for the watch enthusiasts of metafilter...
December 8, 2018 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I think my dad would enjoy getting a "nice" watch for Christmas, but have no idea what to buy or where to look for it. I'm aiming for a Wall Street executive aesthetic but for a couple hundred dollars, not thousands.

My dad follows Wall Street / the financial world but doesn't spend any time around the people in it so this doesn't have to withstand Patrick Bateman's scrutiny. He actually spends his days walking the dog and working on his motorcycles. He was a machinist so has an interest in the mechanics of things, and I think would appreciate not having the change a battery periodically. No idea if that's a reasonable thing to look for in this price range and it's in no way required. Easy to read, durable, not fiddly or complicated, and not flashy are the other requirements.
posted by sepviva to Shopping (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a specific recommendation, but you might find something on the watchuseek affordable watches forum.
posted by smcameron at 9:54 PM on December 8, 2018

You might find something you like in Orient's Bambino collection.
posted by alphanerd at 9:57 PM on December 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seiko Model 5
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:09 PM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Alphanerd is right, Orient watches are extraordinary values. If you want to go a bit more, the Seiko Cocktail Time in Ice Blue is just a gorgeous watch. You have to see it in person to fully appreciate it. Can pick one up in the low threes if you shop around.
posted by jcworth at 11:26 PM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Have a look at Citizen watches with the "Eco-drive" label: they charge automatically from available sunlight. And there are ones that synchronize by radio with an atomic clock as well. Really nice. Just make sure that you live in an area covered by one of those atomic clock radio channels.
posted by jouke at 11:47 PM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

look at the swatch sistem 51 irony line. some nice selections in there.
posted by koroshiya at 12:58 AM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Though focusing on value rather than low cost, The Value Proposition feature on the watch blog Hodinkee may offer some ideas.
posted by fairmettle at 2:54 AM on December 9, 2018

I've had a lot of compliments on my Junkers Bauhaus. It's a quartz, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; I know what the watch enthusiasts on the internet say, but it's changing a battery vs having to get your entire watch serviced -- one is considerably more complicated and expensive than the other. Quartz watches are generally more durable, as well.

I have some mechanical watches, but they are inexpensive Chinese mechanical chronographs (The Seagull ST19 movement, depending on who you ask, is made on tooling originally developed for the Venus 175). I'm not sure how much your dad would enjoy hand-winding a watch every morning, but it's the only way to get a mechanical chronograph for under $200. (See here, for example. There is some argument about how ethical 'homage' watches are. The watch doesn't say Rolex on it, but the Rolex this one is based off of is no longer sold and several hundreds of thousands of dollars used. QC can be hit or miss and lume is generally weak.)
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:03 AM on December 9, 2018

If he was a machinist, he might prefer an automatic watch, and if you want one that's durable, easy to read, and not flashy, you might check out the flieger (aka pilot) and field styles. Laco is one of the originators, and Seiko and Orient are also good recommendations for budget automatic watches. Hamilton is an American brand, and offers good values--for something more boutique-y (and expensive), you might check out Lum-Tec. If you want to go with a diver, Maratac is one to look at. Autodromo watches are more than you want to spend, but they have a motorsport kind of aesthetic your dad might like.
posted by box at 6:25 AM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just an observation from a Boomer. In recent years fashionable men's watches have grown absurdly large to my eye. Consider the size and shape of his present watch. A watch should leave some wrist showing above the 12 and below the 6.

I have two beautiful Seikos from the early 90s and i don't ever plan to replace them.
posted by JimN2TAW at 7:09 AM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

>Have a look at Citizen watches with the "Eco-drive" label: they charge automatically from available sunlight.

I have the Citizen Nighthawk and it ticks a lot of your boxes.
* Under $200
* Solar powered so no battery and no need to wear it to keep it wound like an automatic watch.
* Nice chunky metal design.
* Has a slide rule buit-in. (!)

The face is a little busy but I can see it appealing to a former machinist.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 AM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

(Worn and Wound is another watch blog, and they have some good tools to filter their review archive.)
posted by box at 7:46 AM on December 9, 2018

Another suggestion: Kent Wang Bauhaus.
posted by box at 7:50 AM on December 9, 2018

These are all great, thanks! One of the things hanging me up is I don't have a good sense of what a watch financial types wear would look like, even in general, so pointers in that direction would also help.
posted by sepviva at 8:55 AM on December 9, 2018

The watches that financial types wear are a status display (that Patrick Bateman thing), so they're mostly out of your price range.
posted by box at 9:28 AM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nthing Orient. They are the best value/quality fit mechanical watches of that's what you want.

Also consider: Hamilton, Bulova, momentum watches, wenger if you want to get something decent at a very low price.
posted by smoke at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2018

MVMT has an excellent collection. Some are definitely not what he'd be looking for, but they have a Classic series that might work. I have one and love it.
posted by fso at 2:40 PM on December 9, 2018

I was hard on my watches and hated when the crystal became scratched so I went looking for a sapphire crystal which is the most scratch resistant. This slim Tissot Tradition might suit you but it is a quartz movement.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:27 PM on December 9, 2018

Seiko diver. Look at SKX007, or if you want smaller, do SKX013.
posted by lecorbeau at 6:53 PM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another recommendation for Seiko. However, I think this one more closely aligns with the Wall Street after hours look:
posted by Don_K at 8:05 AM on December 11, 2018

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