Desirable Watch features:
– A good movement. Automatic (winded by wrist-movement) or Manual (winded manually) are considered “mechanical” and charges last ~40 hours (recommended servicing every 5-10 years). Quartz is most accurate, powered by battery (lifetime ~2 years) and some self-recharge (hold ~6 months charge, lifetime ~10-20 years), ie Kinetic (Seiko) recharges with wrist movement, and Solar (Seiko Solar, Citizen Eco-Drive, Casio Tough Solar) recharges with light. Kinetic is not recommended, as if one lets the battery fully discharge it gets weaker. Watchphiles most recommend Automatic: no battery replacement required, seconds hand moves more smoothly (higher bpm – beats per minute), and holds value due to the craftsmanship and tradition of a complicated movement. Automatic movement brands – ETA or Valjoux (highest quality Swiss-made but watches $400+), Miyota (Japanese substitute but still great/reliable, watches $250+), Seagull (okay quality Chinese), followed by cheap unnamed Chinese movements. Some movements are made in-house, ie Seiko or top model Rolexes.
– Hacking is a movement feature that stops the seconds hand for better time setting
– Quality of the finish, Quality of [metal] bracelet. Bracelets usually worth more than a leather band/strap
– Sapphire Crystal glass (scratch resistant and prettier than Mineral), Seiko uses Hardlex which is decent
– Brand: Don’t buy a fashion-brand watch (ie Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole): usually quartz and overpriced for their contracted-out quality. Buy from a watch-maker for better quality/price and resale value.
Note: Take your time shopping as there are many styles and tastes change. For more “lifelike” pics, look them up on Google Images or Youtube. ~38mm size is more classic while 42mm+ is more sporty.
Best Value Automatics
Budget Automatic: ~$80-130
Vostok Amphibia (Russian divers) ~$80 [Smirs, eBay, Meranom, Chistopolcity, Julian Kampmann Poljot24 Russia]
Sekonda ~$80 [eBay] (Another Russian watch but classy, only cheap if bought used)
HMT (Indian classy ultra-cheap automatic) $30-$80, find them on Ebay, ie Sona, Janata (both better than Pilot)
Seiko 5 SNK series smaller classic size ~38mm $70-$100 ie SNK795 (modern) [black Amazon, white SNK789, blue SNK793] or SNKL [black SNKL45, white SNKL41, blue SNKL43]. For a pilot/flieger style, SNK809K [Amazon] / SNK803 [Amazon]
Seiko military field style: SNZG13 [Amazon, eBay] (get over a Hamilton Khaki King or Khaki Field)
Seiko 5 SNKK (Patek Philippe Nautilus or Audemars Piguet Royal Oak homage): $60 [Silver SNKK41, Silver/Black SNKK47, Silver/Blue SNKK45, Gold SNKK52, Gold/Black SNKK54]
Seiko SUP Series (Cartier Tank homage): Seiko SUP880 Solar $100 [Amazon]
(Rolex Oyster Datejust homage / Rolex Oyster Day-Date homage): Seiko SNXJ Series $160 [Amazon] or Orient Day Date $100 [Amazon, 2], (Rolex Datejust and Day-Date are 36mm, Datejust II and Day-Date II are 41mm, better than the too small 34mm Rolex Air King)
Orient $130-$190 [Amazon All Models], some classy models are: Orient Goldeneye [Amazon White dial, Black dial], Orient Bambino [Amazon], or Orient Symphony [Amazon] (but many people prefer Bambino’s more unique domed crystal)
Women’s / Ladies Watches
Note: Women wear men’s sizes now (not just younger ladies), even the Rodina above is a good choice. But here are smaller-sized fashion-styled watches
Orient Ladies (many styles) [Amazon]
