Hot Watch Summer: Five Fun Watches Available for Under $2,500
The season has produced a bumper crop of fun and affordable timepieces from Brew, Nomos, Rado, Seiko, and Zodiac.
We’re halfway through a sweltering summer, and while the humidity and heat may not be for everyone, we’re happy that 2022 has produced many cool watches that will perfectly suit your horological needs for the season.
From funky divers to cool travel timepieces, brands have released (or, in the case of our first watch, about to re-release) a whole slew of timepieces that bring joy to our wrists. And many of our favorites are also surprisingly affordable.
After all, when it comes to collecting watches, our mantra is to buy the best you can afford. And the following five timepieces represent excellent value proposition investments in style, precision, and robustness.
Brew Metric Retro Dial
There are many reasons why the Metric Retro Dial is an awesome summer watch. First, it’s lightweight (thanks to its Seiko-sourced Hybrid VK68 Mecha-Quartz Chronograph movement). It’s also slim (the stainless steel case measures 36mm x 41.5mm with a thickness of 10.75mm). And it has enough water resistance to deal with humidity (50m).
But best of all it’s not only stylish during the summer. Sure, the dial features pops of blue-green, orange, and yellow, but the matte black dial and unusual chronograph layout make it an attention grabber year-round. Plus, the 1970s sensibility of the Metric Retro Dial’s integrated bracelet and cushiony case also makes it incredibly comfortable to wear even after we switch from wearing loose linens to bulkier sweaters.
Seiko 5 Sports GMT
The Seiko 5 Sports GMT made waves when it hit the stores in July because it was the collection’s first-ever GMT calibre. After two years of travel constrictions, the timing couldn’t have been better. But even if you are still wary of travel, there is much to recommend about this trio of GMTs.
First, it is a great go-anywhere watch. The architecture of the dial, the stainless steel case, and the five-row bracelet all pay tribute to the fan-favorite Seiko SKX series. Second, three new executions are available in either black (SSK001), blue (SSK003), or orange (SSK005). The orange feels most appropriate for summer, and we’re not shy about color.
Other details make the Seiko 5 Sports GMT distinctive. On the orange version, for instance, the GMT hand is in black, and all of the hands are generously coated in Lumibrite to ensure legibility.
Moreover, the watch also has a rotating bi-color bezel to separate the night and day times at a glance. The bezel’s ring indicator is made of Seiko’s Hardlex glass to ensure extra durability. Plus, you gotta love the offset crown. And the whole thing is powered by a GMT caliber based on the workhorse Caliber 4R.
Then there’s the value proposition: The Seiko 5 Sports GMT costs just $475. That’s under $500 for a mechanical GMT.
NOMOS Glashütte Club Campus Deep Pink
Last April, NOMOS Glashütte launched two new colorways to its entry-level Club Campus collection. At the time, our favorite was the hot pink-dialed “Deep Pink” version. Months later, this watch still has legs.
In the summer months, we wish they all could be California dials. The Club Campus line features a subtle small seconds display at six o’clock. Meanwhile, the hour markers on the dial are expressed in a classic California configuration: Arabic numerals on the top half of the dial and Roman on the bottom.
The polished stainless steel case is available in either 36mm or 38.5mm, and the watch itself is powered by the manual-wind, in-house Alpha caliber with water resistance to 10 ATM (suitable for swimming), making it practically carefree. It comes on a grey suede strap. We would switch it out for a mesh bracelet for when the humidex soars and then back to the suede in the fall.
Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole
Perhaps the most luxurious world-timer in the under $2,500 range, the limited edition Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole delivers excellent vintage energy. Of course, Rado has a long but underrated history of innovating with materials (hello, ceramic) and design, and the latest iteration of the Over-Pole is no exception.
This Over-Pole has an almost dive-watch aesthetic, which makes it feel beachy. It is also svelte for a GMT at just 10.3mm in height (the stainless steel case measures 37mm in diameter). Additionally, the gradient grey dial is quite sophisticated, and its bi-directional bezel includes a polished black high-tech ceramic insert with names of cities laser engraved in a very readable silver shade.
For extra value and versatility, this world-timer comes with both a leather strap and stainless steel bracelet, so you only need to pack one watch for work trips and vacations.
Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver Titanium Limited Edition
Not only does this timepiece evoke nostalgia for endless summers of the past, but it also offers seafoam green lume on the hour hand and markers, a transparent bezel that’s tinted the same shade, and citrussy accents on the minute track and minute hand. And while the primary purpose of these touches is to ensure maximum legibility, they also look fantastic.
The materials and dimensions of this special edition also make the Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver easy and breezy to wear. The 42mm x 50mm x 14mm round titanium case doesn’t feel too bulky. At the same time, the metal is tough enough to take on any summer holiday adventure.
It is a premium piece. What keeps the price accessible is the fact that it is powered by a Swiss-made Sellita SW200-1 automatic caliber instead of an in-house movement. Still, Zodiac has skimped on very little with this watch; it even comes with a seven-link titanium bracelet with a butterfly deployant closure and an extra black fabric strap with orange trim.