Originally Posted by halfnhalfnhalf
Hi all, first post in this thread - I hope I'm not retreading well-worn ground. Looking for a suggestion or two for a versatile, classy, timelessly styled, and decent quality watch. Here are my parameters:
(1) between $500 and $1K
(2) silver bezel
(3) white dial
(5) black leather strap
(6) analog (duh)
Made and/or assembled in the USA would be a big plus.
The closest I've found to hitting all of these marks is the Shinola brand, but I'm worried they may be overpriced for what you get, and frankly I'm having trouble getting past the name. I've also come across Hamilton - their retro pieces are gorgeous and seem to be a good value, but I'm gathering they're not made in the USA anymore.
Any ideas anyone cares to share would be greatly appreciated - thanks in advance!
I'd encourage you to continue browsing this thread as well as the watch appreciation thread and also some other sites like Timezone and build up your knowledge before plunking down that kind of money. There are dozens and dozens of quality brands out there at that price point and there's no reason you can't find something very nice that will hold your attention for years, and even if you graduate to more expensive, higher-end watches.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
Made or assembled in the USA is a noble thought but not likely to happen. I have also looked at Shinola and to be frank, I like their designs. I even like the story about investing in Detroit and training and employing blue-collar assembly people. But though the watch is technically assembled in the USA, it is made from imported components and it is a quartz movement.
You did not mention in your stipulations what kind of movement you prefer. I would encourage you, in the price range you've indicated, to look for a mechanical watch over a quartz one. Quartz movements will keep better time, but they lack the art and heritage of mechanical movements. Maybe that's a Luddite's view of the world, but I think it's a commonly held view around here. Someone else can probably say it more artfully than I can, but I find it's a lot more romantic to know that there are springs and gears and bearings and precisely machined and fitted components clicking together in harmony to give me the time. There's also value in that design and craftsmanship; I can't imagine a scenario in which I'd pay more than $500 for a quartz watch.
With that out of the way, there are a thousand wonderful options in your price range for steel watches with round white dials that are available with leather straps. Some will have very classic designs, some modern, some with baton markers, some with numbers, some with painted dials, some with applied, some sporty, some dressy, some with big 40mm dials, some with smaller 32mm dials, etc etc etc. You would do well to just read this thread for pages and pages and pages because there are a thousand good suggestions herein. Look at the pictures, google the watch names, browse around the sites that sell them.
You will find some commonality between many of the options. A great deal of the watches in this range will use movements from ETA, a swatch subsidiary that mass produces mechanical movements and sells them to many different brands, some Swatch-owned, some not. Hamilton, which is owned by Swatch and is a revival of the classic American brand, makes a number of handsome American-styled watches.
Here is a variety of decent watches in your price range that I like and that fit your general comments, across a few different styles and brands.Hamilton Khaki Field Officer
, $680 on Overstock, 42mm dialHamilton Jazzmaster
, $490 on Amazon, 40mm dial
There are several Seikos I would recommend, very handsome watches, though a little staid for my personal tastes. But the Seiya site is down for now, which is the place to buy them. Should be online in the next few days; I gather they are making some changes.Stowa Marine Original
, 773 Euro without VAT - probably a bit out of your $1000 limit but this is a personal fave of mine. 41mm case.
There are tons of other brands to consider. There's a very nice Tissot on this very page. There are a number of less expensive options, like Orient, Seagull, Parnis. You might even start with Parnis - they have almost what I'd call toy watches - $120 will buy you any watch on their site (http://www.parniswatch.net/
) and they are essentially a bunch of homage watches to classic designs. You can just have fun with them and not worry too much if they get beat up or broken or lost. I have one and it takes a beating and works perfectly fine.
Good luck, have fun. Start by reading this whole thread.