Seiko 5 Ladies [Amazon] or for Black Unisex SRP267 $200 [Amazon] / SRP371 [Amazon] or Seiko SNK Unisex [Amazon] or Seiko Solar Ladies [Amazon] (examples: Chronograph SSC893 $290 [Amazon], Baguette SUP044 [Amazon], SUT128 [Amazon], SUT015 [Amazon])
Citizen Women’s “Eco-Drive” (solar) [Amazon] ie EW1264-50A Silhouette Two-Tone [Amazon], minimalist – Eco-Drive “Axiom” [1Amazon, 2], Chronograph $200 FB1360-54D [Amazon], Diver EM0030-59A $270 [Amazon]
Flieger Watch (WWII pilot watch) / Aviator Watch:
Real pilots wear titanium because it’s lighter! (but in all seriousness, titanium isn’t worth the extra money and is more prone to scratches). A dial is the more historically common variant (B dial was produced in small quantities), some say B dial is too busy (especially for the smaller Poljot $100-$200 Russian aviators [eBay]
Maratac $290 [CountyComm] a little more modern, Miyota movement
Laco Augsberg or Aachen: miyota $370 (ETAs are $900), sapphire glass, 100% true to history. [Amazon A-Dial Augsberg, Amazon B-Dial Aachen] or to order directly from Germany: [Laco A-Dial Augsberg, Laco B-Dial Aachen]
Best: A Flieger is more casual than classy with its classic brown strap. Because of its simplicity go only budget ie an Orient/Ticino for $150. For more, go authentic with ETA movement, ie: Steinhart $455 [SteinhartWatches], Laco for its historical significance (albeit miyota) $370 Augsberg [Amazon] or Aachen [Amazon B-Dial], Aristo for ~$400 at [LongIslandWatch Discount] (can maybe also find a Laco ETA on sale there), Archimede ~$500 [ArchimedeWatches].
Best Value Diver Watch, including Rolex Submariner homages:
Orient: (not sapphire glass tho) Orient Ray $140 [Amazon] (classic round hour markers), Orient Mako XL (aka Mako II, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean homage, markered dial / bigger size / worse lume than Mako) $140 [Amazon, Orange bezel (classic Planet Ocean style)], Orient M-Force Beast $400 [Amazon]
Seiko SNZH Series (Blancpain Fifty Fathoms homage): Seiko SNZH57 $150 (black, gold trim) [Amazon, eBay] with FiftyFive Fathoms dial $35 (50 Fathoms + Seiko 5 = 55), or to go high end get the MKII Stingray II $600 [MKIIWatches] (dressier than the Precista 50B), Other Seiko 5 Sports SNZH series: [eBay, Black SNZH55, Blue SNZH53, PVC All Black SNZH59 (these are also similar to the Breitling SuperOcean, especially if adding a numberless bezel insert)
Seiko SKX007 $170 [Amazon SKX007K2, Ebay] or for more retro squarish hour markers: [Amazon SKX173]. Better quality (ie 7S26 movement) than SNZF17 / SNZF15 / SRP553. Add the superb Super Oyster bracelet: Evo S (solid end links) $70 from (email email@example.com), Secondarily: Type 2 from [WJean eBay], or a Snapcode [Amazon].
Seiko Poor Man’s Marine Master (PMMM, Seiko MM300 homage): Have firstname.lastname@example.org make it for you: the SKX171 [Amazon] (black date better than SKX007 white date) and add the bezel/insert of the SKX007, Type S hands, either his Marine Master dial (or authentic MM300 Dial), yobokies Super Oyster Evo S bracelet, yobokies Sapphire (ie AR-coated domed)
Squale 20 ATMOS Classic (200 m) ETA $490 from [GnomonWatches Black, or Vintage Off-black, or Amazon Search]. It’s slightly smaller than the Steinharts (40mm vs 42mm). Squale is a micro-watchmaker with a solid history from the 1950s (was making cases for other brands such as Tag Heuer, Doxa, Blancpain).
