Have you always wondered what a driving watch is and why people love them so much? If so, then you are in the right place! We are taking a closer look at what makes driving watches so distinctive.
Watch trends come and go, much like in the rest of the fashion world. One popular type of watch from years gone by is the driving watch, which often features an uncommon dial angle.
These watches can look unusual in the wrong setting but we’re going to focus on why driving watches are great and which are the best ones around.
What Is A Driving Watch?
When most people come across a driving watch the first thing they want to do is find out more about them. In today’s world, a driving watch is uncommon but in the past they were an essential tool for anyone behind the wheel of a car.
Racing drivers of old made use of these watches to give them accurate readings on their lap times.
The driving watch was aimed at racing drivers who didn’t have time to look away from the road. They feature an angled dial that allows the wearer to see the time when their hands are at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.
Losing time on the track by twisting your wrist to check your watch could be the difference between winning and losing. Or, between staying on the track or spinning out. That’s why the driving watch became so popular, because moving your wrist was no longer a requirement.
Outside of the car, the driving watch might look odd but in the heat of the race it was the perfect tool for the fastest drivers.
Nowadays, racing drivers have all of their lap information fed to them by their teams and it’s often on display in their vehicles. There are also electronic racing boards that give drivers every last bit of detail they need while they have their pedal slammed firmly to the metal.
Misconceptions About Driving Watches
Watches with chronographs for motorsport timings and watches with racing car themes are plentiful. However, strictly speaking, these would classify as driving-inspired watches, rather than driving watches.
To be a true driving watch a dial that differs from the norm is required. But, given the scarcity of watches with crooked or angled dials, the expansion of the niche in the market is certainly a forgivable one.
The crooked dial of a driving watch can come in two different forms. Firstly there is the asymmetric dial, which displays the 12 somewhere between where you would normally expect the 1-3 to be. This is what allows drivers to take a glance at their wrist without moving it.
The second type of dial on a driving watch tilts the dial so that the face is practically propped up. With the face almost perpendicular to the wrist, it’s again much easier to read the time while gripping the steering wheel with both hands.
Some driving watches were even designed to be worn under the wrist, which would often be facing the driver while they raced. So now that we know what they are, let’s take a look at our top 5 best driving watches.
Tiffany East West Automatic – £4,482
Tiffany’s entry into the luxury driving watches realm is the East West Automatic. Unlike many driving watches, this dial is flipped 90° to normal watch orientation.
This allows for an easy look at the time while your arms are outstretched on the steering wheel. The automatic Sellita SW1000 movement is self-winding and comes with a 40-hour power reserve.
Although the rectangular watch features a relatively large dial, the movement is just a small calibre 20mm in diameter. With a radial Guilloche finish, this luxury watch comes in either steel or rose gold versions.
Azimuth Gran Turismo – £3,643
Azimuth took the driving watch to the next level with its Gran Turismo timepiece. This watch is designed for the side of the wrist, which is the part of your arm facing you while driving.
The Swiss-made watch relies heavily on art deco styling and it certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the 1920s. With a 50mm diameter and ETA 2671 automatic movement, this high-concept men’s driving watch makes a statement.
Seiko x Giugiaro Speedmaster – £269
Just because driving watches were popular many decades ago doesn’t mean they can’t be brought into the 21st century. This digital offering by Seiko x Giugiaro is the £269 Speedmaster. It features the twisted dial that is commonly found in driving watches but with a digital display.
This 2018 collaboration between Seiko and Giugiaro offers something different to the often cheap and functional digital watch class. Considering some of the wild designs from Seiko in the past, this classy but quirky Speedmaster is a fine effort.
RGM Model 222-RR – £4,699
Although technically more of a railroad than a driving watch, this RGM Model 222-RR is one to consider nonetheless. Its twisted dial and vintage Hamilton pocket watch movement make it a classy addition to any watch collection.
Thanks to the 60° rotation, RGM has been able to make use of the pocket watch movement in a wristwatch as the crown is much more accessible. These watches have been expertly restored by RGM using a new mainspring and prices begin from £4,699.
Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 – £2,550
This elegant watch is based on a military watch design from the 1930s. It comes with chronograph movements that are ideal for keeping track of lap times.
Admittedly, this watch is designed with pilots in mind but given the similarity of the task at hand, we think it doubles up perfectly as a driving watch. The dial and crown are rotated, which reflect the military standards of the time.
Thanks to that rotation, the easily accessible crown gives wearers complete control over the watches chronograph movements.
Watches At Uniform Wares
Our minimalist watches are designed in the UK with Swiss engineering. Why not take a closer look at our men’s and women’s watches while you’re here?
We produce our watch using only the finest materials. Our watches are available with worldwide shipping so you can enjoy a Uniform Wares timepiece no matter where you are! Once you have found a watch you like you can head over to our watch strap section to tailor your new watch to your taste.