Best Value Automatic Watches

Desirable Watch features:
– A good movement. Automatic (winded by wrist-movement) and Manual (winded manually) types are considered “mechanical” and charges last ~40 hours. Quartz is most accurate, powered by battery (lifetime ~2 years). Some Quartz types self-recharge battery (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, have to worry about wearing on a weekly basis (if batteries fully discharge they get 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. Seiko movements are made in-house varying from low to premium quality, while premium brands ie Rolex make movements in-house for their top models.
– 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: Watches aren’t investments; don’t buy watches priced such that you’re scared of scratches causing loss of value. High prices also carry high maintenance (upwards of $600 for a $10k Rolex). Take your time shopping as there are many watches and your tastes will change over time. For more “lifelike” pics, look them up on Google Images or Youtube. ~38mm size is more classic while 42mm+ is more sporty.
 
Watch Diagram:
rolex Watch Diagram
 

Best Value Automatics

Budget Automatic: ~$80-130 Orient Bambino
Amphibia Vostok (Russian divers) ~$80 [Smirs, eBay, Meranom, Chistopolcity, Julian Kampmann Poljot24 Russia, Vostok USA]
Sekonda ~$80 [eBay] (Another Russian watch but classy, only cheap if bought used)

HMT (Indian classy) $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 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)

Citizen Eco-Drive (solar): ie AU1040-08E $120 [Amazon], Chronograph AO9003 $180: AO9003-08E [Amazon Black 08E, White 16A, Amazon]

Sea-Gull Rodina: (Bauhaus style, Nomos Tangente homage, sapphire, seagull movement) $120 [Amazon, eBay], or Other Seagull brand Automatic [Amazon, Seagull]

Chinese homages: Parnis (Seagull movements, Panerai / IWC homages), Getat, Tiger Concept (Divers), Alpha are decent cheap chinese brands, but hit or a miss quality. Parnis bracelets > Alpha


Women’s / Ladies Watches Seiko SSC893 Solar
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 Seiko SNK Unisex [Amazon] or Seiko Solar Ladies [Amazon] (examples: Chronograph SSC893 $290 [Amazon], Baguette SUP044 [Amazon], SUT128 [Amazon], SUT015 [Amazon])

Cartier Tank homage: Seiko SUP237 Solar $100 [Amazon], (for women the first looks more iconic than the men’s vertical rectangle) Seiko SUP250 Solar $100 (smaller than the Men’s SUP880) [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:Flieger B Dial and A Dial
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 <42mm models) but more interesting than A dial. Also, you may request a rivetless strap. Laco, Stowa, IWC, Wempe, and A. Lange & Söhne were the original 5 manufacturers for the German WWII Luftwaffe (Air Force) but usually expensive $700+.
Poljot $100-$200 Russian aviators [eBay]

Ticino $200 Miyota, both retailers at [TicinoWatches], ie [Ticino Type A] (Ticino is better than Parnis)

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]

Steinhart $455 ETA [A dial 44mm, B dial 44mm, B dial 47mm] (note the titanium ones not listed here are $469 with vintage-yellow font).

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:Steinhart Ocean 1 Black Submariner homage James Bond
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 than SNZF17 / SNZF15 / SRP553. Add the superb Super Oyster bracelet: Evo S (solid end links) $70 from (email yobokies@yahoo.com.hk), Secondarily: Type 2 from [WJean eBay], or a Snapcode [Amazon]

Seiko Poor Man’s Marine Master (PMMM, Seiko MM300 homage): Have yobokies@yahoo.com.hk 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)

Seiko Used Classic 6309-7040: $150-$300 [eBay, eBay reputable seller Loyswatch] is better than the 6306. Can’t trust watertight integrity (might leak) unless fully restored and pressure tested.

