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By Mike Conklin / June 17, 2019 9:55 am

It’s easy to forget that a watch could be so much more than just a timepiece or something that looks good on your wrist. Watches, in many ways, are the original heritage brands, the ones we covet and obsess over unlike, say, a pair of boots or a blazer from some company that once suited generations of Ivy Leaguers. We know the names: Tudor, Omega, Rolex. We read the blogs and follow the Instagram accounts. But there’s something deeper about a truly great timepiece than we might give it credit for. Something we often forget. Thanks to Aaron Sigmond, Mark Bernardo, and their new book, Sea Time: Watches Inspired by Sailing, Yachting, and Diving, we’re reminded that watches are also often necessary instruments for an adventure.

With close to 250 pages of old advertisements, as well as interviews and the history of “The Icons” (aka the most famous dive watches ever made), Sigmond and Bernardo have crafted a book that is both beautiful to look at, as well as a fascinating way to look at the part watches have played in so many classic stories at sea.

One of the striking things about the book is the advertisements. Rolex using James Bond, for instance. The world’s most famous secret agent’s creator, Ian Fleming, wore a Rolex Explorer, so naturally, so did his creation. This is true in the books as well as the films: Sean Connery’s 007 typically favored a Rolex Submariner, something the company obviously had no issue promoting.

The Doxa Sub 300, which made its first appearance in 1967, also shows up in the book. The Swiss watch’s stainless steel bracelet, known as the “beads of rice” style, looks beautiful stuck in the ice. It’s the kind of watch an explorer could wear in the Arctic or an admiral could wear aboard his ship. This juxtaposition of ads alongside pictures of the watches and the people who wear them look great, sure. But what’s most important is that Sea Time shows that these incredible-looking things that tell time can also add to the experience, and that, yes, they almost always look cool as hell.

(Rizzoli USA)

Of course, it’s still the watches that take center stage. You get a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Rolex Submariner, Panerai Luminor and Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph, a perfect mix that makes Sea Time the first watch book we’ve seen in 2019 that you definitely need to have on your shelf or coffee table.