The holiday season is upon us once again, leaving us all with our three usual questions: Where exactly did 2022 go? Where will I be to ring in the New Year? And what is the perfect watch gift for each of my family members and friends who share my passion for timepieces? We can't help you with the first two questions, but we're definitely here for you on the third. Here we've put together a list of watches in several categories, with various types of recipients in mind, at a variety of price points. Best of all, the vast majority of these watches are available right here in our online shop.
For the sophisticated gent:
Seiko Presage SRPB43
Price: $319, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug to Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R35
The “Cocktail Time” series within Seiko’s automatic-only Presage family of attainable, attractive dress watches are designed to evoke the types of high-end cocktails served at Japan’s famously atmospheric rooftop bars. This model with a stainless steel case and a sunray ice-blue dial takes its nickname and inspiration from a classic Martini. The glossy-finish dial’s ridged, rippling edges help give it the look of a birds-eye view inside the cocktail glass; the tone-on-tone date window is a subtle but impressive bonus at this price point, as is the in-house, automatic movement inside. The 40.5-mm case is topped by a box-shaped crystal made of a proprietary Seiko material called Hardlex. A specially sculpted crown helps ensure the case’s 50-meter water resistance, and the movement is magnetic-resistant to 4,800 A/m.
Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 Blue
Case: 39.3mm, Thickness 9.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111 Water-Resistance: 30m, Material: Steel, Price: $575
Named for the Swiss watchmaking town in which Tissot was founded (and where many other watchmakers still reside), the Tissot Le Locle is a classically elegant gentleman’s dress watch that comes in at a very wearable size, just under 40mm. Its round case has a polished finish and its dial hosts applied Roman hour numerals, swept over by leaf-shaped hands, along with a practical and unobtrusive date window at 3 o’clock. The “pyramid”-style textured finish in the center lends the watch an added layer of refinement, and the self-winding Powermatic 80 movement inside ensures that it runs reliably for 80 hours.
Raymond Weil Maestro Moon Phase
Price: $1,495, Case Size: 39.5mm, Thickness: 9.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Raymond Weil Cal. RW4280, Crystal: Sapphire
Raymond Weil’s collections take their names from the eponymous founder’s love of music and musicians, and the Maestro Moon Phase Automatic is a Moonlight Serenade for the wrist. The watch has a galvanic dial with a radiating textured motif inspired by waves of musical notes pulsing through a concert hall. Additionally, the outer minute track has an engraved pattern that subtly evokes the grooves of an old vinyl record. The moon-phase display is at 6 o’clock, below the central baton-shaped hands.
Cartier Tank Must Solarbeat
Price: $2,790, Case Size: 33mm x 25.5mm and 29.5mm x 22mm, Thickness: 6.6mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Cartier SolarBeat
Louis Cartier created the Tank watch in 1917, deriving its rectangular, curvilinear case shape as well as its name from a French military vehicle used during the First World War. Perhaps fittingly, the recipient of the first Cartier Tank watch was U.S. General John “Black Jack” Pershing, a commander of the Allied forces.The Tank has been a coveted style object ever since, designed to appeal to men and ladies alike, and the recently released model equipped with Cartier’s exclusive SolarBeat movement brings the iconic timepiece firmly into the 21st Century as well as into an entry-level price segment. The solar-powered quartz movement inside the famous curvilinear rectangular case, behind the famed dial with blue sword hands and radiating Roman numerals, boasts a 16-year battery life and is the first such caliber ever used by the watch-and-jewelry giant.
Baume & Mercier Clifton
Price: $3,250 - $7,750, Case size: 39mm/40mm, Thickness: 10.74mm/11.3mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic BM13-1975A (COSC certified)
Baume & Mercier launched the Clifton collection in 2013, drawing many of its design elements from a 1950s model in the brand’s archives. Clifton watches all have classically round cases with a double-beveled architecture, dials with high-end finishing, thin “Alpha” hands, and simple, thin applied hour indexes (though the earliest models also featured applied Arabic numerals). The standard, three-handed Clifton models were the first Baume & Mercier watches to be equipped with the in-house, chronometer-quality Baumatic movement, which can still be found in them today; the crosshairs motif in the center of their dials represents the movement’s COSC chronometer certification.
Price: $6,500, Case Size: 41mm, Lug Width: 24.2mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Master Chronometer Caliber 8900
Omega’s Constellation series — which has been around since 1952, predating both the Speedmaster and the modern Seamaster — got a major revamp in 2020, with a slew of Gents models equipped with Master Chronometer movements. Sized at a modest-yet-contemporary 39 mm, the cases feature polished and beveled edges; a slimmer bezel with redesigned Roman numerals; a more elegant finishing for the hallmark “claws” on the bezel’s sides; and a conical crown. The dial’s hands and hour markers take visual cues from the triangular facets of New York City’s Freedom Tower. Inside the case — made of “everyday” stainless steel (as shown), or special-occasion yellow gold or Sedna gold — beats the Omega Master Chronometer-certified Caliber 8900, with a co-axial escapement and s 60-hour power reserve.