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 Vintage Military (OVM) $400 (Rolex Submariner 5513 homage, most famous military-issued dive watch, as seen in the classic James Bond 007 movies) [Steinhart]
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: Irreantum Magellan
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]

Seiko Tunas: Baby Tuna SRP637 [Amazon], Seiko Fieldmaster SBDL021 [Amazon]

Other Seikos: Seiko SRP357 [Amazon], Seiko Solar Chronographs: SSC015 $205 [Amazon], SSC017 $205 [Amazon]

Tauchmeister (Tuna Can Divers) $200 sapphire and sea-gulls/miyotas, ie: T0256M XXL 52mm [Tauchmeister], T0257M 44mm [Tauchmeister]

Citizen Ecozilla $200 (Solar) [Amazon, eBay]

Makara Bronze Diver: great value bronze $300 (usually bronze have high premiums for no reason, albeit Seiko auto) [Makara Sea Turtle, Makara Hawksbill Sea Turtle]

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

Irreantum Magellan (Doxa 5000t homage) $545 (currently sold out) [Irreantum]


Sporty Chronograph homages (note: automatic chronograph is hard to find affordable) Rotary Breitling Navitimer homage
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, eBay 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]

Automatic: Seiko SSA Series no chrono $200 [Amazon SSA005, SSA003, SSA001]

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], Also Invicta Speedway (many models) [Amazon] ie Speedway 9211 [Amazon]

Solar: Seiko SSC243 (no tachymeter) [Amazon], Seiko Speedmaster SBDM013 $900 [Amazon], Citizen AT0810-12E [Amazon], BL5470-06A [Amazon], BL5250-02L [Amazon]

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, Vostok USA] 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 G-Shock Rangeman
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.


Mid-level Classy Automatic ~$200-~$600Steinhart Marine Chronometer II Roman
Sea-Gull $220+ [US Seagull] ie D58

Android (Seiko $140 and Miyota $240 is well priced but ETA expensive at $600+) [Amazon, Amazon miyota, Amazon ETA, eBay], ie Divemaster 200, Octopus, Mechanical Chrono

Bernhardt Binnacle Anchor Miyota movement $259 [Bernhardt Anchor Black, Bernhardt Anchor II]

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]

Seiko SSA (skeleton eye) [Amazon] or Coutura [Amazon]

Steinhart Triton 40 ATM $485 [SteinhartWatches]

Vintage Watches: Buran (Russian, made by Poljot ex-employees) good deal depends on the movement and condition $200-$500 [eBay] ie the Buran Sibiria / Siberia [eBay]

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 yobokies@yahoo.com.hk and add a better Oyster bracelet, Seiko SNKM77 [Amazon] (other models may work) + $50 worth of dagaz parts (dial and hands)


High-Level Classy Automatic $600+ (all ETA movements)Stowa Marine Chrono
Precista PRS-20 $580 is a good value Panerai Radiomir homage [Timefactors]

Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 (ie 3 hands) $655 [Amazon], DS Action Diver $700 [Amazon] (Note: little hard to find even though big brand in Swatch group) [eBay]

Christopher Ward C65 ~$750 tad expensive [CW] and Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro (semi Omega Seamaster homage) $850 [CW]

Squale 50 ATMOS (500 m) Shiny and beautiful, coin edge bezel $830 [Amazon]

Stowa Antea $850 beautiful Bauhaus [StowaShop], Stowa Marine Original [StowaShop], Stowa Chronograph $1500 [StowaShop]

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]

Mido Multifort $800 [eBay, Amazon Multiforts], or Mido All Dial $800 [eBay, Amazon All Dial], or Mido Baroncelli Chronograph [eBay, Amazon]

Longines Hydroconquest (diver) $1k Modern submariner, 80 years of horse racing history [eBay, Amazon]

Steinhart Marine-Officer Bronze chronograph $900 [Steinhart]


GMT / World Time Watches (In Progress)
Citizen AT9010-52E [Amazon]

Steinhart GMT-Ocean 1 Black (Rolex GMT Master II homage) [Steinhart], Steinhart Vintage GMT $440 [Steinhart]


Beautiful but slightly overpriced or expensive:Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope
Magrette Regattare $545 beautiful but Miyota movement [Magrette] or Vantage Bronze [Magrette]

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

Seiko Tuna “Tuna Can” diver look (albeit quartz) $900 [Black Bezel Amazon, SS Bezel Amazon], Baby Tuna $500 [Amazon] (you can buy a SS – Stainless Steel shroud to replace the black)

