As the opportunity to travel is now becoming more possible and many of us are starting to venture further afield, the big question looms in our minds – ‘how do I take and protect additional watches with me?’ Although internet forums are awash with a plethora of home grown solutions including using the use of socks (preferably fresh unworn ones) there are of course a number of slightly more elegant and trustworthy solutions available to protect your most prized possessions.
There are clearly a lot of options to choose from and whether you are travelling with a single watch or an entire collection there are options that will suit you and your circumstances differently. There are important considerations before you choose which type of watch storage is going to meet your needs. If for example your watches include ones with integrated rubber or steel bracelets, you will need a solution where the watch is secured around a cushion, watch pillow or tube.
Alternatively, if you are the type to go off off adventuring rather than a weekend break at the Ritz, you will probably want something that will protect the watches from being knocked or adversely damaged by either extreme weather or other risks. We have tried to explore the market and highlight what we think represents the best selection of options across a broad price spectrum, number of watches and protection offered.
RENITOR SINGLE WATCH CASE
The Renitor single watch case brings benefits from not only protecting a watch you want to travel with but has been designed to include a space big enough to accommodate 1 to 2 straps as well as a strap changing tool. It takes up the smallest possible size while providing just enough space for all the essentials – perfect for that weekend getaway. This will allow you to “wear-one take-one” plus a couple of straps. Its small enough to chuck in a bag and not take up much space while offering the maximum protection for your watch. Ideal for a weekend getaway where you might want one watch for general activities and another for dinner.
Observations: For us this is a game changer. A single watch case with space for a watch, straps and a tool – all while providing an extremely robust level of protection allowing you to travel worry free at a truly accessible price point.
Dimensions: 139mm x 100mm x 57mm
Available from: www.amazon.co.uk
TO THE HOUR – THREE WATCH CASE
‘To the hour’ was set up as a sub brand of ‘The Case Farm’ who in fact were set up by Peli-Products UK (The UK distributor of PELI & Storm cases) in response to the rising demand for specialist cases. There are three product ranges that ‘To The Hour’ offer – the Enigma range, the elements range and the vault range. Both the elements and the vault range are based on the mainstream Peli protector cases with the enigma range being based on the Peli Micro cases. The sweet spot in the range for us is this three watch Enigma case that has enough space to take three watches with you while providing maximum protection. Unfortunately there isnt any room for straps or accessories, but the case allows you to pack three watches in to the smallest space while maximising the protection offered. This case is covered by Peli’s lifetime guarantee and is crushproof, waterproof, dust proof and includes an air pressure equalisation valve ensuring your case stays closed and secure even in the event of a rapid change of atmosphere. There are the usual external amenities allowing you to strap or clip this to another bag, however given that its probably going to be protecting your most valuable timepieces, we’d advise you pack this inside your luggage!
Observations: Due to the size and spacing of the cushions within the case, it is able to accommodate even the largest of watches including a 45mm Panerai. Unfortunately this doesn’t have any space for tools, straps or other accessories, however this does offer arguably the best protection for three watches backed by a lifetime warranty and for under £70 – and we think this is a bargain!
Dimensions: 238mm x 141mm x 67mm
Available from: www.tothehour.com
BLACK CHEST – FOUR WATCH CASE
The BlackChest 4 watch case is designed to take 4 watches plus a plethora of straps, tools and accessories with you in perfect safety. The case is based on a Nanuk 904 case with a multi-layer custom foam insert (available in a number of colour options). The outside of the case features two positive locking latches that cannot be accidentally popped open, a pressure equalisation value and a carry handle. On the inside, the top layer provides storage and protection for 4 watches and an additional covered section to hold straps and tools. However, removing this top layer reveals another storage layer below with three compartments suitable for more straps, tools, springbars and cloths. This is smaller than many other 4-watch cases providing robust and rugged protection for 4 watches and all the associated accessories you could want.
Observations: This is a terrific case offering space for multiple watches, tools, straps and everything else you may need. It is worth noting that the watch cushions are fairly closely spaced which means if you have large watches they might be in danger of knocking each other while in transit. We have been in conversation with Blackchest who have taken our feedback and are prototyping an alternative internal layout to address this issue. We will update this article when we have seen these updates.
Dimensions: 213mm x 152mm x 94mm
Available from: www.blackchest.co.uk
PELI – SIX WATCH CASE
The Peli 6 watch case is based on the brands Peli protector 1200 case and is ideal if you are travelling with 5-6 watches. As with all Peli products cases, this is covered by Peli’s lifetime guarantee and is crushproof, waterproof, dust proof and includes an air pressure equalisation valve. The watch pillows are wide enough to accommodate 6 fairly wide watches up to and including a 45mm Panerai Radiomir. Each watch including the case and crown are fully recessed into the pocket eliminating the risk of watches touching each other during transportation.
Observations: With such great protection on offer, the only drawback is that this does not include space for additional straps, tools, springbars or other accessories.