For the weekend warrior:
Price: $99, Case: 42.8mm, Thickness 13.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48.9mm, Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Quartz, Water-Resistance: 200m
The DW5600ABB model of Casio’s iconic and megapopular G-Shock sports the original rectangular-cased, digital-display design that has been a mainstay since 1983. The classic gray field of the LCD dial frames the watch's compact readout of time, date, and running seconds. Like most all watches in G-Shock’s extensive DW5600 family, its durable resin case boasts a 200-meter water resistance and its digital functions include a 1/100-second stopwatch, countdown timer, multi-function alarm, a full calendar accurate to 2099, and an electro-luminescent backlight with afterglow.
Marathon General Purpose Mechanical
Price: $450, Case Size: 34mm, Case Height: 9.2mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber NH35
Manufactured by the sole official supplier of watches to today’s U.S. Armed Forces, the Marathon General Purpose Mechanical offers some distinctive elements seldom found in this price range. Housed within a 34mm stainless steel case, the Marathon GPM is tactically small, designed to be a lightweight companion to the large loads of military gear utilized by its wearers in combat operations. The dial has indexes and hands with tritium-filled tubes, which offer brighter and longer-lasting luminescence than most other dials, whose luminescent elements need to be recharged by light. Completing the utilitarian package is a reliable third-party caliber from Seiko and the tough, “Ballistic Nylon” NATO strap that makes it ideal for wearing in challenging environments.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Price: $545, Reference: H69449961, Case Size: 38mm Case Height: 9.5mm, Lug width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Mechanical Hamilton Caliber H-50
American-founded Hamilton, now based in Switzerland, basically invented the “field watch” category, supplying tough timepieces to U.S. troops as early as World War I. The civilian offshoot of those watches is the modern Khaki Field, which traces its most direct inspiration to the 1960s model worn during the Vietnam War and is available with a quartz, manually wound mechanical, or automatic caliber. The Khaki Field Mechanical model showcased here combines the classically retro 12/24-hour “military time” dial, an appropriately modest 38mm case, and a rugged, nylon NATO strap. The manually winding Caliber H-50 beats inside, storing a lengthy 80-hour power reserve.
Mühle S.A.R. Rescue Timer
Price: $2,800, Case Size: 42mm, Case Height: 13.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW 200-1, Mühle version
Mühle Glashütte, founded in 1869, is the oldest family-owned watch company in Germany while also being, in practice, one of the youngest, having not produced a wristwatch until 1996. The company’s history of making speedometers, dashboard clocks, and other equipment for military vehicles provided the impetus for the S.A.R. Rescue Timer (the initials referring to Germany’s Maritime Search and Rescue Service, which requested it and still uses it today). The watch’s tough rubber bezel acts as a shock absorber for the Mühle-customized automatic Swiss movement inside the steel case. Under a dense 4mm sapphire crystal with a cyclops lens to magnify the date, the white dial of the Lumen model — with the emblematic large triangular markers in black at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock — is fully coated with luminous paint for nighttime visibility.
For the recreational diver:
Scurfa Diver One
Price: $250, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.7mm, Lug Width: 20mm Water Resistance: 500m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Quartz Ronda 715SM
In 2014, commercial saturation diver Paul Scurfield, frustrated by the inability of existing, so-called “professional” dive watches to hold up to the hard usage they faced in his profession, founded his own watch brand. A longtime watch enthusiast in addition to being a seasoned diver, Scurfield focused on creating a range of watches for divers that were not only tougher and more reliable than those produced by well-known luxury brands but also priced within reason for diving professionals. The Diver One Titanium (pictured) will fit the bill for many, boasting a rare 500-meter water resistance, a helium release valve for use in a diving bell, a sapphire crystal and a high degree of luminous material on the dial for legibility in the depths. The Swiss-made quartz Ronda caliber beats inside the 40mm case (which is also available in steel for $30 less).
Seiko Prospex SRPE93
Price: $495, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.9mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Crystal: Mineral
Following in the footsteps of the SKX007 and 009, the modern Prospex “Turtle” collection from Seiko revives the cushion case shape from the iconic 6309 in production from 1976 to 1988 with a few updates. First, the watch is larger than both the SKX and the 6309, coming in with a 45mm case diameter that luckily wears smaller than that dimensions might suggest, a factor aided by the restrained under-47mm lug-to-lug length. Second, whereas neither the SKX nor the 6309 offered hacking or hand-winding functionality, the SRPE93 and its relatives are equipped with the modern 4R36 caliber that provides both attributes as well as a strong reputation for ruggedness.
