July 29, 2011  ·  design  ·  style  ·  tech

Mailbag: Good watches under $100?

Jaycam writes: "I'm beginning to appreciate how wearing a good watch makes a good impression, but I'm a student on a student budget. Can I even find a good watch for under $100 or should I go used?"

Answer: The good news, J, is that in the world of watches good does not equate to expensive. There are elegantly simple watches to be had for under $30, just as there are tacky and tasteless pieces of wrist junk that cost as much as a luxury car. What you want to look for is a clean, classic design, regardless of price range. Here are a few under-$100 options:

Left: Timex Easy Reader [$25] — We've written about Timex before, and why not? They're a great American company and their Easy Reader line shows how distilling an item to the essence of its utility can be beautiful. The model shown here is one of our favourites. We thought the Indiglo dial illumination was neat when we were kids, and we still think it's neat today.

Middle: Seiko 5 Automatic [$52] — It's almost unbelieveable that you can get an automatic watch of this quality in this price range. There are dozens of Seiko 5 variants but we particularly like this sporty water-resistant model in stainless steel.

Right: Skagen, in general [$89 shown] — Purists will tell you that the ideal formal watch is in square case and alligator strap territory — or to go with no watch at all. But we see a certain grace in Skagen's dress watches with their thin cases and fine mesh bands. Choose a model with a clean dial like this one and you can always swap out the strap later if you change your mind.

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