Top 10 Luxury Watches for Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding are considered by many a luxury in the world of sports, often taking place in exclusive locations like Aspen in Colorado, Whistler in Vancouver and the Swiss and French Alps. And living this high lifestyle, you can’t forget to dress appropriately.
This calls for a luxury watch that can handle a winter environment, offer sports functions and match your style, on and off the slopes. So I’ve rounded up some of the best sports, dive and aviation watches that can handle some serious skiing or snowboarding, as well as match your après-ski activities.
A focus is on darker dials to counter the glare from all the snow and sun. I’ve chosen rubber and fabric straps that don’t mind getting wet and won’t get cold, unlike leather and metal bracelets. As necessary for all sports, dive and aviation watches, these models are proven to handle the roughness, wetness and low temps that come with winter sports. And chronograph functions are featured, letting you time and track your runs. Here are my top ten picks, in no particular order:
1 – Tag Heuer Formula One Chrono
Tag Heuer’s ever-popular Formula One Collection saw some pretty sharp updates this year. The most eye-catching of the bunch is the version shown here with a polished aluminum fixed bezel coated in deep red with matching red indices. The 42mm stainless steel case gets it’s blacked-out look from a titanium carbide coating, making it impervious to snow glare. It features a full chronograph, tachymeter and date display. The slick branded rubber strap is secured with a double clasp.
2 – Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Alchron
Zenith made big impression with the El Primero Stratos Flyback when it was first released in 2011. Fitted with a brand new in-house movement visible through a sapphire back, this slick chronograph features a flyback complication and date display. All versions use a big 45.5mm case, with the one seen here coated with a Alchron coating, which is a special alloy that is ultra-hard and corrosion resistant. This version also uses an industrial looking strap, that has a rubber lining and triple-folding clasp.
3 – Audemars Piguet Offshore Ceramic
A watch that demands to be on this ski watch list is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore. Following the requirements I set up, I’ve gone with a dark version fitted to their rugged black rubber strap. And this isn’t just a coating, the dark gray comes for a full ceramic 45.5mm case, bezel, crown and push-buttons. The big buttons also make for easier use of the chrono functions with ski gloves on too. Opposed to the previous clasp straps, this rubber strap is fitted with a titanium pin buckle.
4 – Breitling Chronospace Volcano Black
An unique choice in ski chronographs would be the 2012 Chronospace from Breitling. This quartz watch combines a traditional dial with digital displays, giving a retro space vibe. The SuperQuartz Caliber 78 inside is ten times more accurate than a standard quartz and packs a 2-3 year battery life. The oversized digital display in this pilot watch packs in a stack of functions that a serious skier would also enjoy, including split times, dual time zones, alarm, calendar and a chronograph that measures 1/100ths of a second. And it uses a double-caseback construction, which amplifies it’s audible signals up to 90 decibels, making sure you hear you apres-ski alarm.
5 – Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono
For a splash of color, check out this version of the new Planet Ocean Chrono. Omega’s signature orange colorcoats the bezel, chrono buttons and the strap. While styled like a leather strap, it’s actually rubber. And remember if this model is too flashy for you, Omega’s has a black version as well. Featuring a simplified chronograph and chronometer with two dials, it’s powered by their touted Co-Axial Escapement.
6 – Chopard Classic Racing Superfast Chrono
My second motorsports-inspired watch for the slopes is a Superfast Chrono, from Chopard’s Classic Racing Collection. This specific model is a limited edition that shows off a Dunlop Racing strap, designed after the tread of 1960s racing tires and made from natural rubber and deployment clasp. This wide range of dials on this COSC-certified watch includes a split-second function, letting you compare two of you runs against each other. The 45mm steel case is blackened with a DLC coating
7 – Graham Chronofighter Oversize New Generation
For a second pilot watch pick for this ski watch list, here is Graham’s new generation of Chronofighter Oversize Chronograph. This re-engineered Chronofighter is still as tough as the last generation, but more refined. It uses a beefy 47mm steel case coated with a black PVD coating and black ceramic bezel. The big trigger that controls the chrono functions is now made from a piece of carbon fiber. Using a “wildlife” theme, the model shown here is their “Sahara” version, with a khaki colored fabric strap and matching dial details.
8 – Hublot King Power Unico Titanium
This cold looking titanium Hublot is a good match for an icy setting. Called the King Power Unico, it features the latest version of Hublot’s styling Unico Chronograph Flyback movement, which you can see through the skeleton dial. The satin-finished titanium case is the biggest of the bunch at 48mm, but is necessary for the view of the sub-dials and the cool view. Besides the chrono sub-dials, check out the unique date date display which rotates fully visible around the outer rim of the dial.The dial details are coated with satin-finished rhodium, with titanium screws, rubber and composite resin used to seal the bezel. The fixed rubber strap uses a deployant buckle clasp made of titanium and black PVD coated titanium.
9 – Officine Panerai Luminor Chrono Daylight
The timeless design of the Luminor has been around since the 1950s and has stayed true to form up until today. In recent years, Panerai has been proud to include their own house-made movements in their watches, like the COSC-Certified OP XII cailber in the Luminor shown here. The classy but sporty Luminor 44mm brushed steel case is made with a special low-carbon steel alloy which blends in chromium, nickel and molybdenum. This austenitic stainless steel is favored by the Italian Navy for its resilience and encouraged Panerai to keep using it. The steel case is set against a large black dial with chrono sub-dials, offset with yellow detailing with a matching leather strap. A bonus with this watch is the inclusion of a branded rubber strap and the tools need to change them on the go. Letting you swap on your rubber strap before you head to the chairlift.
10 – Dietrich ED01 Snow Watch
While not a chronograph, this minimalist watch made specifically for snow needs to be included. The Deitrich ED01 uses a simple black 44mm case made of lightweight aircraft aluminum, is water resistant down to 200 meters and is designed for sub-zero temperatures. the black dial features big glowing green hands and indices for maximum visibility in bright, dark or snowy conditions. The 4-part strap (includes a black and green version) lets you wear the watch securely overtop of your jacket, no matter how padded it might be. For use off the slopes, it also comes with a leather strap and module that fits it to the case when the 4-part strap is removed.
Hope you enjoyed our top 10 luxury watches for skiing and snowboarding. Let me know your favorite or any watches you’d suggest in the comments below.