Steinhart Ocean (Rolex homages):
Ocean 1 Black $400 with Ceramic Option (Rolex Submariner 16610 homage, most famous dive watch) [Steinhart]
Ocean 44 $440 (bigger, Rolex Deepsea Sea Dweller 116660 homage, flat bezel) [Steinhart]
Ocean 1 Vintage Red $400 (more sporty color, Rolex 1680 Red homage) [Steinhart]
Ocean One Vintage Red $400 (Rolex Submariner 5513 homage, most famous military-issued dive watch, as seen in the classic James Bond 007 movies) [Steinhart] – more of an homage than Ocean One Vintage Military (OVM)
Ocean One Vintage $470 (Rolex 6200 homage) [Steinhart]
Others: Ocean Two Yellow (IWC Aquatimer homage) [Steinhart], and Aviation (Bell & Ross BR01 homage) [Steinhart]
Non-Traditional Styled Diver Watch:
Seiko Monster: Black Monster $160 [Amazon SRP307 2nd gen, SRP313 “Bloody Tooth”, eBay], (1st gen SKX779 & SKX781 had square hour indices). The original Monsters (particularly Orange Monster [SRP309]) are more popular, but there is also the Seiko 5 Mini / Neo / Baby Monster (similar size but not as rugged looking and crown isn’t screw down) $140 [SRP599, SNZF49, SNZF47, SNZF45]
Borealis (Tudor homages): Tudor Snowflake homages: Sea Hawk 1500m $350 (albeit Seiko auto, Tudor Pelagos homage) [BorealisWatch], Dagaz Ultra-Flake SKX Mod $300 (seiko auto, sapphire) [10watches], or Seiko SKX173 [Amazon]. Borealis Francis Drake (Tudor Black Bay homage) 300m $349 [BorealisWatch]. Other Borealis divers: Sea Diver 300m $200 (good Miyota value, Kobold homage) [BorealisWatch]. In the works: Sea Dragon $290 [BorealisWatch] and Scorpionfish [BorealisWatch]
Chronograph Divers: Citizen VO10-6771F ALTERNA Eco-Drive Chronograph [eBay]
Sporty Chronograph homages (note: automatic chronograph is hard to find affordable)
Navitimers have the slide-rule bezel, which allows for metric to standard conversions, fuel consumption, air speed and distance calculations, etc. Tachymeter on “racer” watches is solely for speed.
Breitling Navitimer homages:
Quartz: Seiko SNA413 [Amazon], Casio Edifice EF-527 $87 [Amazon, 2, 3], Parnis $95 [ParnisWatch], Rotary Chronospeed Chronograph $100 [eBay1, eBay2]
Solar $200: Seiko [SSC009 black, SSC007 black-red, SSC013 white], Seiko SSC289 [Amazon rubber, eBay SS261 metal bracelet], more contemporary Citizen Nighthawk (GMT but no chrono) [Amazon], Citizen chrono $300 [BL5400-52A Silver/White, BL5403-03X Gold/Black] Citizen Skyhawk A-T [Amazon BL5400-52A Silver/White, Blue Angels World A-T, Other Promaster Sky eBay]
Rolex Daytona Paul Newman / Omega Speedmaster Professional homages
Quartz: Casio Edifice $60 [Amazon1, 2, 3], Seiko SSB Series $120 [Amazon SSB073, SSB033, SSB031, SSB025, SSB029, SSB037, SSB097, SSB095], Also Invicta Speedway (many models) [Amazon] ie Speedway 9211 [Amazon], Citizen AN8070-53E [eBay]
Automatic: Alpha – chronograph automatic Seagull mvmt $215 [Alpha], Russian Auto Sporty Chronographs: Seagull 1963 $300 [Amazon, eBay], Strela $600 or other 3133 models [eBay (best value), Julian Kampmann Poljot24 Russia] Note: 3 similar quality Strela brands: Strela, Poljot International, Sturmanskie. Make sure to get only Poljot 3133 movements (3017 redesign made by MakTime, faithful copy of swiss Valjoux 7734)
Summary: For Navitimer homage, I’d get the Citizen BL-5400 or Russian Poljot Chronograph “Blue Angels”. For Daytona homage, I’d get a Russian Poljot Chronograph “Classic” or Seiko Quartz 7a28 [eBay] or 7a38 [eBay] (hard to find).
