Sons and daughters everywhere are currently trying to figure out what the hell to get their fathers and father figures. Chances are, he doesn’t need another screwdriver set collecting dust in the corner of the garage. No. What he needs is something with more thought, more personality, something he’ll use.
A watch checks all those boxes. It’s even a bit of a reversal: remember how long dad spent wiping your butt, teaching you to throw a football, or picking you up at 2 a.m. because you were drunk and didn’t have a ride? Now you can give him some time back.
The hard part about choosing a watch will likely be matching it to his style. Sifting through hundreds of choices and price points may cross your eyes in a matter of minutes, and that’s where we come in. Let us help you find the right watch for your Dad.
For the Thrifty Dad: If you’re searching for the best deals on watches, Swiss may not be the way to go. Looking east, Seiko is hard to beat — especially the Seiko 5 series. With more references than you can shake a stick at, Seiko 5s cover just about every type of watch. One of our favorites is the sporty SNZG13 ($175). It’s got pilot watch looks, and at 42 millimeters wide, its case is a great, modern size that will look good on his wrist. Packed with the five tenets of the Seiko 5 series — automatic movement (7S26C), day/date display, water resistant (100m), shock resistant, and the Diaflex mainspring — it’s a solid sport watch on a stainless still bracelet for under $200 bucks.
Tissot Heritage Visodate
For the Dapper Dad: Vintage is in, and many modern watchmakers are offering updated versions of the classics — you get the style and leave the troubles of an old, worn mechanical machine behind. Tissot’s Heritage Visodate ($650) is a great example, and delivers Swiss watchmaking at a non-Swiss price. At 40 millimeters it roundly rejects the modern trend of oversized cases, and its clean, vintage looks along with a venerable ETA 2836 calibre make it a no-brainer.
Casio Edifice ERA300
For the Do-it-All Dad: Mechanical watches are great, but the accuracy and functionality of quartz is hard to beat. And if quartz watches had a king, Casio would be it. Their G-Shock series is well known as the brute of the bunch, but their Edifice series seems to test the limits of what can actually fit inside a watch.
The Casio Edifice ERA300 ($380) is one of the newest additions to the line, and there’s not much it can’t do. If your Dad could benefit from a chronograph that measures to 1/20 seconds, a world timer with 29 time zones, a digital thermometer, and a digital compass, you’ve found your watch. By the way, whenever you depress the pusher at the 9:00 position, the seconds hand will immediately point north, accounting for magnetic declination and all. It’s like having Bear Grylls on the wrist.
Omega Aqua Terra
For the 007 Dad: While most Father’s Day shoppers need to be considerate of their bank account, a few do not. If that’s your situation, why not go big? Since dad thinks he and Bond have so much in common, nothing would be more fitting than the Omega Aqua Terra ($5,500).
Yes, 007’s current choice of timepiece has a lot to do with advertising, but we (and others) would have a hard time finding a solid argument to replace the Aqua Terra regardless. Daniel Craig wears the mid-size (38.5 millimeters), blue dial variant, and it’s an utterly gorgeous model. You can be certain as soon as Dad straps this one on, he’ll start introducing himself a little differently.
Vintage Birth Year Watch
For the Sentimental Dad: For watch lovers, the search for a “birth year watch” is a romantic notion and a hell of a lot of work in practice. To pull it off as a Father’s Day gift, we suggest going one of two ways: taking a chance and make a well-informed vintage watch purchase without Dad’s help, or proposing a joint search for the right choice under a certain budget. Either way, it’s likely Dad will well up a bit — if he’s that type.
As for finding the right vintage watch, research is the key. There’s no amount of finger-crossing that can replace seller-vetting, forum discussions, and picture comparisons. Scour the sales sections of watch forums, eBay, and your local second-hand jewelers. We also suggest getting your hands on real examples; don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Some of our favorite vintage brands that can be scored at a good value are Longines, Zenith, Universal Geneve, Omega, and Heuer. Finding the perfect watch will be rewarding for both of you. Happy hunting!