Top Travel Watches for Your Next Vacation (2024)

Whether vacationing on land or by cruise, a reliable watch is a must-have for any traveler. However, finding that perfect travel watch that is versatile, aligned with your style, and durable can be challenging, especially when considering the risk of loss or theft for luxury watches.

I will help you explore five exceptional watches that meet the unique needs of the world traveler. They offer a blend of sophistication, functionality, and peace of mind and are available at various price points, between $95 and $4,900.

Disclosure: This page has affiliate links, meaning we may earn a small commission if you click the link and proceed with a purchase at no cost to you. Some of the watches were sent to us for purposes of this review. We recommend cruises, experiences, products, and services we have tested or personally use. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Three watches in a row on a gray velvet background, for travel watches at various price points.

Top 5 Travel Watches at Various Price Points

Read about our favorite watch strap company and the safe options you should invest in for your home to protect your valuables when traveling.

My Firsthand Experience with Travel Watches as a Watch Enthusiast

Everyone has a cell phone in their pocket that acts as a camera and a watch. We realize that’s a reality in the 21st century. But when traveling, I often find myself in situations where carrying a phone isn’t feasible, especially during our various cruises. Yet I still need to know the time, especially so we return to the ship before it leaves a port.

Whether for water activities or simply a desire to disconnect and be text-free onboard, a dependable watch becomes a lifeline. We love well-designed watches, which is why we often visit whatever shops are onboard a cruise ship as soon as they open to consider buying a watch on a cruise.

The best watch must withstand the rigors of travel — from water and climate exposure to accidental bumps — while maintaining its elegance for evening dinners.

The watches we have selected to highlight have proven to be valuable companions. They ensure we never miss a scheduled spa treatment, when we must meet our guide for an excursion, making the tender times, or a ship’s departure, all while enhancing our travel wardrobes.

Mikkel and I often wear pricier timepieces at home that we have invested in (yes, I’m proud to say I turned her into a watch enthusiast like me). But when we travel on land or by cruise, we wear watches that we will not be worried about someone in a foreign country following us to steal. And yes, that does happen, unfortunately, so you must keep this in mind if you’re considering traveling wearing a Rolex.

1. NORQAIN Neverest GMT: For the Stylish Explorer

Price: $3,950

Black and green wristwatch on a man's arm, with his hand in his pocket.

This is my top choice for an elegant, upscale travel watch that won’t break the bank. I love the GMT function that keeps time in multiple time zones, the ability to dress it up or down, and its design. The brand is newer in the watch world; though it’s high-quality with Swiss parts and Swiss movement, it remains a hidden gem. Robbers have targeted tourists for well-known watches like Rolex, but Norqain pieces are luxury watches that still fly under the radar. This works to your advantage while you travel.

This watch looks good during daily activities, when you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt — or whatever adventure cruise attire you wear daily, from the Caribbean to Alaska — but also looks great dressed up, like in a button-down shirt and dark pants, by night. Its details, including the criss-cross metal knurling on the side of the bezel and the Norqain logo on its dial, are appreciated by watch aficionados and novices.

Details on the side of a Norqain watch with metal criss-crossing and logo on the dial.

You cannot beat the satisfaction you feel when looking at the watch’s skeleton back (that’s watch speak, for a see-through, open case back), where you can see some of the 28 rubies inside.

Another fun fact is that when you buy this watch, you’re helping to support Nepal’s local community. “10% of the earnings from the sales of NEVEREST timepieces are donated to the Butterfly Help Project in Nepal helping families of sherpas who have lost their lives in the Himalayan mountains and give their children access to education.”

Back side of three travel watches.

Additional Features of the Norqain Neverest GMT

The NORQAIN Neverest GMT is not just a watch; it’s an investment in quality and functionality. Its mechanical automatic movement, 70-hour power reserve, and dual time zone with jumping hour feature make it a reliable choice for travelers. The scratch-proof sapphire glass is anti-reflective and scratch-proof; we know firsthand how much durability matters in the watch you bring on vacation as adventure takes over and your carefree days and nights are spent exploring new destinations.

The flex fabric strap (shown in photos) adds a touch of fun and flair to its design, but the watch from Norqain also has the following straps available: a stainless steel bracelet, a green rubber NATO strap, and a black rubber strap inspired by the knurled bezel design.

With its detailed Swiss mechanical automatic movement and comfortable 41mm case size, this watch offers excellent value for those looking for a high-quality, travel-friendly timepiece with a unique design.

Front of a SentrySafe.

