Looking for affordable dress wrist watches

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Leacock, May 13, 2016.

  1. Leacock

    Leacock Familiar Face

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Dominion of Canada
    I am looking for cheaper wristwatches, I know some don't blink at spending a grand on a watch but I just don't have the budget.

    Basically I am looking for a traditional, stylish wrist watch that would not look out of place with a suit (and would be thin enough not to be overly conspicuous under such a suit) and preferably has all of the numbers written on it as well so that it can easily be used.

    Even quartz would be fine with me so long as it looked good, and was a reliable, attractive watch that could be worn daily and still last years.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for those in the market for a budget dress watch?
     
  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,416
    Location:
    New York City
    Since you are on Fedora Lounge, I assume you like vintage things, so one direction you might want to consider is vintage watches. I own several that I've paid between $100 - $300 for in good working condition. I've had very good success with Ebay, but you could also go direct to dealers - cost a bit more, but they usually warranty the working condition for some period of time.

    Which leads me to my one caveat. While buying a vintage watch in good working order can be done easily for the price range I noted above, you will have to service the watch, on average I've found, about every 2 - 3 years and that can cost $75 - $150. I have had a few that have gone for a long time with no servicing and some that seem to need tinkering every other year.

    Hence, while the introductory cost is very reasonable, they are not as inexpensive to own as newer watches that rarely need anything done to them for a long time. That said, IMHO, the beauty, history and feel of the older watches are worth the extra cost - but that all depends on budget.

    I bought this one for (about, I'm close but might be slightly off) $225 two years ago and have not done a thing to it yet.

    [​IMG]

    Last thought, if you want to go new, I believe Hamilton has a vintage collection (or some similar name) with some very classic vintage-style designs in the $600 range. Much more upfront cost, but they will not - my guess - cost as much over time to service as a true vintage.

    Good luck - I hope this helps.
     
    William G. and Mark G like this.
  3. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,147
    Location:
    New Forest
    Just as Fading Fast urges caution, so to do I. For my tip, rather than recommendation, is Stauer Watches. Online, I have only ever seen negative comments about the company. The most regular of those comments being, cheap Chinese trash. My good lady bought me a Stauer as an anniversary gift. It's a replica of a 1930's wind up. On the wrist, it's actually self winding. I wear it with anything black. For all the negative comments that I have read, my Stauer keeps perfect time, looks the part and has never gone wrong. It's a jewelled movement rather than quartz. This is the watch, with the exception that this one has a stainless steel casing whilst mine is gold.
    Stauer can be a pain with unwanted advertising, but as they never had our email address, all they could do was to post catalogues in the mail. After sending them back, return to sender, meaning that Stauer has to pay the postage, the mail shots stopped.
     
  4. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,815
    Location:
    The Swamp
    The Stauers are indeed good-looking watches, and I'm pleased to hear they work out well.

    There are also Japanese watches that I understand are top-notch timekeepers, such as Orient's and Seiko's automatic (self-winding) watches. Most of them can only be bought online; I've never seen a Seiko automatic at a department store or jewelry store. Here is a website where some folk on Watchuseek.com have purchased Orients without trouble: http://www.watches88.com/pd-orient-star-classic-power-reserve-automatic-collection-wz0261el.cfm

    And another highly respected seller of Japan Domestic Market (JDM) watches: http://www.seiyajapan.com/ I keep meaning to buy one of those Seiko Alpinists with the green dial.
     
    Leacock likes this.
  5. Leacock

    Leacock Familiar Face

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Dominion of Canada
    Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone, please let me know if you have any more suggestions or words of warning!


    My concern with vintage (aside from the cost of maintaining them) is the risk of being ripped off - I am simply too ignorant and there is so much to learn.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,416
    Location:
    New York City
    Yes there is a lot to learn, but you can protect yourself even without much knowledge at all if you (1) stay in the $100 - $300 range, (2) check that the seller on Ebay has a very good long-term rating or the dealer in your neighborhood is reputable and (3) spend a few weeks watching sales of watches you like / watches that are similar to what you want to buy. If you do that, you might pay $25 or $50 more than ideal, but if you get a vintage watch in good working order from a reliable seller / dealer - you won't have gone that wrong in the price range noted.

    I own about five bought in that price range - have a little knowledge now, but none when I started and never got ripped off versus sales that I've seen go through on Ebay before and after (and my Ebay purchases are always meaningfully less than dealer prices on the same or similar watches).

