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Watches And Wonders 2021: Best Sports Watches

Our favourite sports timepieces are packed with character and style.

ROLEX Explorer II

Rolex Explorer II

One of two new Explorer models launched this year, the Explore II gets some minor—but still significant—tweaks. Introduced in 1971, the Explorer II is distinguished by its 24-hour bezel and an additional arrow hand that points to the second-time zone and also serves as a day/night indicator.

The Explorer II’s 42mm case and lugs have been redesigned for a more harmonious silhouette and comfortable fit for the wrist, while its hands and markers are now imbued with a newly optimised Chromalight display that glows a more radiant blue in low light conditions. With the extension of the Chromalight on hands, the “phantom effect” of the previous version has been eliminated. Inside the watch is also a new engine, the Calibre 3285, launched in 2018, which promises improved shock-resistance and anti-magnetism.

PATEK PHILIPPE Ref. 5711/1A-014

Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A-014
What else is there to say about this Nautilus that hasn’t already been said in watch forums and fan pages around the world? With the announcement that the stainless steel Ref. 5711/1A would be discontinued after this year, the introduction of the new Ref. 5711/1A-014 was certainly a pleasant surprise.

Flaunting a sunburst finish, the Nautilus sports a brand new olive green dial that’s never before existed in the collection, and very much on trend this year. The hands and markers in white gold are lume-filled for legibility at any time of day, while the case is water-resistant to 120m. Powering the watch is the self-winding Calibre 26-330 S C with stop-seconds mechanism, Gyromax balance wheel and Spiromax balance spring for greater precision and efficiency.

TAG HEUER Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844
Retro throwbacks are nothing new but TAG Heuer has managed to nail this one brilliantly. Housed in a Grade 5 titanium case, the tribute to Ref. 844 pays homage to the original Heuer dive model from 1978 with its design references. From the red 24-hour scale to the vintage lume on the hands and indexes, the watch keeps the OG spirit very much alive, right down to the black perforated rubber strap, which allows water to pass through quickly.

This year, the date window gets relocated from three o’clock to six o’clock for a more symmetrical dial layout. There is also a new date magnifier—applied throughout the new Aquaracer collection—which is engraved below the crystal. This means the surface of the crystal is flat, with nothing protruding. Limted to 844 pieces.

TUDOR Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
For the first time in its history, Tudor is introducing a watch in a precious metal—in this case, 18K yellow gold. The 39mm case gets a matte satin finish and an open caseback (a first for the Black Bay collection), showcasing the in-house Calibre MT5400, a COSC-certified movement with silicon hairspring and 70-hour power reserve.

In keeping with the colour du jour, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K gets a matte ‘golden green’ dial with applied hour markers in 18K yellow gold. Included with the watch are two straps—one in dark brown alligator leather and another in green Jacquard with a gold band, made by the 150-year-old Julien Faure company.


Ex Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".

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