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Thread: Suggestions Wanted: Gift Watch about $500

  1. #11
    Varsity Member JT10000's Avatar
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    If you're open to quartz/solar the Casio Oceanus OCW-S100-1AJF is supposed to be spectacular. Titanium, solar, not too big, super finish and bracelet, dressy/sporty. I'm hoping to get one for myself this holiday season.

    Tissot Visodate is quite pretty in a mod way and in your price range, but I think you're paying quite a bit for it being Swiss made.

    Far cheaper - actually far under your budget - is something I got a couple days ago. A Seagull Wuyi. $220 but so so beautiful. Really amazing. The strap is terrible - add a real crocodile strap or something like that for $100 and you'll have something superb. Very classic dress watch - understated, mechanical, elegant, with sapphire crystal. Not too big. Screams high-class, simple vintage dress watch. There is a similar Seagull Dongfeng. With slightly different proportions and coloring.

    Someone mentioned Orient. I also have an Orient Bambino (V1). It's nice, but the Seagull blows it away. Maybe V2 and V3 are better. I think you can get Orient Bambinos and Makos far under $200 easily.

    From what I've read, Shinolas are way overpriced. Do not buy a Fossil watch for serious money.

  2. #12
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    A related question: Do you and your MIL leave near one another? And will you see her often?

    If you do, it would be nice to get something that you would wear often. In other words, find something that can be an "every day" watch. That way, she'll see you wearing it and it will be a more meaningful gift for both of you. For me, that would be a nice dive watch or a sporty chronograph.

    If you don't live close and if you only see her a few times a year, this might be a good opportunity to buy a more formal dress watch. It wouldn't need to be something that you'd wear all of the time; you could slip it on for holidays and other occasions when the family is getting together and you're going to be dressed up a bit anyways. Perhaps a dressier watch from Hamilton, Tissot or some other lower-end Swiss brand? It could be something that you could keep for years and it would alwasy be the watch that "she bought for you."

    Thoughts from a guy that has been married for 24 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DistrictGent View Post
    This is a great and thorough response, thank you! I didn't think about the battery, but you raise a good point. I won't be wearing the watch every day, so I may be a little concerned about the "eco-drive" of Citizens that charge based on movement. Your notes about the sapphire crystal and a steel or titanium case are great.

    I'm certainly not tied to "swiss made" or a specific label- I just want something that looks nice (which I know is subjective), and will last a while. I forgot about Orient but will check them out.
    The Citizen Eco-Drives don't require movement, they require light. I've had one since 1999 and had to send it to Citizen to replace the power cell about six years ago. It still works very well. One caveat though, make sure it gets light. When fully charged it will last a very long time, but without light it will run down. I keep mine where it gets sunlight and it's always good to go. Even if it runs down, if you put it in the light for a few hours, it will start back up.

    While I love automatic watches, if you don't wear the watch daily, or put it in a winder, it's a bit of a pain to reset the watch when you want to wear it. Also, most automatics are not as accurate as quartz watches. If you're OK with automatics, I strongly suggest you check out Orient watches. They're tough to beat for the money, and they have a wide variety of styles, virtually all of which will be under $500 (most well under that price).

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    I second the Frederique Constant option. I have had one for 14 years, and has been solid.

    another option that I suggest is a little known brand, but they make fantastic watches. I have 2 of them, including the new bronze watch

    https://www.spinnaker-watches.com/

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    Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic would be pretty high on my list at that price.

    Seiko SARY057 or Casio Oceanus OCW-S100-1AJF are also cool watches. You should be able to find a Seiko SARB033 under your price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TMann View Post
    A related question: Do you and your MIL leave near one another? And will you see her often?
    We don't live close now (We're in DC and she's in NY), although we may end up moving up there one day. However, I think we are clear that it's a more formal, not everyday watch. Either way, I think I'm leaning chrono, but not one with too much on it. I think that way I can dress it up and down.

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    This is great, thank you all. Hamilton, Spinnaker, Frederique Constant are some brands that I hadn't thought about.

    The notes about the mechanics of the watch and what to look for help me understand what may be long-lasting, and what may require frequent service.

  8. #18
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    I will read this thread eventually but for $500 I would be looking at Hamilton, Tissot, Certina, Seiko, Christopher Ward and Citizen for larger volume brands. I personally like microbrands so I would also be looking at Borealis, NTH, Steinhart, Morgan Watch Works, Melbourne Watch Company, Squale, Raven, Halios, Aevig, and Farer.

  9. #19
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    $500 is a tricky price point for watches. If you want something with lasting power (i.e., durable and something you won't want throw away/be ashamed of wearing in a decade), I would avoid any microbrand here. Aesthetic appeal is subjective (frankly, there are $100 watches that might look nicer to someone than a $10,000 watch), and unfortunately, the horology is significantly weighted towards heritage and history. Pick something with a simple, timeless design and comes from a brand with a decent heritage (doesn't need to be Swiss, but also shouldn't be a company started via Kickstarter).

    To echo what others have said, Hamilton is one of my favorite watchmakers in this price bracket. If you're willing to go grey market (which I have no qualms with), you can buy nearly every watch they make in the $500 neighborhood. Others that come to mind are Oris, Tissot, Seiko (most people know their $100 watches in department stores, but watch nerds know that they make some tremendous watches across every price bracket), and maybe Ball. I would also lean towards an automatic, but I am a snob.

    Another idea, which might be completely impractical for you, but just a thought: If you do your homework, you can get your hands on some extremely impressive vintage watches from high end luxury brands (e.g., Omega) in the $500 range. It will involve dealing with individual sellers, the market is fraught with fake and franken (restored with non-original pieces) watches, and you're sometimes taking a gamble on service history. But...if find a reputable seller (which definitely exist), then you can find something that you will have NO qualms about wearing for the rest of your life.

  10. #20
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    Some interesting stuff here. I am not a “watch guy” in the sense of being a watch snob—I like finding old, mass market Swiss handwinds for cheap on eBay because the designs interest me, and I like modern watches that catch my eye in a design sense. That said, I do gravitate towards autos over quartz, for two reasons: they are amazingly cool tiny machines and I love watching a sweep secondhand over a ticking hand. And I don’t mind setting them if they’ve been idle of a while. I also don’t have the budget to play in the Tudor/Omega/Rolex/Etc sandbox.

    I do have two quartz watches in my box—a Timex Weekender (timeless design) and a fashion dress watch my wife gave me for our wedding (sentimental, and no second hand).

    All that said, a Hamilton Khaki Field or a Seiko Sarb (or the current SRPB series) would be my suggestion in the ~$500 price point. More versatile than a dive watch or (maybe) a Chrono, and you can use strap changes to dress either series up or down.
    Last edited by BillN; November 15th, 2018 at 03:04 AM.
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