Active Duty Military Watches
Note: ABC watch means Altimeter (altitude tracking), Barometer (predict rain), Compass. Atomic means its time is corrected by radio tower
Cheap Beater: Casio G-Shock DW-5600E $41 [Amazon] – digital/quartz
Most Iconic G-Shock: Casio G-Shock GW-5000 $320 solar [Amazon] (the modern version of the older DW-5000C)
Size/Some Features/Mudproof Combo: Casio G-Shock G-9300 “Mudman” $129 [Amazon or Yellow – Amazon] is more mud/dirt/dust resistant, big and mudproof like GX-56 King (not quite as big but easier to press buttons), compass, has moonphase (Rangeman doesn’t), No altimeter/barometer/sunrise-sunset/atomic
Feature Rich / Bang-ability: Casio G-Shock G-9400 “Rangeman” $180 [Amazon GW94001CR rubber strap, GW9400J-1JF more durable/expensive resin strap, GW9400BJ-1JF black] (new version of GW-9200 Riseman. Solar, ABC, temp sensor, auto light by turning wrist towards your face, but no mud-resist (can take mud but not operate buttons). Compared to Riseman, the Rangeman is larger/heavier, newer sensor/module, added compass, slightly less comfortable, and illuminated by LED (though people say LED is uneven and too bright vs EL)
Most Features: Suunto Core All Black $260 [Amazon], Alu (aluminum) Deep Black $280 [Amazon], Brushed Steel (Stainless Steel model with sapphire glass) $350 [Amazon]. All the features and most precise sensors (ABC, storm alarm, sunrise/sunset indicator). Quartz – battery lasts 1 year but only takes 2mins to swap and weather-seal yourself
Best: Casio G-Shock Rangeman $180 for lots of bang-ability or Suunto Core for higher sensor precision and less rugged/bulky. DON’T get Casio Pro Trek (new version of Casio Pathfinder): bigger screens but not as resistant to bumps and scratches (you can actually replace the bezel on G-shocks). Seiko (ie SBEB001) and Tissot may be working on ABCs.
Tissot PR 516 GL (old world sporty feel) $415 [Ebay] or newer Tissot Visodate $375 [Amazon, eBay] (albeit black has a white day/date). Other popular recommended models: Powermatic 80 [Amazon, eBay], PRC 200
Hamilton popular solid American brand and great value ETAs (however sometimes known for poor lume and strap/band quality and no anti-reflective coating) Note that they are on sale often. Classier models include Jazzmaster Viewmatic $500 [Amazon, eBay], Intra-Matic $600 (best value Bauhaus style) [Amazon, eBay], Thin-O-Matic $600 [Amazon, eBay]
Steinhart Marine $460 [Marine Chronometer II Roman, Marine Chronometer II Arabic, Marine Chronometer, Marine Chronometer Vintage] Super classy and great value for the quality (IWC Portuguese homage), only gripe is that they might be too classy for everyday watch
Seiko Spirit (SARB) $390 iconic green Alpinist SARB017 [Amazon], the classy SARB033 [Amazon, eBay] or SARB035 [Amazon], SARB065 Shinobu Ishigaki “Cocktail Time” [Amazon, eBay]. Don’t believe the extra $200 is worth it for the $570 SARB021 [Amazon, eBay] or SARB023 [Amazon, eBay], Secondarily: Orient Vintage Power Reserve $200 [Amazon] or Orient Star Classic $400 [Amazon]
Steinhart Triton 40 ATM $485 [SteinhartWatches]
Perpetual Watches: Superb beautiful watches at good prices (albeit Seagull movement). Currently sold out mid to late 2015 [Perpetual-Watch]. Models include: Regulator R-01 $170, Chronograph C-01 $380, Chronograph C-05 $500 (Patek Philippe 3970P homage)
Rolex Explorer homage: Smiths Everest $400 [Timefactors], Orient Chicane [Amazon] + explorer hands from email@example.com and add a better Oyster bracelet, Seiko SNKM77 [Amazon] (other models may work) + $50 worth of dagaz parts (dial and hands)
Squale 50 ATMOS (500 m) Shiny and beautiful, coin edge bezel $830 [GnomonWatches]
Oris and Glycine $800+ both widely known to be great quality/resale value, but I don’t find their lower-end watches awe-inspiring. Oris uses Sellita movements (just as good as ETA), Oris Aquis Date $1k [Amazon] or Diver Date $1k [Amazon] (Diver Date nicer with wave dial and nicer hour markers). Glycine Stratoforte chronograph $1.2k [Glycine, eBay]
