What is a “Land, Air, and Sea” Collection?

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rolex daytona, gmt master ii, and submariner laying on a table

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Many watch collectors who are after the perfect 3 watch collection will chose a specific niche to target. If you have come across people sharing their 3-watch collections, a lot of times, you will be looking at what is called a “Land, Air, and Sea” collection. This just means that they have, or are still on the hunt, for timepieces that individually check one of these boxes. Land, Sea, and Air can be interpreted in their own ways depending on the collectors wants and needs.The most common “Land, Sea, and Air” collection will consist of what is known as a Chronograph as the “Land” watch, a Diver as the “Sea” watch, and a GMT as the “Air” watch. Again, there are no rules to watch collecting, a “Land” watch for you might be something like a Rolex Explorer, or other watch with a simple date function.

If you’re still just a bit lost about what your “Land” chronograph might be, it would help to understand exactly what a chronograph is. A chronograph is a specific complication that is used as a stopwatch combined with a traditional time display watch. The basic chronograph will have an independent sweep second hand, and minute sub-dials. There are of course more complex chronographs with additional subials that can also measure tenths of a second. Many modern chronographs will also include moveable bezels as tachymeters for quick calculations of speed or distance. The chronograph is associated to being a land watch because of the use of the function in the auto racing world.

Sinn, rolex explorer ii, and omega seamaster

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A diver is a watch that is used in scuba-diving. Many collectors, especially of some luxury divers made of precious metals are obviously not taking their pieces deeper than the average pool, but they can handle it if needed! To be considered a divver, the minimum rated depth is 100m, but typical divers are rated to 200-300m. Modern technologies have allowed for the development of watch that could handle more, but there are very few people that will actually ever find themselves at those depths. In reality, the traditional watch is replaced by small computers that are able to display a lot more information that just the time underwater. Although they are not used much for their true use, it is the history of technologies and iconic design that draw people in.

Many people consider the GMT to be the “Air” watch for the simple fact that this function is useful for people that travel often, through different timezones. The GMT function allows the wearer to keep track of the time in multiple places at onces. The most common GMT watches give you the ability to track two, or three timezones at once. It was quite a simple innovation in watchmaking, but it's a very useful function and one of the appreciated complications in watches!

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