Regardless if it’s a thoughtful present intended to spread the holiday cheer or a well-earned time keeper to reward yourself with, wrist watches and their symbolic nature can raise quite a fuss. To make sure you can navigate the tricky waters of selecting just the right Christmas present this year for you or your loved ones, we at Montredo have put our creative heads together and cooked up what we think are the best 12 watches to place under that flashy decorated tree this year. Many of these stellar time pieces have a mechanical movement that isn’t battery powered. However, with a few exceptions, we’re going to focus more on affordability to ensure your bank isn’t broken post-holiday. Due to its timeless technology, its high grade workmanship, and visual appeal; a watch can be forever. By the same token, we want to make sure you don’t end up with an unwanted high end time piece that just wasn’t the right stocking stuffer this yuletide either. Luxury watches aren’t always cheap, but they don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Read on!
1. Hamilton Khaki Field Chronograph
Pilot watches and heritage chronographs command the Khaki Collection from the watch manufacturer Hamilton. For just about 1,000.- € (GBP 712.-), a chronograph with an automatic winding mechanism and a fitting date/week time display can be checked out at the register. There’s a version with a black and white dial, for the more monochrome shoppers among us. Even though 42 millimetres isn’t really considered oversized, those with thinner wrists should rather snag a smaller size. Luckily, the Khaki Collection has got that base covered as well with their 38-40 mm sized watch offerings.
2. Junghans Max Bill Automatic
At the beginning of the 1960’s this watch collection, originally conceptualised by the Swiss artist Max Bill, still captivates with its fresh design and barebone aesthetics. The automatic version depicted above has a relatively small case measurement of 38 mm, yet still manages to pull off the feel of a 39-40 due to its rather large dial. There’s also a quartz watch model and a manual winding in a much smaller size (34 mm). Thanks to its smooth architecture and thin appearance, almost everyone can pull off wearing this watch and wear it with style.
3. Tudor Grantour
How could it possibly be a bad thing when Rolex with its secondary brand Tudor offers high class sports watches for modest prices? The Grantour is more of a modern piece, with a case measurement of 42 mm that reflects the new-age range of men’s sportswatches. The Tudor Grantour is, along with the dial version in the photo above, also available in a rich black and as a Flyback chronograph.
4. Longines Conquest Heritage
Longines offers some mechanical wrist watches with outstanding price-performance ratio. Measuring at 40 mm, it’s just about perfect for almost every type of wrist it’ll be fastened on. Totally in the style of older Conquest pieces from the 40’s, this reflective beauty is also available with a white dial.
5. Oris Artelier Small Second Pointer Day
Just like Hamilton and Junghans, Oris is just one of those manufacturers that makes fantastic watches for sweet prices that won’t decimate whatever cash is in your account. The Oris Atelier above has a weekday display, that isn’t adjusted with a rotating disc, but rather is displayed with the help of a pointer. It’s an extraordinary timepiece and compliments its wearers rather than just stealing the limelight. At 44mm, the Oris Artelier is going to look best on those of us with larger wrist sizes.
6. Rolex Datejust
The Rolex Datejust went down in the pages of history as one of the first wrist watches with an automatic date change feature. One of the most valued automatic movements of the world ticks in this luxurious piece with its practically indestructible and highly accurate attributes. The Datejust comes in the version photographed here in steel with its hour markers, grooved bezel, and dark blue dial. However, just in case of different directions in taste, it’s also available with a smooth bezel with different coloured dials, case and bracelet variations. There’s something for everyone in the Datejust and the likelihood of any long faces when unwrapping the packaging of a Rolex on Christmas is, well, slim to none.
7. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Co-Axial
The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra is a sure bet, when it comes to any question of a wrist watch fitting just right. Its unobtrusive visuals embody like almost no other model refinement and robustness. Only the finest in materials and components are used in an Aqua Terra. Pictured here is the younger generation of Master Co-Axial. It’s unimpressed by any random magnet fields that may pop up to 15,000 Gauss. It also has an exceptional power reserve at around 60 hours. The Seamaster Aqua Terra is offered in measurements of 38.5, 41.5 and 43.
8. TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time Automatic
Originally developed after the legendary Rallye Carrera Panamericana, this watch icon was intended as a well-conditioned time measurer with a stop function for open road motor racing. However, now that a few years have passed, along with the chronographs there is also an innumerable amount of more refined three handed watches available. This Carrera Twin-Time is capable of showing a second time zone that can be read off of the 24-hour hand. It’s not bossy with its 39 mm diameter and everyone with thin or mid-sized wrist proportions might want to check this out.
9. Tudor Black Bay
It’s hard to give Tudor its due with just one spot in this list. This one is a Heritage Black Bay that takes a leaf right out of Rolex’s Submariner book. Tudor throws its customers an extra high quality bone in the form of a second sporty textile bracelet, free of charge, which it includes in its delivery. Ringing in at 41 mm, the Black Bay is very versatile and fits anyone with thin to wide wrists. Along with the model above in Burgundy red, this watch is also available in dark blue with a black bezel. It’s a high grade sports watch at an affordable price and sure to make this year’s gift giving a pleasure.
10. Longines Heritage 40 Chronograph
The reference number L27494724 is yet another Longines with a retro style that has made its way into our Top 12 list. This timeless chronograph from one of the oldest and most famous Swiss watchmakers is 40 mm and available in a brown crocodile leather bracelet with a light coloured seam.
11. Maurice Lacroix Les Classiques Guilloche
The Les Classiques collection from Maurice Lacroix consists of classic looking watches that don’t belong to any fashion fads. This version with stainless steel and a silver dial has gold coloured face details e.g. the indexes, the hands, and the encasement of the date display. The dial is partially needle etched which causes a two-tone effect on its wearer. At 40 mm, the watch fits all wrist sizes and is a sure bet for Christmas. It can be purchased at Montredo for just shy of 1,000 € (GBP 655.-).
12. Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Calendar
The Reverso from Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the most famous watch models and largely revered by many. With a rotating case, originally intended as additional protection while playing a round of Polo, it stands for timeless Art Déco elegance. This Reverso has a fully fleshed out calendar that doesn’t just show the date, but also the week day, the month, and even the current phase of the moon. While it displays the name of Grande at 48.5 x 29.5 mm, the Reverso isn’t exceptionally big, so long as the measurement includes the lugs. For those of you that prefer smaller watches, we can definitely suggest the Reverso in the standard size of 38.8 x 23.5 mm. This attractive time keeper doesn’t have an automatic movement, but rather a manual winding one, that can be wound in regular intervals courtesy of the crown.