The holidays are in sight and we would like to give you some horological gift ideas for a $500 USD budget.
Since last year, we have been mainly focusing on writing about very expensive watches and accessories, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot own a nice watch or winder (for example) under $500 USD. We will keep it ‘horlogerie’ and not dare mention any of the designer watches from brands like Diesel, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein etc.
We selected three watches and three watch accessories, some even way below $500 USD if you are able to do some on-line research on how and where to get it.
First, we would like to start with a watch that has been keeping us busy for the last few weeks. It is a Japanese mechanical diver watch by Seiko – the SNZH53 to be exact. This watch is also known as the ‘Fifty Three Fathoms’, a nod to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. However, the reference number might come in handy when searching for this watch on-line. It has a mechanical self-winding movement (in-house!) and features a day and date aperture on the dial. It is a great looker, especially the blue version. This watch is a beautiful gift and can be found for under $300 USD on the internet. Add $10 USD for a matching NATO strap; the stainless steel bracelet that comes with the watch is awful. The diameter of the Seiko SNZH53 is 40mm.
Our second timepiece is an Orient Mako XL watch, also a diver with a friendly price tag (290USD). This automatic winding wrist watch is available in a variety of dial colors and is water resistant to 200 meters. This watch has the typical diver’s watch look and feel and is a bit larger than our first watch, 44.5mm in diameter. Both these choices don’t have a sapphire crystal, so be careful with scratches.
Our third and non-diver choice would be the Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Mens Watch, which can be found for just under $500 USD at websites like Amazon. It is a classic looking 40mm wrist watch that comes with a leather strap with alligator grain. We would pick the silver guilloche dial version with a brown strap! It is also the only watch in our selection that features a sapphire crystal.
Our personal preference? Although Seiko’s hardlex crystals become a bit ugly after scratches appear, we would definitely settle for this one. Beauty however, is in the eye of the beholder.
Besides watches, you are of course able to surprise a friend, spouse, or yourself with great watch gift accessories under $500 USD.
To start with our first suggestion, we chose a $30 USD book – a present that probably suits everybody’s budget. However, this book covers something we think is important for starting watch collectors. It is called ‘Cult Watches’ and that’s exactly what this book is about. ‘Cult Watches’ is written by Michael Balfour, a well known author when it comes to watch related publications. All the classics, or icons as you wish, are covered in this book. The book also features superb photography.
Second is an item that we have discussed numerous times before here at MotoringExposure – a watch winder. One of our personal favorites is the Wolf Designs watch winder for a single watch. You can use a program to set the maximum number of turns (clock wise and counter clock wise) that are perfect for your particular timepiece. Wolf Designs has them in various materials and colors, so if you know your friend well, you should be able to pick something to their likings. Our personal favorite is the Single Watch Winder with 2.7 module, in leather and with a nice wooden frame inside. The winder also runs on D-cell batteries which is very useful if you keep this winder in a safe. Expect to pay approximately $329 USD.
Last, but certainly not least, is something that will definitely be successful when unwrapping it – the Wenger Minathor watchmaker’s knife. The Swiss Army knife manufacturer created a special knife for watchmakers together with Bergeon, a company well known for their watchmaker’s tools. Approximately $180 USD isn’t cheap for a pocket knife, but only the best tools have been used by Bergeon for your watch loving friend. We personally use this watch quite often to open up cases, change leather straps or bracelets, and to resize bracelets.
Our personal preference when it comes to watch accessory gifts? The Wenger Minathor!
What gift are you putting on your wish list? Leave a comment and let us know!