In between sips of egg nog and the third run-through of the Michael Bublé Christmas soundtrack this December, you will surely be thinking of what presents you’d like Santa to bring for all your loved ones, and *ahem* maybe even yourself. Whether you know someone that’s a budding watch enthusiast or you’re just looking to give a quality gift, it’s hard to go wrong with a nice watch under the Christmas tree.
Without breaking the bank too much, here are seven excellent options ranging from $85 to $895 that would bring a smile to anyone that’s not the Grinch this holiday season! Here’s our guide to the best watches to gift this holiday season.
Swatch Turquoise Rebel
Price starts at US$85
If you’re looking to gift something fun, lightweight, and not all that expensive, it’s hard to go wrong with the Swatch Turquoise Rebel SUOL700. The turquoise-tinted transparent case is fitted with an oh-so-comfortable integrated rubber strap. A reliable quartz movement keeps the stick hands ticking along the blue-turquoise dial with easy-to-read stick indices.
The day and date indicators are color matched with the indices, giving the whole package an eye-catching, uniform look. Plus, the 30m water resistance is sufficient for playing in the snow on Christmas Day. All this for under $100 is an amazing deal.
Casio G-Shock GW-M5610
Price starts at US$150
If you’re shopping for someone that would appreciate a no-nonsense true tool watch that’s unobtrusive on the wrist, then the G-Shock GW-M5610 is the answer. The resin case and band easily absorb impact and protect the tough solar movement that’s housed within the classic square design.
At 51.7g, this is a featherweight, and it comes with a heavy amount of functions. The ability to show a second time zone and the non-flashy nature of the design make this an excellent travel watch for someone looking to explore the world. Multi-band 6 automatically corrects the time daily in reference to an atomic clock, keeping this timepiece as accurate as can be — Santa and his elves might even be using these to keep them on schedule this Christmas morning.
Timex Marlin Automatic California Dial
Price starts at US$259
One of the mesmerizing aspects of watches is seeing the balance wheel and balance spring sprint back and forth, allowing for the movement of the hands on the watch dial. Combine that with the rotor of an automatic movement going back and forth and a clear case back, and you’re in watch heaven.
This Timex Marlin offers all that at an affordable price point that’s hard to beat. The 40mm stainless steel case and acrylic crystal show off the California dial design, which mixes Roman numerals on the top half and Arabic numerals on the lower half. The classic look is completed with a 20mm wide leather strap. This is perfect for someone with a beginning interest in mechanical watches.
Price starts at US$299
Islander is a brand with an excellent quality-to-price ratio and would certainly be enjoyed by anyone that desires a solid-feeling timepiece on the wrist. This particular 43mm stainless steel model pays homage to the Seiko SKX007, and comes equipped with the extra features of a sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel insert, and the automatic NH36 movement, which supports hacking and hand-winding. The stark white, arctic-feeling dial would blend in nicely next to Frosty the Snowman.
The solid linked metal bracelet can be swapped to your favorite 22mm strap in a breeze thanks to the drilled lug holes. If you’re gifting for someone interested in mechanical tinkering, this is also an excellent platform for watch modding.
Seiko SNJ025 “Arnie”
Price starts at US$525
Is someone in your family or friend circle a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger or tough, cool watches? If yes, then the Seiko SNJ025 would be a perfect gift under the tree. Nicknamed the “Arnie”, this is the modern interpretation of the watch that Arnold wore in several 80’s movies you may or may not have seen, depending on your age. While the 47.8mm diameter might sound large, it wears much smaller due to the case shroud and bezel taking up much of the visual area.
A solar-powered analog-digital movement gives +/-15 seconds per month accuracy and allows for several extra useful functions when you’re fighting the Predator. Two extra crowns on the left side of the case for controlling the digital functions, 200 meters of water resistance, and a supple rubber strap just give this Seiko that added toughness factor that is sure to please.
Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic
Price starts at US$550
This eye-catching dive watch would be welcomed by anyone this holiday season. With its red timing bezel and screw-down crown located at the atypical 8 o’clock position, this Citizen Promaster has that little extra touch for the holiday season. The 44mm stainless steel case houses an automatic caliber 8204 movement, powering the day, date, and time functions as seen through the sapphire crystal.
The generously lumed rectangular indices and hands offer optimal legibility on those short winter days in the Northern Hemisphere. The 20mm lug width is perfect for a wide range of strap options if your gift recipient wants to switch it up from the rubber strap (if you’re feeling extra generous, consider a few NATO straps as stocking stuffers). The pufferfish, or fugu, engraving on the case back provides added fun.
Hamilton Khaki Field “Murph” 38mm
Price starting at US$895
This recent release by Hamilton would be well received by the space geek and movie buff in your life. This watch design, a.k.a. the “Murph,” played an integral part in the 2014 film Interstellar, and now it comes in a smaller-wrist-friendly 38mm stainless steel case. The exhibition case back shows off the H-10 automatic movement, which has an impressive 80 hours of power reserve — so it’ll still be keeping accurate time when you come back to it after a weekend on the ski slopes. While this new 38mm Hamilton Murph is at the higher end of our affordable watches gift list, it’s still a solid deal for a well-designed Swiss-made automatic watch.
A 20mm black leather strap keeps this watch securely wrapped around the wrist while the black dial contrasts nicely against the beige-lumed Arabic numerals and cathedral hands. A prominent crown at 3 o’clock makes this a breeze to manipulate the time; don’t forget to calculate for the effects of gravitational time dilation.
That concludes our list of top affordable watches to gift this holiday season. What are some other great watches that you would include on this list? Will you be getting a loved one a fun timepiece this winter? Or is there a watch you’d like to unwrap this season? Let us know in the comments below!