T+T Holiday Picks: The best watches to gift for $5,000 – $10,000 (2022 edition)Zach Blass
Editor’s Note: The holiday season is upon us, which means it may be the time you are looking to buy a watch – whether as a gift for yourself or for a family member, friend or that special someone in your life. To make your life easier, the Time+Tide team has come together with their favourite picks at various price points. Following up our picks in the under $1000 segment, our picks in the under $3000 segment, and our picks under $5000 segment, today we are tackling the best watches under $10,000 (but more than $5000). All prices are in USD.
Zach’s pick: Grand Seiko SLGH013
I love my Rolex Datejust 36, but had this watch been released prior to my purchasing it I would have had a really tough decision on my hands. Who knows if I would have held out the four months or so I waited for the call? The Grand Seiko SLGH013 ticks the two boxes I am currently missing from arguably my favourite watch manufacturer. A beautifully Zaratsu-finished modern 44GS case, and, perhaps, even more importantly their astounding 9SA5 calibre.
The Evolution 9 case and bracelet are not my personal favourites, as handsome as the Birch models are, so I was very glad to see the 9SA5 make its way into the 44GS case. Its dimensions are highly wrist-friendly, clocking in at 40mm in diameter, 11.7mm thick, and 47.2mm lug-to-lug across the wrist. Like a Datejust, it has an air of elegance to its aesthetic while also being highly robust with a screw-down crown secured 100m depth rating – in a case, I should add, made of Grand Seiko’s new Ever-Brilliant steel. Were I not totally blued out within my watch collection, the dial alone is enough of a selling point – a gorgeous icy blue that has the texture of a worn ice skating rink minutes before it is time for the Zamboni to smooth things out.
Flip it over, and you get to see the dual-impulse escapement hi-beat calibre 9SA5 that ranks among the highest-tech calibres within the vertically integrated manufacture. Featuring diamond-cut, striped and nature-inspired shaped bridges, with 80 hours of power reserve – to put it simply this is visually and mechanically yummy. So, basically I am projecting my own desires onto you. But, in fairness, I am hardly misleading anyone with this pick. Drop-dead gorgeous GADA all around if you ask me.
Price: US$9,500 / AU$14,200
Ricardo’s pick: Omega Speedmaster ‘57 40.5mm
I say this with a ton of conviction. The Speedmaster ‘57 40.5mm is one of the best chronographs out there under US $10k. You can try to fight me on it but I dare you to sit down with one and tell me otherwise. First off, the 40.5mm sizing is perfect. Then there is the thickness, which comes in just a hair under 13mm – thanks in large part to the METAS-certified Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement ticking inside. A technologically advanced movement that sits under a beautiful 3/4 plate, which is on full display through the sapphire crystal caseback. The dial aesthetic is also on point as we get a classic Speedy black and aged lume version. But it doesn’t stop there as a red, blue and green option have been created as well. When you put all these things together, this year’s updated Speedmaster ‘57 makes quite a compelling case for anyone shopping within this budget.
Borna’s pick: Kudoke 1
There are so many incredible brands at this price point, and I had a really tough time choosing. Habring’s incredible chronograph complications, the Ketelaars’ 3D Terra in Motion and any ingeniously simple Ochs und Junior creations would number just a few. However, after having seen one in person, the level of finishing that Kudoke applies at this price point exceeded all expectations.
Stefan Kudoke developed the in-house Kaliber 1 with Habring, basing it on the gear train of the Valjoux 7750. The finished product however, bears little resemblance thanks to the commanding nature of the hand-engraved balance cock (please refrain, I know what you are thinking), while the ratchet wheel and crown wheel are solarised and circularly grained, respectively. The rest of the movement is covered by two frosted-finished bridges, achieved through a circular motion of abrasive application. The Kudoke 1 comes in well under the US$10,000 mark, which is truly compelling.
D.C.’s pick: Chanel J12 GMT 41mm
In keeping with my default modus operandi of thinking outside the gift box, my pick at this price point comes not from the usual suspects, but French fashion powerhouse Chanel, specifically the J12 GMT 41mm in matte black ceramic. There’s plenty of worthy competition in this segment, but none so dashing, so intercontinental, and let’s face it, so indisputably sexy. And at US$8,450, it’s a sleek and sophisticated alternative to the brasher (and largely unavailable) Rolex GMT-Master II. The “refined diver” design language of the classic J12 is here, but with the added functionality of a GMT movement, and the tasteful menace of the always-fashionable stealthy black finish. The slim steel bezel and rhodium-plated dial markers leave plenty of room for unfettered visibility, and that cherry-red pop on the GMT hand’s tip is just the perfect amount of intrigue. The Chanel J12 line is truly unisex, and if you’ve never tried on an all-ceramic watch, you’ll likely be delighted at the lightness and luxe feel of a full ceramic bracelet. This is one that can dress up or down with equal ease, making it a perfect travel companion for all the getaways you may have put off during the last few years. That it’s water resistant to 100 metres makes it all the sweeter when you check your home time from the hotel pool.
Fergus’ pick: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M ‘Ladies’
Lots of people may be afraid to say it, but the “ladies” version of the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M has a much nicer dial than any of the “men’s” references. Pushing aside the issues of gendered categories, the organic, flowing waves intersected by rippling guilloché brings such depth of both colour and texture to this blue dial model particularly, and the 18k Sedna Gold details add just enough of a luxury taste without needing to go too hard on the two-tone theme. In a unisex-friendly 38mm case the Aqua Terra boasts a METAS-certified Master Chronometer in the calibre 8800 whose lavish decoration can be seen from the sapphire caseback. For US$5,700 / AU$8,750 there are few other watches which can compete on looks or specifications.
Price: US$5,700 / AU$8,750