If the smart phone made the wristwatch optional, it also gave men the opportunity to make a statement with less practical timepieces. The latest crop of high-end watches runs the gamut from Samsung's touchscreen Pebble, which relays emails to your wrist, to the Weiss Company's Field Watch, which is constructed by a century-old process, but each piece is fundamentally about revealing its owner's identity as a man of action. Navy and dive watches have risen in popularity along with timepieces inspired by automotive racing. In short, watches have gotten a bit burlier and a hell of a lot more fun.
Here are the best of the new breed.
Ralph Lauren RL 67 Safari 39mm
Ralph Lauren has been more focused on its women's line over the last few years so the new RL 67 Safari 39mm is an especially welcome addition to the brand's men's offerings. A much buzzed-about alternative to last year’s 45mm, the new Safari may be the best engineered sub-$5,000 chronometer on the market. Hidden beneath its black "aged" stainless steel case is a self-winding calibre RL300-1 movement with a 42-hour power reserve, and both Côtes-de-Génève and perlage decoration nestled behind a decidedly utilitarian screw-down case back. The beige Arabic numerals, oversized at the 12 and 6, are handsome, as is the rugged leather-lined canvas strap. Like Ralph Lauren's clothing, this watch is meant to age beautifully. This is a no-brainer for anyone seeking a chronometer with some serious Swiss-made style.[$3,200; ralphlaurenwatches.com]