Not pretty watches but serves a purpose.
Should not be overly priced, but easily replaceable without creating a permanent deficit in one’s bank account. Below USD 2K is more than generous IMHO. Ranges from the cheap Casio watches to Sinn. Anything else above that price range are generally marketed as tool watches, but unlikely to be used for that purposes owning to its high replacement value. (But then again, who am I to decide one’s disposable income? Wear your Blancpains and Rolexes to dive the deepest seas for what its worth!)
Generally watches that one owns to take a beating literally in real life. Frequently not worn with office attire, but can be counted on to complete an office look if required. Looks best with jeans, gym wear, hiking outfit or military fatigues.
Almost never highly polished, but rather brushed or matt finished. Some higher end watches can be scratch tolerant or even scratch resistant (nothing is scratch proof). Most likely encased in a plastic case.
Movement are usually the generic ETA 2824, Seiko 7S/4R or Citizen Miyota 82 calibers. Most likely found with a quartz movement though.
I own 2 tool watches. Each carries its unique watch design philosophy from its country of origin.
Both highly acclaimed to be real tool watches!
Seiko Landmaster SBDW005
Seiko Landmaster SBDW005 is part of the Prospex range of watches that Seiko offered. The Prospex range are truly hard core watches built and designed by Seiko from the ground up to take the rigors of life. Broken down into the Air, Land and Sea ranges. Usually quartz, but the more expensive models are powered by automatic movements. The Landmaster watches have a storied history of being used by well known Japanese explorers, such as Mitsuro Ohba, during their various expeditions to the ends of the world. My Landmaster boasts a 200m water resistance achieved by means of a monobloc titanium body, which means NO case back! Any removal of the movement takes place via the front, in other words one must remove the bezel, then the front crystal, and finally the dial to access the movement. Thankfully it is powered by a Kinetic movement which minimises any need to access the movement.
Kinetic is a unique Seiko invention which combines using a winding rotor (similar to a mechanical movement) to power a rechargeable battery with a reserve of up to 6 months when not in use.
Titanium is used to construct the body because it is rust-proof, non-magnetic (allows a magnetic field to pass through but does not stay magnetised once the source of the magnetic field is removed) and stronger but lighter compared to stainless steel. Usually titanum scratches easier than stainless steel, but my titanium landmaster has held up to scratches rather well despite 1 year plus of hard use.
The hour markers and hands are luminous and it also comes with a true GMT hand which allows explorers to track their home time while outside exploring the vast unknown. To avoid distraction, the GMT hand is not lumed.
One can also engrave one’s name, nationality, date of birth and blood type for REAL emergencies, if you get what I mean.
It comes with a bi-directional compass bezel, which allows you to tell the directions based on the direction of the sun and the positions of the hour and GMT hands (dependent on your location).
With a movement that has quartz accuracy and rechargeable capability, 200m water resistance, a rustproof and non magnetic titanium monobloc body, compass bezel and true GMT hand, its no wonder many Japanese explorers rely on it ! Truly a tool watch, built to purpose. As far as I am aware this model is the last Kinetic Landmaster, with the current Landmaster model being Spring Drive driven (which costs a bomb).
On to my other tool watch, this one with Western roots, having a Swiss heart and a German body and design.
This is another variant of the hugely popular DA36 with the difference being the arabic hour markers vs baton markers. I went for the baton markers as I felt it was a cleaner and hence classic look.
This was my first 4 figure watch and will be a keeper. I bought it mainly due to its proven and reliable ETA 2836 movement which runs at a smooth 28,800 bph with a 40 hour reserve. This is one of two ETA movements that are widely used to power time only watches.
Damasko is also well known for its hardened cases and I can attest to it. There’s nary a scratch on it after almost 3 years of use. My model is almost a duplicate of the famed Sinn 556 but with the hardened case and anti magnetic cage.
When Damasko was first out in the market, they have been compared to Sinn having similar value proposition, design and target market. However Damasko evolved over the years, eventually coming up with its own movement recently, whereas Sinn focused on developing more technologies to ensure hardiness while using 3rd party movements. Damasko remained family owned and ran while Sinn is now ran as a cooperation.
It was also little known that Sinn used to be housed in cases produced by Damasko many eons ago, but they have since gone their separate ways. I cannot say that Sinn is truly a mainstream brand, and more often than not Sinn wearers are WISes. However, I must also say that a Damasko owner is definitely a WIS, given the limited publicity of the value proposition offered by Damasko.
Other than their hardened cases, Damasko also patented many technologies currently used in their wrist watches, which can all be examined in detail here. Sinn, is not the only brand on the market with over-engineered watches!
What’s your tool watch?