My Five Favorite Work From Home Watches
Today, an entirely biased list of the watches that have captured my heart (and wrist) during quarantine.
Nearly a year has passed since the now infamous pre-quarantine slogan “Two Weeks To Flatten The Curve.” Throughout the lockdowns, partial reopenings, indoor/outdoor dining, and social distancing, watches remained a constant in this writer’s life since the fateful day of March 13, 2020, when the world stopped.
Except for the occasional office visit, Team Watchonista has been working from home for nearly a year. I’ll be honest, I’ve barely worn a watch during this time. These days, wearing one is a ceremonial reminder of a life pre-COVID. Like many of you, I took for granted the daily ritual of going into your watch box and choosing the appropriate timepiece to wear.
Why Wear A Watch At All?
These days, I find myself wearing a watch only when attending more formal zoom events or virtual happy hours. Working from home does have its benefits, though: A weekly shave, mullet attire (think dress shirt and pajama bottoms), and the opportunity to reconnect with the important things in life.
Remote work also tends to blur the lines of work and personal lives. Should I answer that email at 7:15 am pre-coffee? Sure, why not; it's not like I have to get ready for my commute. Did a pressing issue come up at 9 pm while watching 90 Day Fiancé? Sorry Vivi, I have to pause Season 8 to reply. Working from home has given us all the opportunity to re-examine time and what it means in our lives. That is why choosing the right timepiece to keep track of time during quarantine is as necessary as ever.
The Five Best Work From Home Watches
While a watch isn’t essential gear for a remote worker, a timepiece can provide solace during a day filled with Zoom meetings, Slack messages, and countless emails. During my time working remotely, there have been five go-to watches that I’ve relied upon to break the doldrums of a seemingly never-ending quarantine.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
One of my favorite quarantine buys must be my Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. I opted to pick up the Hesalite version, with the calibre 1861 movement, before its discontinuation earlier this year. At just a touch over $5,000, this 42mm chrono has been my go-to watch the past few months.
We’re all seeking escapism during these times, so why not escape with a watch that literally went to the Moon? It is by no means my first Speedmaster, but it might just be my most memorable. The watch arrived shortly before Chuck Yeager (my childhood hero) passed away, and today I wear it with pride. I am proud of the fact that it’s been the preferred watch of astronauts for a half-century and that it’s a purpose-built tool watch that can withstand the rigors of space. It should go without saying, but my quarantine is no match for this workhorse chronograph.
Funny enough, this Speedmaster was the third chronograph I purchased during quarantine. The first was the Oris Hölstein Edition Chronograph, and the second was the Yema Rallygraf Reverse Panda Chronograph. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve gravitated so heavily towards chronos. Perhaps it is because they are excellent for timing the occasional BBQ, and they help me keep track of the time I’ve spent in a Zoom meeting.
Oris is the type of watch brand you can have a beer with. Its old motto, “Real Watches For Real People,” is more company doctrine than a marketing slogan. Last year, Watchonista even managed to sit down with Oris’ top executives for a virtual AMA (and more than a few beers) to discuss the Calibre 400.
It is only fitting Oris is my preferred watch for virtual happy hours and the occasionally outdoor hike. And over the last year, I’ve had two essential Oris timepieces that I rely on to get through days filled with remote work and weekends in isolation.
The first piece, the Oris Aquis Staghorn Restoration Limited Edition, reminds me of better times and karaoke in the Florida Keys. While this particular Oris Aquis is my go-to watch for summer weather, it’s aptly suited for quarantine excursions and day hiking.
The second Oris piece that gets me through the monotonous days is the Big Crown Pointer Date in Bronze with a green dial. It’s the only Oris piece in my collection with a sapphire crystal caseback, and the dichotomy of admiring its patina while observing the movement provides me with an ample amount of pleasure as I work from home.
G-SHOCK Full Metal
Screen time is certainly a problem of remote work; we’ve never been more connected. From mobile phones to computer screens, our eyes rarely leave a piece of equipment with a liquid-crystal display (LCD). And while watch collectors typically shy away from connected/smartwatches, we’re big fans of everything G-SHOCK produces.
G-SHOCK’s Full Metal collection offers attractive technology that’s a departure from your everyday. The pieces are ultra-affordable and come in a variety of case colors, designs, and materials. Plus, the Full Metal is solar-powered, so charging it is as easy as placing the watch near your window. My personal favorite is the G-SHOCK Full Metal GMWB5000CS-1 Neo Grid.
One of the watches that I acquired pre-COVID but never took the time to appreciate fully is the uber-funky Bulova Computron. Inspired by the 1970s original, the new Computron has plenty of vintage vibes with modern finishing.
The watch has a super bright light-emitting diode (LED) display that reveals the time when activated by a pusher on the right side of the case. The Computron is perfect for those days when you don’t want to see the time but still want to wear a watch.
Another watch that I’ve started appreciating more during quarantine is the Rolex Explorer Ref. 214270. The first generation of the upsized Explorer model that went to Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary.
I acquired my Explorer in 2013, and it was one of the biggest catalysts that helped form my passion for watchmaking. The 39mm steel tool watch still wears as well as it did on the day I purchased it at a Duty-Free shop in St. Thomas.
The watch reminds me of the days when I could actually travel. It’s been everywhere from Ha Long Bay in Vietnam to a boardroom in London. It’s truly an everyday watch that feels just “at home” as I’ve been lately.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)