Perfect Patina: 10 Best Bronze Watches

May 4, 2017

Category: Gear

It is maybe unsurprising that watch nerds would find themselves attracted to a type of metal that – just about better than any other – shows time. It doesn’t take much wear and a watch with a bronze case will show its age, picking up on your specific habits to create a totally unique patina. The more you wear it, the more it shows.

For a world that is seemingly overrun by metals like stainless steel or more aggressive materials like Titanium and Tungsten – bronze offers a breath of fresh air. It is a burst of color without the matte look that comes with anodization or the gaudy feel of gold. The warm temperature of the metal also provides ample opportunity for watchmakers to use contrasting watch faces that catch the eye and set your timepiece apart. That last point may be the most pertinent to a watch collector. They’re different. In a world of cookie cutter timepieces sometimes that is enough of a reason. Take a look through our list of the best bronze watches and see for yourself.

Lum-Tec Combat B-31 Bronze

Measuring in at 13mm thick and 43mm in diameter – not counting the large crown – this substantial combat watch boasts a large face with Arabic numerals and a round date window by the 4 o’clock index. Like all timepieces from the family run watch company, this watch features the proprietary Lum-Tec MDV technology on both the numerals and large indexing hands for easy reading in dark environments. One of only 100 ever made, this watch comes with a Miyota 9015 Japanese automatic movement and a four straps for you to choose from.

Purchase: $995

Archimede Pilot 42 HL Bronze

Another military inspired piece, the Pilot 42H Bronze from Achimede boasts a simple and refined look. The Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement inside the 42mm watch moves three indexing hands across a black watch face that features arabic numerals. Those numerals, along with the indexing hands, feature a C3 SuperLuminova coating for a bright glow in dim environments. A tough sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides sits above the face and a screw down stainless steel backing protects the watch for up to 50m under water.

Purchase: $1,079

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68

Swiss watch maker Zodiac’s Super Sea Wolf 68 doesn’t boast a bronze case just for the sake of it. The material was included as a nod to the old diving suits used back in the earliest days of the activity – when diving was less for sport and more pure exploration. This watch, of which there are only 82 available, boasts a large 50mm case, that contains a black face with date window along with both indexes and hands feature C3 SuperLuminova coating.

Purchase: $2,095

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition

The first African American man to ever be given the title of Master Diver by the U.S. Navy, Carl Brashear is a legend among divers. Not only did he rise to that position after having his leg amputated recovering a lost H-Bomb off the coast of Spain, but he did so while fighting vicious racism from both his peers and superiors. Oris’ limited edition diving watch – featuring a 42mm case, a 38 hour power reserve, and a 10 bar water resistance – pays tribute to Bashear’s dedication to his craft and his country.

Purchase: $2,500+

Anonimo Nauttilo Automatic Bronze Case

There is something about the contrasting colors of bronze and blue that is just undeniably alluring. This large 44mm watch features both. The rotating bezel along the outside of the watch sits snug up agains the domed anti-glare sapphire glass, which itself hovers above the deep blue face punctuated by SuperLuminova indexes.

Purchase: $3,216

Tudor Black Bay Bronze

When you think performance, bronze isn’t usually the material that comes first to mind. All the same – a good deal of watches with bronze cases are engineered to be capable divers – just like the Heritage Tudor’s Black Bay Bronze. Boasting an aluminum bronze alloy with brushed finishes, the watch has a functional application to go along with its stand out a old world maritime aesthetic. Along with a sharp case, the timepiece has an MT5601 mechanical movement developed specially for this bronze edition of the watch. This movement has a 70 hour power reserve – meaning you can take it off on Friday and not wind it until Monday.

Purchase: $3,975

Zenith Pilot Montre D’aeronef Type 20

This watch has an undeniably regal look to it. The typeface used for the Arabic numeral dial markers paired with the patterned rose gold indexing hands and large bronze crown sitting on the outside of the 45mm diameter case make it stand out amongst its peers. This is made all the more striking when paired with the top quality Nubuck leather strap with included tang buckle.

Purchase: $4,250

Bell and Ross BR 01

Bronze is the material people seem to go to when making tributes. Bell and Ross, for instance, chose to use the material with their BR 01, a watch that pays tribute to the parachutists of WWII. The indexing hands on the watch are made to look like a saber and dagger and rotate over a smiling skull that glows brightly when in the dark. Only 500 of these 46mm watches have been made.

Purchase: $6,900

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph

Another stunning bronze watch, another homage to a man who – through hard work and strength of character – changed the world for the better. The reasoning behind choosing bronze for this watch was as a nod to the HMS Beagle, the ship that carried the British naturalist Charles Darwin to the Galapagos islands. It was through the ship’s bronze portholes that Darwin first saw the islands, and through the bronze case of this 44mm watch case that wearers can see IWC’s black-faced chronograph.

Purchase: $7,895

Officine Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950

This watch looks like it could have been modeled after a submersible straight out of 30,000 Leagues Under The Sea. The indexing hands that rotate around Officine Paneri Luminor’s Submersible 1950 green face are powered by a special in house P.9002 calibre movement that boasts a 72 hour power reserve. Those same hands, and the hour markers along the face, are painted with a strong luminescent paint that glows briglty in the dark.

Purchase: $10,523

Best Watches For Any Budget

If you’re not quite sold on bronze, you’ve got a very specific amount you can spend, or you just want some more variety, then check out our list of the 40 best watches for any budget.

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