Citizen Promaster Diver FUGU
Price: $595, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 8204, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Deriving its nickname from the Japanese word for a puffer fish — a reference to the distinctively grooved shape of the rotating divers’ bezel — the “Fugu” model from Citizen’s Promaster Diver family originally debuted in 1989 and was revived for modern audiences in 2018. The hefty steel case (44mm) features a textured screw-down at the unusual position of 8 o’clock, which prevents it from poking into the small of a diver’s wrist. The hands and hour indexes are thick and brightly lumed for underwater legibility; at 3 o’clock, the hour marker gives way to a day-date window with an eye-catching bicolor design (red print for the day, black for the date). Behind a caseback engraved with a puffer fish is the automatic movement, the Japanese Miyota 8204.
Price: $1,700, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Longines Caliber L888
The HydroConquest builds upon Longines’ sport-luxury Conquest design for a more sport-oriented aesthetic, one aimed squarely at divers and those looking to emulate their look. The watch’s unidirectional ratcheting bezel has a 60-minute dive-scale insert, with the first 15-minute sector delineated by minute markers and Arabic numerals at each subsequent 10-minute interval. The sword handset of the Conquest is here replaced by a short, faceted hour hand with a luminous diamond-shaped bulge, a baton minute hand, and a lollipop-style sweep seconds hand. On this model, a military green dial and bezel harmonizes with a rubber strap in the same color. The 300-meter water resistant case contains the Longines-exclusive Caliber L888, built upon the ETA L31.L11 base movement and souped up with a 72-hour power reserve.
Doxa Sub 300
Price: $2,490, Case Size: 42.5mm x 45mm, Case Height: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic ETA 2824-2
The Doxa SUB 300 first hit the shelves, and the waves, in 1967, establishing itself as an “everyman” alternative to luxury dive-watch icons like the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. It was the first commercial dive watch with two functional scales on its unidirectional rotating bezel, for dive time and depth decompression time, and the first to use orange (the most visible color undewater) for its dial. That classical, trend-setting design lives on in the modern version of the SUB 300, whose barrel-shaped “turtle” case resists water pressures down to 300 meters. Like its ancestor, the bezel is inscribed with both an inner 60-minute scale and an outer “air dive table” to assist in timing no-decompression dives. Behind the solid caseback ticks the chronometer-certified ETA 2824-2, with a 42-hour power reserve.
For the amateur pilot:
Laco Pilot Watch Basic Augsburg
Price: $410, Case Size: 39-42mm, Thickness: 11.55-11.75mm, Lug Width: 18-20mm, Lug to Lug: 46-50mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Laco 21 (Miyota 821 base)
Founded in Pforzheim, Germany, in 1920, Laco (originally named “Lacher & Co.” after co-founder Frieda Lacher) was one of five watch manufacturers that made watches for the German air force during World War II. Today’s Laco collection pays tribute to those minimalist vintage aviation watches (aka “fliegers”) in their design, dimensions, and period-appropriate details. The Augsburg model featured here is a quintessential 1940s pilot’s watch, with big Arabic numerals, sword-shaped hour and minute hands and a long, thin, central seconds hand, all doused with C3 SuperLumiNova; a classical inverted orientation triangle with two dots at the top of the dial; a matte steel case with a large fluted onion crown; and a sturdy brown calf-leather strap with contrast stitching and old-school rivets. The self-winding movement inside the case comes from Japan.
