Finding The Perfect Gift

 

Christmas is coming and with this special day comes the gifts, and as it always is, there is no gift more meaningful and everlasting than a watch. So now you’ve got the type of gift narrowed down, great, but here comes the tricky part, just what watch d’you get for the watch enthusiast in your life? You don’t need me to tell you that watches are an incredibly personal accessory and you’ll certainly need a good understanding of his tastes and preferences you’re gifting a watch to (which you probably should, if you’re already spending this much on a gift for him after all) as well as a basic understanding of watches too. Well, if you have neither (bless your soul) you’ve come to the right place, choosing a watch for the watch enthusiast in your life is never easy and today, we’ve consolidated 10 diverse options at all price points that we’re certain will fit the bill.

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar REF. 4148420 Men's Watch

 

 

When I mention Jaeger-LeCoultre, I’m sure the Reverso is the first thing that comes to mind for most readers. While that strong identification is well justified, it’s quite unfair for the rest of the brand’s line up if we only mentioned the Reverso; particularly the Master Control collection. The one we’ve narrowed down today as the perfect gift for the enthusiast in your life is this one: The Master Control Calendar.

As the name implies, the watch features a complete calendar on the dial side, with a pointer date indicator, digital day and month display and a moonphase indicator tucked away at 6 O’clock behind the subsidiary second’s hand. All these might sound like a lot, and there is indeed a lot going on behind this watch. But the brilliant over-engineers at Jaeger-LeCoultre have made displaying all this information tidy, and symmetrical with no compromise to legibility either.

 

 

That’s exactly what I love about the Master Control Calendar (and pretty much the entire Master Control series), it’s a canvas for the engineers at Jaeger to showcase their skills and talent. Take the pointer date indicator for example, they could’ve just made a date ring with indicators that went around the full periphery of the dial. But they didn’t, instead between 15 and 16, the transitional mid-point of the month, you will find a deliberate gap, filled with the words: Quantieme a Date Sautante. Which roughly translates to Jumping calendar & date, where the pointer hand ‘jumps’ over from 15th to 16th.  Now, the gap is there for a reason too, and that is to keep the pointer hand away from the moonphase at any point in time. Allowing you to have a clear and uncluttered view of the stunning moonphase indicator. The watch is powered by an updated in-house caliber 866, with a now upgraded 70 hours of power-reserve (over the previous 43) and silicon escape wheel and pallets as well. The movement, and the entirety of the watch is beautifully finished (as you would expect from the brand). I shall not waste words to describe the finishing that has been painstakingly applied to the watch, and will just let the pictures to the talking for me.

This is the sort of over-engineering and respect for the craft that gives Jaeger LeCoultre the cred and recognition that it has deservedly held over the years. The Master Control Calendar is a stunning timepiece that has all the engineering and artistic values a Jaeger should have, paired with a novel and coveted complication as well. If you need any more convincing, let’s not forget that back then, the 3 greats of watchmaking: Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin all had 1 great thing in common. They all sourced their movements from Jaeger-LeCoultre.  

 

Omega Seamaster 300 233.30.41.21.01.001 Men's Watch

 

 

The Omega Seamaster 300 is in my opinion, the finest dive watch in the market today. It’s a pseudo-throwback diver that oozes 50s style with its sharp case, faux patinated markers and domed sapphire crystal. While all these may make the watch sound like a bit of a brute, the reality is much more elegant.

When I first saw the Omega Seamaster 300 with a grey and black striped Nato-strap on the wrist of Craig’s Bond in Spectre, it was love at first sight for me. While Bond may have had many different Omegas over the years, the Seamaster 300, in my opinion is the perfect Bond Omega. Understated yet distinctive, rugged yet perfectly poised with a suit, much like the man himself. This isn’t the exact watch that Bond had in Spectre, that one had a 12-hour bezel countdown bezel and a lollipop seconds hand. Aside from those little details, it is pretty much identical to the watch featured in the film (apart from the built-in explosive device too).

 

 

The watch is powered by Omega’s very own Caliber 8400 Co-axial, that is chronometer certified with 60 hours of power-reserve. The movement is as befittingly pretty as the watch is too, with a radial brushing with generous scalloping along the bridges and plates. It is a distinctive pattern that Omega is so well known for now.

