Buying a watch for a watch enthusiast can be a bit of a minefield. Much buying wine for a connoisseur, watch enthusiasts have their own specific tastes for each and every brand, every movement, every color, every type.
That said, there are some general guidelines. Look over his watch collection because you can garner some ideas about his taste there.
A. Does he have a lot of watches? If he has a lot of watches with just three hands (just hour, minute and second) he may like dress watches. If he has watches with subdials (little circles on the face like the one pictured above, he may like sports watches.
B. Does he have lots of one color? If not, Blue dials & Gray Dials are hot in 2018. Those are very safe choices for a man who needs color. If not, and he dresses in suits, black and white dials are always safe.
C. Does he have a lot of one brand? If so, that’s his brand. It may be time for him to branch out because, guaranteed, he knows which one he wants to buy in that brand. Another brand may be in order. -OR- He’s probably given you 15 not-so-subtle hints about which watches he wants in that brand. Look for the occasional magazine ad or conveniently turned on iPad image.
D. What is your budget? At Burdeen’s Jewelry, we specialize in watches that are $4,000 and above, but many of our Preowned Watches are at the $1,000 level. Regardless, at this price level, they all can serve as heirlooms.
All that said, here are some amazing options for you to consider for 2018. Have fun & if you’re buying a watch, he’s going to love it, no matter what you choose!
Breitling Premier Collection
Watch Type: Dressy/Sporty
Price Range: $4,250-$8,700
We may be biased as a Breitling Authorized Dealer for more than a decade, but we think the all-new Breitling Premier is a work of art. It has a world class selection of exciting and current colors – something the old Transocean line just couldn’t grasp – as well as a classic design that skirts the line between classic and dressy.
When the watch came out, there was a contingent of enthusiasts who compared the design to the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph. While the resemblance of the white/black version of the Premier is certainly not lost on us (we do have eyes) – the Breitling is superior in every way. From the usage of the in-house 01 movement to the large selection of colors (green, blue, gray & white are all options for the 01 version) to the display back, the Premier 01 is a superior watch by every metric. At $8,700 with the Navitimer bracelet, it is a remarkable value for an in-house powered watch with Breitling’s most notable bracelet.
For all intents and purposes, the Hamilton is the Junior Varsity version of the Breitling. Anyone who thinks differently just needs to compare them in person.
Now, that’s just the 01. If you’re looking for a chronograph for a little less coin and can forgo a panda dial and display back, the $6,550 Chronograph 42 is perfect for you. It is powered by a Breitling B13 movement (read: Valjoux 7750 – not that there’s anything wrong with that.) If all the complication you need is contained in a second hand, then the Premier Automatic 40 is just the ticket at $4,750.
Breitling made a complete lineup for just about any watch enthusiast.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Collection
Watch Type: Dressy & Sporty
Price Range: $5,400-$29,200 (Rose Gold)
The Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M, like the Premier, is a spectacular dress watch – especially in the mid-$5000 range. At 41 mm, its actual size belies its “wear” size. In other words, this watch wears a bit larger than other 41 mm watches thanks to its polished bezel. As for the dial, the subtle turn from vertical lines on older models to horizontal on this year’s version brought a sudden sporty change that makes it an excellent choice for both the boardroom and your husband’s mancave.
Omega’s myriad of color choices place this watch directly against the likes of the Rolex Explorer II and GMT Master II for best looking tool watch currently on the market. Unlike the Rolexes, Omegas aren’t forged from artificially market-adjusted Unobtainum and you can walk into your corner Authorized Dealer like Burdeen’s Jewelry and buy one from regular stock.
Plus, given that you actually have the choice of the spectacular blue hands/silver, orange hands/black indices, rose gold/black, blue/white and more. Like most Omega timepieces these days, these watches are powered by in-house movements – this time the Omega 8900 movement. For dual purpose watches that you can actually find – you can’t do much better than the Aqua Terra.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Collection
Watch Type: Sporty
Price Range: $6,750-$23,900 (Rose Gold Chronograph)
While the list so far may have been on the dressy side of luxury, the Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris is much more on the sporty side – a decided departure from the norm for JLC. Funny thing is, the Polaris Chronograph has some cosmetic features in common with the dressy Premier. However, the small Tachymetre numbers and the mixing of numerals with indices give it a sporty edge that other watches can’t match.
Powered the JLC Calibre 751H movement, the Polaris Chronograph is expertly finished. Get it on a bracelet and it can serve as your one and only watch – given it’s skirting the line between dressy and sporty. This watch is just as at home with a pair of jeans as a sports jacket, and will serve just about any setting – save for a tuxedo – and how many times have you worn a tuxedo? The 751H powers the Chronograph for 65 hours, making it an easy wear for both collections of one and large watch collections.
