Finding a perfect watch for someone to wear to the office shouldn’t be a chore, but it’s a task easier said than done because you’re truly spoiled for choice. Something understated on a leather strap is always a good idea, but you can easily get away with a tool watch on a steel bracelet — just walk around the Financial District here in NYC and you’ll see what we mean. What follows is a selection of some of our favorite watches for office wear at various price points. Some are inexpensive quartz models, and some are more robust pieces from top Swiss brands, but they all have one thing in common: gift one to a special someone, and he’s sure to turn heads with it at the office.
Seiko 5 SNZF17
Finding a dive watch with an in-house automatic movement, day-date function and steel bracelet for under $150 should be just about impossible, but this Seiko 5 manages to deliver. A no-brainer of a desk (or actual) diver.
Orient Bambino V.3
Another Japanese watch with an in-house automatic movement (with hand-winding and hacking, to boot), the third-gen Bambino is everything you need in a simple dress watch, and nothing more.
Braun BN0021 Classic
This 38mm quartz dress watch from Braun marries classic, Bauhaus-derived design language with an integrated leather strap. Thin and easy to slip under a cuff, it’s a watch that’ll look right at home in the office.
Taking the cake for one of the most faithful reissues ever, this 34mm hand-winding timekeeper from Timex is a sure bet for those who appreciate mechanical watchmaking. Also available with a black dial or a mesh bracelet.
Bulova Lunar Pilot’s Chronograph
While it may not be the Moonwatch that most people associate with the lunar landings, this 45mm analog, quartz chronograph from Bulova is based on the version worn on the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.
Laco Augsburg 42
Featuring an automatic movement and a 42mm case, this piece from German maker Laco may have been designed as a pilot’s watch, but its leather strap means that someone with a bigger wrist can put it to everyday use.
Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic
With its 24-hour dial and leather strap, the Field Automatic weds a military aesthetic with office-appropriate presentation. Pair it with a Nato strap after-hours and you’ve got the perfect field watch.
Available in multiple dial colors and a 42mm case, the Kerrison from NYC-based watchmaker Martenero features a multi-textured dial with date-window, melding elegance and utility in the perfect office watch.
Defakto Vektor Standard
Another minimalist watch, the 39mm x 9.8mm Vektor is available in several dial variations and features the automatic Miyota 9015. One of the best, most affordable Bauhaus designs out there.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic
Available in numerous variations, Junghans’s timeless Max Bill line expands upon the work of designer, architect and artist Max Bill by including his core design principles: simplicity and functionality.
Seiko Presage SPB047J1
Finding an affordable dress watch with an enamel dial is far from easy, but this one from Seiko also offers a 23-jewel automatic movement with 50-hour power reserve and leather strap with deployant buckle, to boot.
Mido Multifort Datometer
Though a solid rose gold timepiece is certainly expensive, this rose gold-colored PVD watch from Mido includes an elegant dial with pointer-date complication and a matching brown leather strap, all for an affordable $1,350.
Perhaps one of the best buys in modern watchmaking, this offering from Nomos pairs an in-house, manual-winding movement with a gorgeous dial and Horween leather strap. Dressed up or down, the Club is one of the most versatile watches available.
Tudor Black Bay 36
Available in two dial colors and four bracelet/strap combinations, the Tudor Black Bay 36 incorporates design language from its long history of tool watch manufacturing in this utilitarian offering.
Longines Aviation Big Eye Chronograph
An award-winning heritage design that harkens back to the golden age of 1930s aviation, this triple-register chronograph from Longines features an oversized, eye-catching sub-register at 3 o’clock on a beautiful black dial for excellent legibility.
Don’t know what to get the people on your list? We’ve got you covered with our holiday gift guide.
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