC Big Pilot will most definitely have you covered.