Wow, is it Holiday season already? Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and then comes Chanukah in early December, Christmas (on the traditional date, go figure..), and Chinese New Year in February. So I went through the watches we have looked at this year on the site and present to you, the dear reader, my Wrist Watch Review Holiday Gift Guide. Not everyone has the same budget, so I tried to put together options at several price points for each of the categories. Most of these watches have been on the site in the last year, but I should remind you that there are many other watches we have featured that are also available and worth checking out.
The guide is laid out by style of watch, but if you want to look at our picks by price alone, jump to the end of the article.Diver watches are a perennial favorite. They are rugged, and they have transcended the genre to become a type of watch that can be worn in almost any situation. For my budget pick, there is the Borealis Sea Diver, which I reviewed in October. For $229, you are getting an automatic movement, a sapphire crystal, and a nice looking overall package. Stepping up in cost, I like the Haigh & Hastings M2 Diver (above), a watch out of Australia that runs around $500. I think it is a sharp looking watch with a 5 year damage protection guarantee. If you are looking to splurge, then the Tudor Pelagos might be a place to go. Tudor is the little brother to Rolex, and returned to the US after a long hiatus. A Blog To Watch took a look at the Pelagos back in January, and Ariel found a lot to like in the watch.
If you are looking for a sportier watch, but don’t care for, or don’t want, a diver, then a field watch is another option for you. Patrick took a look at two offerings from Bertucci, and we both liked the titanium AT-2 Super Sport (above), at $199. For a little more money, $350, there is the Tsovet SVT-RS-40, a field watch from the California brand with a bit of aviator cross over. Going in the other direction on price, it is tough to go wrong with a Timex (yes, you read right) field watch, like the Timex Expedition Field Watch. It lists on Amazon for under $50 right now.
If you have a car enthusiast on your list, the AT-2 Super Sport can cut double duty, but we have also seen a number of watches that take direct inspiration from motor sports. A new Danish brand, REC, is taking metal from vintage Mini Coopers and integrating it into their watch designs. Patrick took a look at the C2 and M2, and found the quartz watches intriguing, and either can be had from under $500.
Jumping up in price to the sub-$1,000 range, the Autodromo Stradale at $875 (above) harkens back to classic dashboard designs from my youth at least. And for the man who only wears the best? How about an upcycled Ferrari? The Christopher Ward C70 3527 GT Chronometer is a limited edition automatic chronograph with a backpanel made from metal salvaged from one of the only 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs ever to be built.
Are cars not you giftee’s favorite means of transportation? Is he or she a pilot? Aviation inspired watches are always popular, even for non aviators. With a simple design, the AVI-8 Flyboy (above) is very readable and attractive. Housing a Miyota automatic, it would have been a mid price pick at the list of $620, but the US store has them on sale for $170. If you are willing to go with the quartz version, they are on sale for $90 to $99. That leaves room for a different watch in the mid-price range, and for that I really like the Trintec watches. I was able to spend time with the $450 Zulu-03, but as the first company to sell a cockpit instrument style watch, they have several models to choose from. Jumping into the ‘splurge’ range at $2,650, Patrick highlighted the Michelsen Svartifoss and Goðafoss, two modern looking aviation inspired pieces out of Iceland.
Finally, New Year’s is coming up, and there may be a need for a dress watch. Now, maybe you don’t do formal events, but a nice watch that can seemlessly pair with a suit and tie should be in every guy’s inventory. At the high end, I really like the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator which Patrick reviewed. It is heavier and thicker than the other picks, but it is sophisticated and interesting, a perfect pairing with a suit or tuxedo. Stepping into the sub-$1000 range, the $550 Christopher Ward C5 Malvern Slimline will slide effortlessly under the most tailored of dress shirts. In the budget range (under $200), I like the super slim first watch from Rossling & Co. Patrick took a look at the watch when it was still a Kickstarter project, and I was able to get some hands on time with the similar automatic, and the tweed strap and blue hands really make this a watch that dresses up well.
- Out of all these watches, my pick for a gift under $100 would be the AVI-8 Flyboy in quartz, if it is still available from the web site.
- Going to a limit of $200, I would pick either the automatic Flyboy (if it is still on sale) or the Bertucci AT-2 Super Sport.
- For a watch under $300, the Borealis Sea Diver is my choice.
- Jumping a bit to the sub-$500 range, my favorite is another diver, the Haigh & Hastings M2.
- Jumping again to the under $1,000 range, the Autodromo Stradale is a lovely looking instrument.
- In the range from $1,000 to $2,000 the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator is my pick, and the one watch out of the pack I would most like to be handed to me this holiday season.
- And for the over $2,000 splurge gift, I would love to receive the Michalesen Svartifoss, the black dial version of the two Patrick reviewed.
Oh, and should you want something more watch-related, than an actual watch? You may then want to check out the new book from Ariel Adams, The World’s Most Expensive Watches.