I shan’t waste too much time going about the specs of the watch as the figures speak for themselves; 300m water resistance, screw-down crown, uni-directional bezel filled with liquid metal markers and a chronometer certification as well. The reason why I (and many others) love this watch is really down to the way it looks. It doesn’t look outlandish or even incredibly distinctive, and to the untrained eye may even look like a generic diver too. But somehow, its an incredibly evocative and understated design that was and always will be, timeless.

 

IWC Pilot's Mark XVIII IW327009 Men's Watch

 

If you were to have ONLY one IWC, it’ll have to be their pilot’s watch, and if you were to have one pilot’s watch, it would have to be the IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII. Pilot’s watches have long been a part of IWC’s line-up, the Mark XVIII is the most modern of the bunch, while still retaining the vintage design we know and love.

The Mark XVIII uses bold sword shaped hands, and adds a useful date complication for the modern user. Whether you’re actually a pilot or not, there’s no better serious no frills tool watch than the Pilot’s Mark XVIII. With a soft-iron inner anti magnetic cage surrounding the movement, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, clear dial with bold indexes and hands for easy time telling. The Mark XVIII is the real deal.

 

 

The dial is as spartan and unadorned as a true tool watch should be. For a pilot watch, legibility has always been the priority, and thanks to the oversized lume filled markers and hands, you’ll always be able to tell the time even with a simple glance. The watch is powered by IWC’s in-house cal. 3511 offering 42 hours of power reserve and is the sort of trialed and tested movement you’d expect to run a watch like this.

 

There’s really nothing much else to say about the Mark XVIII, it’s a plain old handsome pilot’s watch, thanks to its lack of anything superfluous. It’s a brilliant piece of kit that you can wear during the weekend out, and get away with wearing with a suit in the boardroom too.  

 

SEVENFRIDAY M-SERIES SPACESHIP AUTOMATIC SF-M3/01 BLACK LEATHER MEN'S WATCH

 

 

I don’t think there’s any enthusiast out there who hasn’t heard of Sevenfriday. Founded in 2012, the brand started off creating industrially styled watches with unique ways of displaying the time. While their watches may not be for everybody, I can see the appeal that their watches can have. While their watches may run on Miyota automatic movements, they are heavily modified to offer a relatively radical time telling experience to consumers.

The 47mm TV style case is an iconic silhouette of Sevenfriday, a squarish frame with soft rounded edges with integrated lugs for a perfectly symmetrical look. Though this one is finished in a sleek black PVD coating, matching the entirely black and red aesthetic of the watch.

 

 

The M-series spaceship keeps things simple (relatively) with rotating discs on the dial, showing the hours, minutes and seconds. It’s a rather ingenious and easier way of telling the time as compared to reading them off hands. The center mass of the dial is where the watch gets its ‘spaceship’ element from. With a triangular rocket-fin like bridge set against a sandblasted plate with layers of applied metalwork forming a spaceship-esque silhouette.

For me, this reminds me a lot about another rocket ship themed timepiece (albeit on an astronomically different price bracket); the DeBethune DB28 Skybridge. Seeing the pictures will be enough to illustrate what I mean.

The Sevenfriday M-series Spaceship offers an iconic and distinctive look that most enthusiast will either love or hate. But if they do love it, then nothing else will do it for them.

 

TISSOT PRX T1374071105100 POWERMATIC STAINLESS STEEL MEN'S WATCH

 

 

The Tissot PRX 40 205 Powermatic 80. Unarguably one of the most anticipated and much more desirable release from the brand since the release of the quartz powered PRX40 205 earlier this year. Purists have been waiting for a mechanical version to be released and here it is. Oozing 1970s charm with its integrated bracelet design, harking back to the angular and industrial sports watches of the era popularized by watches like the Royal Oak and Nautilus.

With only 3 hands and the date, packed in a nicely svelte 40mm tonneau shaped case, paired with a neatly designed angular integrated bracelet, it is an iconic and timeless design that looked ahead of its time in the 70s and still is timeless today even after half a century.

 

 

It may look and sound the part of a luxury Swiss-made sports watch but it certainly isn’t priced like one. At under $1000 ($950 in-fact), yes let that sink in, it’s possibly the best affordable Royal Oak alternative around.

