When it comes to the kitchen, the chefs got it all down to a science. They have their way around with food preparation. By heart, they have all the best recipes memorized. All the proper measurements; proportions; and methods, they are well-versed with.
Equipped with the chef’s hat; apron; and other kitchen tools, along with an added special touch, a chef can work wonders in the kitchen that it’s also as though he’s making magic with dishes. Although a layman wouldn’t know all the techniques and terms a chef would be accustomed to at work, any layman could agree, once their taste buds get to savor the food prepared by a chef, that he sure could concoct some good eats.
With the know-how and skills, any chef knows what is best and can deliver the best in his craft. But the question is, when it comes to watches, what would make up the best watch to use for chefs?
Timing is, in fact, also an important factor in food preparation. So it would be practical for a chef to equip himself with a watch to add as one of his trusty tools in the kitchen. But we also have to keep in mind that it must be able to withstand the wear and tear of working in the kitchen.
The Watches Celebrity Chefs Wear
To get an idea of what watch would work best in the kitchen, let us take a look into the watches that have aided in the cooking of four of the most eminent chefs in the world.
Massimo Bottura – Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
Massimo Bottura is the chef/co-owner of the Osteria Francescana, where he incorporated with his passion for avant-garde cuisine, his other passion for contemporary art for the restaurant’s concept. It is a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Modena, Italy that has accumulated several awards including its most recent acquisition of the number one spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the year 2018.
On Bottura’s wrist is an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side Of The Moon Chronograph. It has an all-black color throughout its ceramic case with a transparent back, ceramic bezel, dial, and all the way to its nylon strap. Its simple aesthetic gives it a chic look.
It’s a Swiss automatic movement watch with a caliber 9300 engine backed by a 60-hour power reserve. As a chronograph, it includes a sweep second hand; a 60 seconds counter; and a 12 hours counter. Tachymeter markings are present on its fixed ceramic bezel.
On its dial are luminescent hands and hour markers, minute markers, and a date display. Its dial window is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. And it’s water resistant to 50 meters.
Joan Roca – Rolex GMT Master II
As a chef who leans towards a fusion of traditional and avant-garde methods, Joan Roca is the chef/co-owner of El Celler de Can Roca that the Michelin Guide has regarded as creative for its traditional Catalan cuisine with some added modern twists and has rated with three Michelin stars. The restaurant, which he co-owns with his brothers, also recently had earned a spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the year 2018, ranking number two.
Roca’s watch of choice is the Rolex GMT Master II. Designed with a silver-tone throughout its stainless steel case and its oyster bracelet along with a black dial with luminescent hands and hour markers; minute markers; and a date display, this watch is a GMT watch with a second-time-zone feature. With a Rolex caliber 3186 automatic movements, it has a 50-hour power reserve.
It has a uni-directional rotating stainless steel bezel with a black ceramic top ring. Its dial window is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. And it’s water resistant to 100 Meters.
Gordon Ramsay – Rolex Submariner Date
Popular for his particularity and strictness in gastronomy as seen in his appearances in TV series on competitive cookery and food: for the British series, Hell’s Kitchen; The F Word; and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and for the American series, MasterChef; MasterChef Junior; and Hotel Hell, as well as the American versions of Hell’s Kitchen; The F Word; and Kitchen Nightmares to name some.
Gordon Ramsay is a well-accomplished chef/restaurateur/TV personality. He is one of the most decorated chefs in the world with a total of 16 Michelin stars for the restaurants he owns across the globe.
Ramsay prefers the Rolex Submariner Date. It comes in a silver-tone stainless steel case and oyster bracelet. It has a black dial that contains luminescent hands and hour markers, minute markers, and a date display. Its dial window is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
The watch is made with a Rolex caliber 3135 automatic movements along with a 50-hour power reserve. It has a uni-directional rotating stainless steel bezel with a black cerachrom top ring. And it’s water resistant to 300 meters.
Andreas Caminada – Hublot Big Bang Watch
The youngest chef in Europe to be rated with three Michelin stars, Andreas Caminada is the chef/owner of Schloss Schauenstein, which also made it to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this 2018 at the number 47th spot. Schloss Schauenstein is a restaurant and six-room boutique hotel in a 12th-century castle amidst a scenic view in its mountainous location situated at the valley Domleschg, Switzerland. The castle was renovated in a way that its tradition was preserved along with a mix of a more contemporary approach. It embodies fine dining and quality hospitality service.
Caminada goes for the Hublot Big Bang Watch. It’s an automatic movement chronograph watch that comes with a stunning design including an 18k rose gold case with a transparent back, a black checker pattern dial with rose gold luminescent hands and Arabic and stick hour markers and a black patterned rubber strap.
The dial includes luminescent hands and hour markers, minute markers, and a date display. Its chronograph function consists of a sweep second hand, a 60 seconds counter, a 30 minutes counter, and a 12 hour counter. A scratch-resistant sapphire crystal makes up its dial window. And it’s water resistant to 100 meters.
