One of the joys of watch collecting is seeing someone else enjoy wearing a watch. While there are many, many options for quartz watches that make affordable gifts, gifting a mechanical watch to the right person can allow them to discover the pleasures of owning an intricate machine that requires no electricity to power. That said, if you know the person you are considering buying a mechanical watch for would much prefer not having to set or wind a watch, by all means, choose a quartz model for them.
But if you do know someone who would appreciate a mechanical timepiece, here are our recommendations at a price that is low risk:
Timex Marlin: This is a svelte 34mm handwinder that is ideal for a gentleman whose style is subtle. You can’t beat the vintage watch proportions and understated look. Available for $199 at Timex.com
Seiko SKX007: The classic affordable diver is still the standard bearer for real dive watch with history at around the $200 mark. Get it with the rattly but oh-so-comfortable jubilee bracelet. Available for $220 at LongIslandWatch.com
Hamilton Khaki Field King Auto: Hamilton produces some of the nicest sub-$1,000 ETA-powered watches in the industry. The day-date version of their steady Khaki King field watch line is sort of the deluxe model. It’s great for the old-fashioned dad type who believes in value and the value of hard work. $745 at HamiltonWatch.com
Unimatic U1-EN BGW-09: We like the simple design of this Seiko NH35A-powered dive watch. It’s limited to 300 pieces and is perfect for your friend or family member who enjoys Italian design. $610 at MrPorter.com