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pioneer Mechanical Chrono
Price: $2,045, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Manually wound H-51-Si
While Hamilton is known best in military circles for providing field watches for American troops during the World Wars, the brand also manufactured timepieces for British Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots in the 1970s. Those watches serve as the template for the recently launched Khaki Aviation Pioneer Mechanical Chrono, which sports a black dial with two parallel subdial counters for elapsed minutes and running seconds as well as period-accurate central hands with a white lacquer finish reminiscent of that on the original RAF models. The beige tone of the hour numerals and other markings echoes the look of aged radium luminous substance that would have been used on the watch’s vintage predecessors. Hamilton has equipped the watch with a manually winding movement, the H-51-Si, which is noteworthy for its antimagnetic silicon balance spring.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Nightlum
Price: $3,990, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 9.8mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic BR-CAL.302 (Sellita SW300-1 base)
Bell & Ross added to its fleet of BR03-92 “professional aviation” watches in 2018 with the Nightlum edition, a watch designed for nighttime navigation in a dark cockpit. The matte black ceramic case features the airplane cockpit-clock “circle in a square” styling of the Bell & Ross Instrument collection. The name “Nightlum” evokes the watch’s extreme luminosity in the dark of night, thanks to the application of green-tinted SuperLumiNova C3 to the Arabic numerals, indexes, and hour and minute hands (along with the tip of the sweeping seconds hand). The brand describes the Super-LumiNova C3 on the dial as “ultra-phosphorescent,” meaning the green glow it emits is not only brighter than usual, but also longer-lasting. The reliable, Sellita-based automatic BR-CAL.302 ticks inside.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX
Price: $6,150, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 10.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic IWC 32111
IWC has been making its Mark (pun intended) in pilots’ watches for decades, starting with the trend-setting Big Pilot’s Watch in 1940 and continuing after the war with 1948’s Mark 11, which was worn by RAF pilots and spawned several generations of successors, each designated by a higher Roman numeral. The latest, released in 2022, is the Mark XX, which evokes the mid-20th-century models that preceded it but features a thinner case thanks to its updated, modern movement, IWC’s in-house Caliber 32111. The automatic caliber is not only slimmer than previous ones in the series; it also boasts a lengthy 120-hour power reserve. The matte-finished steel 40mm case, mounted on a stitched leather strap, is also more water-resistant than its immediate predecessor, to 100 meters rather than 60 meters.
For the frequent traveler:
Seiko 5 GMT
Price: $475, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R34
Seiko introduced the first GMT complication to its Seiko 5 sports line of entry-level automatics in 2022, equipping the watches with the automatic Caliber 4R34. Available in three colorways for the dial and bezel — black, blue, and the orange version pictured here — the watches have a central GMT hand in a contrasting color, used in coordination with the bicolor day/night bezels, with rings made of the Japanese brand’s proprietary Hardlex glass like the crystal, to indicate a second time zone. The GMT hand is coated in LumiBrite (another Seiko-exclusive material) for nighttime legibility. Based on the design of the much-beloved SKX series of Seiko sports watches, the model has a five-link bracelet with polished middle rows.
Bulova Wilton GMT
Price: $595, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug to Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075
Bulova has become well-known for offering mechanical complications at very accessible prices, and the latest timepiece in its Classic collection is no exception. At just under $600 in our shop, the Wilton GMT is the rare example of a “true” GMT — i.e., one with an independently adjustable local hour hand — that just about any enthusiast can afford. The watch has a brushed steel case at 43mm; a dial in either white or blue, with applied Roman numerals matching the case tone, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a world-map textured pattern on its surface that adds to its value proposition. The central arrow-pointed GMT hand indicates a second time zone on the bicolor 24-hour scale on the dial’s flange. The Japanese Miyota movement inside is self-winding and stores a 42-hour power reserve.
Mido Ocean Star GMT
Price: $1,250, Reference: M0266291105101, Case Size: 44mm Case Height: 13.28mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Mido 80 (ETA C07.661 base)
Wildly popular in Latin America but only vaguely familiar to many watch aficionados in the U.S., Mido has been making watches since 1918 and its nautically inspired Ocean Star line has been around since the 1940s, even before the era of the modern diver’s watch. The Ocean Star GMT, launched in 2020, is the collection’s first dual-time-zone watch, with a sturdy steel case and ceramic divers’ bezel. The 24-hour scale that you might expect to find on the bezel is instead printed on the dial’s flange. A long, arrow-tipped hand points to the scale, enabling the wearer to read the time in additional time zones while the two main hands display the local time. The Powermatic 80 caliber inside the 44mm steel case (the “80” denotes how many hours of power reserve it stores) has been equipped with a specially made module for the GMT functionality.
Longines Spirit Zulu Time
Price: $2,950, Reference: L3.818.104.22.168, Case Size: 42mm, Case Height: 13.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber L844
Longines, a watch brand that throughout its long history has supplied aviation pioneers like Hugh Herndon, Clyde Pangborn, and Amy Johnson with watches and onboard clocks, stylishly revisited its history of developing dual-time instruments with the 2022 addition of the Zulu Time model to its aviation-inspired Spirit series. (“Zulu Time” is the military radio jargon for the “zero” time at the Greenwich Meridian, aka GMT.) The watch’s 42-mm steel case houses a proprietary movement that allows independent adjustment of both the traditional hour hand and the GMT hand that indicates an additional time zone on the 24-hour bezel, with lacquered engraved numerals on its colorful ceramic bezel insert. For lots more on the history of the Longines Zulu Time and details on the modern watch, read our review here.
