And Now, We Present 24 Watches For 24 Hours
Every man—no matter how simple or powerful—has exactly 24 hours in every day of his life, but how many have a face to wear on their wrist for each hour? Are there actually 24 watches that are worth wearing in this world? Esquire answers the hard questions.
The Rolex Explorer
For winners, closers, and doers, 5 a.m. is rising time—meaning, it’s no time for nonsense. You don’t need complications, you don’t need the date, you just need a clean dial to tell you the time—and nothing more. You need something you can take into the shower and that will take you through the day and into the night, that will shine through the beatings and the scratchings that you’re ready to take—and that will look better than you ten years from now.
The Apple Watch
Sacrilege! Watch purists will say, but remember when they said that about horseless carriages and computers? 6 a.m., the first real hour of the day, is not for Cassandras dwelling on an inevitably dismal future; it’s for the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes who must have whatever everybody else wants, whatever it is, and even if it’s one more thing that we’re going to outlive in a year or two. But there’s nothing wrong about that, especially when you’re looking at your heartrate, your schedule, your messages, and the weather, all at the same time, at 6 in the morning. It’s all about the present!
The Breitling Navitimer
Nothing says “I’m busy” like having one of the busiest-looking watches on the planet. But somehow, Breitling makes busy look incredibly beautiful and sensible and powerful all at the same time—which is exactly how you want to look at 7 a.m.—if not to your companion from the night before, then to your lonely self. And at this hour of the day, it’s the self that still looms largest on the horizon. Match that with a classic watch that is designed to loom large on the wrist.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava
“You never really own a Patek Philippe”—so that incredibly aspirational ad campaign for Patek Philippe goes—that’s because you’ll never be able to afford one. Unless you’re one of those guys in the ad, that is, and by that we don’t mean the model who had to take model pay to play a rich man or women who, at 8 a.m., has just risen from bed and actually has time to show their offspring what the latter is going to inherit one day. We mean the actual rich person who at 8 a.m. sees the Patek Philippe ad in his butler’s copy of Esquire and thinks to himself: “I think I’ll actually own one of these beautiful watches today.”
The Rolex Datejust
By 9 a.m. there’s really no time for the self anymore. No time for self-reflection, no time for even for selfies—unless you count that watch-and-steering wheel shot people in watch forums love to take. Which is why the Rolex Datejust I (36mm diameter) or Datejust II (41mm diameter) is the perfect timepiece for this time of the day: you’re running late, but you have just enough time to step on the brakes and smell the roses. Or the smog.
The Seiko 5
Mid-morning is the best time to think of your mid-career—whichever side of this landmark you may be on—and this is just the right watch to help you pause, and keep you going. The venerable Seiko 5 was created all of 55 years ago as a sub-brand of Japanese watchmaker Seiko, bringing together five principal attributes: “Diaflex,” or an unbreakable mainspring; “Diashock,” or a shock-resistant design; an automatic movement; a day/date indicator; and water resistance. But the most enduring attribute of the Seiko 5 has been its surprising affordability, which makes it desirable for beginning and mature watch enthusiasts alike. Which is why it’s perfect for mid-career: you’re already quite the expert, but you’re still a good bargain for headhunters and CEOs.
At eleven a.m., all bets are off: either you’ve charted a good course for the rest of your productive hours, or it’s all downhill from here. The tenor of your day, after all, relies not just on a good sense of time, but a good sense of place as well. This is the butterfly hour that will determine the strength of the typhoon that you will be in life, the crucial moment that will decide all further moments in time. But while we contemplate all that, let’s do all those things you can’t do on a wristwatch and check out Facebook and Instagram and stalk our friends whose lives we envy—surely there’s still some time, right?
The Rolex Submariner
The middle of the day deserves a watch you can comfortably wear and rely on in the middle of a wide range of things: a wedding party, a painful divorce, the ocean. The Rolex Submariner, over its many iterations and editions, has been both starting point and holy grail for many collectors, and is probably the only diver’s watch (aside from the Seiko Diver, which exists in its own category) that won’t make non-divers feel like they’re faking it. In fact, they all probably feel they’ve made it.