Steinhart Marine-Officer Bronze chronograph $900 [Steinhart]
GMT / World Time Watches (In Progress)
Citizen AT9010-52E [Amazon]
Halios unique divers made by a small Canadian company, beautiful but Miyota movement like Magrette, but I’d be more inclined to get a Halios, current models are Halios Delfin $745 at [Halios], or Halios Tropik SS $675 [Halios], order with metal bracelet
MKII [MKIIWatches] great but $800+ (and the Vantage or Kingston are no longer for sale)
Sinn ie 556 $1.1k [SinnWatches]
Prometheus [PrometheusWatch] (not sure of quality, and overpriced even with lower quality seagull/sellita movements, Baiji and CR1 models look good)
Seiko Prospex Marine Master Professional 300m Diver SBDX001 (MM300) the ultimate diver $1800, with a movement at in-house Swiss movements / Grand Seiko level. Might be too high profile to fit under dress shirts. [Amazon, eBay]. If you like the “Tuna Can” diver look, the Seiko Tuna and Baby / Mini Tuna are other good Seiko models
Junghans Max Bill Automatic (classic Bauhaus, but plexiglass, $850, $1800 for chronograph “Chronoscope”) [eBay]
Longines Column Wheel Chronograph L688 (inhouse) movement [eBay]
Conclusions & Favorites
After all the research, concluded: Watches aren’t investments; scratches cause loss of value. High prices also carry high maintenance (upwards of $600 for a $10k Rolex). For best quality to value, go for automatic, don’t spend much more than $300 on a non-Swiss movement (unless it’s a premium Seiko or a high quality watch with Miyota) or much more than $600 for a Swiss because one could get a decent-condition gold watch on eBay or a used high-end brand for that much, ie Omega (both of these options will hold their higher intrinsic value better). If you plan to have only one, choose a versatile (or have two: one professional and one casual). Regarding homages, get one by a decent company ie Steinhart (that looks a little different) instead of a cheap Chinese copy that looks the same as the real thing.
For ultra-budget class $60: SNK795 (modern) [black Amazon, white SNK789]
Another classy budget option, the Orient Vintage Power Reserve $200 [Amazon] or a Perpetual Regulator R-01 $170 or R-05 $200 (currently sold out).
For divers, ~$200 a favorite budget tool watch is the classic Seiko SKX007 $140 [SKX007K2] then add Super Oyster bracelet $80 (see above for sellers).
For best value high quality ETA movement diver / submariner at ~$400, Steinhart Ocean 1 Black $400 [SteinhartWatches] with Ceramic Option or other Steinhart Ocean (these are mostly Rolex homages). For a one-of-a-kind option with high finish quality, you’ll have to go higher such as the Squale 50 ATMOS (500 meter) $830.
For pure class and great value quality at ~$400-500, Seiko SARB035 or SARB033 at ~$380 [035 Amazon, eBay] [033 Amazon, eBay], or Steinhart Marine ie $480 [Marine Chronometer II Roman]. As for chronograph, an option is the Perpetual Chronograph C-01 $380 (currently sold out).
Metal Bracelet Types:
Straps and Bands, Nato vs Zulu: Recommend Nato over Zulu, as Nato runs thinner, has a watch keeper strap, and thinner squared metal hoops instead of rounded. With its thick nature and more numerous hoops, Zulu looks more rugged than sporty.
Leather Strap Brands: Da Luca – highest quality leather (shell cordovan) but expensive $100+)
Nato / Zulu Strap Brands: [CheapestNatoStraps] (22 lug width)
Don’t get: Hadley Roma (doesn’t seem like high quality)
Best Watch Spring Bar Tool for changing out bracelets / straps: Bergeon 6767-F Watch Spring Bar Tool (F-tool) $25 [Amazon], which is an F-tool is for metal bracelets. The Bergeon 6767-S (S-tool) [Amazon] is for leather and rubber straps (the F tool can too easy accidentally damage a leather strap because it is more fine). If you have watches with both bracelets and straps, you either need to purchase both tools or buy the other tip at $8-15. Bergeon (Swiss repair tools) is much better than the cheaper non-branded Spring Bar Tools ie the popular [Amazon]