With a stunning waffle patterned dial, paying homage to the Royal Oak, the PRX offers would-be owners a stunning and affordable take on what owning a luxurious Swiss-made sports watch with an integrated bracelet would be like. Neatly brushed surfaces on the case, accentuated by sharp angles and bevelled edges, all linked to a very pretty and well executed integrated bracelet. The PRX Powermatic 80 is as good as it gets for the price.

Powered by an ETA based Powermatic 80 automatic caliber, it offers a neat 80 hours of power reserve, a respectable 3Hz frequency and that good old fashioned Swiss dependability as well. So, a reliable and nicely finished movement, iconic yet somewhat different design, Swiss-made and a sub $1000 price tag, the Tissot PRX 40 205 Powermatic 80 is easily one of the best affordable Royal Oak alternatives you can find around.

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SRPG59K1 AUTOMATIC DIVER WHITE SILICON MEN'S WATCH

 

 

The first of the lot will be the SRPG59K1 Baby Tuna, this design is the direct descendent of one of Seiko’s most iconic and recognizable models; The 1975 6159-7010. With its heavily protected case made for use in both the roughest depths, and the professional environment too. With the titanium shroud protecting the case, the watch quickly earned the moniker ‘Tuna can’. The one we have today is much more simplified and wearable, while still retaining the design hallmarks of its bigger brothers.

The Baby Tuna is the watch that will certainly bring the smile back for the purists who love the iconic design of the watch, and its heritage too. The watch is powered by Seiko’s workhorse 4r36 in-house caliber featuring a useful day-date display, 41 hours of power reserve and a modest 21,600vph (3Hz) frequency.

 

 

It comes in a very reasonable 43.2mm case with a sleek brushed silver finishing all around. Clean is what we would use to describe the case of this (and the SRPG57K1 too) and paired with the gorgeous icy-blue gradient dial, the Tuna is as icy cool in its appearance as the environment it represents. A neat detail on the dial (as is often the case with Seiko watches) are the penguin footprints along the left half of the dial.

A subtle yet strong reminder of the dwindling population in the Antarctic. While the overall colour theme of the watch is bright, legibility is still not an issue thanks to the nicely contrasting white coloured markers, that are also generously applied with lume. Despite the pretty face, the watch is, of course, still a viable companion to take along to a dive. If you’re a fan of the iconic Tuna can design and are looking for something a wee bit smaller (relatively speaking) and special, then you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative than the SRPG59K1.

 

ORIENT 2ND GENERATION BAMBINO CLASSIC AUTOMATIC FAC00009N0 MEN’S WATCH

 

 

Take a short trip to Google and search ‘best affordable dress watches’ and you’re probably gonna see a lot of Orient Bambinos in the results. For good reason too, the Bambino has been the quintessential affordable dress watch for aficionados and newbies alike. Today, we’ll be taking a look at my personal favourite of the lot, the 2nd generation with a gorgeous cream dial.

As has already been revealed, and which is also noticed at first glance, it is a classy and elegant dress watch which is perfect for formal occasions. The Orient Bambino generation 2 is presented with a simple and elegant stainless-steel case with a diameter of 40.5mm. With a thickness of 11.8mm, it may not be the slimmest watch out there but most of that size comes from the highly domed mineral glass. The actual case thickness, minus the crystal, is in fact quite a bit thinner. Having said this, this Bambino will still easily slide under any cuff without any issues.

 

 

The dial is where the watch’s stunning design comes into play, in a stunning and crisp cream white, with applied roman numerals and blued hands. It gives off a refined and elegant vintage charm that you just can’t really get anywhere else for the price. Its neatly executed and sharply finished too as you would expect from a watch of its caliber.

The Orient Bambino 2nd Generation is powered by the in-house Orient caliber F6722. An automatic movement that has both manual winding function and hacking seconds. Both of these are functions that are often not found in affordable automatic movements, so this is a really great value proposition from Orient.

All in all, if you are looking for a classy and affordable dress watch, the Orient Bambino version 2 is definitely a watch to consider. In addition to this one, you also have several models to choose from, so you should be able to find one that suits your taste and preference.

