The rise of the all-rounder watch

There’s a deeply held desire in the hearts of both watchmakers and buyers to categorise. This watch is for wearing with a tuxedo; this one for playing sports; this one for astronauting, and so on. In many cases ­– think professional-grade dive watches or military pilot’s watches – these objects were born out of a particular need at a specific moment.
However, modern lifestyles require greater flexibility from watchmakers, and a new generation of watches has been emerging in which technical supremacy, deluxe styling and robust construction ensure the boundaries are well and truly blurred.

Advertisement

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in white gold, 40.5mm, €38,500

A. Lange & Söhne, a brand admired for its patrician, black-tie timekeepers, has recently embraced a more diverse approach than usual with the recently launched Odysseus. It packs Lange’s customary horological punch with a distinct day/date display indicated through prominent windows either side of the dial, and assiduously hand-finished assemblies of gears and bridges underneath.
But its sturdy case design and utilitarian (by the brand’s standards) style mark the Odysseus out as a true all-rounder, whether in steel with a five-link bracelet, or in white gold with a silicone strap designed for active wear.

IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph, £17,600

Advertisement

The generalist style goes out to sea with the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph from IWC. The brand’s flagship Portugieser line evolved from a 1930s original with a dial rooted in classical marine chronometers, though the sportier Yacht Club version has been around as a niche option since 2010.
Now IWC has moved it front-and-centre, with an expanded collection that includes three versions available on a new, sturdy bracelet, mixing sportiness with pure luxe in the form of a two-tone version in steel and rose gold. It contains one of IWC’s most advanced in-house movements, Caliber 89361, a chronograph timer with added flyback functionality (so timing can be reset without first being stopped) and a power reserve of 68 hours.

Omega Constellation Master Co-axial Chronometer 41mm, £5,220

Largely left out of Omega’s conversation in recent years has been the Constellation, its glossiest watch, which has now been upsized to 41mm, upgraded with the brand’s high-tech Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement, and given a pick-and-mix of bracelet, strap and colour options. Those elements, and the streamlined, lug-free case design, make it a watch equipped for a life well lived.
If the textured dial and flamboyant bezel – including the flanking “claws” that have been a hallmark of the design since 1982 – add a kind of decadence absent from Seamasters and Speedmasters, Omega’s expertise in materials science is never far away. The bezel, in scratch-proof ceramic, is seamlessly inlaid with numerals in the ultra-tough amorphous alloy Liquidmetal. Is it a sports watch? Sort of. Is it dressy? Perhaps. Does it matter? Not one bit.
More great stories from WIRED
🚗 Drivers claim Uber’s algorithm fired them. Now they’re taking it to court
🎮 The next-gen consoles are coming. Here’s our Xbox Series X review

Advertisement

🌍 How Africa has handled the pandemic so far
🔊 Listen to The WIRED Podcast, the week in science, technology and culture, delivered every Friday
👉 Follow WIRED on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Why You Need A Website

Now