Best Watch Repair Tool Kit
Best Value: Mannesmann M11760 $65 [Amazon]
Value Substitute: GTU 20 pcs $35 [Amazon]
Best Premium: Bergeon 7812 $275 (full set) [eBay], Bergeon 2819-08 $175 (just the wrench for removing casebacks) [Amazon], Bergeon 55-605 2868 Set of 5 Chrome Plated Brass Screwdrivers Watch Repair Kit (screwdrivers) $90 [Amazon]
Best Thread Locker Glue
In the case that the screw-in pins on your bracelet pop out, it is good to lock them in with Loctite Purple 222 glue $9 [Amazon]
Watches I’m Not Recommending
Good Value But Don’t Like Design: (under non-traditional diver watch) Bernhardt Binnacle $270 [BernhardtWatches] (not as classic but good value for a Miyota movement)
Poor Design: Meister like the Ambassador Mk iii (quartz, but stylish), Skagen, Uniformwares, Citizen JP2000 Aqualand (the protruding part is a depth sensor, iconic Citizen like Nighthawk/Ecozilla but don’t personally like digital/analog hybrid), Casio G-Shock Aviator GW-A1000-1A $420 (solar & analog but analog defeats the precision purpose of a G-Shock), Croton, Sturhling, Accurist (British version of Citizen), Tech4o traileader only 10m, Movado (expensive, mostly quartz, and don’t dig the “museum”-style), dislike the dark bezel Seiko styles – new 3rd gen 5 mini monster – SRP603K SRP605K SRP608K or Recraft series – weird colors except for the SNKN02, Rockx (RXW) look like great homages but the name is horrible!, Kadloo, Seiko SSC229 (sadly numbered markers), [SSC223], [SBDL013], Helson great new company $600 miyota and $900+ swiss but no unique styling except for bronze watches (no more sharkmaster 1000)
Horrible Quality: Jaragar, Timex, Kienzle, Lucien Piccard, Lorus and Pulsar (both owned by Seiko, okay quality but Seiko is better), CWC G10 is just quartz, Ingersoll Houston (chronograph auto but mineral glass) [Amazon White Dial, Amazon Gold, Amazon Black Dial] (unsure of quality), Rossling & Co. $170 quartz, Davosa $500 quartz, Rotary Aquaspeed quartz Omega Seamaster homage, Kadloo
Overly-Expensive and Poor Quality/Price (ie very expensive and just quartz or bad finish quality): Nixon, Tag Heuer (quartz), Chase Durer ($500 quartz), Autodromo (quartz), G Gerlach ($300+ watches, cheapish seagull movement and the good styles are $400+ and extra $40 for bracelet), Invicta (not great quality but their divers are low priced: Invicta Diver (Omega Seamaster homage): $80-160 [3044 Black 49mm – Amazon, 8926 Black 40mm – Amazon, 3045 Blue 44mm – Amazon] and Invicta Diver (Rolex Submariner homage): [8926OB – Amazon, 9937 – Amazon], Ocean7 overpriced & bad customer service & misaligned bezels (and rather get Seiko Blancpain homages rather than $800 LM-5), Victorinox / Wenger / VSA (ie Victorinox Dive Master 500, quartz), Panerai (super expensive and not in-house movement), RXW?, Hager $600 miyota, Ebel Sportwave $500 quartz, Chenevard (not sure quality)
Overly-Expensive but still Good Quality: Breitling, Jean Marcel, Omega (many don’t have rotating bezel but the iconic ones are Speedmaster Professional and Bond Seamaster), Edox, Vulcain (ie Cricket), Orient Star Classic ($400 for Orient), Vollmer is a semi-expensive flieger ~$500, many people say Stowa is a good value with high finish but pricey $790 for a [flieger] (on smaller side, more contemporary/flashy than authentic/military Laco) and Damasko also expensive for a flieger ie DA36 $1125, Dievas watches (ie Vortex) $900+, Ollech & Wajs pilot or diver with ETA movement $450+ from [Chronotime to check models, to buy WestCoastTime, WestCoastTime or eBay] not great selection or good models sold out and a little too expensive for the lack of a strong name/quality but good price for ETA, Deep Blue ($450 for miyota, $1k ETA), Lew & Huey (L&H) ie Riccardo, Hamilton Khaki Officer and Khaki Pilot – little expensive