The Casio G-Shock
What time is it? Time to go back to work—never mind that your official lunch break is still not over. You’re hungry, you’re ambitious, you’re willing to go the extra mile and do the extra thing. That’s because you can be dragged through mud and rocks and steel filings and still tell perfect time, mostly because you run on solar power and you’re made of stainless steel and super-powered rubber.
The Solar Powered Casio Data Bank
Two p.m. meetings are for serious business because they can go as long and as far as the participants want to take them: into the late afternoon, into the evening, and into the end of time if they really want to earn their salaries or accomplish earth-shaking things. That’s why you want to walk into these meetings with one of these babies on your wrist—not only does it run on the almost everlasting power of the sun, there’s a zillion things you can do on this thing (except speed up the time).
The Swatch Sistem51
They say the three o’clock hour is the perfect time for reflection—it’s right in the lull between lunch and dinner. Let’s reflect on our brazen materialism and our irrational desire for obtaining the best examples of man’s pursuit for mechanical excellence. Let’s ask forgiveness for our past and future sins by thinking about the simplicity and beauty of the Swatch Sistem 51—hermetically sealed, completely manufactured by machines, and with a movement composed of only 51 parts, all for a guilt-free price. Amen. Now let’s move on to the heavy stuff!
The Rolex Daytona
It’s 4 p.m. somewhere in the world at any hour, and you can also bet that someone somewhere is always checking out the beautiful balancing act between form and function on their wrist, epitomized by the classic watch that every kid thought he wanted until they saw the price tag and how long the waiting line was. But we’ll tell you it’s all worth the wait: a Paul Newman Reference 6263 sold for P22.2 million at a very recent auction “The Well-Appointed Life.” Heads up, though—that kid’s now CEO and he still wants it and he’s way ahead of you on that waiting line.
The Seiko Cocktail Time
The original Seiko “Cocktail Time,” was a nickname applied to the SARB065 (“Cool”), SARB066 (“Dry”), and SARB068 (“Sweet”) variants, all designed alongside famous Japanese bartender Ishigaki Shinobu in 2010. Built around a high-spec 6R15 automatic movement, the watches became an instant classic—not only because they looked gorgeous on any male wrist, but also because they were extremely well-made, very affordable, and—as with many Seiko variants—a bit of a challenge to obtain. Which, by the way, should also be the guidelines to be followed when choosing one’s go-to cocktail.
The Seiko Diver
While we’re at it, let’s talk about the Seiko Diver, arguably the watch that made Seiko one of the widest-selling, and at the same time most sought-after, watch brands in history—a distinction shared only with Swiss giant Rolex. While divers’ watches are important in a manufacturer’s portfolio because they represent the most basic aspects of robustness—water resistance and all its associated protective features—most of the working world probably wears them on desk diving expeditions while drowning in work, not water. But as you sink into your overtime hours, wear your Seiko with pride: the Diver also represents what the watch world outside Switzerland can accomplish, without all the mystique and highfalutin history.
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut
The day’s done—for most of humanity, that is. As for you, dear gamechanger, changemaker, thoughtleader, or whatever coined term they like to use these days, you’re just winding up for the evening, when the real action happens. And by action we mean drawing thought diagrams on cocktail napkins or illustrating monetization models in the air with your bare hands. But—hold that gesture—your hands aren’t really empty when you’ve got one of these elusive juggernauts on your wrist. In fact, you’ll give the impression that you’ve got the very world within your reach.
The Glaschütte Original Senator Diary
If by 8 p.m. you’re still out and about doing your business, then you’re a rare breed. Which makes you the perfect candidate for the rare and beautiful Senator, which, despite its name, easily wins the support of even the most jaded watch watchers in the democratic world. The Senator Diary, for example, carries the incredible ability to allow you to set an alarm up to 31 days into the future—without the use of Siri or Google Assistant or even your own personal assistant. And if anyone dares ask you why you need this or what else your watch can do for you, simply tell them to ask themselves what they can do for the country.
