Looking for reputable watch companies!
December 17, 2008 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Looking to buy a new watch, something nice for daily wear but that won't break the bank. Suggest some great watch-makers. Looking for reputable and quality watch company suggestions. Criteria and background expanded on in full q!

I used to have a really nice Fossil watch my brother gave me for my Confirmation gift years ago. It was a leather band, off-white pearlish face and the crystal was raised to a diamond point on top. It had Roman Numerals and a big sun/moon dial that rotated through the day. Sadly it was stolen years ago.

Since then my brother gave me an ESQ Swiss watch for my college graduation in '04, quartz timed which I love and wear only for really nice occasions as it's a much fancier watch than for every day. I may be getting an automatic I've had my eye on for Christmas from the 'rents but I'm looking for another every day watch.

Here are some criteria:

-Can be quartz or automatic movement
-Preferable steel or titanium metal bands as leather tends to rot away too quickly
-I am however open to some cool leather "cuff" watches if they are inexpensive as I might buy one of those and another nicer watch
-I'm not very fond of Chronographs, they feel too "busy" to me so no Tag Heurs lol.
-I'd LOVE if it had sun/moon dials. I miss that from my older watch
-Looking to spend no more than 1200 at the very very most. More likely I'd love to stay under 1k.

Can Mefites out there suggest some great watch companies I could look into? I've checked out Hamilton, Fossil, Invicta, ESQ Swiss. Feel free to suggest more than one watch, I'm looking for classic variety here.

Thanks :)
posted by PetiePal to Shopping (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I thought Diesel brand might be too expensive, but with a $1K limit, maybe it's not fancy enough. I've owned three of their watches and love them.
posted by juliplease at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2008

Oris, very nice quality and affordable.

If you decide to splash then IWC are the best.
posted by fire&wings at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2008

Tissot have a dreadful web site, but make an enormous selection of fabulous watches in all kinds of styles, and many of them are within your price range. And they're a "real" Swiss manufacturer with an actual history (if that matters to you) even if they are now owned by the Swatch group.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2008

Beaten by buxtonbluecat, I hate watches, never wanted a watch, totally uninterested in watches. Slightly dismayed to receive a Tissot a couple of years ago, and now I feel totally naked without it. It is incredibly beautiful, the face is sapphire so completely unscratchable while the bezel and band have gotten nice and worn in. PR50 might be a good model for you. I have the chrono version, which is a very unbusy chrono considering. Also, the face there looks black, but its not its reaaaaaaly dark blue (unless that's a feature of the sapphire face?).
Supersexy, beautifully weighted, and not huge on your arm.
posted by Iteki at 10:09 AM on December 17, 2008

I really like nixon watches.
posted by milarepa at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2008

If you want a second watch which is a little bit odd, I would suggest going with something from Eleeno. They've got a bunch of stupid visual-diarrhea watches, but then a few elegant ones mixed in.
I own the Orbit and the Raito, and they've worked perfectly for me the past couple of years.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:27 AM on December 17, 2008

I loved my husband's Skagen watch so much I went out and bought my own. They have a lot of watches with the metal (titanium mostly) mesh bands that I love - not too fancy, but still very nice looking.
posted by misskaz at 10:46 AM on December 17, 2008

Oris and Tissot, seconded, to blow all 1k on at once. I keep a decent metal Seiko (half your budget, from Hong Kong) for dressier days and a midrange Suunto for everyday and outdoors (the other half).
posted by kcm at 10:50 AM on December 17, 2008

I've been very pleased with St. Moritz watches, and you can't beat their extendable warranty.
posted by scrump at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2008

posted by edmz at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2008

I'll second milarepa. I bought a Nixon El Dorado several years ago and really, really like it. Damn thing looked huge at first but now I feel like it's the perfect size. At the price I paid, you can buy four or five of them and still stay within your budget.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2008

