A little history of watches and several tips for purchasing the perfect watch. Aquis Date Relief, 43.5mm stainless steel case, stainless steel bracelet. Responsibility and luxury watchmaking haven’t always been natural bedfellows, but there are companies looking to change that. At the vanguard is Oris with its eco-conscious watches. Some use recycled materials, or there’s this, the Aquis Date Relief. Based on the brand’s still very reasonably priced diver’s watch, it’ll accompany expedition swimmer Ernst Bromeis as he attempts to cover 800km across Siberia’s Lake Baikal this summer, to draw our attention to the plight of the world’s water. Whether he makes it or not, the watch will be expected to hold up — its 43.5mm stainless steel case is water-resistant to 300m. It gets its name from its bezel’s timer scale, produced in relief. All said, a good-looking watch for decent money with an important message behind it.
Let’s move on to the under 1000 USD category. If you just wanted to spend $70 or so on a good-looking quartz watch, you could do a lot worse than the Nokia Steel (formerly the Withings Activité). But this being a “hybrid” smartwatch, you get more than just the time of day. The watch connects to your phone via Bluetooth to give you simple sleep and fitness tracking info that, while not super-comprehensive, is helpful in tracking and motivating healthy behavior. Braun’s minimalist aesthetic is perfect for someone looking for a wardrobe accoutrement rather than a showpiece. What’s more, graphic elements like the yellow seconds hand and austere font are sure to call to mind the brand’s legacy of Bauhaus-inspired product design.
Certina, founded in Grenchen, Switzerland in 1888, has always been a rather low-key brand. You may not know, but they were innovators in shock protection and water resistance, which is nearly weapons-grade on this watch. The rotating ceramic diving bezel on this 41mm beauty, usually a hallmark of much more expensive pieces, is scratch resistant and nearly indestructible, and the handsome strap features a deployment clasp. Shinola watches, assembled in Detroit, have sparked a renaissance in the Motor City and for American watch brands in general. One of their latest editions of their most popular design, the Runwell, is a subtle version of what can be a busy style. This is destined to become a classic design that will no doubt age well with it’s stainless steel case and durable leather strap. With a clean ivory-colored face and luminous hands, wearing this watch makes a statement that you value good design, but don’t need an overly expensive timepiece to speak for you.
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