Menswear legend Hardy Amies once said, "It is totally impossible to be well dressed in cheap shoes. Or shorts." Actually, he didn't say that last bit, but shorts - capri pants especially - are no-nos. In terms of horology, the same applies: that is, a look is nothing without the right watch.
In fact, I would go further and say it is just as important to have the right watch strap. Straps are often an afterthought and many people are surprised by the breadth of options available. The strap can often add garnish to an outfit or accentuate a watch. And there are plenty of practical alternatives to leather if you're prone to sweaty wrists.
The first watch we have this week is the stylish and sporty Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue (above right), which comes with a nylon strap - known more commonly among watch geeks as the Nato strap. And, as fashionistas will tell you, the Nato strap is "on trend" at the moment, which inevitably means it has become ubiquitous in Hong Kong - where, what with the hot, humid and sweaty climate, it can be a godsend.
Practical though they may be, however, Nato straps need to compliment the watch they come with and that's why the colourful strap on the 42mm steel Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue works so well. The watch is a tribute to the iconic Tudor Montecarlo Chronograph, which was released 40 years ago, and the dial design and distinctive blue, grey and orange colour scheme has been reproduced; but unlike on the original, which had a steel bracelet, the colour scheme is continued with the strap.
Features-wise this watch has a small seconds hand at the three o'clock position and a 45-minute totaliser at the nine o'clock position. Inside is a Tudor calibre 2892 movement with chronograph function and 42 hours of power reserve. The bezel is also unidirectional and the watch has water resistance to 150 metres. Prices for the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue are available upon request.
Next we have the chunky, automotive-influenced Eberhard Chrono 4 Colours (bottom left), with its menacing rubber strap. Led by brands such as Bell & Ross, rubber straps on mechanical watches have become more prevalent in recent years - previous hang-ups about them looking "cheap" or good only for diving watches having apparently waned.
Eberhard and other traditional watchmakers have embraced rubber with great results and the Chrono 4 Colours' strap has a character of its own, with nice brand detailing and texture. The watch comes in a 43mm steel case and has a busy dial face featuring four inline chronograph counters that dominate the lower half of the watch. The rubber theme is repeated nicely with rubber banding on the chronograph push buttons. The Eberhard Chrono 4 Colours also features a date window and is water resistant to 50 metres. It is priced at HK$61,900.
Finally, we have the ceramic band that Rado does so well. Ceramic is a fad that may have subsided a little, but the material is still popular for its light weight and durability, not to mention its glossy finish. The folks at Rado were early innovators with it and they continue to raise the bar with watches such as the HyperChrome XXL Automatic Chronograph (below left).
Billed as the world's first one-piece ceramic-case cons-truction, the HyperChrome is as hi-tech as they come and the ultra-modern bracelet fits this schema perfectly. The watch itself is sized at 45mm and the dial has that "near-future" minimalist design that Rado is so fond of. There are three almost indice-less chronograph sub dials on the watch, with a date window between the four and five o'clock positions. Inside is a robust and dependable ETA 2894-2 movement that provides 42 hours of power.
The Rado HyperChrome XXL Automatic Chronograph is priced at HK$36,200.