I am a huge fan of Citizen watches (the US website sucks, and doesn't list most of their models, but the main Japanese website has some useful information). And they make some absolutely goregeous watches (most Campanolas run well above $1200, but you can get great Citizen models for well under that). Eco-Drive watches are solar powered, so you should never have to replace a battery, and you can get models with just about any feature you might want (like a perpetual calendar). There's a pretty good discussion forum where Citizen reps regularly appear and answer questions, though most of the traffic there is devoted to Seiko. A few models have moon phases, several have titanium cases and bracelets, and a few even have sapphire crystals (particularly Japan-only models). They also make great dive watches.
posted by dilettanti at 11:34 AM on December 17, 2008

I love my Hamilton.
posted by jgirl at 11:34 AM on December 17, 2008

I have an Oris and a Bell & Ross. The Oris is a great everyday watch. Not expensive and it's bullet-proof. Classic, not a chronograph. Day & date, roman numerals. Really simple. Rubber wrist band with a bracelet clasp. Skeleton back. I guess they're $1,000 now.
posted by Zambrano at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2008

I'm a fan of the Seiko kinetic line of watches. I've had mine for close to 10 years now, and haven't had to worry about the battery at all and I wear it all the time. The glass is apparently artificial sapphire (or at least has a sapphire coating on it,) so I've yet to get a single scratch on it. Also they look cool, and some have a glass window on the back that shows off the self-charging mechanism (You basically just wear the watch daily, and the natural movement of your arm keeps the battery charged, although you can leave it off for about a week or two and still be ok.)

I don't think any have sun/moon dials though. The "kinetic" thing is just a technology, so it spans a number of their product lines, except for their "spring drive" ones of course. Here's the official Products page.

The prices are pretty reasonable as well, if I remember right. Most models definitely under $1,000US.

This one is similar to my model. Mine has long-since been discontinued, but this one looks like a newer, sexier version of it.
posted by agress at 1:33 PM on December 17, 2008

I am very fond of my Christopher Ward C5. It's got a Swiss automatic movement, skeleton back, and both crystals are sapphire so it's almost impossible to scratch the face. The cost is around $300 which is insane for this type of watch.
posted by monocyte at 1:45 PM on December 17, 2008

I'm quite fine of LIP's current series of reissues--a lot of iconic 70s era design that won't break the bank. Most (all?) have leather bands, but you could go with one of these and another more expensive watch as you suggest. Use promo code BBWATCHISMO on that site for 20% (not sure how long this is valid).
posted by zachlipton at 4:17 PM on December 17, 2008

That was a 20% discount, of course.
posted by zachlipton at 4:17 PM on December 17, 2008

I think Bulova watches are absolutely beautiful. Very reasonably priced.
posted by Night_owl at 4:25 PM on December 17, 2008

I came in here to suggest Tissot. Their site does indeed suck, but I really like my watch.
posted by kmennie at 5:17 PM on December 17, 2008

Third on the Nixon.
posted by snowjoe at 5:19 PM on December 17, 2008

James Bond used to wear an Omega Seamaster.
posted by Xhris at 7:21 PM on December 17, 2008

I sell Skagen watches in my store (this ain't a commercial for my store) and I can fully recommend them~beautiful design, good quality, way affordable (save yourself a thousand bucks here), good repair service when needed (infrequently). I don't think they make a sun/moon watch though. But they do use titanium and stainless steel, some are very thin, many are extremely elegant, mesh bands work well. One bit of advice, get a watch with a flat crystal rather than a rounded one~less breakage and scratching on the flat surface. Good luck!
posted by davoid at 7:43 PM on December 17, 2008

The only decent mechanical automatic moonphase in your price range is made by Oris. It is beautiful.

I love my Skagen and my Casio Oceanus, but my Citizen Eco-Drive has become my daily watch. I like it very much.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:54 PM on December 17, 2008

Another Oris wearer here - BC3 Day Date. Had it for 5 years, and I'll probably die with it on.
posted by forallmankind at 9:32 PM on December 17, 2008

Response by poster: Great answers everyone thanks. I have a lot to peruse and mull over :)

Now finding a good watch winder that won't break the band and handle up to 4 as my collection grows over the years would be nice ;P
posted by PetiePal at 10:45 AM on December 18, 2008

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