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The Unofficial Watch Buying Reference Thread

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    @guilty: You are obviously a watchaholic. What would be your top choices for a simple elegant classic piece under 100 dollars?



      Hi Acousticfoodie, the first step was admitting it! In all seriousness, however, I've actually not bought a new watch in about two years. My wallet has instead been hit by apparel purchases and it's all Dappered's fault!

      For the sub-$100 price range, you have to define what you want. While I generally prefer automatics or handwound mechanicals, I would push for a quartz since there are more abundant designs at that price range and you won't have to worry about maintenance (except changing the battery when it dies). I would take a look on to see what is out there then scour the forums (see "Where to Buy") in this thread above.

      Brands to Check Out:
      <ul>Seiko - always reliable, many designs.

      Parnis - more refined looking designs. Example of an IWC Portuguese that sold for $70: Looks amazing. Oh, current ebay auction here:



      If you can swing $200, you open up a lot more options:
      Orient - refined and affordable - closer to $200 range MSRP and $150 pre-owned

      Alpha - affordable, - closer to $200 range MSRP and $150 pre-owned

      Seagull - refined designs, inching up to $200 territory[/list]

      Note: Besides Seiko, many of these brands use copies of Swiss movements, often made in China. There is definitely a spectrum on value and quality of these movements, but I have friends who have owned all of these brands and have found that it varies. I will say that quality is steadily getting better, and you're of course still better off most of the time with these official watches than out-and-out fakes.

      After a quick search, I found the following Seikos:
      1. $88 - Quartz gold/stainless dual tone with leather strap, day and date -

        $95.88. The dressiest of the bunch- date, brown leather strap (SKP332) -

        $105 - Solar powered, stainless steel bracelet, day and date-

        $139.50 (yes, above $100) Quartz chronograph with date, Brown leather strap, beige dial:

        There's also a thread directed at affordable watch options here:

      Don't forget eBay either! For this price range, it's not a lot to lose (in the scheme of things) for your first watch.



        Guilty bystander, those are some great recommendations. The Parnis looks extremely beautiful. Would the Parnis 43mm look too big on my wrist in your opinion tho? Here's a picture for reference:



          How wide across is the Seiko in your picture (in mm)? If it's like other Seikos I've seen, it's probably a 38mm. As long as the lugs don't fall off your wrist, I think you'd be ok. I wear the automatic Maratac Pilot and it's 46mm - 46mm makes it slightly large for my wrist (it's pretty apparent but not ridiculously so) and my Seikos fit about where yours does. So in my unscientific opinion, I think it might hang off a bit, but there's only one way to find out.

          Technically, 43 mm is pretty big for a dress watch. Most dress watches back in the day were closer to 38mm. In addition, you may find you have trouble wearing a 43mm watch under your dress shirts, especially under a blazer or suit jacket. I know some of my shirts can't even handle a 40mm watch, so you may want to take this into account.



            Wow...yea you're right 38mm across. sounds like the classic 38-40 would be best for me then. Thanks!



              If you're curious, I'd go to your local watch store (e.g. Torneau etc.) and ask to try on a larger size watch to see how it feels. If it doesn't look absolutely ridiculous or present any sartorial challenges (fitting under your shirt sleeves) then you might want to look at larger watches. Otherwise, I think you'd best be served with going with a smaller sized watch.

              If you want to think more long term (since you appear to have the Seiko sport/business casual watch angle covered), consider saving up for a nice $200 or $300 automatic. In my experience, options really start to open up at the $300 mark. I picked up my Tissot PRC200 Quartz with white dial for that price and got a steal on a mint Hamilton Jazzmaster for the same price off the forums (MSRP was $450). It takes patience, but when you have saved and done your research, it makes the hunt and challenge of landing your prey that much more satisfying!



                I recently ordered that very Parnis. It's more like 42mm.

                Also, look for Orients on Ebay or Amazon. I bought my Mako off Amazon for 110$, new with tags and warranty, etc.



                  @guilty Thanks for a very informative and thoughtful post. It's a nice consolidation of all the info to be found and I appreciate the helpful tone for newbies.



                    @Auronblue - My pleasure!



                      I've never seen Parnis before...but I just looked at the various options on ebay, and they look slick. I just wish that they all didn't have 42mm+ faces. That seems a bit large for me.

                      Thanks for all of the info. Good write-up.



                        Thanks J.B.! Glad to help.

                        @Acousticfoodie, check this Tissot out for $177.92 (so a little above your price range) but maybe you can swing it. Date complication. It's got a very classic styling and looks great:



                          What are your thoughts on eco-drive citizen watches?

                          how accurate and important are the rating for water resistance ratings? Is there much difference bettwen 50 feet and 70 feet?

                          and finally- what watches are you wearing these days?



                            Hi Jake89, Citizen's Eco-Drive watches have a solid reputation. A buddy of mine who just started working got one and he loves it. Think of them as extended life battery operated watches.

                            If a watch says "Water resistant" then it will probably be ok if it gets rained on. However, I wouldn't swim with a water resistant watch on. "Waterproof" usually indicates that you should be able to use the pushers underwater with no ill effect (an idea that still gives me the willies). I own a Marathon dive watch with a screw down crown that is rated at 30 atmospheres (ATM) (~958 ft). The difference in water resistance between 50 and 70 feet is between 1 and 2 ATM, so there is a significant difference. Again, when in doubt, don't wear your watch in the water. Besides, you should be having fun, not counting down the minutes to when you have to get OUT of the water!

                            Since it's summer, I usually wear my casual Maratac pilot watch on a Bond (colors: grey and navy) Zulu strap. For business casual events, I wear my Tissot PRC200 quartz on a Christopher Ward honey and gold leather strap. For evening events, I alternate between my Omega Speedmaster on bracelet and my Hamilton Jazzmaster on OEM black leather strap (for dressier occasions).



                              @guiltybystander - So I've been looking into Parnis, since you brought them to our attention. They make some sharp looking watches. From what I've read, they are known for making pretty good quality "Homages" or ripoffs of other, more expensive, brands.

                              I personally don't see a problem with this, as I'll never plop down the money for a real rolex, so why not get a "quality" replica.

                              My question to you is, are all of their watches replicas? they seem to have tons of designs, and I don't know enough about watches to know if it's an original or a "homage".

                              Here's 2 that I think looks pretty you know the original manufacturers that they are replicating?





                                Hi J.B. - you're hit on a big issue. There is a difference beyond semantics between replicas and homages. Replicas and fakes are usually straight copies of famous designs in which very low quality parts are used. Homages are derivative designs (such as Rolex Submariners or Omega Speedmasters) which capitalize on some iconic design details but that utilize real, economical movements.

                                Most serious watch enthusiasts shun (and rightly so) replicas, not only due to their low quality, but because a watch sends a message about a message about its owner. There is a difference between those who want to evoke the image of a watch they admire (homages) and replica manufacturers, who rip off designs wholesale, utilize inferior components, and sell them for a very low price. Granted, sometimes it is a fine line. However, I never counsel people to purchase a replica, given the low quality components (not good as a long term purchase) not to mention that it counterfeits are illegal. In addition, many replica sites gather your information and can compromise your personal security.

                                The first one looks like an Omega Speedmaster with an eggshell dial.

                                The second one is like a Panerai Luminor.