The Polaris was a welcome addition to the Jaeger lineup for 2018 – especially considering one of the sportiest watches on the lineup is the Reverso – a watch that has decidedly aged well beyond its polo roots.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver Collection
Watch Type: Sporty/Diver
Price Range: $7,900-$12,000 (Rose Gold Limited Edition)
UN has one of the widest varieties of fine watches this side of A. Lange & Söhne. If you want a tourbillon, you got it. If you want a world timer, you got it. Every once in a while, Ulysse Nardin comes out with your every day, normal timepiece and we applaud them for it. This time, we have a standard 300 meter diver: the all-new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronometer.
Diver enthusiasts can buy this gorgeous watch in titanium or rose gold, and can get it in black, white or blue. Plus, like many other UN watches, it comes chock full of complications like a Power Reserve, Date Wheel and Small Seconds. Starting at $7,900, the Diver Chronometer isn’t just a derivative of the Rolex Submariner like so many other dive watches, but stands alone on its two feet.
If anything, it’s more along the lines of the IWC Aquatimer because of the nubs around the rotating bezel. Powered by the UN-118 movement, this watch comes complete with an in-house movement, a display back and a power reserve. Like many other UNs, the Diver Chronometer is an outsized value for what you get – in addition to its novelty in a marketplace full of Submariner clones.
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
Watch Type: Sporty/Diver
Price Range: $3,800-$42,000 (Rose Gold Limited Edition)
The list of Grand Seiko fanatics out there may not be long, but it sure is devoted. Therefore, if you’re looking for the perfect present for the watch enthusiast in your life, but have no idea what to get him, Grand Seiko may be just the ticket. Watch enthusiasts are a devoted bunch and typically have their favorite brand. Much like car enthusiasts, many assume they know everything about watches.
Surprise them with something truly special. Grand Seikos are known for movement quality (both the Spring Drive and Hi-Beat 36,000 are well-known amongst watch circles as some of the finest and most accurate in the world). But the one thing holding them back has long been boring dials and cases.
Starting with the Snowflake last year, there has been a concerted effort to make GS watches more exciting. So while some enthusiasts may have respected Grand Seikos from afar, they also may not have ponied up because they were just too conservative for their wrists.
Our favorites for the line? SBGH267G “Blue Peacock”; SBGA211G Snowflake, SBGJ227 Peacock, SBGA387G “Glacier.” These watches are sure to peak the interest of even the most battle-hardened watch enthusiast who has seen everything.
Panerai Luminor Due
Watch Type: Sporty/Diver
Price Range: $5,900-$24,900 (Rose Gold Limited Edition)
If you’re new to the Panerai lineup, like we are, then the Panerai lineup probably still looks pretty similar to you. Starting at $6,400, the Luminor Due is a great entryway into Panerai. With the Due line, not only do you get the crown guard that has become Panerai (and the Luminor) staple, you also get the wearability of a thinner watch. In fact, that’s what sets the Due lineup apart from the rest of the larger Luminor line – its thinness.
In addition, Panerai has given the Due more modern design cues such as sunburst and other textured dials. Plus, Panerai has also eschewed the Henry Ford school of color with the Due line as well. You can get the Due with white dials, gray dials, blue dials, and cream dials. Our personal favorites are the rose gold/gray dial 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso 45 mm and the titanium 3 Days Automatic Tianio 45mm.
With so much variety, a thinner case and more style, the Luminor Due is a great trim to get your first Panerai. Or, if you’re a Paneristi, it’s something you need to add to your collection.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia
Watch Type: Dressy
Price Range: $15,000 (Saxonia Thin) -$178,400 (Lange 31)
Let it be known here that while we believe all Langes are spectacular watches with stunning emphasis on craftsmanship, even as an Authorized Dealer, there is one known issue: you either love or hate the styling of the Lange 1.
Yes, that Lange 1 – golden ratio and all.
So, if you’re looking for a gift for the established watch collector and have some coin, and are gifting a guy who already has his fair share of Vacherons and Pateks, then the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia is the way to go. Its styling is classic and approachable and still has all of the craftsmanship and finishing of the greater A. Lange & Söhne lineup. That’s why, if it’s for a gift, we would choose a Saxonia.
After all, you don’t want to be spending five figures on a watch he’ll potentially hate – whether or not it’s made out of precious metals and has finishing better than a Patek Philippe.
That, friends and neighbors, is the Burdeen’s Jewelry 2018 Holiday Men’s Watch Gift Guide. We’ll see you next time for more.