Whether you’re hopping time zones for work, vacation, or just on a whim, you may just may be the kind of person (read: watch nut) who obsesses about which wristwatch to take.
You could always grab a trusty watch roll and pick out a couple of different timepieces. Yet, there exists unmatched convenience in being able to put on a watch and not take it off again until the wheels touch home tarmac once more.
For this reason, we’ve put together a guide on the best travel watch. We’ve also differentiated them by the complication which you may find most useful on your trips:
The Best Travel Watches
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox Ref. Q9038670
- Patek Philippe Complications World Time Ref. 5230G-014
- Tudor Black Bay GMT Ref. M79830RB
- Panerai Submersible 42mm Ref. PAM00683
- Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss Ref. 116400GV
As you can gather by the list above, our men’s travel watch selections are all mechanical timepieces. Indeed, there are countless quartz-powered, even smartwatches, which could make for apt travel wirstwatches.
Regardless, if you’ve checked out any of our other watch guides and reviews, you’ve certainly come to find that we’re rather biased towards traditional horology. You may be, too, if like us you lose sleep over which watch will serve you best on a trip. Don’t worry, you can trust that there’ll be no judgment here.
See Bespoke Unit’s Watch Reviews
Best Men’s Travel Watches
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox Ref. Q9038670 [Alarm Travel Watch]
Jaeger-Lecoultre may be considered by some the king of the alarm complication in the modern day. In fact, we’ve even named their contemporary Memovox model as one of the best alarm watches today.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of their alarm watches, the limited edition Polaris Memovox in this case, would ring true when considering an ideal adventure travel watch with alarm.
With its rubber strap and sporty demeanor, this may not be the ideal choice if you’re jetting to close a business deal. Quite the opposite, actually. With its 200m water resistance, the Polaris Memovox is well-equipped for most aquatic treks.
Considering the intended applications, JLC has not overlooked aesthetics. The watch boasts the familiar master compressor profile along with a black dial and applied indices with “old radium” luminous fills.
Styled after a 1968 offering, the vintage feel of the watch is evident and also quite attractive. Additionally, its functions include a date, the iconic alarm with its inner dial indicator, and a rotating internal bezel actuated by one of the flanking crowns.
Whether you’re diving the depths or just hanging by the pool, the Polaris Memovox will gladly accompany you on the journey.
Patek Philippe Complications World Time Ref. 5230G-014 [World Time Travel Watch]
For the international businessman, especially the one who’s constantly accruing air miles, a world time watch can serve as the ideal companion. And there’s no conversation surrounding the best world time watches without a mention of Patek Philippe.
The Complications 5230G-014 is one the brand’s contemporary world time offerings, and easily one of the most attractive timepieces of the entire catalog.
The watch’s 38.5mm case diameter is the opposite of cumbersome, unlike the rest of your luggage. Its white gold heft, though, still serves as a nice reminder of the exclusive timepiece on your wrist.
Another virtue of the 5230G is its functionality. More specifically, how easy it actually is to use. All it takes to change the time is actuating the pusher at 10 o’clock to shift ahead one hour. The outer dial, the inner AM/PM ring, and the hour hand will all move in unison to indicate the correct time for the corresponding city at 12.
This being a Patek Philippe, there’s a second story to be told through the sapphire case back. The intricate details of the hand-finished movement can be admired for hours on end, making for an adequate distraction if you’re unlucky enough to get a flight without wi-fi.
Though one needs not a travel occasion to enjoy the World Time 5230G-014, it just seems fitting to make this your choice next time you’re looking for the one-and-done travel wristwatch.
Tudor Black Bay GMT Ref. M79830RB [GMT Travel Watch]
Upon its introduction, the Tudor Black Bay GMT “Pepsi” was instantly compared against Rolex’s parallel Pepsi bezel, Jubilee bracelet GMT-Master II release. Unfortunately, this resulted in the overshadowing of a great timepiece.
