The tool watch — aimed at helping out with something more than just telling the time, thanks to any number of special features or materials — is a working man’s best friend, generally. But different jobs require different tools. Just as you wouldn’t expect to find an architect’s T-Square in a chef’s kitchen, you wouldn’t expect their needs in wrist wear to overlap, beyond the basic need to tell time. But this says nothing of the complications, case materials, sizes, strap types and even styles that may compliment the unique challenges of each field. Below we’ve gathered our ideal watches for a small selection of occupations, made compatible through specific features, looks, and even mentality.
Editor’s Note: For parity, and in the search of the absolute best watches, we’ve assumed unlimited budget for each profession — though certain workers (writers and journalists, for example) will know this all too well not to be true.
Additional Contribution by Andrew Connor
IWC Ingenieur Automatic
Modest dimensions, a simple, straightforward design, and a soft-iron cage to protect its movement from magnetic fields make the IWC Ingenieur a perfect partner for an engineer. With a steel case that measures 40mm in diameter and just 10mm in height, the Ingenieur will slide under any cuff, jacket, or work equipment; an integrated stainless steel bracelet adds a professional touch and won’t look out of place when a pair of steel-toed boots are called for.
NOMOS Zurich Worldtimer
For the traveling journalist, the ability to adjust a watch to any time zone on the planet with a single button is a big asset. The NOMOS Zurich Worldtimer offers such functionality, and does so in simple, easy to read style. A press of the button at two o’clock on the case will scroll through 24 cities and their corresponding time zone, with a “home” timezone on display via disc located at three o’clock.
Omega DeVille Tresor
The CEO looking to stay connected with their employees might ditch the gold Patek in favor of the Omega DeVille Tresor. The svelte white gold case and deep blue dial fly under the radar, while the classic dial design and modest dimensions make it the perfect suit-and-tie companion. Its finely decorated, Omega-built hand-wound movement is visible through the back for showing off.
If you’re just starting somewhere as an intern, your attire (and subsequently your watch) should showcase both professional refinement and the appropriate humility. At 38mm in diameter and with a clean, classic dial, and boasting a hand-wound mechanical movement, Hamilton’s Intra-Matic is ideal for the aspiring mogul considering it has such a reasonable pricetag.
Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph
Seiko’s line of Spring Drive watches goes to great lengths to achieve standard-setting levels of accuracy, a commitment the scientist will appreciate. For the Grand Seiko’s 55th anniversary, the brand released a Spring Drive Chronograph that maintains accuracy with within 10 seconds per month. This is possible due to the hybrid nature of the Spring Drive, which uses a quartz-mechanical regulating system. Start the chronograph to time an experiment, and you can trust the result.
Damasko Vintage DA 20
Damasko’s nickel-free and ice-hardened stainless steel cases are signifcantly more scratch- and dent-resistant than the standard 316L stainless steel used by the majority of other watchmakers, making it ideal for for a demanding job in the wilderness. (Not to mention it’s shock-resistant and anti-magnetic, too.) Further, Damasko coats the entire dial in lume rather than just the numerals, making night-time use a breeze.
Longines Pulsometer Chronograph
Doctors looking to maintain a historical perspective will find it in the Longines Pulsometer Chronometer, a 1920s-inspired single-button chronograph with the ability to screen a patient’s heart rate. The pulsometer scale’s ability to provide an accurate heart rate in just 30 pulses (with the help of the chronograph timing seconds hand) made it a vital tool in its day. Furthering its uniqueness, the Longines’ chronograph is started, stopped and reset through a single button the crown.
Georg Jensen Koppel
Writers seeking the truth in simplicity will find a lot to love in the Georg Jensen Koppel line, especially the 38mm hand-wound variant. The brand is known for their mid-century jewelry and housewares, but their impeccably designed watches have been around since the ’70s. The Koppel’s minimal dial and dimensions offer a refreshing change of pace that any scribe will appreciate; that it’s easy to dress up or down make this an ideal all-around watch.
Designed in California with a keen eye on the details, the Xetum Tyndall begins with a lug-less, 40mm case that’s been brushed and accented with a pair of polished accent lines. The octagonal crown is geometrically striking and easy to manipulate, while the dial is played out with every piece of information you need and nothing more. The hour hand sweeps the inner ring, which is marked from 13 to 24 for those who prefer a 24-hour clock.
It’s certainly an impressive feat of design if a watch has an in-house automatic movement at only 2.6mm thick, an elegant and shapely case and a rich leather strap, and yet the stand-out feature here is the font of the numerals. When Hermés was designing its Slim d’Herm´s does watch, it enlisted the help of notable French graphic designer Philippe Apeloig, whose typography for the Slim’s dial is both unque and timeless, with a hint of Art Deco influence.
A good politician is never deaf to the plight of his or her constituency — so a modest, American-made watch will be a necessity on the campaign trail. Shinola has become a beacon for rebuilding American cities with American-built (or in this case, American-assembled) products at the hands of American employees. The Runwell looks great, and its reasonable price tag won’t raise eyebrows. It’s about being relatable, after all.
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Acciaio
Running a kitchen requires a big personality, and a chef’s watch should reflect an outspoken nature and honed skill set. The Panerai Radiomir fits the bill with a robust dial design that strips out all but oversized hour markers and hands with a small seconds sub dial at nine o’clock. It’s highly legible and confident in appearance, and the case’s 42mm of diameter isn’t unwieldy, but is nonetheless likely to get noticed.