Tudor Black Bay Pro
Price: $3,675 - $4,000, Case Size: 39mm, Case Thickness: 14.6mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Tudor Caliber MT5652
Launched at Watches & Wonders 2022, alongside new bimetal versions of the megapopular Black Bay GMT, was the Black Bay Pro, another sporty take on a travel watch within the Black Bay family. The model differs from the more colorful GMT models in its use of a stationary, satin-finished steel bezel with engraved numerals for its 24-hour GMT scale. The movement is the same automatic MT5662 that beats inside the Black Bay GMT, but the case is a more understated 39mm and the central hand that points to a second time zone is in yellow rather than red, offering an even greater contrast with the matte black dial. Teddy reviews the Black Bay Pro here.
Nomos Zurich World Time
Price: $6,100, Reference: T0786411603700, Case Size: 39.9mm, Case Height: 10.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic DUW 5201
Germany’s Nomos has attracted an avid following for its minimalist, Bauhaus-styled watches, most of which are fairly understated in their level of complication. The Zurich Weltzeit “(German for “world time”), however, shoots for a higher level of horological complexity without sacrificing the streamlined aesthetic. The case is in stainless steel and measures 39.9mm in diameter (large for Nomos but relatively modest for a world-timer), with a galvanized white dial. On that dial, two faceted hands indicate the local time while a disk at 3 o’clock shows the time in 24-hour format with a red pointer. A pusher above the crown advances the city ring between the outer track and the dial’s center to reveal the times in the 23 other time zones outside the wearer’s home time. Nomos’ in-house DUW 5201, with its proprietary “swing system” escapement, does its duty inside.
For the understated artiste:
Price: $489, Case Size: 40mm, Case Height: 8.5mm, Lug to Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9015
Like its older contemporaries, German microbrand Sternglas, founded by web designer Dustin Fontaine in 2016, adheres to a Bauhaus aesthetic and prices its timepieces at an even more accessible level, aimed at new and even first-time buyers. The Asthet slides in under $500 even though it contains a mechanical movement, namely the manual-winding Miyota 9015 from Japan. At 40mm in diameter and 8.5mm thick, ts stainless steel case is what most would consider mid-sized in wrist presence yet understated in profile. The curved white opaline dial is simplicity itself, with thin baton hands and hour markers and a very subtle but useful date window at 6 o’clock, creating elegant symmetry with the brand logo at 12 o’clock.
Junghans Max Bill Bauhaus Edition
Price: $1,400, Case Size: 38mm, Case Thickness: 9.7mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber J800-1 (ETA 2824-2 base)
The Max Bill collection from Germany’s Junghans, named for the Swiss artist that designed it, offers an elegantly minimalist aesthetic (we explore the collection in depth here). The Max Bill Automatic Bauhaus Edition was released in 2019 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, the famed German school that had such a profound impact on Max Bill and other pioneers of 20th century design. The anthracite PVD coating of the 1,000-piece limited edition evokes the facade of the school building in Dessau while the red hands and red date window pay tribute to its famed red doors. The gray strap, Junghans says, is inspired by the concrete used in the construction of the building, which is also represented in an illustration on the sapphire caseback.
Nomos Orion 35
Price: $2,360, Case Size: 35mm, Case Thickness: 8.7mm, Lug to Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Manual Caliber Alpha
Founded in 1990, just two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nomos has, in the short span of thirty years, risen to become one of the most popular makers of German luxury watches that combine sensible pricing, classic Bauhaus design, and recently, a side helping of technical innovation. The Orion 35 (the number refers to its case diameter) is a throwback to the days when gents and ladies both wore smaller, more understated timepieces. The dial is accordingly clean and sedate, with simple bar indices and tempered blue baton hands on a stark white background, the only additional element being a small seconds sundial with its own blued hand at 6 o’clock. The watch fastens to a Horween leather strap and contains Nomos’s proprietary manual-winding Alpha caliber, whose high-end decorations are visible behind a sapphire caseback.
MeisterSinger Bell Hora
Price: $4,249, Case Size: 43mm, Case Thickness: 13mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber MS Bell (Sellita SW200 base)
MeisterSinger, based in Germany’s northern Westphalia region near the border of Denmark, has carved out a successful niche for itself with its embrace of ultra-minimalist one-handed timekeeping. The dials’ single gauge-like hand, which traverses a subdivided 12-hour dial, hearkens back to early clocks in towers. The Bell Hora (“hour bell”) adds another dimension with its dual 12- and 24-hour scales and its integrated chiming function, based on the principle of a retrograde hour hand, which rings once every hour to alert the wearer of the passing time. The movement inside the polished 43mm case is a Sellita-based automatic caliber that MeisterSinger has adapted to its distinctive timekeeping style and renamed “MS Bell.” At under $5K, this is almost assuredly the least expensive chiming watch you can get.