2. Benrus SEA LORD: Rugged Elegance

Price: $595

The Benrus SEA LORD perfectly blends vintage charm and modern technology. Its 39.5mm size comfortably fits most wrists. Its high-quality rubber strap and water resistance up to 98 feet make it suitable for adventurous travels. The Super-LumiNova markers ensure low-light visibility, enhancing its utility and style.

The brand was founded in 1926 and almost immediately marketed to a travel audience. Benrus was steeped in adventure from the get-go, using the famous pilot Charles Lindbergh as its spokesperson in 1926. In 1929, Benrus was the official watch of National Air Transport, which became United Airlines.

The Sea Lord, in particular, was available throughout the 1960s-70s. This revitalized watch style has a vintage feel in a modern offering, which is a huge reason why I like it; I’m a vintage watch guy.

Additional Features

This Swiss-made watch features automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. It requires no battery and charges with wrist movement, making it ideal for traveling.

Barton watch bands with a hand holding a watch with a blue band and a ruler in the background.

3. Armitron Wave: The Eco-Conscious Traveler’s Choice

Price: $95

Founded in 1975, Armitron has been a mainstay in affordable watches for decades. Did you know that Armitron is the Official Timekeeper of the New York Yankees?

Two watches - one black, one blue and white - next to each other on a table.

The Armitron Wave stands out for its recycled materials and sportiness. The brand’s commitment to sustainability manifests itself in this watch, made from recycled ocean-bound plastic from Tide Ocean Material SA. This watch makes a statement in addition to being an affordable travel option. The watch’s packaging is also made from sustainable materials.

It has water resistance of up to 165 feet (50 meters) and an easily adjustable and washable band. This low-cost watch is designed for eco-conscious travelers who value both form and function at a price of under $100. Mikkel has the teal Armitron Wave with white details, and I have the black one, though all options are unisex. It is also available in navy.

It’s worth mentioning that the 40 mm dial size didn’t comfortably fit our wrists. We recommend purchasing the watch, testing it out at home, and wearing it for a few hours before committing to see if it’s comfortable on your body.

Additional Features

The watch comes in various fun colors, is battery-powered, and offers a simple design that is perfect for a day of activities.

Underside of a blue watch band on a woman's right hand against a blue pool background.

4. Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT: The Globetrotter’s Dream

Price: $1,590

For those who prefer a larger watch for traveling, the Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT’s 41mm case and 656 feet of water resistance make it a robust companion. Its automatic movement, date window, and additional GMT hand for a second time zone are perfect for keeping track of things at home while exploring new destinations.

I like that this watch is easy to read, thanks to its large hands and big round hour markers. The skeleton back is a rare addition to a watch under $1,600, revealing the attractive movements inside the timepiece. The watch comes on a bracelet, but you can swap the band to personalize it, as I do with many watches.

Green Christopher Ward watch on the wrist of a man wearing a long sleeve sweater.

Additional Features

The stainless steel bracelet is designed for all-day comfort, and its elegant design can be dressed up for formal dinners, making it a versatile choice for your itinerary.

5. IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire: The Ultimate Travel Companion

Price: $4,900

Inspired by WWII-era aviation history, the IWC Spitfire combines history and elegance. Its 39mm case size, easy-to-read hands, and Swiss automatic movement ensure reliability and style. Water-resistant up to 196 feet, it’s built for adventure yet sleek enough for formal events. It’s also a brand name many people are familiar with and trust, from its long-standing reputable history, founded in 1868.

It’s easy to find a reputable IWC boutique worldwide, especially in USA port cities coast to coast, whether you’re cruising from the Port of Los Angeles or Miami.

The face isn’t overly complicated; its beauty is in its clean elegance and simplicity, yet it still has a rugged feel. This watch matches any outfit, day or night.

IW326801_Pilot's Watch Automatic Spitfire
Image courtesy of IWC

Additional Features

The watch’s adventurous look and date window feature make it a versatile option for travelers who demand functionality without compromising on style.

Five Best Travel Watches

Every traveler deserves a watch that’s as reliable and stylish as they are. Whether you’re a seasoned watch enthusiast or new to the world of luxury timepieces, our curated selection caters to every budget and need. From the sustainable Armitron Wave to the exquisite IWC Spitfire, each watch offers a blend of functionality, quality, and style, making them perfect for any journey.

Choose a travel watch that reflects your taste and accompanies you through every adventure, and you’ll embark on your next journey with confidence and elegance. Remember, a watch is not just a tool; it’s a part of your travels. Always read reviews and research before deciding, ensuring your travel watch is a companion you can rely on, no matter where your adventures take you.

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