Junghans Max Bill Automatic (classic Bauhaus, but plexiglass, $850, $1800 for chronograph “Chronoscope”) [eBay]

Longines Column Wheel Chronograph L688 (inhouse) movement [eBay]

Other Value In-house Movement Watches: Nomos, vintage Rolex Datejust / Rolex Oyster Perpetual Airking, vintage hand wind Hamilton 770
 

Conclusions & Favorites

After all the research, concluded: get an automatic watch, don’t spend much more than $300 on a non-Swiss movement (unless it’s a premium Seiko or a very high quality watch with Miyota). Personal opinion is only get one or two watches, preferably versatile (both professional and casual), and don’t spend much more than $500 each, unless it is gold (as decent-condition gold watches sometimes go for ~$500-$600 on eBay). Regarding homages, I would rather get one by a decent company (that looks a little different) instead of a cheap Chinese copy that looks the same as the real thing.
For ultra-budget $60: SNK795 (modern) [black Amazon, white SNK789]

For ~$200, a favorite budget tool watch is the classic diver 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 [Amazon].

For best value high quality classiness at ~$200-500, Seiko SARB035 or SARB033 at ~$380 [035 Amazon, eBay] [033 Amazon, eBay], or Steinhart Marine ie $480 [Marine Chronometer II Roman]. A great-quality value chronograph option is the Perpetual Chronograph C-01 $380 (currently sold out). For a great classy budget option, the Orient Vintage Power Reserve $200 [Amazon] or a Perpetual Regulator R-01 $170 (currently sold out).
 
 
 
 
 
 


Watch Straps/Bracelets:
Metal Bracelet Types:
Watch 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.

Brands:
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: Bergeon 6767-F Watch Spring Bar Tool (F-tool) $25 [Amazon], this F-tool is for metal bracelets. The Bergeon 6767-S (S-tool) [Amazon] is for leather and rubber bands (the F tool is too easy to accidentally damage a leather strap because it is more fine). You either need to purchase both tools or buy the other tip at $8-15. Bergeon is much better than the cheaper non-branded Spring Bar Tools ie the popular [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: 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]

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 (ie Dive Master 500, quartz), Panerai (super expensive and not in-house movement), RXW?, Hager $600 miyota

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, Helson great new company but expensive $600 miyota and $900+ swiss, Ancon $600+ miyota, Kazimon $2k, Junkers Bauhaus 6060 (mineral glass, better to get real deal Junghans), Frederique Constant ($600 quartz), Doxa, Ball, Marathon GSAR (rather get seiko monster), Tissot PRC 200 (quartz) and Seastar 1000 (expensive)

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

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)

Unavailable: 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

Custom-made / Single Person Producer: [Davidsen] – Panerai homages, [Helenarou] – Panerai homages, same guy Panerai homages [Dajiwatch] and [Manbushijie]

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)

Comments

  1. Paul Schneider says:
  2. Jared Steadman says:

    Hey. Like the article. I agree with most of your conclusions. I own a Steinhart GMT with ceramic bezel and and a CW C60. Future purchases will be Steinhart OMV, Hamilton Lord Jazzmaster. Also like the look of Sekio SKX007, great value.
    I know what you mean about Rolexs, but that GMT II keeps calling :)
    I’m also keeping my eyes open for a new dress watch. Top of the list so far are either a new Tissot or Hamilton, or a second hand Omega from eBay. Just not sure on automatic movements that are 40 years old.
    Cheers.
    Ps. I also looked at the Prometheus dress watches – also very nice.

    • examinedliving says:

      Wow you have two amazing watches already! Not sure if I would need the OVM or Jazzmaster after those :) Yes I like the Tissots for a dress watch (maybe Le Locle or Visodate) or for a better “investment” a used solid gold Omega De Ville on eBay. You’re right the Prometheus Dress Watch looks amazing!!! I’m too much of an ETA or upscale Seiko movement fanboy to accept the Sellita movement in it though :( But I didn’t know that was out there, thanks for mentioning it :)

      Thank you for commenting!

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