Louis Erard Excellence Émail Grand Feu II
Price: $4,290, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.25mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita Caliber SW261-1
Independent watchmaker Louis Erard plunges into the realm of artistic metiers d’art with its Excellence Émail Grand Feu II. Émail, for the non French-speakers out there, refers to enamel, not electronic communications, while grand feu (literally “big fire”) refers to the specific type of enamel used for the elegant dial, in which fine powders, one for each of the colors used in the dial’s ensemble, are fired in a kiln at 800 degrees Celsius to achieve a long-lasting brilliance. Also distinguishing the dial of this 99-piece limited edition are Louis Erard’s signature “tree” hands and the delicate Roman hour numerals. The steel case measures 39mm and houses an automatic Caliber from Sellita.
For the retro iconoclast:
Timex Q Diver
Price: $179, Case Size: 38 mm, Case Height: 11.5 mm, Lug Width: 18 mm, Crystal: Acrylic, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Quartz Analog
Timex has upped its game in recent years in making a slew of attractive, vintage-inspired watches that entice serious enthusiasts while still maintaining the American watchmaker’s legendary mass-market price points. A standout of the current collection is the very colorful and sporty Q Diver, which faithfully reproduces one of Timex’s most popular models from the 1970s, which also happens to be one of its first models with a quartz caliber. Among the elements that echo the original ‘70s models are the bicolor GMT bezel, diver-style geometrical indexes on the dial, the integrated SST bracelet and even the battery case cover in the back, which enables the wearer to change his own battery with the simple turn of a coin edge.
Rado Captain Cook
Price: $2,000, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug to Lug: 48.2mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.611
Rado’s Captain Cook is based on a heretofore obscure 1960s diving watch and eschews the modernist aesthetic that chiefly defines Rado’s collection in favor of a sporty, vintage look. The 42mm case diameter of the watch featured here elegantly splits the difference between the more modest, historically accurate 37mm and the stately 44mm models that preceded it. The unidirectional bezel has a dive-scale insert made of high-tech ceramic, an emblematic material for the Swiss brand. The case has a solid caseback stamped with three seahorses, an aquatic motif that references historical Rado dive watches. The green dial, in contrast, is defiantly modern, albeit still with a vintage touch, namely the Rado rotating anchor symbol at 12 o’clock with its ’60s-inspired ruby-colored background (which echoes the eye-catching ruby-red date numeral in the 3 o’clock date window.)
Accutron Spaceview 2020
Price: $3,450, Case Size: 43.5mm, Thickness: 15.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 50m, Movement: Electrostatic
Introduced in 2020 as the next generation of a groundbreaking electronic model introduced in the 1960s, the Accutron Spaceview debuted with an ultra-modern, electrostatic movement technology paired with high-tech design language and top-notch finishing. The watch features an innovative, proprietary movement powered by electrostatic energy generated from the motion of the wearer’s wrist. The movement’s fast-rotating twin turbines are affixed to two electrodes that power two tiny motors — one an electrostatic motor driving the smooth motion of the seconds hand, the other a step motor for the hour and minute hands — both synchronized through integrated circuits for an accuracy of +/- 5 seconds per month. The circuit-board green elements of the movement are on display in the front of the watch, framed by the 43.5mm yellow gold case that attaches to a black grained leather strap.
Vintage Rolex Datejust
Price: $15,830, Case Size: 41mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic
A classic timepiece that speaks to both men and women, the Datejust debuted in 1945 as the first wristwatch with the now-ubiquitous 3 o’clock date window under a magnifying “Cyclops” lens. Just as suitable for a dressy ensemble as for a more casual look, the Datejust’s versatility remains a key factor in its enduring popularity — and hence, as with many modern Rolex models, the scarcity of its newest models. You can find pre-owned Datejusts at several online sources, however, including this two-tone model on Watchfinder, with a 41mm Oyster case in steel with the crown and hallmark fluted bezel made of rose-gold. Mounted on a steel-and-rose-gold Jubilee bracelet, the model contains a self-winding mechanical movement inside its 100-meter water resistant case.
For the environmentalist:
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Tide
Price: $750, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Quartz
Introduced in 2022, Maurice Lacroix’s beach-ready Aikon Tide has a case constructed from a revolutionary composite material that combines ocean-recovered plastic with glass fiber. The resulting substance is twice as hard as standard plastic and five times more resistant, with the added bonus of also having a smaller carbon footprint than regular PET. The Green edition’s dial bears the familiar aesthetic hallmarks of the Aikon collection, including the distinctive “clawed” case, somewhat Royal-Oak-evocative dial, and the smooth integration between the case and the Easy-Change rubber strap. Replacing the Clous de Paris pattern on the dials of the Aikon Automatic models, an ocean-inspired motif called “Vague du Jura” decorates the dials of the Tide models.
