Top 5 Watches for Summer (Rolex and Tudor)

Top 5 Watches for Summer (Rolex and Tudor)

We’re in the second half of June, and while we’ve yet to reach the solstice, I’d say it feels like summer. Temperatures are increasing, holidays are planned, and winter clothes are being stowed away. It’s about time we look at the best watches for summer. In typical Everest fashion, we’re sticking to Rolex and Tudor for this list, but the same logic can be applied across brands. Without further ado, let’s jump right in with number five.

#5. Rolex Yacht-Master 42 in RLX Titanium

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 RLX Titanium

Image Source: Hodinkee

The titanium Yacht-Master is a near-perfect summer watch. With its full-titanium construction, it’s 33% lighter than Submariner despite being larger in most dimensions. Sticking with the Submariner comparison, the RLX Yacht-Master has a reduced water resistance of 100 meters, but that will be a non-issue for 99.9% of people, including recreational divers.

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Titanium RLX bezel

Image Source: Rolex

Obviously, this watch’s light weight and generous water resistance are perfect for summer, but its looks are similarly fitting. The RLX Yacht-Master shares the classic design cues of the Submariner – dial layout, furniture, handset – with a bit of new flare. To me, the bezel is the star of the show. The Cerachrom insert features a matte black finish contrasted by raised, polished numerals (all the same piece of Cerachrom). This unique bit of personality makes the RLX Yacht-Master stand out, but doesn’t take away from its versatile, classic blueprint.

If this watch were more readily available, I would have positioned it higher on the list. The titanium Rolex Yacht-Master 42, released in 2023, is still very hard to get. If you want to pay resale premiums, you’re looking at about a 100% markup over retail, approaching £30,000 in most cases (at the time of publishing).

#4. Tudor Pelagos FXD Carbon (FXD Chrono)

Tudor Pelagos FXD Carbon

Image Source: Tudor

Moving over to Tudor, I’m including all three Pelagos FXD models with carbon composite cases. Two of those are FXD Chronos – the ‘Alinghi Red Bull Racing’ and ‘Cycling Edition’ – with the third being a time-only version of the former. These watches are hyper-light, water resistant, and decidedly sporty. My colleague and I joke about them scratching the same itch as a Richard Mille for a fraction of the cost. And much like a Richard Mille (albeit to a lesser extent), these watches boast colorful accents that feel very summery.

Tudor Pelagos FXD Chrono Cycling Edition

Image Source: Tudor

I’m unsure about the Tudor FXD Chrono ‘Cycling Edition’ availability, but the Alinghi Red Bull Racing models can be had at retail somewhat easily; you might just have to wait for delivery. For under $5,000, Tudor’s carbon FXD collection is pretty hard to beat, especially heading into summer.

#3. Rolex GMT-Master II

Rolex GMT-Master II PEpsi

Image Source: Hodinkee

For many of us, summer is synonymous with travel. Since the 1950s, the Rolex GMT-Master has been the go-to travel watch. The modern GMT-Master II has an independently-adjustable local hour hand, allowing you to change time zones with ease while traveling (without stopping the seconds hand, maintaining the watch’s Superlative Chronometer accuracy). The GMT-Master II also has plenty of water resistance, making it swim-friendly in the ocean or pool.

Rolex GMT-Master II on Everest Rubber Strap

Like the rest of Rolex’s professional collection, The GMT-Master II is incredibly versatile. If you’re going for a swim, throw your GMT-Master II on a rubber strap. If you're going out to dinner, throw it on leather. Of course, you can also keep it on bracelet, but if you’re anything like me, swapping straps is half of the fun.

#2. Tudor Pelagos 39

Tudor Pelagos 39

Image Source: Hodinkee

The Tudor Pelagos 39 is my #1 summer watch. . . even though I don’t own one. This is the slightly-downsized version of the Pelagos: Tudor’s ultimate diving watch. With the Pelagos 39, you get the technical prowess of a Pelagos – titanium construction, overkill water resistance, great bezel, strong lume – all in a beautifully-proportioned, wearable package. It comes on a titanium bracelet with a T-fit clasp (toolless microadjustment) with a rubber strap included in the box. You can’t ask for much more from a summer watch.

#1. Tudor Black Bay and Rolex Submariner

Tudor Black Bay 54, 58, and 41mm

Image Source: Tudor

The Tudor Black Bay – 54, 58, and 41mm – is Tudor’s heritage-inspired collection of dive watches. I’m including all variations here because their appeal is congruent; you just have to choose the size and color you prefer. These are go-to recommendations for anyone seeking a proper Swiss watch. Because of their water resistance and durable constructions (as dive watches), they are excellent come summertime, but any one could easily be your only watch. Unlike the previously mentioned Pelagos collection, the Black Bay collection leans into Tudor’s heritage, often with gilt accents, steel cases, and vintage-inspired styling.

Rolex Submariner 41mm

I’m also including the Submariner at the #1 spot because without it, the Black Bay collection wouldn't exist. The Rolex Submariner is and forever will be the summer watch. It’s built like a tank, works on any number of straps (and therefore works in any number of settings), and is arguably the most iconic wristwatch of all time. You absolutely can’t go wrong with a Rolex Submariner, and during the summer months, it’s many people’s first choice.

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