The Swiss made replica Zenith Defy Classic Carbon stands out among all of the watches on this list as it is the only watch that includes a bracelet made of solid carbon as well. Considering the saturation of integrated-bracelet sports watches on the market, it is refreshing to see Zenith push the boundaries of what we have come to expect from an increasingly familiar framework.
The 41mm case is 100 metres water-resistant and the entire watch, including its bracelet, weighs a mere 65 grams. Unlike the Panerai above, Zenith has opted to leave a more organic carbon texture on the case – imbuing its appearance with an almost camouflage effect. Though it is made of carbon, both the case and bracelet feature sharp bevels. While not a mirror finish, the bevelling elevates the aesthetic of the sporty watch and adds a touch of elegance into the mix.
The openwork dial proudly displays the hi-tech movement within. The Elite movement, comprised of 187 components, includes both a silicon escape-wheel and lever – making its internals as futuristic and high-tech as its externals. With 50 hours of power reserve, the watch may not last an entire weekend without a wind like some of the others above. But with such a watch in your collection, it would be hard not to make this bad boy your weekend warrior.
The latter defines the tool watch: built to be useful, to resist, and for strength, accompanying its wearer on adventures during which it may even prove to be a vital companion.
Although the tool watch forms part of the bedrock of contemporary watchmaking, it would be a mistake to think that it first appeared in the 2000s. In actual fact, it has existed ever since wristwatches shifted from pure ornamentation to pure functionality. The latter defines the tool watch: built to be useful, to resist, and for strength, accompanying its wearer on adventures during which it may even prove to be a vital companion. Generally speaking, tool watches have three hands, but not necessarily a date. Occasionally, they come with a rotating bezel. This is usually unidirectional on diving models and bidirectional for racing watches; the latter also feature a chronograph complication, preferably with a flyback function. They tend to be black and made of steel or titanium. They are often military in origin (except for those designed for specific categories of very demanding users). Rolex, Blancpain, Tudor, and Breitling cite a wide range of missions, expeditions, campaigns, climbs and explorations – underground, underwater, or in the air – during which such watches have performed their duties without a hitch.
These timepieces are devoid of embellishments, robust, highly readable and uncluttered. They could almost be described as expendable, were it not for the fact that they have often played a vital role. Indeed, in the wake of vintage military trends and the quest for a no-frills style, their popularity has risen over the past 20 years, and shows no signs of slackening off. This backdrop helps explain the emergence of models such as Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe, a simplified version of its Fifty Fathoms – the contemporary reinterpretations of which are more in the luxury sports category than full-on tool watches. Then there’s the Tudor Black Bay, an iconic diving model now available on civvy street, and imbued with so much vintage spirit and finely-honed detail that it’s become the brand’s best-seller. It’s much the same story for several so-called ‘professional’ and ‘technical’ references from Rolex, the brand that has undoubtedly officialised the genre. Its aptly-named Explorers, Submariners, and GMT-Masters were brought into being with a view to being useful rather than merely decorative. The tool watch has also resulted in two watch accessories (although ‘accessory’ is hardly the right word anymore, since these are now essential style markers for contemporary timepieces): the metal (i.e. steel) bracelet, and the fabric strap, NATOstyle first and foremost (though there are others). The influence of these vintage styles has been crucial in defining many contemporary successes, and the trend shows no signs of waning.
The unusual alternative, the unsung hero, a Piaget that isn’t ultra-thin? Yes, the Polo S will confound and surprise you, and what can we call this shape? This sports watch from the maison of Swiss made replica Piaget is as confusing as it is different, but with its indefinable shape and vertically striped dial, a quirky but viable value alternative to the Nautilus. What triggers your synapses is the bright emerald dial, on which the polished pink gold indices pop like crazy. What gets you are similitudes like the horizontal stripes combined with a smooth rehaut minute track.
Like the 5711, the back edges of the indices follow the squaround (I’ll copyright that!) inner edge of the bezel. Classic sword hands are balanced in length, the Piaget logo sits within a recessed plaque-like rectangle, and then that seconds hand. We love the counterbalance of the needle second hand, a diamond-shaped logo with a P, an applaudable whimsical move by perfect fake Piaget. An in-house 111P movement promises a 50-hour power reserve, while the brushed and polished H-link bracelet is superb. Main case body polished, large brushed bezel oval in shape, with a razor-sharp bevel, makes this a stunning 42mm alternative that wears smaller and, well, rocks. While showing inspiration that at first glance seems close to the Nautilus, it then twists your impression into something that can only be a quality Polo S replica.