The hipster fad doesn’t seem to be dying off anytime soon with vinyl sales up again in 2018, photographic film starting to sell and even big name hi-fi manufacturers releasing brand new high end cassette separates, so now is a great time to slipstream that wave and buy a mechanical timepiece as a gift this Christmas.
With December 25th fast approaching there will be a lot of watches being bought as gifts over the coming weeks but if you’re thinking of buying a fire and forget fashion quartz for a young relative then why not rethink the situation and instead go down a more mechanical path.
Invicta Men’s Analogue Automatic Watch with Gold Plated Strap 8928OB
Proving that every so often even the hated can do something right, the Invicta Pro Diver is a budget submariner homage that truly delivers on all fronts. It looks good (because it looks like a Rolex), its got a very good value and reliable Seiko NH35A movement and it’s automatic with hand winding and hacking. Being a diver its also rated to 200m of water resistance too.
Available in a range of colours and at a price that is well under £100 from Amazon and other places, the Pro Diver is the saving grace in Invicta’s portfolio. It’s a direct clone of the previous generation Rolex Submariner at a 40mm case size and the solid link bracelet with hollow end links is actually better and less jangly than the older style Rolex versions.
Accuracy is good to within around 10 seconds a day so not COSC but also not £1,000+ and with an exhibition case back the happy recipient can see the workings and be in awe of how all those little spinny things tell time. We recently found a British watchmaker who bought one of these to dissect on YouTube and he was shocked and stunned at the quality of build plus movement accuracy for the price.
Seiko 5 Men’s SNZG09K1 Sport Analog Automatic Khaki Green Canvas Watch
For a more military look without going to the costs of a Hamilton Khaki you can get the look and reliability from Seiko instead of around the £100 mark.
Supplied on a pretty decent looking green cloth strap and with a bead blasted metal finish to the case, it looks ever bit the commando wrist partner but at the smaller size of 36mm which will suit younger and more slender wrists. It features 100m of water resistance which is plenty good for swimming, showering and day to day use plus comes with the additional benefit of a day complication along with the expected date display.
Swatch Unisex SUTR400 Sistem Red Analog Display Automatic Self Wind Black Watch
Built by robots not by humans, the Swatch Sistem 51 features – you’ve guessed it – 51 individual components within the movement. Swiss made, 70 hour power reserve, super lightweight and available in a ton of different colours, designs and strap choices. Its a funky looking watch that sits higher on the price scale considering its plastic construction but again its Swiss made and from a manufacturer that is known for quality. Plus points for the hermetically sealed caseback are that it see through allowing inquisitive minds to peer into the movement and see the funky decorated rotor swinging around.
Seiko Men’s SNZG13 Seiko 5 Automatic Black Dial Stainless-Steel Bracelet Watch
If Invicta makes your skins crawl and you’re still looking for a subject diver on a bracket then another from the Seiko 5 stable might just fit the bill. This one is slightly larger at 42mm so on a smaller person might end up dwarfing the wrist but then again some people like big and bold so could be a plus point. Fully automatic, 100m water resistant and all the usual Seiko goodness you’d expect for one of their stainless mechanicals.
In conclusion getting someone a mechanical watch ticks a lot of boxes. It separates the wearer from a sea of bare wrists, Apple watches or quartz tickers and being a self contained mechanical device offers a far more tactile experience that youngsters might not had before, requiring occasional interaction to top up winding, skip the date forward to a new month or to reset for summer time changeover. Its also something different not being yet another LCD screen that distracts instead offering only what its purpose dictates. Checking the time no longer involves a hardy effort and the potential for a smartphone screen to meet its maker by way of the pavement too.
There’s also the wealth of options available when it comes to styling changes with the addition of aftermarket straps. Different metal styles like beads of rice, Milanese, shark mesh and jubilee or switching to nylon and perlon, nato and zulu styles or fabric, cloth, leather, silicone and even denim!
So dare to be different this Christmas and buy something with charm and mystique instead of quartz and silicon. Include a hand written note too explaining just why the recipients new watch is different and who knows, in a few years time they might just end up teaching you a thing or two about horology!
Got into the horological hobby only a few short years ago; but got, as us Scots like to say, “baw deep” pretty quickly. Thanks to buying a lemon of a Rolex he spent hours researching why his watch wasn’t working and along the way gained an interest in what makes them tick. He now runs the Scottish Watches website and keeps cohort Rick in check on the twice weekly Scottish Watches podcast.