When you’re traveling, and are a watch enthusiast (nut, lover, aficionado….) choosing the right watch or two for your trip can be quite daunting. There are so many occasions that need to be planned for depending on where you go. Sometimes you don’t have enough wrists to take enough watches.
What happens if you’re at the beach and you want something you can swim in but are planning on a nice night out where you want something more formal? Or if you’re traveling to a major city and want something that is casual for day, dress for the nights and nice dinner and even something you’re willing to get a little dirty for those adventure trips; what do you take?
The answer is simple, share your watches.
Expanding Your Travel Watches
To start out you need to figure out what sizes and materials work best for each person. You’ll need to take into account that men typically have a much larger wrist than women which makes sharing a watch with a bracelet or extra large case size more difficult.
When traveling together, we typically take about 4 watches. In this selection we’ll both take our favorite watch – that the other may not be able to wear – and then two watches that we can share. This opens up each of our watch possibilities to at least 3 different options!
BespokeUnit chooses his Rolex GMT Master II BLNR when he’s packing for a trip. The watch offers water resistance for beach days, is casual for a day trip around the city and can take some gentle love when off the beaten path on an adventure. The Batman is kept on the original Oyster bracelet which means that it is too large to share (unless we take out links).
HerEscapement chooses her vintage 26mm navy dial Oyster Perpetual as her daily wear. The watch bounces back and forth between being on the bracelet in colder months to being on a strap in warmer months. Either way, the watch is too small to share in both case size and strap size.
Since we’ve both chosen our personal watches, now comes the difficulty of choosing which we want to share.
Size & Style Matters
With him having such a larger wrist, we look at watches that fall between 36 – 40mm. Anything smaller looks too small on him where anything larger just doesn’t fit her.
We tend to lean towards more classic shapes and models rather than anything too sporty, the Rolex GMT Master II is typically as sporty as it gets. Many sports watches tend to have a case that is either larger than 40mm or wears larger with integrated straps that don’t bend downward easily.
Another important piece to remember is the case thickness. Thinner watches share better as they sit on smaller wrists easier but also look great on a man’s wrist.
Bracelet or Strap
Because of the difference in wrist size, we’re restricted to sharing watches on straps only. This is probably going to be a common theme when sharing watches between men and women.
Luckily most straps have a wide range of holes for both large and small wrists so there usually isn’t any problem with sharing, the last hole usually works for her.
If you’re feeling adventurous while traveling and you have a clean, flat surface, you can also consider packing some small tools to change the size on the fly. We’ve done this a few times, specifically with the Batman where we’ve taken out a few links one day and added them back in the next. You can also decide to swap out the bracelet for a strap, or change the strap to a different style with the tools.
You would need:
- Spring bar tool
- A set of precision screwdrivers
- A small case or bag to secure any parts removed
Changing the bracelet size or strap while traveling should only be done if you are comfortable using the tools. There is the possibility that the tool slips and damages the case, or you could lose an important piece and have to wait to get it replaced.
Favorite Watches to Share
Typically when traveling anywhere but to the beach, we lean more towards dress watches or date only watches. These allow for a variety of events and occasions without having wrist wear look too over dressed or too casual.
Omega Aqua Terra
The Aqua Terra is a great blend of both sporty yet classic design. This can be found in both the size of the watch (we shared a 38.5mm model) and on the silver dial with vertical lines mimicking those on a yacht.
The watch is only 13mm thick, which is about average for a timepiece, especially one with an exhibition case back. The rose gold against silver dial is extremely elegant. The hour markers and two tone metal quickly become a favorite when wearing this.
On a small wrist, the watch fit well. The only note is that since it is a deployment buckle with no minder loops, depending on the hole used the strap can tend to slide outwards from under the top strap. Luckily, this doesn’t add to any discomfort and is just a visual downside when looking at the bottom of your wrist.
On a larger wrist, the watch is just as comfortable. The strap is well bolstered and the case size is a modest yet masculine size. You can read a full review of this model on BespokeUnit.com.
Patek Philippe Travel Time
One of our favorite watches to share is the Patek Travel Time 5034. Its nice being able to track a second timezone while traveling. The 24-hour wheel is especially useful for not calling people in the middle of the night!
We tend to switch out the strap for a variety of options and choose a color before traveling. Lately it has been on a green Hermes leather strap which seems to go with everything.
On him, the piece is reserved for evening activities. Being such a thin and formal watch in white gold, it tends to look out of place during the day. There are exceptions to this though, if he’s in a suit during the day the watch is a perfect complement.
On the other hand, for her the watch transforms into a beautiful day time watch around the city. It can also be worn at night if it’s not on someone else’s wrist.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso & Master Control
While we have yet to play polo while traveling, the Reverso is such a staple in the watch world and it looks good everywhere. It may be a little on the dress side for daytime wear, but it truly comes alive when at a nice dinner.
One thing to keep in mind with the Reverso is still the case size and the strap it is on. While the width and the height are thin, some lug to lug measurements can start to get slightly long on a small wrist. A stiff strap tends to bow away from the lugs even more and can have a hard time molding around the wrist properly.
While the Reverso can look slightly too large on her wrist, the Master Control seems to fit perfectly on both. The round shape is classic and w don’t need to worry about the length of the case being too long as with the Reverso. Another nice point about the Master Control is the date window. Although we do like to forget while on vacation, it is a nice addition to have that many watches we share don’t.
The watch is both formal and casual, meaning it can be worn almost anywhere for any event on your travels!
Next Time You Travel
For your next trip, when you are traveling with someone who may share your passion for horology, consider talking them into sharing watches during your trip. Chances are, they probably already love to borrow your watches so sharing is a great travel option! The list of watches and styles to share can go on on and on.