So I’ve successfully navigated my life to the point where people are asking me for watch recommendations. Instead of shooting off emails with my go-to watchmakers, I thought it would be fun to put things together in a lil list.
Here are the touchstones of a good watch, to me:
- A quality movement that will not break (movement = watch guts).
- Great design
- Functional perks (like the day, date, chronograph/stop watch function)
Plus a good watch reminds you and the world that you care about yourself at least a little bit.
Yes, you can just use your phone. Having a watch is better than using your phone. You care enough about yourself that you don’t have to pull your damn phone out every time you want to know the time. A person who pulls their phone out constantly is not the type of person anyone should want to be right? Also don’t you appreciate the fact that mankind made something that, without anything more than springs and physics, can tell the time? That is amazing. It’s seriously amazing. Look at the inside of a mechanical watch. It is beautiful. Do you hate beauty and achievement? Get a watch.
On to the meat and potatoes of this post. The watch recommendations.
"I’d like something under 200 dollars that isn’t a Timex or Casio."
Seiko Seiko Seiko Seiko Seiko. They make great watches that will last your entire life, and even their lower budget watches have automatic movements (meaning: not Quartz). Added bonus: they don’t get too wonky with design. A Seiko dive watch from 1979 basically looks the same as a Seiko dive watch from 2013.
For example: here’s a Seiko 5 dive watch in black. It looks like a classic dive watch. It will function like a classic dive watch. People will say “Oh hey nice watch.” It is 200 dollars.
Here it is in blue and red (a “Pepsi bezel”). That’s a fine looking watch. It is 158 dollars.
Dive watches aren’t for everyone, although they practically are for everyone nowadays. You will see bankers with dive watches on, you will see people at the liquor store with dive watches on. No one is diving. They still love the watch.
There’s a Seiko 5 in a dressier style too. It is under 100 dollars! That is so cheap. It doesn’t need a battery. C’mon.
"I’d like a ~$200 mechanical watch that isn’t like everyone else’s"
Vostok. Cold, heartless mechanical watches made in unforgiving Mother Russia. Steve Zissou wore one. They are weird. eBay is the place to get them. I don’t think you can buy them in the United States, period. Why is no one importing these watches?
"I do not care about mechanical movements at all and want to tell the time accurately and fashionably. I’d like to spend anywhere from $200-$600."
Cool. I’ll recommend four companies but don’t forget Timex and Casio. Let no one fool you into thinking a $500 quartz watch is any different than a $30 quartz watch. The watch guts are the same. It is just as good of a watch. A Heuer or Omega quartz is just as much watch as a Casio quartz.
"I am an interesting and adventurous person. I believe that my watch should reflect that. I’d like a vintage watch, please. My price range is $100-$500"
Welly welly well, you should head on over to eBay, the greatest second-hand watch market out there. For surprisingly little money, you can owe some seriously nice watches. Pretty much every non-Rolex, non-Patek, Non-JLC watch is available in that price range if you dig around enough.
Buyer beware: ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS OF YOUR SELLER. Ask if every function of the watch works. Determine if the seller seems reputable (lots of fake watches out there). Look at seller feedback. Figure out what lengths you are willing to go to own the watch in working condition. Are you willing to take it to a watch repair place after purchase and have it fixed up? If not, make sure the listing says the watch works. It’s also worthwhile to take note of listings that say things like “This watch works perfectly, but because of the nature of the US mail, I’m selling it as-is.” That means the seller is selling a broken watch, they know it’s a broken watch, and they are an awful person.
Ok on to the watches. eBay is endless. Vintage chronographs are my personal fav. I love timing things. I like how watch faces with multiple dials look. I just came across this one, for example:
Gorgeous! Another thing to remember is that vintage watches are generally smaller than today’s watches. That will look classy. Trust me. Even if you have a “big wrists,” which is a weird thing watch people say who are insecure about watch size.
Here’s a custom eBay search with just a few of my fav vintage watchmakers. These are “Buy It Now” and in the US. You can change the parameters of the search to fit your needs.
Happy watch buying!