 

ARIES GOLD BLACK SEA G 9027 CF-BKT2 MEN'S WATCH

 

 

The dive watch is like a rite of passage for virtually all watch companies around. For a brand like Aries Gold, more well known for their complex and intricate skeleton dress watches, you’d expect something a bit more unconventional and even strange from their new dive watch. But it isn’t. In fact, the Aries Gold Black Sea is a rather handsome vintage style diver that is a pretty good attempt for a brand’s first diver.

The Black Sea is certainly one of Aries Gold’s more tamed designs, looking very much like what a vintage diver should. A bold slap-sided stainless-steel case, with a conventional brushed silver finishing and a clean legible dial with bold hands and markers too. Paired with a rather slim deep red dive bezel for a splash of colour and what you get is a rather handsome and unfussy vintage style diver. Powering the watch is an ever-reliable Japanese NH35A automatic caliber, offering a date and 41 hours of power-reserve too. With a threaded crown and 200m of water resistance, it’s not the most ground-breaking performance but it gets the job done.

Reliable, tough and handsome, the Aries Gold Black Sea pretty much offers the performance of a Seiko Prospex diver, though it may be lacking the pedigree. But then again, they are two very different watches. One of them is a serious modern professional tool watch, and the other, is a celebration of a traditional design that has now become an icon in watchmaking. If you’re looking for a casual diver that carries the design of the iconic vintage dive watches of old, the Aries Gold Black Sea is certainly the watch for you.

 

CASIO G-SHOCK MUDMASTER GG-B100-1A3DR MEN'S WATCH

 

 

The G-Shock Mudmaster has always been one of the brand’s toughest watches. With the GG-B100 line, that toughness now comes with even more features and functions. It is available in 4 different colourways: Black, Green, Orange and Blackout (which if you couldn’t tell by the name, has almost every component of the watch in black, except for the silvered pushers).

The one we’ll be looking at today is my favourite colourway out of the 4, the GG-B100-1A3DR. It should come as no surprise that I’m not the biggest fan of digital watches; in fact, my collection of only mechanical watches should speak of my tastes and preferences already. I do find myself liking the Mudmaster a lot though, and that’s really saying something. However, the only thing keeping me from pulling out my wallet for this otherwise rather affordable and incredible piece is whether I would actually wear it frequently compared to the ones that’re already in my collection. But whether I’m ready to start going digital over mechanical doesn’t detract from the fact that the Mudmaster is a fantastic watch.

 

 

The LCD screen may be small for some, but it is highly legible and offers snappy performance too. The hands are useful when needed, and are used to display certain features that we’ll get into later. However, they are usually performing their default time-telling functions most of the time. Casio’s cutting-edge screen and ultra-lightweight carbon means that there’s virtually no compromise between functionality and style. 

 

CITIZEN AUTOMATIC NJ0150-81A WHITE DIAL STAINLESS STEEL MEN'S WATCH

 

 

The Citizen NJ0150-81L Automatic is the brand’s take on the integrated bracelet stainless-steel sports watch design, but without the luxury price-tag of course.

It is a simple, elegant three hander with slim markers applied batons lining the periphery of the dial and slim matching baton hands as well. So far so simple, but the it is in the details where this watch truly shines. The dial is in a clean white, and is fitted with a date magnifier (controversial I know) that actually works rather well with the watch too. Powering it is an ever-reliable Miyota automatic movement as well, so you’ll never have to worry about performance and reliability too.

All this is fitted in an elegant and angled brushed and polished stainless-steel case linked to a rather nicely integrated 3-link president style brushed bracelet with contrasting polished center-links. Thanks to the rather minimalistic theme of the overall design, legibility is perfect thanks to the contrasting silvered markers and hands too. If an elegant and well-built stainless-steel every day dressy Royal Oak alternative is what you’re looking for, then the Citizen NJ0150-91L Automatic makes for a rather brilliant choice.

 

The Perfect Christmas Gift

 

 

Hopefully by now you’ve found something here for your dear enthusiast friend/family/lover, or at the very least came up with a better idea of something else to get him. At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts in a gift and whatever you get him, he’ll certainly be happy with it. That said, getting him something that he can look at and put on everyday reminding him of this special occasion, now that is something truly special. We do hope you’ll find the perfect gift this Christmas, if not something close.