Recent grads will be hooked to their phones and other various technology for the rest of their life. 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.
Timex Weekender 38mm Watch – $35ish
Simple, cheap, and versatile. The model that basically re-launched Timex as a more fashionable brand some 15 years ago. 38mm dial diameter with a 20mm strap width. Know that the Weekender models are infamous for making a louder than average “TICK” sound with each snap of their seconds hand. It drives some people absolutely bonkers. But if you’re good with that, then it’s a cheap (very cheap) winner. The Timex Weekender is light, fun, and does its one job well: It tells the time.
Casio 200m Diver in Black, Blue, Green, etc. – $50 – $65
Review can be found here. Mentioned a lot on this site, and 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 (as shown above), and you’ll get more style points. Beat it up. It can take it. Lots of color variations to pick from.
Timex Expedition Chronograph – $53.95
For the rugged Dads (or grads). This thing does NOT feel like a run of the mill sub $100 Timex. No flimsiness. None. It’s a beast, this one. 42mm case so it’s not enormous, but it does have some real heft to it’s overall weight thanks to a black brass case and tangible thickness. Sueded topside to the leather strap adds to the whole outdoorsy vibe. And it has indiglo!
Invicta Pro Automatic – $79.27
Has to be mentioned. 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 all sorts of straps. NATO especially. A gateway drug that many of us have worn the heck out of for years. The only trouble with this thing is the engraved INVICTA on the 9 o’clock side. It’s too much. But thankfully it’ll be either under or just up against a shirt cuff if you need to lean on this thing when dressed up. And it’s… sixty bucks. We all have to make compromises in life. Anyway, if the recipient is a DIY-er, they can always try to take it off themselves… or you could do that for them in advance? Just give yourself some time to find a replacement if that project goes awry.
Timex x Todd Snyder The Maritime NATO Strap Watch – $79.97 ($158)
For as spendy as Todd Snyder’s clothing can get, they sure know how to make an affordable watch via their many collaborative models with Timex. Sporty. Has just enough design tweaks (like the contrast day and date window) to make it stand out from the usual Timex crowd.
Orient Bambino Automatic – $125
“Oooh it’s so nice!!“ The O.G. bambino, and the model that brought Orient’s line of mega-affordable, in-house movement equipped automatic watches to our collective consciousness. Classy. Simple. You can wear it with everything from a t-shirt and chinos to a suit and tie. Yes really. In house, automatic movement. Domed crystal. Simple hands and indices. 40.5mm diameter case is the sweet spot for many. More than a couple dial and case colors to choose from.
Todd Snyder Timex Q – $129 ($179)
Todd Snyder’s take on the Timex Q. Rotating bezel, functional battery hatch, day-date feature, luminant hands, domed acrylic crystal, and specific to Mr. Snyder’s version, a cream colored dial.
Orient Ray II Automatic – $135ish
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.
Orient Bambino Small Seconds Automatic – $170ish
One of, if not the classiest watch Orient has come out with. Everything you’d expect from a Bambino. Simple dial. Domed crystal. And here, that perfectly proportioned and placed small seconds sub dial. White dial variant is shown above, while a full review of the champagne dial can be found here.
Q Timex 1978 Reissue Day Date – $179
Outstanding. Maybe the best new Timex of the last 10 years, which is saying something considering the incredible run the brand has been on. 37mm case. Domed “period correct” acrylic crystal. Quick release strap. And it does NOT make a loud “tick” noise as the seconds hand moves around the dial. Many other Timex watches have a classic “tick” sound that drives some nuts. Not with the 1978 reissue. Full review here if you want it.
Q Timex 1975 Reissue Day-Date – $179
And for those who might prefer a little warmth on their wrist. Gold-tone case, champagne colored dial, black leather strap. A throwback yet somehow contemporary.