Dimensions: 270mm x 246mmx x 124mm
Available from: www.tothehour.com
The largest case that we have here is the Bremont Safecase. This is designed to store and transport up to 8 watches as well as numerous straps, tools, cloths and accessories with complete protection. The outside of the case features two positive action clasps to secure the case closed and cannot be inadvertently opened, a handle and an air pressure equalisation valve as well as a transparent nameplate allowing you to personalise the case. On the inside the lid contains a bespoke foam protective layer embossed with the Bremont Logo within the embossed Union Jack. The main layer has space for 8 watches with ample space between them assuring that even in the event of a flight crew having a very bad day on an airline, there is no possibility of the watches knocking or damaging each other. The cushions are engineered to a fine tolerance ensuring they are a tight fit which is nice and allows you to orientate the watches towards you should you wish to use this as a display case. The high density foam used has a bespoke embossing pattern which is nice and renders individual ‘cells’ for each watch and cushion.
Removing the top layer reveals a lower layer with plenty of space for many straps, tools, spring bars and any other accessories that you may wish to travel with or keep with your watches.
Observations: This is a well designed and manufactured case that gives the assurance of extreme protection, however due to the fit of the foam within such high tolerances, it can be difficult to remove the top layer to access the layer below without first removing a number of watches as there is nothing to grip or hold on to. Overall this is a high quality case offering great protection for 8 watches along with plenty of space for accessories.
Dimensions: 430mm x 340 x 190mm
Available from: www.bremont.com
bremont bridle leather 3 watch roll
The Bridle leather three watch roll from Bremont is a more traditional watch roll design securing the watches around a central cushion encased within a textured leather outer. However what sets this apart from traditional leather watch rolls is the design of the interior which provides an internal compartment large enough to store and transport a plethora of straps, tools and spare spring bars. This provides a more elegant and refined aesthetic while also delivering a level of practicality. The leather is soft to the touch and the closure uses a traditional Bremont buckle.
Observations: While this doesn’t offer the most extreme protection for the watches contained within, it does deliver one of the best all round solutions allowing you to travel with any type of watch (including integrated bracelets) in a more refined leather case with space for everything else you might need.
Dimensions: 205mm x 83mm
Available from: www.bremont.com
zaidmade Watch ROll
Zaid’s handmade leather watch rolls provide a flexible traditional solution for watch travel. Using soft supple leather this will protect up to 4 watches against scuffs and scratches and take up virtually no space when its not in use. Alternatively due to the unstructured nature, one of more of the pockets can be used for straps, cloths or tools.
Observations: While this is designed as a simple, elegant, and traditional solution for protecting watches while you travel, it won’t offer much protection against knocks, bumps or other more substantial threats that might compromise your watches. It is however a low cost hand made solution that will patina over time for a soft rich elegant aesthetic.
Dimensions: 139mm x 100mm x 57mm
Available from: www.zaidmade.com
HAveston m-12 tool watch roll
The M-12 tool watch roll is a 4 watch roll up fabric watch roll that will accommodate and protect up to 4 watches. It is inspired by vintage WWII US Military tool rolls dating from between 1934-45. With its distinct military look and feel, it has been crafted from canvas and features a soft synthetic suede interior and a reinforced stud and plate closure. In the hands this is extremely well made. Its thick enough to protect the watches inside from all but the harshest of knocks and bumps while still maintaining the charm and aesthetic of a fabric watch roll.
Observations: The closure is a very nice touch and keeps the watch roll firmly secured while in transit although this prevents it from laying flat once unrolled. The combinations of fabric ensure that this is usefully robust whilst ensuring its soft to the touch where it matters – on the surfaces protecting your watches. We have seen and held cheap imitations of this and they are a world apart. This is beautiful sympathetic travel solution for military watches offering a good level of protection. You can of course use one of the compartments for additional straps and tools instead of a 4th watch making this a flexible option.
Dimensions: 420mm x 180mm
Available from: www.haveston.com
Bark & Jack – COCOA BROWN WATCH ROLL FOR 6 WATCHES
The Bark&Jack Cocoa Brown Watch Roll is is a beautifully soft and refined leather watch roll handmade in Florence, Italy in calfskin and sued leather. It provides 6 individual compartments for watches, straps or tools. and also comes with 6 leather inserts that can be placed between the watch and bracelets to prevent the bracelet scratching the back of the watch which is a nice touch. The closure uses a hook and loop system (Velcro) to secure the roll closed which is fuss free although when full and containing 6 watches, there is substantially less to
Observations: The leather is beautifully soft and when open, offers a great surface to protect your watches while you switch straps and replace spring bars. This is a compact way of travelling with up to 6 watches without taking up too much room, however as with other fabric rolls, this will not offer more than scratch and superficial knock protection for your watches.
Dimensions: 400mm x 145mm
Available from: www.barkandjack.com
These travel storage solutions offer varying degrees of protection for watches and accessories ranging from scratch protection to an almost indestructible case at price points from under £30 to £300 for up to 8 watches. There are larger sizes of some of these cases available which you will find on the websites listed for each product including the ‘Vault XXI’ offered by Peli allowing you to store and travel with up to an astonishing 21 watches – although who would want to travel with 21 watches (other than a watch dealer) is beyond me.
However, should you wish to check this out it is available here: www.tothehour.com
A final word of caution. Even though some of these cases seem to offer extreme protection for your watches backed by a lifetime guarantee, your watches might be in more peril than you realise! Those of us with small children might be able to relate to the warranty exclusions listed by Peli whose legendary lifetime warranty has certain exclusions…
This guarantee does not cover shark bite, bear attackPeli Products Lifetime Guarantee
or damage caused by children under five.
Peli Products Brochure (with full warranty wording) available here
If you have any experience with any of these watch storage solutions, please do share your views in the comments below.