Top 6 Luxury Watches for Sports

by TimeOnYourHand

Here's a look at the best luxury watches for pilots, sailors, divers, hikers and racers, including beautiful Rolex, OMEGA and IWC watches.

Today there seems to be a watch for virtually every activity, from running and hiking to yacht racing, flying and diving. Some of the best names in watchmaking like Breitling also produce luxury timepieces to suit all types of adventurers. Still, there are some things you want to keep in mind when you're shopping for a sports watch, which will be looked at at the end.

Image: Patrick Briggs at Flickr

Here are 5 of the world's best luxury watches for all kinds of sports.

Best Luxury Diving Watch

Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner has become a classic diving watch and is also one of the most popular used Rolex watches on the market. This watch was first launched back in 1953 with water resistance up to 100 meters, although this was quickly increased to 180 meters. The original had a large black dial with luminous markers and a bezel with markings in 5-minute increments. Over the years, the company has continually made improvements to these timepieces including better water resistance and improved movements. If you buy a used Rolex Submariner, look for a model with the unidirectional bezel that won't shorten your dive time if it's bumped.

For more help buying used luxury watches, check out this article: How to Buy Entry Level Luxury Watches

Best Luxury Racing Watch

Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona is probably one of the best sports racing chronographs out there, although it's also a very common watch for racers. It has been in production since the early 1960's and comes in two series. The original series is one of the most popular used Rolex watches today and hard to find. The second series has a modified Zenith El Primero movement which is the most reliable chronograph available. The watch is, of course, named after the famous Daytona race and has the features you want for racing with the ability to accurately measure elapsed circuit times and figure out average speed.

The watch pictured is the Rolex Daytona Everose "Cera-Chrome" with an 18k rose gold case, currently available at

Best Luxury Running Watch

Polar RCX5

The Polar RCX5 is by far the most affordable watch on this list and sells for under $400, although add-ons like the shoe pod ($420) and the GPS ($470) push the price well over $1,000. This watch has all of the features you need and works well for triathlon training. It has cycling and swimming modes with a heart-rate sensor that even works underwater. It also automatically sets your target heart rate by collecting information during each of your workouts.


Best Luxury Sailing Watch

Rolex Yachtmaster

The Rolex Yachtmaster Collection offers a number of beautiful luxury watches designed for sailing and regattas, with a programmable countdown to synchronize start times and mechanical memory. The Yachtmaster, like the Daytona and Submariner, is also one of the most sought-after used Rolex watches available. It's also water resistant to 100 meters so it can handle a dive or a swim in the water.

Pictured: The Rolex Yacht Master II in 18k yellow gold.

Best Luxury Hiking Watch

OMEGA Speedmaster Professional

There aren't very many dedicated hiking and climbing watches made by luxury brands, although watches designed for other sports can work very well in this case. A good choice is the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional. This watch is also known as the Moonwatch because it was worn during the first American space walk and on the Apollo 11. It's also classified by NASA for space travel. The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional features a tachymeter, which is a scale around the bezel that can be used to determine distance and speed, so you can use it to check miles per hour or the distance you've traveled.

Image: Luca Ohman at Flickr

Best Luxury Pilot Watch

IWC Pilot

For pilots, there are quite a few excellent IWC watches to choose from. There's the classic IWC Pilot, as well as the popular Pilot Perpetual Calendar. A new option in 2012 is the Spitfire Chronograph, which features in-house movements. IWC luxury watches for pilots are designed with day/night features, the ability to handle extreme fluctuations in temperature, force and electromagnetic fields.

Image: PacoBarranco at Flickr

What to Look for in a Sports Watch

  • Always make sure you select a comfortable watch with a nice strap that isn't very stiff. While some sports watches come with a plastic strap, feel free to choose something that feels good to you.
  • Plan to go running with your watch? Look for a watch with large numbers you can see with a glance and convenient buttons that won't distract you.
  • Going to be hitting the water? Make sure the watch is water-resistant. Watches vary, and even affordable watches can be somewhat water-resistant. For divers, you want to select a watch with the highest water depth resistance possible in your budget.
  • For yacht racing, the watch should have a stopwatch, an elapse-time indicator and a countdown. You may appreciate other features as well, such as tides, GPS and compass headings.
Updated: 10/23/2012, TimeOnYourHand
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