How to Choose a Watch He’ll Love for Father’s Day

June 16, 2017 By swj-eric

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Ah, the love affair between men and wristwatches. Even though, historically, they’ve only been around for a short time (the first genuine wristwatches appeared in the 19th century), they’ve taken hold as an accessory that men just can’t quit.

Honestly, with smartphones that keep far better time and a clock of some sort nearly everywhere we look, it seems amazing anyone even wastes time with watches anymore.

Until you understand that, to the watch aficionado, it’s about much more than function.

Yes, fashion does enter into the picture, but it’s about even more than that. For many, it’s the difference between a brand new Prius and a vintage muscle car. Or a newly built home versus a historic bungalow with all the original woodwork.

It’s not about efficiency and accuracy – it’s about quality,craftsmanship and design.

Sorry, No Quartz Allowed

OK, quartz is allowed if your guy values function over form and your budget is modest. Quartz watches run on batteries and are actually more accurate than mechanical watches, but their jerky second hand sweep and inelegant inner workings are scorned by true watch devotees.

If you have the budget, really want to knock his socks off and give him a piece that can be passed on to the next generation (not to mention save him from getting picked on by his watch-snob friends), you need to go mechanical.

This is the stuff manly dreams are made of. Some mechanical watches, like the IWC Portuguese Squelette Minute Repeater Watch, allow wearers to gaze upon the mechanism at their leisure. But for most men, just knowing that such a complex and wondrous feat of engineering is whirring away on their wrist is enough.

Watch Types

If you already have a watch lover in the family, your search for the perfect Father’s Day gift idea was most likely over before you started reading this. All that’s left for you to do now is to take inventory of the styles he already owns and help him round out his collection with a whole new look.

As for the rest of the dads, just because he’s never owned anything better than a Casio (and LOVES it for its calculator) doesn’t mean he wouldn’t appreciate looking a little sharper, and a lot cooler, now and then.

So, on to our list of popular wristwatch types, most of which are named for the kinds of activities they were originally invented for. But even if your guy doesn’t use his aviator watch while flying a plane, it’ll still make him feel like he’s cruising at an altitude of smooth sophistication.

1. The Aviator (Pilot) Watch

The very first pilot watch was made especially for Brazilian aviation pioneer, Alberto Santos-Dumont, by Cartier. Although it didn’t boast any of the technological capabilities of today’s pilot watches, it’s credited with engendering the idea that pilots needed a special type of watch and it remains a signature Cartier timepiece.

Modern aviator watches run the gamut from elegant simplicity, with just a couple of extra features, all the way up to expanded performance, offering not just chronometers, but compasses, slide rules and tachymeters.

Since we’re aiming more for style here, we’ll stick with the sleeker variety pilot watches, many which still offer:

  • Chronometers
  • Larger, luminous dials and numerals
  • Resistance to moisture and temperature
  • A second hour hand (tracks travel time as opposed to actual time)
  • Dual time zone mechanism

Our Picks (Lowest to Highest Price):

Hamilton Pilot Pioneer

Bremont Chronograph 43mm Stainless Steel

Patek Phillipe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time White Gold Watch

2. The Diving Watch

The most popular of all sport watches, the diving watch has been around since 1922, when Rolex answered the call for moisture resistance and durability with its “Hermetic” watch.

Since then, watchmakers have really upped the ante on water resistance (there are no truly waterproof watches) by developing 10 ATM (atmosphere) models you can take snorkeling all the way up to the CX Swiss Military Watch, which currently holds the Guiness record for its 600 ATM rating, meaning it can handle a dive of 6,000m (20,000 ft.).

Once again, we’re going to focus on the more debonaire, less utilitarian, examples of this category, but make no mistake, with ratings from 30 ATM (300m) to 60 ATM (600m), even devastatingly handsome dive watches are still up for a pretty good adventure.

Our Picks:

Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600

Tudor Pelagos

Graff ScubaGraff 47mm

3. The Racing Watch

When Sir Malcolm Campbell broke his final land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the mid-1930s, he was wearing a Rolex Oyster, making Rolex the first brand to capitalize on racing.

But is was Huer who finished first by offering highly accurate, wearable chronometers for 1950s racers and, by 1962, had developed the first official racing wristwatch.

Most modern racing watches, even the beautiful ones, have very busy-looking faces and offer full functionality, enough for even for a professional racecar driver. So whether you’ve got a racing enthusiast who merely observes or a guy who actually likes to go fast, one of these might be the ticket.

Our Picks:

Tissot PRS 516 Extreme Automatic Chronograph

Chopard Mille Miglia Gran Turismo Chrono

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

4. The Dress Watch

A dress watch’s job, much like that of the tuxedo’s it’s often paired with, is to be classically magnificent, yet understated. That seems like a tall order, but they do it by being ultrathin, exquisitely designed and, although often made of precious metal, rarely boasting any type of adornment.

Thin dress watches were born of 19th century English dandies’ demand for slimmer pocket watches that wouldn’t create unsightly waistcoat bulges. Slimmer timepieces were harder to make and more expensive, so having one soon became a sign of wealth and sophistication, even after the worry over bulges was long past.

So, whether he only occasionally puts on the ritz out of necessity or he honestly enjoys dress-up affairs, every man deserves at least one watch that makes him look like a million bucks.

Our Picks:

Longines Presence

Tank Solo

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony

5. The Minimalist Watch

Have a hipster in the family? Or an artsy fellow? Maybe a style-conscious guy who just likes to go against the grain and isn’t at all into bells and whistles? Even though these are three distinct personality types, you can cover them all with a minimalist watch.

Some minimalist watches are able to cross over into dress watch territory (as long as they have a black leather strap), while others are just too dramatic or cool looking to do a passable job at being understated.

Minimalist watches are for men who value a neat, clean, uncomplicated aesthetic and, therefore, are often devoid of numerals and, sometimes, even hour or second marks. Beyond that, they can fill the bill for both for gents who want to blend in with the scenery or for those who want to make a big statement.

Movado Museum

Breitling Transocean

Bell & Ross WW1 Heure Sautante

We hope this watch guide really does help you decide upon, and even locate, your perfect Father’s Day gift. And remember, Southwest Jewelry Buyers of Scottsdale buys fine watches, is an A+ Accredited BBB business and offers free, discreet evaluation appointments.

So, whether you’d like to get rid of a timepiece you no longer wear or wouldn’t mind some extra cash for Father’s Day, please contact us today to schedule your appointment.