Picking out a stellar watch strap is as important (if not more so) as selecting the watch itself for reasons both ergonomic and aesthetic. As for us, we’re into NATO, and few are finer than Hodinkee’s Kangaroo NATO straps. These handsome straps are ethically sourced from Australia where there’s a bountiful Kangaroo leather, and are naturally far thinner than your run-of-the-mill calf leather bands, something we consider particularly important for these types of straps since, when worn, they’re folded over 3 times on themselves to tame the excess. Else, they’re 20mm wide, come in two colors (dark brown [shown] and black), are extremely durable, and won’t stretch out over time.
Preorder at Hodinkee – $85
Travelling with watches that merit a touch more protection than Hodinkee’s Waxed Canvas Rolls can offer? Their Leather Travel Tube should do nicely. Sourced from a small Italian artisan, each handcrafted tube features a solid brass buckle with roller bar to keep the tube shut, a soft insert around which to wrap your watches, and a plush lining to keep them nestled safely within your handbag or carry-on. The tube also holds up to four watches – contingent on their size – which should be more than enough to get you through even the longest of trips.
Order at Hodinkee – $250
As far as taking inspiration from one’s own historic timepieces for modern reinterpretation, Tudor’s long extinct Ranger wasn’t a bad place to start. Tudor’s modern Heritage Ranger is true to the original’s aesthetics but also boasts numerous modern touches including a larger 41mm case diameter, photoluminescent hands, a self-winding calibre 2824 movement, domed sapphire crystal, choice of four straps, including a camo fabric bracelet (shown), and waterproofing to 500 feet. Sure, it’ll cost you, albeit far less than any of their parent company’s comparable models sporting a Rolex badge.
Check it out at Tudor – roughly $3,000+
While it’s not quite ready for prime-time just yet, Android is officially on its way back to occupy a spot on your wrist (what with Samsung’s departure to a proprietary OS with the Gear Fit) with Android Wear. This watch-adapted extension of Android brings with it a wealth of functionality – but mainly convenience – to touch screen-enabled wrist-bound devices, including (predictably) fitness tracking, voice commanded search and messaging, calendar access, updates and notifications, control of your other devices’ music and movie players, and much more. The specific hardware Google’s partners will pump out remains to be seen, but at least one model is confirmed in their video - the stunning Moto 360 (shown).
True wooden watches are few and far between, but even fewer are those that really cast a lasting impression. Element24′s timepieces do it for us with their simple, minimal faces, chimeric stainless steel and wood casings, and comfortable, conforming cord-based straps associated to custom clasps, but they’re not pushovers functionally speaking, either. Five ATM of water resistance (approximately 165 feet) and a lacquer finish means both wood and mechanism – Miyota, by the way – are ready to take on the adversities of everyday life.
Choose between maple and walnut at Kickstarter - roughly $280
Smart watches and fitness trackers are two distinct wrist-borne devices that have – against all logic – so far been mutually exclusive. At least until yesterday when Samsung consolidated the two to craft their sleekest smart watch yet, the Gear Fit. Equipped with a curved 1.84-inch Super AMOLED display, the Fit packs a water resistant casing, heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and gyro, the combination of which is the key to its fitness and sleep tracking features. Of course, it’s also prepared to update you of any incoming calls or SMS messages, upcoming appointments, emails, and grant media player control like any good smart watch would, all via Bluetooth 4.0. Unfortunately, though, the Gear Fit is only compatible with Samsung phones, so iOS users will have to anticipate Apple’s retort.
Learn more at Samsung – $TBA
Fitness monitors in the form of watches fit right in with brightly colored runners and ostentatious spandex, a drawback for anyone looking for a low key tracker fit for everyday wear. Not Wellograph. This fitness tracker packs a 9-axis motion sensor and tri-LED heart rate monitor wrapped up in a sleek form factor that’s all stainless steel, aluminum and sapphire crystal. Furthermore, unlike its competitors, Wellograph is a standalone unit not reliant on syncing, instead displaying stats in graph form on its 1.26-inch low-power illuminated LCD (though integrated Bluetooth 4.0 LE lets it do so using its dedicated smartphone app). Practicality isn’t lacking, either, with 2 weeks of battery life while tracking – or 3 months in watch-only mode – and comfortable straps of either the NATO or leather variety.
Arriving in Spring. Read more at Wellograph – $320
The need for a mechanism to secure a watch band to a wrist unnecessarily adds bulk and discomfort, if but a little. Void consolidates this function within the watch’s Grilamid case, greatly simplifying the nylon strap by removing from it all hardware but a silicone fitting loop to tame the excess and allows for a precise fit, unrestrained by holes. Sond is also waterproof to 100 feet, boasts a 2 year battery that’s easily accessible and replaceable using nothing but a coin, and is offered in 8 colors that can be mixed and matched in over 500 combinations.
Check out the full lineup at Void – $95
A single glance at the face of this timepiece and you’d never guess that within lies a Swiss movement with 4 hands and date, mostly unutilized. But the guys at Slow Jo Watches have unconventional goals. Named after the speed at which the lone hand makes its way across the 24 hour dial, Slow Jo give you a fresh, linear view of each day, with no minutes or seconds to add stress to your already hectic life. Each watch is also built within a durable, elegantly symmetrical stainless steel case, fitted with a K1 hardened raised mineral glass, water resistant to 100 meters, and devoid of any logo – it’s instead on the case back – a thoughtful, minimal touch.
Time flies, there’s no denying that. Skreksto aims to make us more conscious of the temporal flow with Durr, a colorful set of watch-like bracelets that don’t tell the time per se but rather markedly shiver every 5 minutes. While Durr’s vibration interval is precise, our brains’ perception of it differ greatly, seemingly slowing or accelerating the passing of time depending on how much we’re enjoying whatever we’re up to. In any event, we could all stand to be a bit more mindful, especially when it comes to the one resource that truly is fleeting.
Grab one at Skreksto – $120