Timex MK1 Mechanical 36mm Archive Field Watch – $199
It’s back! Was seemingly out of production for awhile. 36mm diameter and 18mm lugs. Sticking true to it’s roots, this thing is powered by a hand-wound (mechanical) movement. It’s not quartz. And it’s not an automatic. This thing should go with all kinds of casual wear, and quickly become a daily partner for those who spend most of their time dressed down. Full review here.
Seiko 5 Sports Automatic SRPE Gray or Black Dial Watch – $210.38 w/ SUMMER ($275)
Well executed simplicity. Diameter is a sporty but not enormous 40mm. It has a nice wrist presence but should look proportional on most wrists. The lack of a rotating dive bezel gives them a more subtle, almost field-watch like look. Sides of the case are polished but the top facing areas are brushed, which keeps any unnecessary glare and gleam down. Nice dial, great hands and indices, and (obviously) an in-house Seiko automatic movement beating inside. Doesn’t look cheap. Doesn’t feel cheap. And all of the little details add up to an impressive package, especially considering the reasonable price. 25% off at post time at Macy’s with the code.
Seiko 5 Sports 5KX Dive-Style Automatic – $225.68 w/ SUMMER ($295)
And now the dive-style for those who prefer a rotating bezel. Lots of different colors to pick from. Full review can be found here. Link above goes to Macy’s, where they seem to have the more popular models on hand, and often on sale.
Dan Henry 1937 Dress Chronograph – $270
Dan Henry is a brand that takes the good looks of watches from the past, then re-packages those styles in affordable timepieces for today. And they nailed this 1937 chrono. Art Deco inspired looks. 38mm case size. Tachymeter around the outer edge of the dial might just make you feel like you’re zooming around in a yellow Duesenberg. Quick change leather straps. Seiko VK61 mecha-quartz movement, so you get the snappy feel of a mechanical movement at the pushers, with the reliability an and affordability of a quartz chronograph. Available in a few different color combos, but the silver shown above with the sub dials at 12 and 6 really is something.
Orient Mako USA II Automatic – $324
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. Full review can be found here.
Timex USA Assembled “American Documents” Collection – $371.25 w/ SAVEMORE ($495)
25% off at post time with that SAVEMORE code. Review here. 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 Documents project. For a flag wavin’ Daddy-o who likes simple style and wears a watch every day, he might really appreciate one of these. Made here in the USA with a Swiss movement, but everything else (case, glass, leather band, etc) has all been sourced from here in the States. It’s sure to get that gold calculator watch off his wrist.
Bulova Archive Series Lunar Pilot 96A225 – $378.99
The other moonwatch. Real NASA history behind this timepiece, and you won’t be out the many (many) thousands you would be if you went the Omega route. High-beat 262 kHz quartz movement is accurate to a few seconds a year. Sapphire crystal. Big crown and chrono pushers. Beefy 45mm case yet oddly wearable. Review here.
Seiko Style 60’s SRPG05 41mm Automatic – $401.63 w/ SUMMER ($525)
Full review here. Another relatively new-ish style from Seiko. This one leans on a design from more than a few decades past, and thus, has gotten the “Style 60s” moniker. Now if an authorized dealer would hurry up and bring the black option to the US market, some of us would be very pleased.
Bulova Devil Diver Automatic – $477
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). Review here if you’d like to take a look.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm – $495
Another one for the outdoorsy/leans casual/rugged fellas. A classic field watch like this certainly does say “take me outside… please.” 38mm in diameter. Manual wind mechanical movement. 80 hour, yes 80 hour power reserve when fully wound. Full review here.
Lorier Gemini Mechanical Chronograph – $499
Amazing panda looks at an affordable price. Hand-winding mechanical chronograph movement. 12-hour rotating bezel instead of a tachymeter, which is MUCH more useful to most. Full review of the “reverse” panda version can be found here.
Tissot 39.5 mm Ballade III COSC Chronometer – $499.97 ($925)
COSC certified. A true chronometer. So it’s an automatic, and it’s super accurate. Getting that certification at this price point is awfully hard to do. On sale via Nordstrom Rack, so you should be getting a factory warranty.