The Omega Speedmaster
Take a look out your window or above you; or, if you happen to be an astronaut on a lunar mission, take a look underfoot: there the moon is, as it always will be, at this time of the night. The Speedy has always been commonly known as “the moonwatch” by many, although some will like to point out that the epithet should really only stand for the 145.012 or the 105.012, since these calibers were the ones used for the Apollo missions. But really, enjoy the Speedy, whichever you have or wish to have, and let’s leave the nitpickers to worry about the difference between straight lugs and twisted lugs, and between the “reduced” size and the Pro— a Speedy is a Speedy, just as the moon is the moon: it can come in a thousand different colors and sizes, but it’s always lovely to look at.
The Cartier Tank
Reserve this hour for classic late pursuits—the night drive, the after-dinner cocktail, the last kiss or three before you leave. And if you can, reserve your wrist for this classic grace—the Cartier Tank, one of the most exquisitely designed rectangular watches ever designed, especially in its most basic and faithful form: the Louis Cartier Tank in solid gold, which bears the very name of the founder of the venerable French brand. But don’t fret—if you don’t feel as rich as you think you should, opt for the XL in stainless steel, which may still cost a bit but is considerably less expensive. Like any eleventh-hour impulse, or another last kiss, you think you might regret it, but you never ever will.
The Baselworld Highlights
Insomniacs rejoice—the internet was invented by you, for you, and it is largely populated by people just like you. Use this humanity-ending invention wisely by channeling your nocturnal malady toward pursuits more productive than checking on one’s exes and “researching” porn: looking up the highlights at the most recent or the forthcoming Baselworld, the world’s most exciting watch and jewelry tradeshow. Held every springtime in Basel, Switzerland, Baselworld has gathered hundreds of watch brands from scores of countries all over the world (for exactly 100 years this year), attracting buyers, fans, and media alike. You’ll drool, you’ll ache, and you’ll stay awake wondering how they’ve managed to stuff those watches with those mindblowing complications—and really, why they set out to do it in the first place. But that question has no place here, or anywhere on the internet.
The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso
Janus, the Roman god of portals, passages, and transitions, is classically depicted as having two faces: one looking to the future and the other looking at the past. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso similarly bears two faces—one that elegantly tells the time in an iconic rectangular case, and another that can variously be a protective metal panel, or another dial displaying a second timezone (powered by the same movement—of course), with a number of variations and complications in between. Day and night, past and future, two sides of the watch—the stroke of midnight is the right moment for appreciating both instances, and dwelling in both, equally well.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
When you find yourself a bit uncomfortably too much over the median age at a hot club at this hour, be sure you’re wearing enough arm candy to look like you own the place—or could own it if you actually felt like exerting more effort than simply looking good. Because the Gerald Genta-designed AP RO will make you look really good, no matter how uncomfortably overaged you are, even at this most uncomfortable hour.
The Breguet Classique
This is the hour you make silly promises to yourself or to your significant (or insignificant) other about life, love, and various longings still left in you at 2 a.m. on a working day. But for people like you, every hour is a working hour—which is to say every hour works for you and your desires. This is why you’ll appreciate a timepiece that is both hardworking and dreamy, holding within its precious spotlight of a dial the iconic open-tipped hands and graceful Arabic numerals that instantly communicate taste, opulence, and the exact time—no matter what dreamy hour it is
The computer clock
This is the hour reserved for stalkers, gawkers and trolls—and for the rest of us productive sentinels and silent workers, poring over figures and reports, slaving over marketing plans, manuscripts, music scores, or whatever masterpiece we’re working on to assure our immortality. The computer desktop clock, thoughtfully tucked into a corner of the screen, taunting us with the march of irrefutable, atomic, and universal time, is our witness, our solace, and our terror.
The Richard Mille
It’s four a.m. and nobody’s watching, nobody’s judging. So break out the real stuff from back of the winder in the back of your vault. You know what we mean. We’re talking your most criminal folly, your fugliest safe queen, your most embarrassing investment—in other words the watch ridiculed and dismissed only by those who don’t possess them. (That’s still a lot of fucking people.) If you actually don’t own anything like it—or any of the other watches mentioned in this list for that matter—that’s OK. It’s only four a.m. and it’s perfectly OK to dream.