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Top 5 GADA Watches
Words by Windup Watch Shop

The concept of a “watch enthusiast” who owns, trades, and collects them for the love of the game is a relatively new one. It’s a far cry from our forebears, who often had one go-to watch for most of life’s occasions. Over the years, however, as watches have transitioned from being truly indispensable daily tools to totems of style and storytelling, the GADA (Go Anywhere, Do Anything) moniker remains a popular label for watches that can fulfill the “do-it-all” role that was so commonplace in the last century. While few of us can imagine ourselves as true one-watch aficionados, it’s satisfying to own a timepiece that just always works no matter the occasion. The appeal of these watches is easy to understand: they’re usually durable yet stylish and offer great value by fulfilling multiple roles. Here are five options from the Windup Watch Shop that we would consider GADA favorites; rest assured they’ll be with you wherever your adventures take you.

Nivada Grenchen Antarctic 35mm

This is your grandpa’s GADA watch – and in a good way. The mid-century styling and sizing of Nivada Grenchen’s iconic Antarctic make it an effortless watch to pull off no matter the occasion. The simple three-hander features a clean 3-6-9 dial with numerals that are interesting enough to make a statement but don’t get in the way of the watch’s primary purpose to tell time legibly and reliably. You can configure the Antarctic in a variety of dial colors and strap options, and all of them can easily be dressed up or down. And at 35mm, it's a size that will look refreshingly classic on any wrist size. Let's be real: this "trend" towards smaller watches isn't anything more than a regression back to the mean and what was considered normal for decades.

Vero Meridian Manual Wind

Field watches are commonly considered front-running GADA watches. Unlike the dive watch, for example, the field watch is typically smaller and thus better adapted to formal settings. Vero is no stranger to building excellent field watches, and the Vero Meridian Manual Wind is the brand’s take on a modern generalist’s watch that somehow looks old school and modern at once. The Rally’s cream dial is well-complemented by the red and blue accents and simply feels balanced between sporty and buttoned up. Paired with a caramel leather strap or bracelet, this is a watch that just works. 

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto

Here’s a watch we all know and love: the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto. Continuing with the field watch trend, we get a watch that fits all the criteria for being a proper GADA watch: date complication, legible dial, sufficient water resistance (100m), wearable size (38mm x 47.25mm). It’s a favorite for a reason. Even as the enthusiast world turns its attention to the never-ending release of new watches, there is a comfort in knowing that the stalwart classics are always here too. We’d consider the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto more than just a GADA watch: it’s in many ways the watch nerd’s cornerstone field watch.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Compression

You can’t have a GADA conversation without mentioning a dive watch or two. It’s not difficult to understand why: dive watches continue to enjoy widespread appeal thanks to their inherently stringent durability and feature requirements. It’s not that you will definitely dive to 650 feet – but in the small chance you need to on any given day, you’ll be covered. That timing bezel that you love to fidget with? Perfectly capable and practical for timing that baked ziti. Zodiac is no stranger to building dive watches; they’ve been doing it since 1953, which, depending on whom you talk to, places the Sea Wolf amongst the very first dive watches (you know what they are). The light blue variant of this model adds a nice pop of color to what is normally a very monochromatic affair. Don’t be fooled though – it’s a tool watch through and through. The five-link bracelet adds just enough dressiness to assuage any psychological hang-ups you have about wearing a dive watch with a suit. Just go for it.

Seiko Essentials Chronograph

If there was a watch brand that could be considered a GADA brand, Seiko might be it. From the boardroom to construction site, from school to space, there may be no other brand with as much mainstream appeal and exposure over the past half century. So when Seiko calls a collection “Essentials”, it’s about as close as you’ll get to a true Do-It-All watch. This particular chronograph, the SSB397, has everything for what life may bring – a hassle-free mechaquartz chronograph, 24-hour sub-dial, date complication, 100 meters of water resistance, and versatile good looks. It’s the kind of watch that quietly does everything at a price point that is tough to argue with.