T+T Holiday Picks: The best watches to gift for $3,000 – $5,000 (2022 edition)Time+Tide
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, and our picks in the under $3000 segment, today we are tackling the best watches under $5000 (but more than $3000). All prices are in USD.
Zach’s pick: Fears Brunswick Salmon
While it may not be an obvious colour favourite to the mainstream, watch collecting die hards go bananas for salmon dials. But, not all salmon dials are equal. Fortunately British brand Fears and their Brunswick Salmon offers up a super attractive salmon dial, at an equally attractive price. You do not need to be a certified watch nerd to appreciate its shade. The 38mm cushion profile is very wearable on the wrist, and the dial shade is the perfect salmon tone. I have always loved how transparent Fears is about the design process of their pieces, and how open they are about where the components are sourced from. In the case of the Brunswick Salmon, the brand enlisted a horological typographer to revive numerals found in their archives, each of which are diamond polished and then sandblasted before being applied to the dial. The dial itself is the result of galvanic coatings of 18k rose gold and copper, the vertical brushing hand applied by specialists in Germany.
Ricardo’s pick: Oris Wings of Hope Limited Edition in steel
There’s a warm feeling you get as a watch lover when a brand creates a watch for a good cause. That feeling is only amplified when the resulting watch is quite a looker as well. Such is the case with the Oris Big Crown Wings of Hope Limited Edition. Wings of Hope is a non-profit organization, which through a network of planes and pilots, provides medical air transport free of charge to patients in need and life-saving aid to remote communities around the world. To help that cause, Oris has created a beautiful 40mm, time-only that exudes a timeless vibe. Yet they’ve coupled that classic aesthetic with their modern calibre 401 movement. Anti-magnetic. Five-day power reserve. 10 year warranty. Overall, the Oris Big Crown Wings of Hope has so much to offer that I would be doing you a huge disservice by not having it on this list.
PS: Seeing as this is a limited edition and it may sell out, the 38mm, blue dialed, Big Crown Pointer Date calibre 403, is a great back up choice.
Borna’s pick: Tudor Black-Bay Fifty-Eight
Coming in at just over US$3,000 (AU$4,730) is Tudor’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight on the quite excellent NATO or leather strap. Stretch your budget a little more, and for just under US$3,500 (AU$5,150), you can opt for the steel bracelet too. At this price point, I simply cannot think of another watch that combines heritage, on-paper specs and dashing good looks as well as the BB58, regardless of the model you choose. The slender 39mm case wears like a dream, and the red-on-gilt colour scheme and that large, unguarded crown are about as good as it gets for a rugged all-rounder. I hear you – it may not be the most exciting or surprising choice, but I’ll be damned if it’s not the best. No wonder I bought one.
Price: US$3,800 (on the bracelet)
D.C.’s pick: DOXA SUB 300 Carbon Divingstar
Given its prominence in high performance and technical applications, I’m surprised we don’t see more carbon composite watches, but I suspect one of its greatest virtues, its feathery weight, is also the reason many don’t feel it’s a “luxury” material. I think it comes down to throwing away preconceptions. Think of all the places you’ll find the material: high performance automobiles, military aircraft, racing bicycles, sports equipment from skis to tennis racquets, and a raft of other uses, and you’ll see that carbon absolutely belongs in the conversation. The DOXA SUB 300 Carbon is one of my favourites among the carbon composite watches on the market, and it’s easy to see why. You get those classic DOXA SUB looks, but in a racy, exotic package. The variegated swirl of the composite case catches the light differently from every angle, but the overall vibe is stealth. The Carbon Sub features a titanium casing to protect the COSC-certified movement, and the whole affair is waterproof to 300 metres. An FKM rubber strap with dive extension ensures you’re ocean-ready, and then all you need to worry about is which of DOXA’s bold colourways you prefer. My choice? The bright yellow Divingstar model, which combines great visibility with Italian supercar vibes. No matter which one you choose, its US$3,890 retail is more than a grand under our budget, so I’d call that a winner.
Fergus’ pick: Norqain Adventure NEVEREST Glacier
Borna may be confident in his BB58 pick, but some of you may want to explore beyond the realm of homages to the past. Norqain is a young brand that, in a short period of time, has already made a mark in the industry – most recently introducing their proprietary NORTEQ material in the new Wild One collection (the first debuting collection since Jean-Claude Biver joined as an adviser to the board). But, my nomination for you today is the Adventure NEVEREST Glacier. The watch has pound for pound specs with the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, is equally water-resistant, just a millimetre more in diameter, and has an automatic calibre with equal power reserve, but it utilises a ceramic bezel instead of the aluminium bezel found on the BB58. Inside is the Norqain manufacture calibre NN20/1, which is derived from the same Kenissi base as the calibre inside the BB58 (the only notable difference being it does not use a silicon hairspring). Saving the best for last, the glacier dial – a crisp textured white – is something you will likely never see from Tudor. Oh, and don’t forget, on the 9′ side of the case is an engraveable placard that is perfect real estate for a special holiday message.
Price: US$3,400 (fabric/rubber), US$3,600 (on steel bracelet)