By Nick Hammond
A WATCH is many things to many people.
Of course, a timepiece and a fashion accessory; but these days, so much more.
If you’re a lover of fine pieces of engineering and design – like a handcrafted shotgun, for example – chances are you may also be attracted to some of the ultra-special available to the connoisseur.
Designed, not always with the outdoorsman in mind, these luxury watches are the pinnacle of art and precision.
No ordinary watch, the Submariner scored worldwide fame as the wrist accompaniment of choice to 007. Indeed, in Casino Royale, Ian Fleming nailed his colours to the mast: “He could not just wear a watch. It had to be a Rolex.” Plenty of shooters feel the same and the HULK is as exotic and as rugged as you’d expect for a dive watch extraordinaire. While not specifically a shooting watch, it’s a very cool adornment for any sportsman’s wrist. £10,000.
A unique collection of exquisite designs, this little beauty pairs the engineering of Panerai and the workmanship of Purdey and Sons’ master engravers. Incredibly detailed scenes of hunting the Big Five are painstakingly recreated on some 80 individual pieces that make up the watch. Each individual case takes a week for a Purdey engraver to create. Each piece comes in a pear tree wooden box with accompanying tools. £20,500.
Designed with the world’s travellers in mind, the GMT does a mean job as a hunter’s timepiece too. Originally commissioned by PanAm in the glory days of trans-Atlantic travel, The Master Series has timeless good looks and is waterproofed to 100m; just right for that rain-soaked Red Stag stalk in Scotland. £7,000.
The Speedmaster became the first watch in space when Walter Schirra wore one for the Sigma 7 mission in 1962. Now, your next Eagle Review inspired hunting trip may not be quite that far (although goat hunting in Sasketchewan is a fair trek) but your Speedmaster will still be useful. Each is individually numbered, the case is made of 100k gold and the famous manual winding movement will work in zero gravity just as well as on the Scottish grouse moors.
Do you ever feel the need? The need for speed? Then the Top Gun maybe your cup of tea. Inspired by the elite training school for US Navy Pilots and historic navigation pieces for pilots, this sleek watch comes with a host of timing and precision options, should you be pointing your fighter jet for the near horizon. You may, of course, simply be turkey shooting in Texas instead, but you’ll feel locked and loaded either way. £10,000.
Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and don’t forget to strap on your vintage World War I watch. In homage to the Great War, the Bell & Ross features a large fob watch diameter and its readings are inspired by navigation and aviator watches of the time. £2,000.
The Breitling’s a tank of a watch, built to withstand an army on the march. It’ll easily stand up to a day’s francolin hunting in the Czech Republic. The black dial features luminescent hands for low light conditions and it has an ultra-light 50mm case. £8,000.
A glorious collaboration between Zenith and outdoor motoring giant Land Rover, the special edition is a nod to the Range Rover’s chassis and is a masterpiece of precision engineering. Both companies share the same 1969 year of founding. £8,000.
This is a staggering creation in glare-proof crystal. You can satisfy your hunting urge to the extreme with a camouflage strap to complement this giant of the watch world. With 365 parts and no less than 59 jewels, it’s not the sort of thing you’d wish to drop down a drainage ditch on a Wiltshire partridge shoot. But if you can keep it on your wrist, it might well impress your shoot host over supper later in the evening. £30,000.
Built to stand up to the boisterousness of a full game of polo, the Reverso continues to set trends in beautiful, wearable luxury. Flip it over to protect the screen and you can have a full chaka; or indeed a full day’s pigeon shooting in Argentina, without causing a scratch. £5,000.
Let us know what your favorite luxury hunting watch is in the comment section below!