All of these examples of watches chefs wear have some things in common with one another. Although these watches are luxury timepieces usually only the rich and famous can afford to do on their wrists, we can observe from them, the characteristics that would make a watch fit for a kitchen setting that can also be found in other options more fitting to one’s budget. Moreover, we may also hear it from other professional chefs.
Features Of A Watch For Chefs
We can take it from the celebrity chefs, themselves, what would make a suitable watch for the professional chef. Say, if you look up to any of them, perhaps, Gordon Ramsay and wish to get yourself a watch just like his, then go for it. But if you’re looking for a watch with a lower price range, there are plenty of other options in the market with similar features as the aforementioned watches of the celebrity chefs that can suit your budget.
Same as in the watches of the aforementioned celebrity chefs, here are the features that are essential in a watch for chefs:
- Heat resistance – Working with hot pots; pans; deep fryers; ovens; grills; and whatnot, a chef’s watch can be exposed to heat. Constant exposure to heat can cause adverse effects to a watch. The functionality of a watch’s parts and a watch’s accuracy can be terribly affected by high temperatures.
The parts within watches are mostly metal, which expands and contracts amidst temperature changes. That being said, when exposed to changing temperatures, a watch could either lose time with high temperatures or gain time with low temperatures. Changes in temperature can also cause water vapor within the watch, leading to moisture damage.
A watch’s build can be impaired by the heat as the gaskets and water protection seals can be damaged and the lubricants can dry out, causing friction on the gears.
The battery of a quartz watch can also be affected, as its service life can be reduced when exposed to heat.
Some chefs take extra precaution and prefer to wear a watch made of ceramic, like Massimo Bottura’s Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side Of The Moon Chronograph Watch and Andreas Caminada’s Hublot Big Bang Watch mentioned earlier. Ceramic is the best material if we’re talking about heat resistance.
In addition, ceramic is a tough material. Watches made with ceramic are remarkably durable with its scratch resistance and wear and tear resistance, which will keep them in good shape even after several years of use.
- Water resistance – In preparing food in the kitchen, liquids may also come in contact with a chef’s watch. A watch with at least a 30-meter water resistance will do, but to be safer, much better, if with higher water resistance. Nevertheless, more advantageous and preferable would be a diver’s watch like Gordon Ramsay’s Rolex Submariner Date.
- Bezel – Whether in preparing a tender and flavorful meat dish or a delectable pastry, keeping track of the preparation time is important for them to turn out perfectly. That’s where a bezel comes in handy. The best kinds of bezels for food preparation would be the countdown bezel or the elapsed time bezel like the one on the Rolex Submariner Date of Gordon Ramsay.
- Rubber, ceramic, or metal straps – Straps must also be taken into consideration. For chefs, a watch with leather straps wouldn’t be advisable.
Leather tends to soak up smells, sweat, and even sauces when they accidentally come onto the strap. In the circumstance that sauces hit leather strap, it could get stained. And once snagged, it may get cut.
More apt strap materials for chefs would be either rubber, ceramic, or metal. These materials won’t soak up any smells, sweat, nor sauces; won’t stain; and won’t easily get cut nor get scratched with their durability. They’re also waterproof and easy to clean if they get hit with sauces or food particles.
And as you can see, most of the celebrity chefs we’ve mentioned prefer such strap materials.
Watch Options For Practical Use In The Kitchen
Having pointed out the features of a watch ideal for a chef, there are a lot of watches fitting those descriptions with cheap to mid-range prices. Not all of us may be able to afford a $19k watch like Andreas Caminada, but there are other watches that are less expensive and more affordable listed below:
Orient Ray II Rubber Japanese Automatic
As a new and improved version of their best seller, the Ray, Orient developed the Ray II. This 22-jewel watch has an upgraded Japanese quartz movement of caliber F6922 that is self-winding, hand winding, and hacking.
An improved timing precision is also provided by this watch with its 120-click uni-directional bezel that comes in stainless steel with a black aluminum top ring.
This particular model has a stainless steel case; a black rubber strap; a black dial that consists of luminescent hands and markers, minute markers, a day of the week and date display; and a scratch-resistant mineral crystal dial window. And it’s water resistant to 200 meters.
Peugeot Black Ceramic Crystal Accent Chronograph Watch
Made mostly of ceramic, the 30-meter water-resistant Peugeot Black Ceramic Crystal Accent Chronograph Watch is a luxuriously glossy, classy, black watch composed of a ceramic case and stainless steel back; a ceramic bracelet that comes with removable links; and a ceramic stationary bezel.
This watch that runs with a Swiss quartz movement provides a chronograph function including a sweep second hand, a 60 seconds counter, a 30 minutes counter, and a 12 hour counter.
It has luminescent hands, genuine Swarovski crystal accents by its luminescent hour markers, minute markers, and a date display on its black dial. Protecting its dial is a mineral crystal dial window.
Technomarine Cruise Ceramic Chronograph Watch
The ceramic-laden Technomarine Cruise Ceramic Chronograph Watch comes with a posh black ceramic design throughout its case, uni-directional bezel, and strap.
