Recent grads will be hooked to their mobiles, tablets, and laptops for the rest of their life. But a watch is a ticket to disconnect. You can go off on your own, but know when to be back. Dads could use some unplugged time as well. Meanwhile, Father Time is undefeated, and seeing those seconds physically tick by on your wrist might remind you to really appreciate every moment you’ve got with your kids. That… and watches just plain look good. Congrats to the grads, and kudos to the dads who didn’t just procreate, but are also working hard to be great fathers.
Timex has had a full blown renaissance in the last half decade (as you’ll see as you progress through this post). What used to be a forgotten junk brand finally got some purposeful style. The prices have remained cheap, but the looks? A heck of a lot better. That dark blue dial with the tan strap? That’s the wristwatch equivalent of a blue suit and cognac shoes. That combination works. And then some.
Impressive at this price point, the SNK805 features a reliable Japanese automatic movement, so there’s no need to ever change a battery. It also features both the day and the date, which is a very practical thing to have, and the watch allows you to use a quick-set feature so you don’t have to spin the crown a million times to set the date or day. It also has an exhibition caseback. If you (or the fella you’re looking for a gift for) have never owned a mechanical or automatic watch, this is a great watch to get your feet wet. A complete classic.
For the outdoorsy Dads or Grads.Vintage military looks. Even the strap has metal grommets instead of cheap, punched out holes. Simple and intuitive. 42mm case. Casual for sure, but the build quality, plus the fact that it’s powered by light means it can be a maintenance free go-to for years and years and years to come.
A nice, simple, clean dress watch that’ll look good dressed up for job interviews, or, out on the town with a suit. Quartz movement of course. 40mm in diameter for the men’s styles. If the guy you’re shopping for is more preppy/casual? Consider some of the bright, striped fabric strap options.
Of course there’s the original color combination, but the blue dial with the greyish brown strap is a Red Wing collaboration as well. The strap is clearly stamped as being from “S.B. Foot Tanning Co.” in Red Wing, and the Waterbury chrono dial layout is the same. Domed crystal is a nice eye catcher too.
Lightweight timepiece on a beefy leather strap. Bertucci is the sort of watch company that specializes in one, authentic style. They’re a field watch company. That’s it, that’s the list. Drab colored dial on this one. Matte grey case. Japanese quartz movement.
Shown above is the black bezel model, but it looks like they’re down to just the red bezel option at post time. 300m water resistance means it should handle rough swimming with relative ease. Thick case has a very sturdy feel to it. Helium release valve at ten o’clock, while useless to the vast majority of us, helps give it a more sporty and balanced look. Movement hacks and hand winds. Looks terrific on a NATO strap as shown above. Sold via Huckberry at post time for the discounted price. Goes for just under $300 direct through Deep Blue.
Orient Bambino 2nd Gen. Ver. III – $210 @ 30% off ($300)
These aren’t quite back in stock yet, but we’ve got it on good authority that the new hand-winding & hacking Version III bauhaus-style Bambinos are on their way. In house movement. Domed dial and stick hands and indices. Also available in a white, black, or grey dial. 40.5mm diameter without the crown.
For the Dad or Grad who likes to get behind the wheel and/or work on his ride. A master class in combining retro aesthetics without falling into goofy/costume territory. Full review here. Can go on sale and drop to as low as $155, but, currently sitting at full price.
Somehow got left out of the recent Best Dive Watches round up, and that’s a shame, since this thing is fantastic. Big fan of the not quite circular “turtle” case shape. Terrific weight and feel to it. Hacks and hand winds. 200m water resistance. Seiko’s own “Hardlex” crystal protects the face. Soft, silicone hardware with a beefy buckle and strap keeper. A dependable companion for those who like adventure.
Can be worn casually or dressed up. Automatic movement. Sapphire Crystal. Convenient power reserve indicator at noon. Perfect for the traveler or the guy who dreams of one day doing a bit of globe trotting. Full review here.
Nails the retro, moto-sport look and then some. Beautiful case shape. Knurling on the crowns and pushers is a nice touch. Ships from the UK, and know that you’re on the hook for returns. Also, shipping to the US is a steep, $35 – $40. But still. Look at it. 42mm in diameter and powered by a Miyota Quartz chrono. Big thanks to reader LG for the tip on this brand!
Meanwhile, another Orient. To me, it’s one of the best looking watches out there, no matter the price point. It looks and feels like a 4-figure watch. It’s elegant but interesting to the point it can’t be called a minimalist watch. Cobalt blue hands, including the GMT hand. Subtle 24 hr time ring helps you keep track of the time in another time zone. Nicely balanced, but not tiny. Just sold out direct through Orient, but still available at some 3rd party stores. Perhaps another low/no-stock in the US situation is on the horizon once again?
Uncluttered with a nostalgic logo, the Visodate was originally created to celebrate Tissot’s 100th anniversary back in the 1950s. Case size is 40mm, which is as timeless as it comes (it’s the watch dial version of a 2.75″ or 3″ tie). Sapphire crystal with an exhibition case back. Comes in a few different color schemes.
Four hundred bucks is not a small ask for a quartz, even if it’s a Swiss chrono… but boy does this thing look awfully good. Gotta say that I personally preferred the old Christoper Ward logo, but the new one sure seems to work just fine with this more minimalist dial. Great looking blue hands as well. 39mm in diameter is on trend with the less-is-more (in terms of size) watch trend.
If the guy on your list (or, if you are the guy giving someone else a list) prefers to dress casually most of the time, then this is a watch he could wear almost every day for the rest of his life. Rugged. Dependable. Brown leaning tan strap pops next to that black dial. Terrific feel to the construction and finish. Also available in a 38mm size.
Highly similar to the Tissot Visodate, only slimmer and with a more textured and intricate face. A classic that’s never gonna go out of style. 40mm case diameter is perfect for most wrist sizes. Swiss made. Just a 50m water resistance, but, this is a dress watch through and through.
Was being offered as a final sale “drop” by Massdrop (and thus the sale price above) and fingers are crossed that they bring em’ back at the reduced price. For now? They’ll run you about a grand via their US distributor. 38mm case. Made in Germany. Movement hacks and hand winds.
Complete class. Big fan of the just-different-enough seconds hand that’s been offset at 8 o’clock. Full retail is almost $1300 if you buy direct from Hamilton (price above reflects what it’ll run you through Jomashop). 42mm case diameter. Onion-style crown and date window at 3 o’clock. Razor sharp hands. Extremely versatile. An heirloom to pass on. One of those watches that’s gonna look just as impressive in 30 years as it does now.
For the more casual, rugged guy, who still likes high quality stuff. Especially Made in the USA Stuff. Made in the US from Swiss and US sourced components. 42mm diameter. Sapphire crystal and exhibition case back. Hand wound movement.
Another German made watch with an enormous Bauhaus influence behind its design. NOMOS assembles all their movements in house, and the Tangente features their Alpha caliber; a small, hand wound movement which has about 43 hours of energy. Small. 35mm or 38mm is the diameters they offer. Shell cordovan strap. Full review here.
And now the necessary reminder about the importance of knowing the seller when shopping for a wristwatch. Research them. Do your due diligence. Many of the links above point towards “grey market” dealers. Why? Because the savings are immense. Yet, there can be big time risks buying from a non-certified dealer. Buying direct from the brand, or, a certified dealer, means you get the manufacturer’s warranty. That’s good. What’s not good is the high price, compared to some grey market sellers. The bad news with those grey markets? You don’t get a factory warranty. So any potential issues and you might be on the hook for a big, big bill. So do your research.