A little history of watches and some tips for buying the perfect watch. Sixties Annual Edition 2019, 39mm polished stainless steel case, brown Louisiana alligator leather strap. Watch write-ups get nerdy quickly. With all the talk of tourbillons and power reserves, its easy to forget one of the most emotive reasons for any watch’s appeal is colour. Last year, German watchmaker Glashütte Original had a hit with its Sixties Annual Edition in retro green, where the dial graduated from a lighter centre to a darker, domed periphery — a successful experiment with colour. Duly encouraged, it’s launched the watch in orange sunburst, radiating from vibrant yellow in the centre to black at the edges. Each lacquered dial is unique, using tools and methods from the Sixties. Available with or without a date window, in a 42mm stainless steel case for the former and 39mm for the latter (and an appropriate price bump for the date version), the two new models have a one-year limited availability, making them as desirable as they are distinctive.
Let’s move on to the under 1000 USD category. When Swatch launched the Sistem51 — an autonomously assembled automatic movement boasting a 90-hour power reserve — it was a revelation, but its plastic case limited its appeal. Now you can get the same movement cased up in stainless steel, making it a more versatile option for everyday wear. No list of dirt-cheap watches is complete without the Seiko 5. Originally launched in 1963, the 5 has cultivated a feverish following amongst watch fans for its utilitarian mechanical movement and the value it provides. The Seiko 5 comes in many iterations, and the “Sea Urchin” dive watch is one of our favorites. In addition to using Seiko’s workhorse 7S36 automatic movement, it comes adorned with a unidirectional countdown bezel and steel bracelet.
Certina, founded in Grenchen, Switzerland in 1888, has always been a rather low-key brand. You may not know, but they were innovators in shock protection and water resistance, which is nearly weapons-grade on this watch. The rotating ceramic diving bezel on this 41mm beauty, usually a hallmark of much more expensive pieces, is scratch resistant and nearly indestructible, and the handsome strap features a deployment clasp. Shinola watches, assembled in Detroit, have sparked a renaissance in the Motor City and for American watch brands in general. One of their latest editions of their most popular design, the Runwell, is a subtle version of what can be a busy style. This is destined to become a classic design that will no doubt age well with it’s stainless steel case and durable leather strap. With a clean ivory-colored face and luminous hands, wearing this watch makes a statement that you value good design, but don’t need an overly expensive timepiece to speak for you.
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