Do your friends think watch collecting is strange? These are the best watches to get your friends into watchesFergus Nash
If you, like many others, stumbled across the watch collecting hobby entirely by yourself, you know that feeling of loneliness. You may spend hours perfecting a wrist shot to show off your grail purchases, incredible bargains, or vintage eBay snipes, only to have friends and family snub you by exclaiming, “You bought another watch?” Well, if you really want others to appreciate your hobby like you do, you need to give them a taste for themselves. Whether you save up for something special or gather some buddies to pitch in, these are five of the best watches to get your friends into watches too, from cheapest to dearest.
It’s safe to say that every soul on the planet is familiar with Casio’s digital watches, thanks to the ubiquitous $20 AUD marvel, the F-91W. They’re rugged, last forever, and their retro-utilitarian stylings have cemented them as classics with even the snobbiest of wristwatch enthusiasts. However, if you want to step it up a notch, the AE1200 series offers a wide set of useful features with a much quirkier and distinguished appearance. The ability to store multiple alternate time zones, complete with LED world map display, makes this a perfect watch for someone with family overseas, on holiday, or who just likes staring at cool screens. It’s available in a variety of colours, from the classic black, to a futuristic silver, and a green-black combo made even more militaristic by the radar-like clock display at the top left. With these selling for around $50 AUD on eBay and Amazon, this Casio is a real no-brainer for anyone, from kids to partners.
For Seiko’s introduction to mechanical watches, you may have expected something a bit bland, inoffensive and simple. With the SNK, you get an all-out military-inspired bead-blasted case, Flieger Type-B dial, and aggressive sword hands. There is a lot of variety to choose from in Seiko’s 5 line, but this — their cheapest watch with a mechanical movement — is perfect for a daily-wear automatic piece. Hovering between $110-$130 AUD, depending on the colour and strap or bracelet, you get a lot of watch for the money. The 7S26 movement is known to perform well in timekeeping, but is now quite outdated by Seiko standards. Without hacking seconds or the ability to wind it manually, there is no better way to teach someone the odd charms of mechanical watches than by making them shake it and set the time every few days.
Calvin Klein Infinite Too
I know what you’re thinking. How could a fashion watch from an underwear company be good value? Isn’t this everything YouTube reviewers tell me to stay away from? Strangely enough, this unassuming yet alluring timepiece is one of the best sleeper hits out there. As a member of Swatch Group, CK are able to use the legendary ETA 2428-2 automatic movement known for its accuracy and reliability. Other impressive specifications include 50m water resistance, a solid steel bracelet with deployant clasp, display caseback, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and the all-important “Swiss Made” on the dial. The uncomplicated design and recognised brand make this watch easy to love for non-watch lovers, and if you don’t mind importing from the US, they can be had new for less than $220 AUD.
Timex Marlin Hand-Wound
If you’re buying for someone who loves the flair of the past, Timex’s first reissue of the classic ’60s Marlin has to be a top pick. With its conservative 34mm diameter and slim 10mm stature, the elegance of the Marlin cannot be understated. With its black lizard-style strap, it wears wonderfully in formal situations, but the quirky Arabic even-numerals give it enough character to get away with casual wear. The manually wound Seagull movement inside feels great to wind and set, with hacking seconds making synchronisation trivial. The silver sunburst dial plays with the light in a way that makes you believe this watch is worth way more than its cost, which is just north of $300 AUD on eBay and Amazon.
Seiko 5 SRPD53K
Seiko’s rejuvenated line of affordable sports watches kicked off to much debate, as it seemed to replace the beloved SKX line of ISO-certified diving watches. But with looks like these, the new Seiko 5s can be forgiven for living with the adequate 100m water resistance. As gifts, these watches are becoming pricey with RRPs around the $500 AUD mark, however they’re rarely not on sale somewhere online for closer to $350 AUD. The SRPD53K, in particular, is a stunning example of classic Seiko design, with well-lumed indices from the SKX, a short case that defies its 42.5mm diameter, and the ever-loved Pepsi colour scheme of rich blue and red. The 4R36 movement provides the same reliability and reputation for accuracy as its 7S26 predecessor, but it’s brought into the 21st century with seconds hacking and hand winding. The display caseback grants plenty to stare at too, making it the ideal candidate for forging a watch obsession.