You know what? You’re working too hard.
Here at Bob’s Watches, we’re officially giving you permission to take yourself off on a well-deserved vacation. Time to recharge, soak up a few rays on some golden sands and swim in a clear blue ocean.
Of course, you’ll still need to know when it hits margarita-o’clock, so going equipped with a beautiful and reliable timepiece is non-negotiable. A watch sealed against all the summer holiday elements that look as good whether you’re lounging in shorts poolside or enjoying a long leisurely lunch in casual wear.
Below, we’ve picked out a selection of perfect watches to leave your wrist with an enviable, a Summer Rolex tan line.
Summer Rolex: Yacht-Master 116655
First off, we have the watch that sums up the perfect luxury lifestyle. The Yacht-Master debuted in the early nineties and occupies that rarely trod the middle ground between the tool-like hardiness of the Submariner and the out and out dressiness of the Datejust. It’s an effortlessly stylish watch for those at home in the most exclusive places.
For 2015, Rolex released the ref. 116655, a truly stunning example in Everose, their own proprietary alloy of 18k gold, blended with copper to add a pinkish hue, and finished off with a dash of platinum to ensure it stays that way. It’s the first Yacht-Master with a black dial and, coupled with a matt black Cerachrom bezel and raised, glossy markings, it leaves the watch with a discreet, stealth-like appearance.
But it’s the bracelet that stands the 116655 apart from, well, almost every other Rolex you can buy. The first, and up until the most recent Daytonas emerged this year, only watch in the lineup to feature a rubber strap, the Oysterflex bracelet marks a massive departure for Rolex and takes the Yacht-Master’s luxurious aspirations in a new, sporty direction.
Of course, this being Rolex, describing the Oysterflex as just a rubber strap is a touch disingenuous. At its core is a titanium and nickel ‘blade’, housed inside a high-performance elastomer, which gives it the durability of a metal bracelet with a beautiful suppleness and comfort. Secured with the Oysterlock safety clasp to prevent from accidental opening even in the throes of a regatta, the bracelet is also cushioned to help with ventilation and to keep it stabilized on your wrist.
The Yacht-Master ref 116655 is an understated masterpiece and, as an example of a watch that would be a perfect wear for those long summer days, it’s hard to beat.
Sandy Beaches: Submariner 116613LB
A Submariner was always going to show up on this list somewhere. They are and have always been, the watch to suit every occasion. Choosing a particular model from across a sixty-year lifespan, however, presents something of a challenge. But, as problems go, it’s not a bad one to have.
For the maximum versatility, assuming your much-needed vacation is going to see you splitting your time between beach, bar and restaurant, the two-tone coloring of the ref. 116613LB makes a perfect go-to.
Known affectionately as the ‘Bluesy’, its 40mm Oyster case is made from Rolex’s own Rolesor, a combination of 18k yellow gold and impossibly tough 904L steel. The blend gives the watch the best of both worlds; masculine enough to not look out of place over a wetsuit and eye-catching without being flashy.
The flat blue of the Cerachrom bezel surrounds a sunburst dial, giving the 116613LB’s face an ever-changing look depending on the light falling across it. In direct sun, it echoes the electric blue of the bezel, in more ambient conditions, it darkens to a deep sapphire.
At its heart, the bombproof caliber 3135 ticks away inside. Rolex’s most successful and widely used movement, it’s protected by an Oyster case rated waterproof to 1,000 feet. Even if your idea of the perfect summer break involves nothing more strenuous than lying on the beach, the Sub’s Triplock crown guards keeps out even the finest sand.
The Rolex Submariner, in whatever guise, is the compulsory addition to any serious watch collection. The bright blue face and subtle bi-color metals of the 116613LB give it the edge for the ideal vacation wear.
Simple Looks: Explorer 214270
As impressive pedigrees go, the Explorer series might just take the prize, even amongst the gathering of over-achievers that make up the rest of Rolex’s collection.
Descended from the first watch to see the top of the world when it joined Hilary and Tensing to the summit of Everest, its most recent generation has remained stubbornly retro, the epitome of minimalist style.
Unassuming even by Rolex standards, the Explorer’s design is considered one of the most visually appealing from any watchmaker. The flowing lines of the 39mm case are instantly recognizable, and the tapered lugs give it an elegance that matches with any situation. A watch made for adventurers—whether that translates as discovering a new frontier or a new cocktail.
The newest Explorer, the revamped 214270 released in 2016, is so similar to its predecessor from six years prior that it even shares the same reference number. The subtlest changes to its dial and a lengthening of the much-maligned hands are the only elements that separate the two.
Inside, the 3132 caliber perfectly reflects the characteristics of the rest of the watch—simple, unfussy and built to last a lifetime.
With everything you need and nothing you don’t, built around one of the all time iconic designs, the Explorer 214270 is the intelligent choice for a summer watch.
The Dark Knight: GMT-Master II 116710BLNR
Keeping track of the time back home can give you a boost when trying to fight off the dreaded jetlag, and Rolex’s GMT-Master series has long been the benchmark by which all dual time zone watches are judged.
Originally made for Pan Am’s transatlantic pilots, the GMT’s bi-color bezels played the twin roles of helping to differentiate between night and day, and giving the watch an unmistakable visual identity. One of the brand’s most enduringly popular offerings, we could have included any of the variants from its long and illustrious history as the ideal reference to jet off with you on vacation.
However, we’ve always had a soft spot for the GMT-Master II ref. 116710BLNR, the first of the ceramic bezel models to sport that famous two-tone color scheme.
When Rolex first introduced its patented Cerachrom to the catalog, the incredibly strong and scratchproof material’s only apparent drawback was with the difficulty of producing it in different colors. Or the ‘impossibility’ as Rolex put it. So the first ceramic GMT-Master II appeared with an all black bezel, amidst great disappointment from the faithful.
Proving themselves a big tease a few years later, the blue/black surround of the BLNR, immediately nicknamed the Batman, launched to a rapturous welcome.
As a color scheme, it had never been seen on a Rolex before, giving the watch an even more distinctive appearance and securing its status as a future classic. For our purposes as an adaptable holiday wear, it has everything you could want. The 40mm case wears larger thanks to its broad-shouldered lugs, giving the GMT a commanding look, while the bezel draws the eye in a more restrained way than the red of a Coke or Pepsi reference. It’s tough enough to withstand practically anything and has enough versatility to go from poolside to the eatery and back again.
From the serious traveler to the weary holidaymaker, a GMT-Master II is an obvious choice.
That’s our list of personal favorites to wile away the long, lazy summer. We’d love to hear what you think and hear your own suggestions. Which is your perfect holiday watch?