Oris Aquis Date Upcycle
Price: $2,300, Case Size: 41.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Oris 733 (Sellita base)
In 2021, Oris wowed the growing community of green-leaning watch aficionados with the Aquis Upcycle, whose colorful dials are made of PET plastic waste recovered from oceans, in a process that produces random patterns of color that make each dial unique. While most Aquis models are fairly masculine in their case dimensions, the Upcycle models speak to both men and women, offered in either a 41.5mm or 36.5mm size. Like the standard Aquis Date models, the Upcycle versions feature a unidirectional dive-scale bezel, here with a gray ceramic insert, luminous-coated hands, and a 3 o’clock date window. The automatic Sellita-based Oris 733 Caliber powers the watch and gathers a 38-hour power reserve.
Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre
Price: $1,377, Case Size: 44mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Alpina AL-525
Alpina’s Seastrong collection of stylish, sporty dive watches welcomed its most sustainable member in 2022. The Seastrong Diver Gyre, which takes its name from circular ocean currents, is the first watch with a case made entirely from recycled materials. The cushion-shaped, black, 44mm case is composed of 70 percent plastic (mostly from discarded fishing nets) and 30 percent glass fibers, while the unidirectional divers’ bezel is made from black PVD-coated steel to match the case’s color scheme. The dial is in either blue or turquoise, both referencing the oceans where the watch will be most at home, with its professional-grade 300 meters (1,000 feet) of water resistance. The Seastrong Diver Gyre is mounted on a color-coordinated NATO strap and contains the Sellita-based Alpina Al-525 automatic caliber.
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands”
Price: $11,100, Case Size: 45mm, Case Thickness: 16.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic IWC Caliber 89365
IWC regularly partners with ocean-focused charitable organizations for special editions of its Aquatimer luxury dive watch. The “Galapagos Islands” chronograph model is inspired by the work of Charles Darwin and the Cousteau Society and features a black vulcanized rubber-coated case measuring a stately 45mm in diameter. The dial continues the black-on-black look, with subdials at 12 and 6 o’clock for elapsed minutes and running seconds. Inside the 300-meter water-resistant case is an IWC manufacture movement, Caliber 89365, which is equipped with a flyback function for the built-in stopwatch. Named after the archipelago in which Darwin collected the evidence that formed the basis of his theories on evolution and the origin of the species, the watch features a solid caseback with an engraving representing the exotic wildlife of the Galapagos. The matching black rubber strap includes IWC’s quick-change system.
Orient Bambino 38mm
Price: $249, Case Size: 42 mm, Case Height: 11.8 mm, Lug To Lug: 48.2 mm, Lug Width: 22 mm, Crystal: Domed Mineral, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Orient F6724
Often under the radar of American watch consumers and overshadowed by its much larger Japanese brethren, Citizen and Seiko (which with it shares a corporate connection through Epson), Orient has been making value-oriented watches in Japan since 1950. The Bambino is Orient’s dressy gents’ model, fairly large in diameter at 42 mm with a domed crystal. The dial’s gradation sweeps from a bright blue center to black at the edges. Inside is an in-house movement, the automatic Orient F6724, with a hacking seconds function and a 40-hour power reserve. All together, it spells quite a bargain for the sticker price.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Price: $650, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug to Lug: 44.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111
Tissot added to the growing roster of sport-luxury watches on integrated steel bracelets in 2021 with the re-release of the PRX, a watch that first hit the market in 1978. The “P” and “R” in the name stand for “precise” and “robust,” and the “X” is actually a Roman numeral “10” depicting the model’s 10 atmospheres (aka 100 meters) of water resistance. Like its predecessor from the disco era, the first modern PRX model had a quartz movement, but that one was swiftly followed by an automatic version containing the brand’s Powermatic 80 caliber. The stainless steel, barrel-shaped case of this green-dialed model from 2022 measures 40 mm in diameter, a relatively svelte 11 mm in thickness, and integrates smoothly into a supple steel bracelet. The dial features a distinctive waffle-pattern motif and a sunray finish.
Seiko SPB121 Alpinist
The Alpinist, the first dedicated Seiko sports watch, traces its history back to 1959, with an original model that was targeted, as its name implies, to outdoorsmen such as mountain climbers. This modern version, added recently to the Japanese watchmaker’s Prospex series and taking its aesthetic cues from the now-classic SARB017 reference, reimagines that vintage piece with a contemporary spin. Faithful to the historical model are the cathedral hands, gold accents on the markers and numerals, and magnifying lens over the date window. New in this model are the dark green dial, the modern Prospex “X” logo above 6 o’clock, and the 6R35 automatic caliber. A bonus for actual mountaineers and other adventurous explorer types: the inner rotating compass bezel, operated by the additional crown at 4 o’clock.
