A small history of watches and a few tips for buying the perfect watch. 5212A-001 Calatrava Weekly Calendar , 40mm stainless steel case, light brown calfskin strap. Time, day, date, month — the basic temporal measurements and functionality upon which watchmaking has been based since, well, time immemorial. Patek’s new high-end 5212A, however, goes one better by adding an additional refinement to its information display by keeping track of the weeks in a year. Beyond the three standard hands for seconds, minutes and hours, two red-tipped hammer pointers register the day and the week number (the latter also cleverly indicates the relevant month on a concentric outer scale). Design afficionados should note the technical lettering on the face is based on the actual handwriting of a Patek designer; a handsome and human detail on such an exquisite and captivating complication.
Let’s move on to the under 1000 USD category. With its big cushion case, knobby bezel and simple dial, the SRP777 is a faithful homage to the original Seiko 6309 “Turtle” from the 1970s and ’80s. But unlike the Turtle, the new watch is water resistant up to 200 meters (the old one was only rated for 150) and has an automatic movement with hand-winding capabilities. It’s a fantastic option for those who want the look of a vintage diver, but the capabilities and reliability of a modern watch. Want a new mechanical chronograph under $500? The Seagull 1963 is pretty much your only option. That’s no concession, though. It uses a hand-wound mechanical movement made by Tianjin Seagull Watch Co. (one of China’s best movement manufacturers), housed in a compact and authentically sized 38mm stainless steel case. When Citizen launched its mind-blowingly thin (less than 3mm) Eco-Drive One in 2016, it captivated watch enthusiasts, but with a price tag over $2,000, it was steeply priced. At under $500, and with a still crazy-thin case thickness of 4.7mm, the Stiletto is a fantastic compromise, given its sleek proportions and classy guilloche dial. Of course, that solar-powered quartz movement is also a gem, making battery changes a thing of the past.
This handsome, traditional timepiece pays homage to Tissot’s iconic 1943 collection. The Heritage boasts a topstitched leather strap with a stainless steel buckle closure to keep it steady and stylish on your wrist. The clean-brushed dial and vintage hands on the face also complement the watch’s vintage appeal. The Swiss-quartz movement ensures time accuracy to within a few seconds a year, and at 42mm, it’s understatedly elegant, calling for quiet attention rather than loudly seeking it. While being huge fans of the Jazzmaster series, we’ve also discovered another inexpensive Hamilton model that’s worthy of occupying space in your watch case. The Khaki Aviation Pilot combines some vintage design elements and Swiss ingenuity, while the brown croco-embossed leather accessorizes well with any pair of brown dress shoes, fitting snugly on the wrist.
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