The Perfect Watch for Every Occasion

From black-tie wedding to deep ocean scuba dive, we have your timepiece

By The Editors
March 18, 2016 9:00 am

It has been said that different times call for different measures.

Say your best bud’s getting married. Or you’re tear-assing down a mountain-bike trail. Or you’re on a puddle jumper to somewhere with lots of mosquitoes and not a lot of Wi-Fi.

Whatever the case, you want to do this watch thing right.

Herein, we’ve teamed with luxury watch purveyor Eleven James to help you find the perfect ticker for six very different occasions.

Eleven James is an annual membership club that gives you unrivaled access to the world’s greatest luxury watches. Join and you get to wear 3-6 watches a year from their expertly curated collections. Wear one for a few months, send it back and get another one.

Now here’s how you choose the right one. For the right occasion.

Written by Ed Estlow
Photography by Jesse Untracht-Oakner
Set Styling by Melissa Bateson


JUO Photo

For Your 9-to-5

The best formula for getting ahead is to get noticed (doing good things, of course). You’ve got to stick out from the “sea of sameness” that afflicts the masses. And the office is arguably the biggest sea of sameness you will ever encounter. So kick it up a few notches over your cubemates. Forget the khakis and polo shirt. Try a nice cotton dress shirt, decent slacks and Italian loafers.

And for your wrist? The IWC Portugieser Automatic 7 Day (rose gold, white dial, brown leather). The 42mm automatic Portugieser has the look of a chronograph, but those sub-dials are really running seconds at nine o’clock and power reserve at three. The date’s tucked in at six for good measure.

Maybe the best news here is the eight-day power reserve. No problem leaving this one on the night stand for a long weekend. It’ll be ticking away just fine when you get back.


Jesse Untracht-Oakner

For Your Cuttin’ Out Early on Friday

Nomos is the new darling of the watch industry these days. Ultra simplistic in its Bauhaus design vibe, the brand has models for going casual or elegant, weekend drive along the Blue Ridge or flying international.

We’ve picked the Nomos Club (Sapphire Crystal Back, Black Dial, Black Leather) as your go-to work-to-weekender. The Club is more readable than most, with high contrast white hands against a black dial. Discrete small seconds and a date window are located at six o’clock. It’s all mounted on a handsome black leather strap.

The Nomos Club is equally at home during Friday night happy hours, Saturday night dinner-and-a-movies or a Sunday afternoon double-header with your pals. Mind the nacho cheese.


Jesse Untracht-Oakner

For Your Long-Haul Flights and the Adventures That Follow

What better watch to accompany you on your next intercontinental jaunt than a watch designed expressly for the pilots directing those jaunts? The Rolex GMT-Master “Pepsi” (Vintage) (late ’60s) is the result of a collaboration between Pan American World Airways (RIP) and Rolex so PanAm’s pilots wouldn’t screw up their sleep schedules.

The particular watch we’ve selected was made in the late 1960s. It features a fourth hand to indicate hours on a 24-hour scale. Said scale is located on the outer red and blue (Pepsi) bezel, which rotates as needed to show a second time zone. The red and blue colors correspond approximately to a day-night schedule so you don’t accidentally call home for a money wire when it’s 3:00 a.m. there.

(Bonus — if you ever run across an old guy who’s only worn one watch for the last 40 or 50 years, it’s a fair bet that watch is the Rolex GMT-Master.)


Jesse Untracht-Oakner

For Your Best Friend’s Wedding (or Any Black Tie Event)

Don’t mess it up for the guy who saved your ass that one weekend in Nacogdoches. Strap on the Patek Philippe Nautilus Moonphase 5712G and you’re sitting pretty. The Nautilus series literally sprang from the pen of famed watch designer Gerald Genta to a borrowed piece of paper in a restaurant in Basel, Switzerland, one day in the early 1970s. The story is as legendary as Genta himself.

The Moonphase version we’ve picked comes in white gold and features a power reserve indicator and a date complication to go with the moon phase. Strapped on with black crocodile leather and a deployant clasp, the Nautilus pairs perfectly with an evening shirt, black tie and tux, and will look exactly right peeking out from the cuff.

The bow tie lessons are on you.


Jesse Untracht-Oakner

For Your Outdoor Sporting Adventures

If your idea of sports is knocking off another leg of the Appalachian Trail, bagging a “Fourteener” in Colorado or wreck diving off the Florida Keys, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial Chronograph is your buoy.

The Planet Ocean chrono features running seconds on the sub-dial at nine o’clock, center chronograph seconds and a chronograph sub-dial at three o’clock that reads elapsed minutes and hours like a regular watch. (Pro tip: reading it that way is much easier than figuring it out via separate hour and minute sub-dials.)

The best part is this watch is tough as nails. It’ll be fine at diving depths that’ll make you go light-headed and take all the blows a free climb on the Half Dome can muster.


Jesse Untracht-Oakner

For Your Serious Diving Conquests

If SCUBA diving is really your thing, you probably have a dive computer or two. But as the Navy SEALs say, “Two is one and one is none.” You need a solid, dedicated dive watch as a back-up to the electronics. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Boutique Edition Red Scuba is that back-up.

The Royal Oak series of Audemars Piguet is the second Gerald Genta-designed series on our list. Also originating in the 1970s, the Royal Oak line has branched like a tree and the Offshore Red SCUBA is the best dive example of the line. It’s a super readable three-hander with an internal rotating bezel operated by a separate crown at ten o’clock.

Strap it on with the dedicated rubber strap and deployant clasp. Shoot — it even looks great at the beach bar after your second dive of the day. Extra points if you match your trunks to the red bezel.