Watch Madness Matchups: Alaska Project vs. IWC Portofino and Rolex Sky Dweller vs. Rolex Sea Dweller

Our First Two Watch Matchups of Round 1

Watch nerds – the time has finally come. Watch Madness is here! Over the course of the next several weeks, we’re going to be matching up 64 watches from our inventory. The best part: you can fill out a bracket with your picks for a chance to win a $1500 credit with us. If you need help narrowing your selections, we’ve got you covered. Here, we’re spilling the nitty gritty details about four of the watches going head-to-head in the first round.

OMEGA Speedmaster Alaska Project vs IWC Portofino

The OMEGA Speedmaster Alaska Project and IWC Portofino are watches born out of the 1970s and 1980s respectively. Other than their relatively similar date of origin, these are two totally unique models. For starters, the Alaska Project is a highly specialized tool watch and the Portofino is a dress watch. Dress watches are their own breed. A few common traits make a dress watch, like a modest size and understated design. Namely, the dress watch focuses on stylistic elements as opposed to functional bells and whistles. On the other hand, tool watches are the complete opposite. They provide a very explicit function or set of functions for the wearer. In the case of a limited edition model like the Alaska Project, OMEGA tailored these specific functions to the intended use.

When it comes to dress watches, the Portofino is iconic. It defied the bold trends of the 1980s that spurred from the Quartz Crisis. However, the beauty of the Portofino isn’t just skin-deep. Though the focus is on its minimalist and refined design, this is not at the expense of quality and reliability. IWC has built a reputation on their extraordinary in-house calibers, like those found in the Portofino collection.

The limited edition Speedmaster Alaska Project is not your typical tool watch. OMEGA introduced the model in 2008 to commemorate the original prototype from 1970. “Alaska Project” was the code name given to a special range of Speedmasters OMEGA designed for NASA. The goal was to create a variation that could withstand extreme temperatures, like those on the dark side of the moon. The result was a model that looked very similar to the 2008 reboot. However, it came equipped with a distinctive external casing made of red-anodized aluminum.

Rolex Sky-Dweller vs Sea-Dweller

Rolex may be one of the leading brands in the industry. But, when two of their models are paired up and put to the test, which one comes out on top? The Sea-Dweller has been a Rolex standby for over 50 years. Yet, the Sky-Dweller is a newer addition, debuting just under a decade ago. Both are highly purpose-built tool watches whose technical prowess sets the bar. However, their functionality is very different. As the names suggest, one is for the sea and the other is for the sky.

The Sea-Dweller launched in 1967 during the peak era for the sport of diving. Unlike its predecessors – the Seamaster and the Submariner – the Sea-Dweller wasn’t for the more casual diver. The addition of features like a one-way escape valve, thicker crystal, and reinforced case gave it a depth rating of over 600 meters. Over the years, Rolex has continued to develop the capabilities of this robust and complex dive watch. Today, its depth rating has more than doubled to 1220 meters.

When Rolex unveiled the Sky Dweller at Baselworld in 2012, it immediately garnered attention. It was the brand’s first entirely new watch with an entirely new complication in over twenty years. It boasted an impressive fourteen new patents and an innovative annual calendar with dual time zones. In short, the Sky-Dweller was in a category all its own. What made it even more interesting was its intended purpose. It was undoubtedly a pilot’s watch but not necessarily intended for pilots. The Sky-Dweller also incorporates principles of the dress watch, making it the ultimate model for those who travel regularly.

Choosing the Picks for Your Bracket

When choosing the picks for your bracket, there are so many factors to consider. Between the Alaska Project and Portofino, there’s brand loyalty and watch style. With the Sky-Dweller and Sea-Dweller, it’s a battle of the Rolex brand. Your choice may come down to old versus new or sky versus sea. Then, there’s simply a matter of your personal preference and beliefs. Which watch is a winner for you? It’s a tough call to say the least. Each and every watch certainly has its merits. Good luck making your selections, and stay tuned for more in-depths looks at the models squaring off!

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