    I do appreciate your concern, but think if you do the steps noted above, you'll be okay. For me, I'd rather pay, say, $250 for a 1930s watch than $500 for a new Hamilton, even though I know over the next five or so years there's a fifty-fifty shot I'll put that $250 difference into my vintage watch in servicing. Again, for me, there is just something enjoyable about true vintage items.

    Good luck in whatever direction you take and please show us what you ultimately buy.
     
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    21,631
    Location:
    London, UK
    I've also had good experiences with watches from Vostok and Poljot - Russian brands.Vostok especially used to supply the USSR military (I think they still do some stuff for the Russian Fed forces). Lovely watches, usually in the region of GBP30-40 (USD50-60). Keep excellent time, available in waterproof, automatic and hand-winding varieties. They have some models going back to the late forties, others with a sort of late-fifties / early-James-Bond type aesthetic.
     
  8. Cocker

    Cocker Practically Family

    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    Belgium
    If you want to go for something a bit more "sporty", I only have good things to say about the Invicta 8926. They are pretty neat Submariner look-a-like, self winding, the mechanism is pretty good and you can swap for nearly every watch band you'd like. Aevig seems to have some pretty nice watches too!

    On the vintage market, I'd look for the Seiko 5 series.
     
  9. Grayland

    Grayland One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,900
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    jswindle2 likes this.
  10. Steve27752

    Steve27752 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    171
    Location:
    Ascot, Berkshire, U.K.
    I also have a Bambino, but the gold plated version.
     
  11. Talbot

    Talbot One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Plus one on the Orient watch. They are excellent value. I wear an Orient Shark for harsh jobs (these last 5 + years) and can not fault it.

    The Bambino is larger than most vintage watches, however many mid century watches (Doxa and Tissot come to mind) were close to this size in their time.
     
  12. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,815
    Location:
    The Swamp
    I like the Bambino's looks and other features enormously --- but as I understand it, the movement doesn't hack; you can't set it to the second. That's part of the fun with an automatic watch, to see how close to quartz accuracy it can come. Other Orients, the Orient Star line, do hack, but of course cost more.

    Still, that domed crystal gives the Bambino a very vintage look.
     
  13. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,575
    Location:
    Australia
    The hacking function never interests me. If you want the exact time your mobile will tell you that. I have a few automatic watches from Omega to Cyma but I find Seiko's the best. Pretty accurate and they just run for ever without servicing. The movements are not elegant like some of the Swiss ones but they are not as sensitive and fragile either - they are workhorses. Currently wearing the new Seiko retro inspired Diver's watch. Always wanted a cushion case like this back in the day.
     
    swinglish likes this.
  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    21,631
    Location:
    London, UK
    Is there a ladies' version? The "female" version of a modern watch, if available, is usualky vintage mansize.

     
  15. kaiser

    kaiser A-List Customer

    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    Germany, NRW, HSK

    Agree on the Seikos, I have a SKX007 diver from 1996 that has been worn regularly and has not seen a service. Very good value watches.
     
  16. AdeeC

    AdeeC Practically Family

    Messages:
    646
    Location:
    Australia
    For something different but with classic vintage style. There are plenty of NOS Seagull watches from the 70's and 80's available. Get ones with the ST5 movement. These were the best watches coming out of China at the time and not trash. Hand made with 19 or 29 jewel movements and stainless steel cases. Great watches and cheap. I have a couple.
     
  17. Warlord of The Weejuns

    Warlord of The Weejuns New in Town

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    I bought this Circa 1930's square watch from J. Peterman. I liked it so much I bought a second one this time for Amazon because Peterman no longer advertized it. I had the band changed to black and wear it with my tuxedo. It was about $120.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Talbot

    Talbot One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    ^^^^^Not bad. Is it.....quartz?
     
  19. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

    Messages:
    4,561
    Location:
    Michigan
    Rado makes a great winder watch, Swiss made, you can find them on eBay and most of the nicer vintage such as a "Purple Horse" model are less then $300.00 They have some that seem to be very desirable for collectors. I personally think the Starliner 999 model with a half black/half silver dial face is super nice. The case is I think 38mm wide?
     
  20. Talbot

    Talbot One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Yes, its quartz, but circa have some good designs. Thanks for the heads up!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.