The Bronze Age is seen as one of the earliest phases of human development. Before we learned how to work iron and steel, or how to build complex machines that will one day overrun the world, we had beautiful, bountiful bronze. It’s truly the first metal humankind learned to manipulate, all the way back in 4,000 BCE and was the gateway drug that has led to every technological advancement in our history.
Made of a copper and tin combination, bronze has natural properties that set it apart from all of our stainless steels, our titanium, our gold and silver. To begin with, bronze won’t corrode the way that steel and iron will, because it chemically concocts a patina to protect it from damage, meaning the more you abuse it, the stronger it becomes.
Even saltwater and brine can’t penetrate the beauty of bronze, which is why it’s a beautiful, unique metal that you should be adding to your EDC whenever possible, and wearing on your wrist whenever a timepiece is required.
To help you understand the beauty of bronze, here’s 16 bronze watches that will allow you to accessorize like a sartorial fiend.
The Challenger is as entry-level as you’re likely to get with a quality bronze watch. The Miyota 90S5 movement might not be cut from Swiss cloth, but it’s far from a slouch, and comes wrapped in a brassy 47mm face that’s well-purposed for those with big wrists, or anyone looking to make a big splash in style and operation.
The hands glow a distinctive blue, and are made in a slim baton style that is as understated and elegant as the brushed aluminum, nickle, and bronze exterior. The crystal is exquisite sapphire that can go down a scant 300 meters, making it good for swimmers and snorkelers, while Miyota 9015 Japanese-made movement keeps reliable time from here to eternity.
Extra thick metal and superb casings make the Abyss the diver’s watch of note, as it can dip down to 3,000 meters below the surface of the sea before it fails to tick. The backing is stainless steel that screws in to add further security and protection to the interior cogs, keeping the automatic Japanese movement securely in place, far from the reach of dust, water, debris, and the tribulations of the world.
CNC machined bronze forms the case, but under the 1,000 meter water-resistant sapphire domed crystal exterior is a meteorite dial that’s as unique and rugged as the bold exterior. Seiko NH35 movement keeps time while light luminol treatment allows it to be seen in the dark without detracting from the functional aesthetic.
A large, pilot-inspired face with smart spring bars that accommodate whatever strap you choose to use, the M-53 is the ultimate what you see is what you get watch. Automatic NH35J Japanese movement keeps the trains running on time, with a double diamond sealed screw-down crown that’s an ideal combination of easily manipulated, and comfortable on the wrist during everything from daily duties to action sports.
Ancon Sea Shadow III
A contemporary naval watch meant to keep time with military accuracy, the third Sea Shadow leaves previous models far behind with its ETA 2824-2 automatic Swiss-made movement. The face is a one-two combo that’s half dive watch, half pilot’s face for use on land and beneath the sea.
Archimede Pilot 42
While many bronze timepieces look to naval fleets for inspiration, a few choose to set their sights higher. Made in the style of early pilot’s watches with the time-marking triangle at the top, the Pilot 42 also has a low-slung date on the right hand side and a beefy onion crown that can be manipulated even when pulling a barrel roll at 4 G’s.
Inspired by Italian officers on ship decks toward the end of the second World War, it has a broad bezel that is ideal for accommodating the wide tachymeter which works with the chronos on the face for tracking speed. Fully capable of being used as a moderate race watch with its Swiss automatic movement and Swiss-made chronographs. Flip it over and the inner workings are revealed through a glass window set in stainless steel.
Aquadive Bathyscaphe 100
A smashing sport watch intended to use its self-winding Swiss-made ETA 2836 movement only for good while looking like a 60’s throwback, the Bathyscaphe was made to be a modern classic that you can use, abuse, and still hand down to your little divers. It’s built with a charming uni-directional bezel that you can stake your life on.
Squale Master Professional
Rather than attempting to stand on its bronze features, the Master Pro opts to put function first with a wide face made in Switzerland which uses a magnifying window for easier viewing through foggy goggles. Built to last and to handle the heavy lifting of keeping time when seconds count, it’s a consummate pro with just a hint of bronze-age flair.
More than 60 years worth of dive watch experience is evident in this stunning piece that is a nod to antique diving equipment worn by the earliest nautical divers and used on ships around the world. The build is an aluminum and bronze alloy that has extra hydrophobic protection, but will still patina. Behind the face is specialized MT5601 movement that is an upgraded version of Tudor’s in-house operation. Should the bronze and brown not appeal, there’s also a Tudor x Bucherer navy and bronze model that is, if possible, even deeper seated in maritime custom.
Ennebi Mictofo Bronzo
Fans of niche watchmaker Ennebi will likely recognize the Bronzo as an homage to the 2005 Mictofo 13200, which was also a limited run item. Cheery, friendly illumination and a body that is just this side of indestructible, the sole major break from the bronze look is an 18-carat crown marker bearing Ennebi’s distinct logo.
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Even without the full bronze case, the Type 20 is clearly asking to get noticed. Cocky, brash numerals adorn the face with antique combination hands that are run by 27-jewel Elite 679 Swiss movement that is slow to drop time with a 50-hour power reserve. The crown is massive, easily handled while wearing gloves, and makes a statement all by itself.
There’s no mistaking any choice of the Chimera line for anything else, with its protruding crown and push-button setup that harkens back to early watch mechanics and helps ensure that the beautiful bronze case has limited points of ingress, which prevents water from ever hoping to reach the delicate mechanics contained therein.
Geoffrey Roth HHS/D
A melding of stainless steel and phosphor bronze, the HHS/D finds the perfect tipping point between the world of stainless steel and bronze accents used to make the face shimmer while keeping the mechanics secure behind more modern materials. Easily the flashiest way to add bronze to your life while keeping the heart and soul of a true technical diver.
IWC Schaffhausen Aquatimer Expedition Charles Darwin
An homage to the scientist who recognized that creatures evolve over time to better suit their environment, this too shows how far the watch world has come. Rather than being an homage to bygone times when bronze was used out of necessity, the Darwin is clearly a modern timekeeper with a rubberized utility wrist strap, 89365 movement unique to IWC, and a SafeDive bezel system that’s made for surviving expeditions to the Galapagos, or anywhere you may roam.