I appreciate that were one to rank human needs, starting with food, fire and shelter, owning an expensive showy watch just to wear on holiday would come quite far down the list, but despite this it's a subject that preys on my mind. In fact, now that it’s summer, I’d say it’s become a preoccupation, and if I had booked a holiday to a chi-chi spot by the Med, like Portofino, it would be close to an obsession.
The problems are two-fold. The most obvious is that none of the watches I’m interested in costs less than £2,500 (approximately the cost of a weekend in Portofino’s Hotel Splendido), but the second is that it’s hard to settle on only one watch. The most obvious contender, to me, is a 40mm Rolex Submariner with a black face - it's a faultless design - but as the lucky owner of a 34mm steel Air-King should I really buy another watch that's so similar?
My next idea is an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, in as close to the classic Seventies spec as I can find, but on reflection perhaps the steel bracelet is a little imposing for my modest wrists. Next up is Breitling's Superocean Héritage 38 on an Ocean Classic bracelet, which is a watch that I’ve long admired and seems underrated. Another possibility, which even in this macho company looks powerfully masculine, is Jaeger-LeCoultre's Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy SEALs.
Having looked into this matter quite extensively I didn't expect to stumble across a new contender without warning, but that's what happened when I met Giles English who, with his brother Nick, co-founded the Bremont watch brand in 2007. The watches, which are in three model families, are made in Switzerland with modified ETA movements, but are hand built to the English's designs.
Bremont’s leading entrant for my imaginary holiday watch competition is the Supermarine 500, a 43mm diving watch, with a movement protected by a Faraday cage and a patented anti-shock case, that comes in a lively blue that would be perfect by the sea. My only concern is that the shade of blue might clash with my blazer, but perhaps I’m overthinking this now.
Words by Mansel Fletcher, Esquire's executive style editor
Supermarine 500. £2,995 www.bremont.com