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The Diamond Store Guide: 6 Best Men’s Rotary Watches

This legendary wrist-wear name favoured by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes is also the official supplier of watches to the British Army and a UK Superbrand. We take a look at its heritage and show you the 6 best men’s Rotary watches right now. Included this article:

  • A quick look at Rotary’s epic history
  • What is Sapphire glass… and why it’s so good for you
  • Dolphin Standard water resistance – what does it mean?
  • Rotary, the military and Sherlock Holmes
  • Quartz and Automatic movements explained
  • 6 Best Rotary watches right now


WHAT’S really interesting about Rotary for the watch enthusiast, is that it’s one of the most celebrated brands in watchmaking history, yet very affordable for its market.

Looks-wise, Rotary veers on the timeless side (pardon the pun). Which is good, because it means that Rotary watches dress up or down effortlessly.

Even their leather strap dress watches are versatile. Sharp with white cuffs and a suit, they also manage to look smart-but-not-too-fussy when matched with a denim shirt.

6 Best Men's Rotary Watches Rotary Les Originales Ultra Slim S Steel - £325

Les Originales Ultra Slim S Steel – £325 – Scroll down to watch #2 for full review

At the same time (again no pun intended) their robust quality, sophisticated lines and heritage of craftsmanship are obvious to the eye.

Rotary’s story goes all the way back to 1895 Switzerland. Owned by a family of Swiss watchmakers, their head office is based in London today.

In fact, Rotary has a longtime connection with Britain. They were appointed the official watch suppliers to the British Army in 1940.

Image credit Rotary Watches Ltd. 

During the Second World War, when the British Army was drafting huge numbers of men, Rotary became a household name in the UK. 

It continues to supply UK’s armed forces with timepieces today.

6 Best Men’s Rotary Watches - Les Originales Legacy Chronograph

Les Originales Legacy Chronograph – £205 – Scroll to #5 for full review

Also, for several years running, Rotary Watches has been elected a UK Superbrand. A “Superbrand” is basically a company that YouGov consumer research and experts from 40 countries regard as a top notch product or service-provider, with an exceptional brand history.

Part of this is Rotary’s industry-standard-setting guarantee which you can extend when your register your watch on their website.

So yes, Rotary is a respected watchmaker.

6 Best Men’s Rotary Watches - Les Originales Tradition S Steel Automatic

Les Originales Tradition S Steel Automatic – £429 – Scroll to #3 for full review

A quick rundown of Rotary terminology in plain English:

  • Most Rotary watches offer the Dolphin Standard of water resistance, equal to ISO 2281, making them suitable for all-day swimming and diving.
  • The Ultra Slim and Les Originales ranges feature sapphire glass, second only to diamond in its hardness. So even if you’re known for shattering every iPhone screen you ever owned, you won’t break one of these.
  • Quartz movement is characterised by the individual ticks of the second-hand. Very accurate in Rotary watches and require minimal maintenance aside from battery replacements.
  • Automatic movement is characterised by a sweeping second-hand. An auto watch harnesses energy through your natural motion while you wear it on your wrist, so it won’t need battery replacements. Quite a bit more expensive than quartz, yet popular with watch connoisseurs because they showcase a high level of craftsmanship.

REVIEWS – 6 Best Men’s Rotary Watches:

#6 Place – The top choice for Rotary novices

Les Originales Legacy Stainless Steel Quartz Watch

Price £205 only at SOLD OUT!

The Legacy Collection sets the standard against which all other Rotary watches are tested. This classic stainless steel quartz model has a sporty edge with enough elegance to wear it from office to gym to club. It features a bold black dial and easy-to-read time markers, as well as day-date windows at 3 o’clock and Dolphin Standard water resistance. A fantastic entry-level piece if you’re new to Rotary. Extremely popular and well-received gift for university graduations, significant birthdays or as a special Christmas present.

#5 Place – Ready, steady, go!

Les Originales Legacy Chronograph Quartz Watch

Price £325 only at

Sophisticated, robust, attractive white face, unique second hand with red tip, reliable, water resistant… Rotary really knows how to create a good looking sports watch. This is a Les Originales model in stainless steel with a chronograph (stopwatch) for hours, minutes and seconds and a retro tachymeter for measuring distance based on speed. Leave it on when you time yourself doing laps in the pool. (A matching black ladies style is also available if she gets jealous and tries to nick yours.)

#4 Place – A British gentleman’s wardrobe essential

Les Originales Windsor Black Leather Quartz Watch

Price £149 only at SOLD OUT!

Sherlock Homes wouldn’t settle for anything less than a perfectly accurate timekeeper. If you’ve been coveting the leather-strapped dress watch worn by the astute detective as he confronts Moriarty at the end of the BBC series first season, you’re in luck. With a tasteful white dial, Dolphin Standard and stylish Roman numeral time markers, this classic timepiece is available at an exceptional price point.

#3 Place – For the outdoors adventurer

Les Originales Tradition S Steel Black Auto Watch

Price £429 only at

Another Les Originales wrist piece, this automatic model is a little pricier than the ones we’ve seen so far. But for your money you get highly pleasing, smooth Swiss Automatic Sellita Movement, bold hands, a handsome black dial, date marker at 6pm, comfort fit stainless steel strap with a deployment clasp, and classic time markers for a stylish finish. This watch is perfect for active wear thanks to its domed sapphire glass that does not distort light on the dial, to improve visibility. Of course Dolphin Standard waterproof.

#2 Place – This one’s a looker

Les Originales Ultra Slim S Steel Quartz Watch

Price £205 only at SOLD OUT!

For the dandy in you. A purchase you’re guaranteed to be happy with (just read the 5 star customer reviews), this ultra slim model in stainless steel is powered by Swiss Ronda Quartz movement. What’s especially striking, in a very good way, is the unique sunburst dial in silver. Roman numeral time markers provide an extra touch of class. Features Dolphin Standard and sapphire glass.

#1 Place – The discerning business traveller’s choice

Les Originales Legacy Ocean Blue GMT Quartz Watch

Price £250 only at SOLD OUT!

There are so many reasons why the Legacy Ocean Blue GMT grabs first place. It is the top choice for the business traveller because it comes equipped with four hands and an additional 24-hour display for time zone adjustment. Plus sapphire glass, a comfortable bracelet with a deployment buckle, date window at 3pm and Dolphin Standard. What’s interesting is that Rotary could have gone for their traditional black dial here, but chose dark blue instead. This small but significant aesthetic detail makes the GMT stand out in a crowd and also, as a huge added bonus, makes it look far more expensive than its actual price tag.

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All prices quoted on 9th August 2018 and may change any time after this date