Alsta Nautoscaph IV – $555.98 ($795)
AKA “The Jaws Watch” because Richard Dreyfuss wore something similar in Jaws. 300m water resistant, sapphire crystal, NH35A automatic movement, and comes complete with a very 70s “beads of rice” style bracelet. Would look great on a rubber or NATO strap too.
Hamilton Khaki Field 42mm Automatic – $575
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. Worn by Chris Evans as Captain America in The Avengers. Also available in a 38mm size.
Mido Belluna Royal Automatic – $680 w/ SUMMER ($800)
Swiss made, cushion shaped case, “guilloché” sunray stamped dial, and an exhibition caseback that shows off an automatic movement with an 80 (!!) hour power reserve. That’s a LOT of watch for six hundred to eight hundred bucks. On sale at post time for 25% off via Macy’s, an authorized dealer. So you’ll get the full manufacturer’s warranty there.
Nodus Avalon II Automatic – $700
Restocks coming in a few weeks. Fingers crossed. Full review here if you’d like it. Built like a brick sh*t house with 300m worth of water resistance and a beefy cushion-shaped stainless steel case. Case width is 43.5mm, but with a relatively moderate thickness of 12.75mm, it’s noticeably more svelte than a Seiko Samurai or Turtle. Double domed sapphire crystal. Waffle texture dial. One of the best bracelets in the business AND it comes with an in-house developed push button/on the fly micro adjuster. Movement is a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, which is regulated in four positions (+/- 8 secs/day) during the Avalon’s assembly and finishing process in Los Angeles. It hacks, it hand winds, and it has a power reserve of 42 hours.
Tissot 40mm Gentleman Powermatic – $725
Ever since Tissot sunsetted the “heritage” design of their Visodate in favor of something new and to many eyes not as good, many of us have been waiting for Tissot to fill that tried-and-true dress watch void. Ta-da, the void is now filled. Ships and returns for free via Nordstrom. Now if they could just trickle down to Nordstrom Rack at a discount, then we’d be in business!
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze – $825
They took their classic Hamilton mechanical hand-wind field watch, and bronzified it. 38mm case. Leather NATO strap. H-50 hand-wind movement has an 80(!) hour power reserve. Will develop an individual patina over time. That… is something.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto – $895
One of Hamilton’s latest designs. A simple dress watch that can also look great dressed down a bit. It’s certainly one of those “Daily” dress watches that your Pops or Granddad could/would have worn with everything from a suit and tie to chinos and a polo. 40mm case diameter. 20mm lugs. Sapphire crystal. Swiss automatic movement with an 80 hour power reserve.
Hamilton American Classic Boulton Mechanical – $895
Does the Grad or Dad on your list own hardback AND paperback copies of The Great Gatsby? Y’know, just in case something happens? Always good to have a backup. Mechanical, hand-wind movement. Introduced in 1940, and updated for the 2020s. For the old souls.
Christopher Ward C65 Aquatine Automatic – $950 w/ 125LOUPE25 ($1075)
Brand new from the good people at Christopher Ward. Bubbly. Fun. But also maybe like a party guest who’s had one drink too many (still bubbly and fun! soooo bubbly and…. fun! sort of! WHY IS THE CAB TAKING SO LONG TO GET HERE), these might not appeal to everyone. Retro for sure. Domed sapphire crystal. 200m water resistance. Swiss made.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600 – $970 w/ 125LOUPE25 ($1095)
Christopher Ward’s flagship Trident diver checks all the right boxes at a relatively affordable price compared to the big luxury brands. Swiss-made Sellita SW2000-1 movement, ceramic bezel, 600m water resistance, and C1 Super-LumiNova which is brighter than you might think. Designed in the UK and built in Switzerland, just down the street from Omega. Smart, sharp British styling with Swiss mechanics.
Hamilton Murph Automatic – $995
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.” 42mm with 22mm lugs, and wears every bit of that size. 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. Some 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.