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/his wrist might be a good reminder to really appreciate every moment. 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.
Good for Dads. Good for Grads. Good for you. An absolute marvel of engineering. Sure, style-snobs might sneer at its brutally efficient looks, but any real wristwatch fan respects these things. Y’know why? They are as authentic as it gets. In business, they say the key is to build a better mousetrap. When it comes to the OG G-shock, every other tough, cheap watch is just rearranging the cheese.
This thing is like the GAP basic belt. You can’t escape it on this website. But for good reason. Rolex looks on a top-ramen budget. For about $50 you get 200m of water resistance, a stainless steel case, and a rotating bezel which feels much more expensive than many other watches in the under $100 category. Even the stock rubber strap that it comes on is decent (soft-ish, not rigid plastic). Throw an aftermarket strap on it and you’ll get more style points. Beat it up. It can take it.
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. Although this isn’t dressed up enough to wear with a suit. But it can pull tons of duty with casual gear.
Good feel and solid, 200m water resistance too. Nice stainless steel band and case. Automatic movement. Exhibition case back. 40mm case dial. Also looks great on a rubber/silicone or leather strap. High end Swiss watch makers? They should subsidize Invicta’s production of this particular watch. This son-of-a-gun is a dangerous gateway drug if there ever was one.
Brilliant. Love the case. It’s tonneau shaped, supporting a dead simple collection of indices, hands, and font. All quietly combining against a super subtle, barely noticeable sunburst texture on the dial, to look like something that Don guy mighta worn. Full review here if you’d like to read it.
More simplicity. Automatic movement here, and a more traditional round case instead of barrel shape of the Timex Milano. Super simple stick hands and indices. Lots of clean space. Domed crystal. Full review here.
There might not be a better bang-for-the-buck diver on the market. Automatic movement that hacks and hand winds. 200m water resistance. 120 click bezel helps keep track of elapsed time. Classic dive-watch looks. Not everyone will like the shined up inserts on the bracelet, but it’s more subtle than many other competitors.
Armogan E.N.B. Chrono – $155 ($220)
Used to be called the Le Mans, but has since been renamed the E.N.B. Lots of elements from the golden age of auto racing. Like… all the elements. Full review of this model (from when it was still called the Le Mans) can be found here.
The crystal is acrylic (which scratches easily), it has the famous Timex “tick” (some people find it loud and annoying), and it’s water resistant to just 30m (so it’s splash resistant, and that’s it). But it is a hell of a good looking watch. Man is it ever. Full review here.
Rugged. All kinds of rugged. Domed crystal, chronograph movement, bold indices and font, and a leather strap sourced from the same tannery that makes Red Wing’s boot leather. Been around for more than a few years now. Still a favorite.
One of, if not the classiest watch Orient has come out with. Everything you’d expect from a Bambino. Simple dial. Domed crystal. And now, that perfectly proportioned and placed small seconds sub dial. Full review of this thing can be found here.
2019’s hit is now pretty much in stock all the time. It is, frankly, pretty cool. Based on a design from their back catalog when Quartz watches were the hot new thing, it is decidedly retro, yet not outdated looking. Bold colors and mixing of sharp lines and curved edges. Full review here.
For under $200 you not only get the classic pilot watch styling, but you also get the added values of a GMT hand (so you can tell the time across separate time zones), and an E6B circular slide rule. Though confusing at first, the slide rule will enable you to quickly do multiplication and division, as well as convert metric to imperial and numerous other calculations. This watch also features their very popular, very accurate, solar powered quartz Eco-Drive movement.
Allegedly a replacement for the SKX 007 and 009 watches (of which we’ll get to). Not quite as robust. Compared to the 007, they’re a bit of a sheep in wolf’s clothing. But for the vast majority of us? These’ll get the job done. And they certainly do look the part. Woof Woof Howl. Full review can be found here.
For fans of that “panda” contrasting sub dial look. Just restocked and ready to go. 39mm diameter, so more classically sized than a lot of chronos. 20mm lug width. Mecha-quartz movement gives you the accuracy (and affordability) of a quartz, with the snappy feel of a mechanical with the action of the pushers. Head here for more info on this brand.
A legend whose time might be short. In our ever increasingly disposable, dopamine drip fed, what’s-new-what’s-now scratch my self created itch! consumer world, something timeless and robust and dependable should be appreciated. Especially if it sounds like they’re gonna be retired in favor of something less-so. Being an original is an ever increasingly scarce commodity. Tough as nails. 200m water resistance. Dependable automatic movement. A true tool watch.