for fliegers, Maranez – expensive for the movements (Seiko auto or Miyota) but they make Panerai homages such as the Bangla (Mille Metri homage), Armida divers some brass/bronze expensive for the movements ($350+ Seiko auto, $450+ miyota) Unfortunately the old A5 is discontinued (homage to the official Navy Seal watch by Kobold Watches, Kobold even more expensive), Olivier bronze expensive, Gruppo Gamma $350 Panerai homages (similar prices/mvmts as Armida): Ascent (brass, but Seiko auto) [Gruppo Gamma] Vanguard (miyota therefore best value) [Gruppo Gamma] Vanguard bronze $530 [GruppoGamma] Genesis (seiko auto) [Gruppo Gamma], Zelos, Cobra de Calibre, Helberg, Ancon $600+ miyota, Kazimon $2k, Junkers Bauhaus 6060 (mineral glass, better to get real deal Junghans), Frederique Constant ($600 quartz), Doxa (1500t is $2k), Ball (ie Aviator or Cosc or Ceramic XV), Marathon GSAR (rather get seiko monster), Tissot PRC 200 (quartz) and Seastar 1000 (expensive), H2o Kalmar 2 ($1.1k), Stowa Prodiver and Seatime ($1k), Longines Legend Diver (LLD) $1.8k, Aegir CD1 or CD2 $1.3k, Frederique Constant Maxime Manufacture $2k, Baume Mercier Capeland Chrono $1.6k (but swiss chrono), Boschett (ie Cave Dweller $440, Legacy, Reef Ranger, Harpoon, Sellita movements), UTS 1000M, Poljot Okeah / Ozean, Poljot Journey Chronograph, Landeron (have a nice speedmaster professional homage but for $700), Rado Diastar
Super Expensive Brands: Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet (AP, ie Royal Oak, unfortunately can’t find an homage), Vacheron Constantin, (these three are closely followed by Jaeger LeCoultre, A. Lange & Sohne), Ulysses Nardin, IWC and A. Lange & Söhne are the expensive fliegers followed by Wempe and Tourby (~$1k), Richard Mille RM11 (skeleton watch, can’t find a decent quality homage online), Bremont (ie Supermarine), Tudor (ie Black Bay or Pelagos), Rolex (small/common/expensive but in-house movements and hold value very well), High quality micro-brands (Laurent Ferrier, F.P. Journe), Eterna (ie Kontiki), Anstead Oceanis $500 Miyota, RGM 300
Other Models I don’t prefer: Seiko Prospex Sumo $500 Great value for the quality, but I don’t like the big lugs [SBDC001 Amazon, Blue SBDC003 Amazon, Orange SBDC005 Amazon, eBay], Stealth / Black Ops / Ninja G-Shock: GD-350-1B $87 (better larger negative display than GW-7900B “Rescue” $100), Best Collectable G-Shock: [GWF-1000 “Frogman” $580] bigger than “Rangeman” but less comfortable / expensive / not many add’l features, Simple / Tough / Cartoonishly Big G-Shock: GX-56 King $153], [Seiko SRP353 (not chrono)], Seiko solar chronographs (not enough good feedback on these) SSC087 [Amazon] and SSC001 [Amazon] and SSC141 blue [Amazon], tiny hands – [SNE327] Seiko Spirits (SBPX) – White: $225 [SBPX045] [SBPX021], Seiko Bullhead SCEB009 (don’t like top crown / quartz but good-looking Omega Speedmaster Professional homage), [Panzera Breuer 44] (bauhaus but miyota, would get ETA Hamilton Intra-Matic over it), Seiko SSC275 don’t like design, Mido Baroncelli ~$500, highly regarded brand but not well-known [Amazon] (due to its simplicity, would rather get an Orient Symphony), SNK and SNKL better than ([SNKK71 black/white SNKK65] or classic [SNK361 black/SNK355 white] or models with different day/date color as dial like SNK793 / SNE093), Seiko Ananta, Breitling Seawolf
Unavailable: Irreantum Magellan (Doxa 5000t homage) $545 (currently sold out) [Irreantum], Sea-Gull M187s $120 [Ebay], Obris Morgan Branco $229 – was a great budget watch, Orient Sparta, Halios Holotype and Bluering and Stainless Steel 1000M (Puck), Artego 300M or 500M, Seiko Premier with 6R20 or 6R15 movement (expensive $1.3k), Seiko Frankenmonster, Seafarer [BorealisWatch], Uhren von Uhr pilot watches, Down: Vostok USA
Note: Much of the research gathered here thanks to the watchaholics on reddit/r/watches and watchuseek.com forums (ie reviews, comparisons, “best value” lists)