The watches under the Technomarine Cruise collection are specially built with remarkable durability to undertake any adventure by land or by sea. With this watch’s 200-meter water resistance along with its tough exterior made of ceramic, a chef can wear this watch as he undertakes his adventures in the kitchen.
This quartz movement watch has on its black dial, luminescent hands and hour markers; minute markers; and a date display. Included in its chronograph function are a sweep second hand, a 60 seconds counter, a 30 minutes counter, and a 12 hour counter. An anti-reflective sapphire crystal serves as its dial window.
Calabria Abisso Ceramic Chronograph
If you like the look of the Technomarine and Peugeot above, here’s another black ceramic watch to consider.
This Ceramic Chronograph by Calabria features precise Swiss movement. Its two-tone black ceramic and silver case make for an elegant watch with a slight touch of modern-industrial.
Water-resistant to 100m and covered in a scratch-resistant sapphire lens, this watch is made to stand up to the demands of work in the kitchen. While it lacks the dive bezel that the other watches on our list have, it does have a stopwatch that is useful for timing a soufflé or other time-sensitive delicacies.
Buyers rave about its design and look (read reviews on Amazon).
Seiko Samurai Prospex Stainless Steel Automatic Diver’s Watch
The Seiko Samurai Prospex Stainless Steel Automatic Dive Watch is a silver-tone stainless steel, 200-meter water-resistant diver’s watch with a black and gray uni-directional bezel.
It consists of 23 jewels and runs with a Japanese automatic movement with self and automatic winding capabilities that has a power reserve of approximately 41 hours.
On its black dial are luminescent hands and hour markers, minute markers, and a date display. Its dial window is made of hardlex crystal.
This Swiss-made 100-meter water-resistant diver’s watch from Hamilton, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Automatic Watch, is made up of a stainless steel case with a uni-directional rotating stainless steel bezel that has a black and blue top ring, including a black rubber strap.
With its Hamilton caliber, H-10 automatic movement comes an 80-hour power reserve.
24-hour markers; minute markers; luminescent silver-tone hands and hour markers; and a date display can be found on its black dial, which is covered by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal dial window.
Here is another diver’s watch from Hamilton, the Hamilton Khaki King Scuba GMT Automatic Watch, but this time, with a bracelet made of stainless steel similar to the case that has on it, a uni-directional stainless steel bezel that has a black ion top ring and a skeleton design at its back.
This 100-meter water-resistant diver’s watch runs with a Hamilton caliber H-40 automatic movement that has an 80-hour power reserve. It comes with a black dial that consists of luminescent silver-tone hands and Arabic numeral hour markers, minute markers, a day of the week display, a date display, and a GMT scale. A scratch-resistant sapphire crystal makes up its dial window.
If you’re not familiar with Hamilton watches, click here for a brand history and overview
Clip It Instead
In the Food and Beverage industry, rules are usually upheld in regards to health and safety. Normally, cleanliness and proper hygiene are emphasized in such rules. Although the timing is key in food preparation, watches are not allowed in most kitchens.
As a means of precaution, in most kitchens, it is required to remove jewelry, such as rings; bracelets; and including watches. There are some exceptions, though, as the plain band wedding or engagement ring. The main reason why the aforementioned items are prohibited in the kitchen is that they may get dirty and may contaminate food during preparation.
However, the rules vary in businesses. While other kitchens disapprove of watches, there are some kitchens wherein watches aren’t really a big deal, or there’d be occasions when only watches with plain straps are allowed. But depending on where the business is located, there may be legal requirements regarding jewelry.
Nevertheless, even if the kitchen you are working in isn’t really against watches, it is important to observe sanitation. You must always keep your hands clean before dealing with food, as well as your watch by making sure it doesn’t have any possible contaminant, and once any food particles or ingredients get stuck in your watch when you’re working in the kitchen, make sure to clean it.
But if the kitchen you are working in strictly upholds the no watch rule, perhaps you can go with a clip watch like the one below:
Dakota Watch Company Mini Clip Microlight Watch
The Dakota Watch Company Mini Clip Microlight Watch can really come in handy for a chef in the kitchen, as he can just clip it either on his belt loop or apron. This Miyota movement watch has luminescent hands and hour markers, as well as a water resistance of 100 meters. In addition, it has an ultra-bright LED light.
The Best Watch For Chefs
Everyone has their own preferences, but ideally, with the high temperatures in the kitchen, construction-wise, the best watch for chefs would be made with a ceramic case; a ceramic bezel; and a ceramic strap or a rubber strap. It would be much better if the strap is made of ceramic too, though. With all those descriptions said, the watches that fit the bill would be either the Hublot Big Bang Watch or the Technomarine Cruise Ceramic Chronograph Watch.
Who wouldn’t find interest in a stylish luxury watch as Andreas Caminada’s Hublot Big Bang Watch? Unfortunately, its price range isn’t really within most people’s reach. For a more affordable option, there’s the Technomarine Cruise Ceramic Chronograph Watch that also ticks all the boxes for a Chef’s heat-resistant watch.
However, if the kitchen you’re working in doesn’t allow watches, the Dakota Watch Company Mini Clip Microlight Watch can be an alternative for your timekeeping needs.