Possesses a unique geometry that makes it both round and square. In addition to its neat lines, it’s also a bigger watch, so it definitely makes a statement. The automatic movement is hand-windable and hacking, and has that great sweep you get from a mechanical movement. Black option has a really intricate waffle texture pattern to the dial. Blue option shown above has that “save the ocean” specific depth progression to the shades. Full review here.
Released while riding high off the success of their Q Reissue, Timex took that design, slightly enlarged the case to 40mm, threw a blue and black “Batman” style color scheme on it, and chose to power the entire thing by a Japanese automatic movement instead of quartz. But good luck getting your hands on one. These things have been perpetually sold out since shortly after their introduction earlier this year.
Hacks, hand winds, has a sapphire crystal, a 120 click bezel, solid end links, and the best of both the Mako and Ray worlds when it comes to the looks on the dial. 41.5mm case size is wearable by most. Noticeably smaller than the Seiko Samurai (which is a bit of a chunk). Full review can be found here.
So much class. From their “Presage” collection. Icy blue dial. Blue seconds hand. Simple and sharp. Straight up beautiful. Can go on sale at Macys from time to time. Note: Pictured above is actually the old SARB065 model. Head here to Worn & Wound for a description of new vs. old. Most prefer the movement of the old. Some like the looks and crown of the new.
If the recipient prefers to dress casually most of the time, then this is a watch he could wear almost every day. 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.
I know it’s not quite the same, but this is a really, really nice, “affordable” (but plenty expensive to many of us) alternative to the Rolex Explorer. The Rolex will cost you… $6550. Which is nuts. This? Not even $380 via a gray market dealer like Jomashop (so, no factory warranty). Still Swiss made with an automatic movement and fine finishing. Cool. Look, I’m sure the Rolex is spectacular, but… most of us will take the Hamilton and the extra $6100 cash. “Nice watch! Is that a Rolex?” “Nope.” “What is it?” “Solvency.”
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 perfect for many of us. Sapphire crystal with an exhibition case-back. Comes in a few different color schemes.
Designed and assembled in Los Angeles. Has a Seiko NH35A heart beating inside. Three dial colors to pick from. Cool blue Super-LumiNova BGW9 lume. Glossy black ceramic or stainless steel bezel. Comes with a steel bracelet as well as a silicone strap. 40.5mm case should be wearable for the vast majority. This is a heck of a do-anything, all purpose, classic but not boring dive watch.
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.
A big, barely restrained, helicopter landing pad of a diver. A few different color schemes to pick from. In terms of unique, 1970s-style looks & heritage, it’s impressive. It is not just another sub-homage. It’s very much its own watch (whatever that means).
Yes it’s a quartz, and yes it’s spendy for a quartz, but man alive did they nail the retro-aesthetic look on this thing. Silver-white face, blue hands and tachymeter ring, black date window at six… it’s a master class. 39mm in diameter. 20 mm strap width.
A more than acceptable, and far less expensive alternative to the Rolex Explorer. Classically sized (so, leaning small to most average to large humans) at 38mm. Simple, timeless, and equipped with a dependable Seiko automatic movement.
What’s this post about? This post is about grads. And DADS. And some Dads are VERY pro made in the USA. And Timex does make a hell of a case for the American Docutments project, as a whole. For a flag wavin’ Daddy-o who likes simple style and wears a watch every day? He might really appreciate it. And this’ll get that gold calculator watch off his wrist.
Lorier Neptune III Automatic – $499 (ships late August)
It’s a pre-order, so the Grad or Dad in question would have to be patient, but… we live in strange times. And this thing would be well worth the wait. Super handsome design. Miyota 90S5 automatic movement. 200m water resistance. Big ol’ crown, balanced out by a timeless 39mm case. Head here for a review of the previous Neptune II model.
Redesigned within the last year or so. And while some of us really miss the wavy-pattern to the dial (that’s gone) and the spade style hour hand, plenty will love the new, more sport-styled Pro 600. And it’s still super versatile. A diver through and through and can be worn with everything from a t-shirt and jeans to a suit and tie. Available in 38, 40, and 42mm diameters.
For those who appreciate science (and/or science fiction). For fans of the movie Interstellar. It’s “a faithful recreation of the watch that appeared in the movie on the wrist of main character Murph. With the word ‘Eureka’ printed in Morse code in lacquer on the seconds hand.” Terrific. More info on this watch can be found here.
Excellence in simplicity. 1960s aesthetic. 41mm case diameter with 22mm lug width. Swiss-made, chronometer-certified movement. “Glass box” sapphire crystal and 150m water resistance. It’s a watch he could wear every day for the rest of his life. Available in the blue shown above, as well as a more vintage looking black dial with “Old Radium Super-LumiNova” filled indices. Available on either a stainless steel bracelet or an Italian leather strap.
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.