Longines Spirit 37mm
Price: $2,400, Case Size: 37mm, Case Height: 11.7mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Longines L888.4
Longines references its heritage as a provider of watches to adventurers and aviators of the early 20th century with the Spirit collection, which launched in 2020 with a design DNA derived from historical pilots’ watches. Originally issued in 40mm and 42mm sizes, the three-handed Spirit model is now available in a more understated 37mm size, with an elegant Champagne dial. Like its big brothers, it has an oversized fluted crown, a stepped bezel and minute-scale flange, large Arabic hour numerals and diamond-shaped indexes, and large, luminous baton hands — all elements drawn from early 20th-century Longines pilots watches. A date window occupies the 6 o’clock position; above it is the row of five stars that the brand has historically used to denote its highest-quality movements, along with the “Chronometer” text that speaks to its COSC-certified accuracy.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Price: $3,475 - $4,400 - $16,825, Case Size: 39mm, Case Thickness: 11.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Tudor Caliber MT5402/MT5400
Offering the crowd-pleasing design of Tudor’s 41mm original but at a more modest case diameter of 39mm, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight hits the sweet spot for many contemporary connoisseurs. Named for the year 1958, in which Tudor released the Oyster Prince Submariner Ref. 7924, the most clear forerunner to the Black Bay, the Fifty-Eight sub-family contains the automatic, COSC-certified Caliber MT5402 and has played host to a number of bold experiments in the areas of color and case materials. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925, released in 2021 as one of the first all-precious-metal iterations of the Black Bay, has a case made of 925 silver, a rarity in the watch world, pairing it with a matte, taupe-colored dial and matching dive-scale bezel insert.
Omega Seamaster 300M
Price: $5,100 - $26,000, Case Size: 42mm/43.5mm, Lug width: 20mm/21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega Caliber 8800
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M made its debut in 1993 and shortly thereafter achieved cinematic glory as the go-to watch of superspy James Bond. Now available in dozens of colorways and executions, this stylish tool watch can be had for just over $5,000 in a stainless steel case on a sporty rubber strap. The case’s unidirectional bezel has a scalloped edge for easy gripping and a ceramic insert with a white enamel scale to set dive times; its 300-meter water resistance is ensured by a screw-down crown and enhanced with a helium release valve. The dial, also made of ceramic and boasting an array of colorways, hosts a laser-engraved wave pattern and skeletonized hands. Despite the model’s extreme water resistance, Omega has installed a sapphire crystal caseback, offering a view of the automatic, co-axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8800.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer
Price: $7,200, Reference: 124270, Case Size: 36mm, Case Height: 11.5 mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Rolex 3230
Launched in 1953 and targeted at mountaineers, the Rolex Explorer has changed little from its original incarnation: as of the most recent version in 2021, the Explorer is even available once again in its original 36mm case size. Inside the case, Behind the three-handed dial with hallmark “Mercedes” hour hand, inside the corrosion-resistant “Oystersteel,” case, is a recently upgraded automatic movement, Rolex’s in-house Caliber 3230, packed with the expected array of up-to-the-minute Rolex-patented technologies. These include the Chronergy escapement with its blue Parachrom hairspring, and a “Superlative Chronometer” certification for accuracy. The dial’s hands and hour markers glow a bright blue in the dark thanks to generous coatings of Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight lume.
For the guy with two many watches:
Rapport Heritage Five-Watch Box ($725)
Family-owned Rapport of London began operations In 1898, when 20-year-old Maurice A. Rapport built his first timepiece, establishing the company as a world-renowned leader in clockmaking. Today, four generations later, its accumulated knowledge and expertise in the fields of cabinetmaking, horology, and electrical engineering continues to produce quality watch winders as well as collector boxes and carrying cases for watches and jewelry. The Heritage model comes with a lustrous Burr Walnut or Macassar veneer finish, achieved with five layers of lacquer. The box closes with a gold-plated lock and key and features a sumptuous suede inner lining with adjustable cushions to fit any size of watch. (https://www.rapportlondon.com/)
Wolf Roadster 4PC Watch Winder ($2,095)
Wolf watch winders, known for their fusion of leather, wood, glass, and steel, work on a 24-hour cycle, with six-hour periods of intermittent activity followed by “sleep” periods that allow the tension in the watches’ mainsprings to ease, avoiding over-winding. Fifty different cycles are possible, allowing the owner to specify factors such as direction of rotation and number of turns per day (from 300 to 1,200). The large drums, with secure lock-in cuffs, can accommodate just about any watch size, and the winding is controlled by a Japanese Mabuchi motor. The Roadster model shown here takes its inspiration from classic British motorcars from the likes of Jaguar and Aston Martin, with ebony macassar polished wood details that evoke aged wood dashboards. (www.wolf1834.com)