9 best summer watches to bring out the sun

GQ's favourite fun, affordable watches perfect for the summer sun – no matter what you're wearing
9 best summer watches Bulgari to Gucci

With sunny vibes well underway, it's as good a time as any to trawl the world wide web for the best summer watches and duly invest in one. Our focus this year is on anything light with flashes of colour (ideally savvy on price too). From understated eco-cool to some of our fave fashion brands excelling in their timepiece cool, here are the best summer watches that all offer something different while being wearable enough to deploy all summer.

Maurice Lacroix Pontos S

Maurice Lacroix has aced it this summer with the new Pontos S diver. On a Satsuma orange rubber strap sits an automatic 300m diver that has all the right touches of a hot hot fave in a robust 42mm case. Yes, we mean robust. Set apart by its big additional crown at 2 o’clock for the classic internal dive bezel, it’s ready to [insert preferred way to spend July and August] in style. £1,990. At jurawatches.co.uk

Gucci 25H

The Gucci watch drip last year hit the spot with its enigmatic take on seventies grail chic – and having Idris Elba modelling all the colours almost tipped us over the edge. For this summer, the 25H upgrades its sleek bracelet for a custom-form fitted leather strap, and we’re all for it. The textured black only accentuates the striated silver-silk dial and makes it a dress-fit winner in our book. £1,170. At gucci.com

Timex Legacy Ocean

In the shape of a classic dive watch, the Timex Legacy Ocean is a superb easy win when it comes to budget-priced summer watches. Powered by a trusty Quartz movement, it’s the cool blue-speckled alternative with a sustainable difference. Made from 100% recycled ocean-bound plastic there’s a wealth of colours, each with a big dose of good summer conscience. £90. At timex.co.uk

Bulgari Aluminium Capri Edition

Being the fun kid in a family of razor-thin monochrome Octo Finissimos, the Aluminium series from Bulgari is pure, unadulterated summer fun. With blue accents in a stunningly light aluminium case, it’s true to its noughties roots. Strap on one of the few light alloy-cased watches on a linked rubber bracelet, with a deep Italian Capri ocean sunset of a dial – all at a price marking its sweet entry point to Bulgari’s whimsical world of wrist-chic. £3,080. At bulgari.com

Hermès H08

A sharp summer fit for your wrist doesn’t mean icicle-popping colours are compulsory, FYI. With the stealth and light Graphene composite case of this rounded square H08 giving us some much appreciated je ne sais quoi. That patterned rubber strap, though – too sleek for a tool watch, yet has a sexy muscular vibe. Add a multi-textured dial with a chic font and you’ll get why the Hermès H08 is big news. £7,220. At hermes.com

Boss Steer GQ Chronograph

Boss has taken a monochrome step up from the fashion watch tag with the Steer. For those who love wild patterned shirts for a summer fit, this serves as a studied contrast. The quiet grey ionic tank-like case riffs on the trend for big watch cool but with an elegant twist, tapping into our desire for integrated bracelets and crisp in the vein of a Zenith Defy Extreme but with a formal twist. The monochrome tonality gives off an air of a very capable secret operative in a sharp suit, and is slim for its 44mm size. The brushed dial surface touches on Bauhaus minimalism, with a classic vertical register design, and the understated Steer chronograph is a well-priced alternative to Swiss luxury sports, its broad case imbuing it with purposeful chic. A solid quartz movement powers the chronograph functionality of this watch, with a sleek grey-on-grey brushed bracelet and folding clasp. £449. At goldsmiths.co.uk

Tissot Tour de France

The Tissot partnership with the Tour de France runs deep, and the T-Race Cycling series is equally sharp off the saddle. Inspired by the heroes of the peloton, this chronograph is high-tech enough to guarantee that it will inspire you to more than lounging on the beach. The blacked-out tool look has all the right clues, with a dash of yellow jersey to get your peddle on. From the carbon fibre case centre ring to the brake lever pushers, we have one strong fave design touch. The counterbalance of the pop-yellow seconds pointer is bike-shaped and makes for a fun twist to the techy-dark dial. The perforated strap reminiscent of bar tape only serves to complete a function-forward feature that makes the partnership seem a marriage of force that lasts past the Champs L'Elysée. £535. At goldsmiths.co.uk

Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch

All 11 of these light bioceramic cased Speedies are Velcro-strapped summer suave, but we’d pick the flash-yellow MoonSwatch Mission to the Sun. What better way to celebrate summer with this bright, smile-inducing piece of space cool. Don’t be fooled by the cheery colours and budget price, this has a solid Swatch quartz movement, and is simply the best, freshest entry ticket to the collectible world of the storied Speedmaster. Get one and you just might get hooked to start saving up for the real deal from Omega, or more of the tenfold wrist-cheer these represent. Warning hereby issued. At swatch.com

Tudor Ranger

Unlike the Rolex-vintage-inspired Black Bay Pro, the Tudor Ranger plays a quiet game, though no less evocative. Soft beige numerals and a sleek steel case with a soft brushed finish make a strong play for our desire for vintage. As a contemporary reissue of the understated tool watch with a 70-year history, the modernised 40mm case is period perfect and future-proof. This is the piece that will sit just as well with your ripped-up cropped jeans as a linen-mix jacket, with a strong backstory. The Ranger serves to underline the inimitable resurgence of Tudor, with a great entry price point and a one-for-all quality that has us enamoured. One we want on our wrists day in day out, all year round. £2370. At tudorwatch.com