If you’ve ever held a Tudor, particularly any of the many Black Bay versions, then you’ve probably been witness to the brand’s distinctive construction.
The same is true for the Black Bay GMT. Its quality is literally palpable. Everything about the watch feels solid. The bezel turns with a satisfying click. The case itself is intricately finished, with contrasting-finish edges for light to reflect off of.
In this case, the brand has also added a bit of color with the Pepsi bezel, albeit in a different tone than the well-known Rolex variety. The black dial poses the perfect background for the luminous indices, the Snowflake hands, and the newly-added red GMT hand.
A perfect GMT watch, the Tudor Pepsi GMT is the one you go for when you don’t want to make too much fuss. There’s barely any flash from the brushed steel case, which means you get to keep a low profile.
Moreover, the GMT function also allows you to keep an eye on the time back home, or anywhere that you’re not, if inconsiderate calls are a concern. It’s also certain to brave any excursions without issues or complaints – how many travel companions can you actually say that about?
Panerai Submersible 42mm Ref. PAM00683 [Diver Travel Watch]
If you’re planning on skipping town and going on a subaquatic adventure, there may only really be one watch brand to serve you best.
We’re talking Panerai. The manufacturer of one of the most recognized dive watches continues innovating and creating outstanding sports timepieces in the modern day. The PAM 683 is such an example.
Perhaps most noticeable on this Submersible is the reduced case size; this one comes in at 42mm vs. the regular 47mm. A negative aspect for some, the decrease in dimension truly makes the watch more wearable for more people, as well as less unwieldy.
This PAM 683 is further differentiated (and upgraded) by the ceramic bezel. It’s black dial boasts the standard luminous plots along with a date function and some attractive splashes of blue. A sure reminder of where this watch belongs: in the sea.
With a 300m water depth rating, the PAM 683 is the ideal travel watch if underwater adventures are on the docket. Maybe you’re not planning on putting that rating to the test, but at least you’ll be properly equipped if the opportunity pops up.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Milgauss Ref. 116400GV [Time-Only Travel Watch]
It’s also possible that you’re the kind of person who doesn’t really care too much about the complications of your watch when you’re traveling.
Maybe you just want a timepiece with which you won’t have to worry if it takes a couple of knocks, and one that can come along if you decide to take a dip. Still, you may have a nice dinner or two while away, and you’ll want to bring a bit of swagger on your wrist.
The Rolex Milgauss 116400GV may just be your best bet. It’s got the highly-desired Rolex sports profile, the oustanding Oyster bracelet, and a curiously colorful face.
The black dial boasts a bit more color than you’re used to with Rolex dials, but it’s absolutely metered and justified. The orange print matches the lightning bolt hand at center, which in turn matches the three orange hour indices. Topping it all off is the intriguing green crystal, which seriously multiplies the already-elevated “cool factor”
An excellent timepiece in its own right, the Milgauss can also easily slide into the tough slot of being a travel watch. Touting the remarkable Rolex quality without all the hassle of its overhyped siblings, you may find yourself wearing this one long after you step off the jetway.
Final Thoughts & More Watch Reads
All in all, it’s all going to depend on the traveler themselves to determine which watch will make the best trip partner. But we believe the ones highlighted here would be particularly adept at making sure you’re properly armed when taking on new lands.
If you can think of any other ideal travel watches that we may have missed, make sure to let us know in the comments! If you’re looking for more watch content, definitely check out some of these other articles:
- Which Brand Made The First Pilot’s Watch & The Top Aviator Styles
- The Best Dress Watches For Men
- How Thin Is Too Thin? Find Out W/ Our List Of The World’s Thinnest Watches
- The Top American Watchmakers & Their Latest Models
- All Of Our Watch Reviews
"I generally travel with just one watch and keep it on my wrist the whole time. It's one less thing to keep track of when packing. I've also heard plenty of horror stories about collections disappearing on vacation trips, so I rest easier, too!"Rating: 5.0★★★★★