Any roundup of the best watches to wear in hot and humid weather might as well be a generic, 365-day resource for Hongkongers. For an increasingly disproportionate part of the year, humidity here exceeds 77 percent — making for an uncomfortable climate that’s exacerbated by heavy rainfall and (between June and September) the very real threat of typhoons. Indeed, the months that we typically think of as ‘cool’ only satisfy this definition in the relative sense — likely to be considered warmer by international weather standards.
Consequently, when selecting five of the best watches for Hong Kong’s climate, a couple of shared criteria were essential: no leather straps; some degree of water resistance; and designs that favoured an ergonomic, comfortable wearing experience. The best part? Three of the pieces that made our cut can be had for less than $30,000 — so you have change left over to buy an umbrella.

1
Seiko 5 Sports SRPD73K1

Based on the eponymous line that was first launched in 1963, the new Seiko 5 collection ticks all the right boxes when it comes to entry-level mechanical watchmaking. Despite the sheer numbers and sometimes arbitrary distinction between the line’s 27 new releases, the SRPD73K1 is everything we look for in a great looking, value-driven watch. Like all Seiko 5s, it’s depth rated to 100m and is powered by a robust self-winding movement — originally developed for the brand’s Prospex divers. Throw in the tres groovy Milanese-style bracelet and you have a watch that will go all summer, no matter whether you’re wearing swims or your favourite blue blazer.

The Seiko 5 Sports SRPD73K1 is available for (approx.) HK$2,890. To learn more, visit Seiko online

2
Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Chronograph (Ref. 26400)

Having been introduced prior to the era of ‘bigger is better’ watchmaking, the Royal Oak Offshore has been a lynchpin of Audemars Piguet’s success for 20-plus years. Earlier this January, the brand debuted a handful of new iterations: the most summery of which is this limited edition Ref. 26400 in camo green. An AP boutique exclusive, this particular Offshore looks as though it could go toe to toe with a T10 and stand a chance of survival. Beyond its formidable build quality — optimised for use at the beach or in the rain — this watch is also equipped with a chronograph, a complication that’s handy to have in most recreational situations involving large bodies of water and hot weather.  

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Self-winding Chronograph is available for HK$253,000. To learn more, visit Audemars Piguet online

3
Rado Captain Cook Automatic

When Rado released an almost 1-to-1 duplication of the original Captain Cook divewatch two years back — dubbed the Hyperchrome — the industry was caught totally off-guard. Here you had a Swatch Group brand, better known for materially innovative thinly cased watches, releasing a stylish 60s inspired diver that was able to justify every penny of its HK$15,000 sticker price. In light of the Hyperchrome’s popularity, Rado have followed up with another addition to the Captain Cook family, straightforwardly dubbed ‘the Automatic’. The vintage styling of its predecessor remains, but in many ways this feels like the quintessential modern ‘skin diver’. Cases have been sized up to 42mm, a ceramic insert is used for the bezel and the new colourways (i.e. green, grey, blue) lend a beautiful contrast to the bracelet — which features a mix of contemporary (read: flat links) and 60s (read: beads of rice) design queues.  

The Rado Captain Cook is available for HK$14,900. To learn more, visit Rado online

4
OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultralight

Undeniably hi-tech and eye wateringly expensive, the new Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light puts OMEGA in territory traditionally inhabited by brands like Richard Mille. Still, at a total weight of 55g this experimental sports watch lives up to its name — thanks to a movement and external construction that is largely manufactured using titanium. The 41mm case is fashioned from titanium aluminide alloy — chosen for its hardness and unparalleled resistance to high temperatures. As distinct from other models of the Seamaster family, the ultralight Aqua Terra also makes use of a telescoping crown — intended to prevent it from snagging on the wrists of wearers who are engaging in high-octane athletic activities. Available in red, green and blue colourways.

The OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultralight is available for HK$398,500. To learn more, visit OMEGA online.

5
Nomos Glashütte Club Campus Neomatik 39

Pick a handful of vectors — price, design, wearability — and it’s probable that any one of Nomos’s timepieces will come out smelling like roses. Since the late 90s, the Saxonian watch manufacturer has quietly been cornering the market on clean, Bauhaus-inflected timepieces — though it’s historically never offered a model equipped with a metal bracelet. Then, earlier this January, the brand announced that they would be releasing three models in the popular Club Campus sub-collection — all of which featured an all-new bracelet, designed in the company’s Berlin studio.

Even before the introduction of a stainless steel bracelet — all of which, Nomos explains, are manufactured and hand polished in Glashütte — the Campus model was an excellent all-rounder of a sports watch: the case is water resistant to 200m, the California-style dial is extremely legible (thanks to an adherence to Bauhaus colour theory) and the movement ticking away inside embraces a unity of form and function. In particular, the Neomatik 39 is our favourite execution, as you get the convenience of Nomos’s automatic calibre DUW3001, wrapped up in a discreet little package that flatters a wide spectrum of wrist sizes.

The Nomos Glashütte Club Campus Neomatik 39 is available for HK$23,800. To learn more, visit Nomos Glashütte online.

Randy Lai
Watches Editor
Having worked in the Australian digital media landscape for over 5 years, Randy has extensive experience in men's specialist categories such as classic clothing, watches and spirits. He is partial to mid-century chronographs and a nice chianti.