The European Championship of Watches – Part 1: The Contenders

The Euros of Watches

For the first time since the pandemic hit, teams across Europe are gearing up to represent their country at a major tournament with an eye towards international footballing glory! But we’re less interested in that than we are in watchmaking.

So, to get in on the fun, we decided to think about what the Euros of watchmaking would look like. Same format, but instead of each country being represented by a full team of skilled players, each is represented by a single timepiece, the one most symbolic of their style of watchmaking.

Unfortunately, not all countries taking part in the Euros have a watch brand to speak of. So, rather than have it out through the group stages, we’ll be heading straight to the knockouts! It’s the best part anyway.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the knockouts don’t start until the 26th of June so in the meantime here’s a look at the teams who will be competing and the watches that will be representing them.

Knockouts: 26 June
Quarters: 2 July
Semis: 6 July
Final: 11 July

1A: Switzerland
Rolex Explorer 36mm Bi-Colour

It was always going to be Rolex. Switzerland has an advantage when it comes to watchmaking, and the new, downsized Explorer is a fitting tribute to the watch with the crown’s inimitable heritage.

2A: Italy
Unimatic U2 F

Florence’s watchmaking heyday has passed but Milan-based Unimatic’s emphasis on limited edition designs has made them a collector’s darling. Case in point, this sleek, monochrome take on the U2.

1B: Belgium
Ressence Type 2 N

One of the coolest independent watchmakers around right now, the unique style of Ressence watches combined with their oil-filled, carousel style have made them a modern icon, even in navy.

2B: Russia
Vostok Nuclear Submarine

Big, chunky and injected with a healthy dose of cold war machismo, Vostok’s timepieces are both ridiculous and hard not to love, even when they’re inspired by weapons of mass destruction.

1C: Netherlands
Grönefeld 1941 Principia

The brothers Grönefeld are no strangers to the world of haute horology; in fact, they’ve claimed many a GPHG prize over the years, including with the beautiful salmon dialled 1941 Principia.

2C: Austria
Carl Suchy & Söhne WALTZ N°1

Not only does the name Carl Suchy & Sohne date back to the Austrian courts of the early 1800s, their signature Waltz No. 1, inspired by the modernist designs of Adolf Loos is unique Viennese.

1D: England
Vertex MP45 Arctic

With a clutch of homegrown brands to choose from, Vertex’s military heritage is archetypal British watchmaking. This whitedialled MP45 is handsome and has an in-built stiff upper lip.

2D: Scotland
anOrdain Model 1 Green Fumé

One of the most impressive exports out of Scotland other than whisky, anOrdain’s enamel dials are the kind even Swiss watchmakers get jealous of – just look at the Green Fumé Model 1. Stunning.

1E: Spain
Pita Barcelona Molinos Orbital ‘Classic Edition’

Pita Barcelona is as homegrown as they come. Better yet, their watches are extraordinary. The Molinos Orbital for example uses the gears of the movement as stand-ins for the hands.

2E: Slovakia
Molnar Fabry Majestic Tourbillon

Molnar Fabry is a hidden gem of a watch studio. They take basic, stock movements and transform them into works of art such as in this superlative Majestic Tourbillon unique piece.

1F: Germany
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

Just as Switzerland was always going to be Rolex, Germany was invariably going to be A. Lange & Söhne. Just take a look at the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. Enough said, really.

2F: France
Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale GMT Ltd Edition

Yema has been going from strength to strength, and what better representative for France than the watchmaker that already represents their navy? Enter the Navygraf Marine Nationale.

Runner-up 1: Sweden
GoS Norrsken

More Scandinavian than a gritty crime thriller, GoS combine Damascus steel, Viking heritage and Scandinavian inspiration, which is all epitomised in the borealis green dial of The Norrsken.

Runner-up 2: Denmark
Nordgreen Philosopher

Nordgreen win out by virtue of their pitch-perfect take on Danish and Scandinavian design paired with a socially positive outlook. The Philosopher is affordable, minimal and tactile in equal measure.

Runner-up 3: Portugal
Meia Lua Callisto Halfmoon Semi-Red

With their intriguingly coloured dials and uber-modern pilots’ watch aesthetic, Lisbon-based Meia Lua certainly stand out. The Callisto Halfmoon adds a red racing layout to the triple calendar.

Runner-up 4: Croatia
Marnaut Seascape 200R

Taking their unique dial embellishments from the spines of sea anemones, Marnaut is a distinctly Adriatic watch brand. The Seascape’s compressor-adjacent shape makes it a dark (sea)horse.


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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.