There's an ongoing buzz in the watch industry around integrated bracelets and elegant sport watches intended for general casual wear. The category is typified by the prestigious Audmears Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus: sporty in style but not intended for any specific sport or activity — and often incorporating elements like prominent bezels and edgy styling. Though loosely defined, more brands than ever are recently offering their own take on the concept.
You'll sometimes hear watch executives call this genre "sports chic" and note that it constitutes a significant portion of luxury watch sales — with models featuring integrated bracelets being particularly desirable. Why is this an attractive feature? While most watches have lugs of standard sizes that can accommodate all kinds of straps, watches with integrated bracelets have lugs designed only to fit the bracelet made specifically for that model. This can add value (and cost) because bracelets are challenging to design and and complicated to produce — and one created for a particular watch can make the overall product feel more cohesive. The drawback is that you've got far fewer strap changing options than most watches.
Otherwise traditional brands have branched out to offer their own "sports chic" watches, explaining that their customers want the prestige and refinement they offer but in a package they don't have to worry about, say, taking swimming. Made for weekends, vacations and other such occasions, this is a "casual watch" that typically comes in steel instead of precious metal cases and leather straps, with decent water resistance, and often with a more aggressive styling and size. Here are some notable recent examples.
Prestige brands aren't the only ones getting in on the action. Citizen offers a solid everyday watch with a simple styling that leans into a sporty and modern vibe without being too dressy or plain. The Corso, redesigned for late 2019, is also an eminently affordable as well as practical option, equipped with sapphire crystal the Japanese brand's own quartz movement with a battery constantly recharged via exposure to light.
Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive
Water Resistance: 100m
Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic
Frederique Constant mostly makes traditional, dressy watches, while its sister brand Alpina does the sporty stuff. The new Highlife, however, offers a a modern design and, yes, an integrated bracelet/strap, all while maintaining that elegant Swiss sensibility. You can also get the same case and styling with an "open heart" (dial cutout displaying the balance wheel) and even a sub-$10k perpetual calendar.
Movement: Sellita SW200-1 Automatic
Water Resistance: 50m
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Center Seconds
Independent Swiss brand H. Moser & Cie. always takes a slightly unexpected approach. Though it features soft curves and a retro-feeling cushion-shaped case, the Streamliner fits into the same trend as other brands, offering a casually oriented automatic steel watch with specs like 120m of water resistance. The brand's signature fumé dial here is in a striking green, making the Streamliner stand out even among its sportier peers.
Movement: H. Moser & Cie. HMC 200 Automatic
Water Resistance: 120m
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus
Many were surprised when A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Odysseus steel sport watch — precious metals and conservative watchmaking typically being what the German brand does best. While the everyday, casual watch is best represented in simple time-and-date models, Lange added a little horological complication and interest with large day-of-the-week and digital date displays. They've since also introduced a version in gold.
Movement: A. Lange & Söhne L155.1 Automatic
Water Resistance: 120m