Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendation for a Graduation Gift, from Our Archives

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There are several milestones in one’s life, and graduating from a polytechnic or university is probably one of the most significant ones in our lives. It is not just a celebration of achievement. But rather, it signifies a change in a person’s life as well – from a student to a working adult, with additional responsibilities and expectation coming up along the way.

However, before we digress further about the subject of adulthood, we think that it is an apt time to take a break and celebrate this achievement. For many people, it is common to purchase a watch to celebrate a big milestone in one’s life. We reckon that this is one of those major milestones, and that a watch is certainly appropriate for such a joyous occasion.

Many friends, as well as collectors, might be wondering what are some of the watches that they should consider. Well, don’t worry! In this article, we have selected six different watches – covering different styles and price points. What have we selected? Let’s find out!


Tissot PRS516 Small Triple Seconds


The Tissot PRS516 Small Triple Seconds.


We begin the article with a rather interesting and fun timepiece: the Tissot PRS516 Small Triple Seconds.

The first thing that caught our attention with this timepiece is the dial’s layout. Or more specifically, the placement of the seconds indicator. It is deconstructed and placed in three different positions, each displaying twenty seconds. While it is seemingly complicated-looking, but the mechanism behind it is rather simple. Each of the three seconds hands are synchronised, and the red seconds hand will appear in the respective window when it is indicating a particular timing. So, for example, at the 45 second mark, the red hand will appear on the sub-dial at the 10 o’clock position, while the two other hands will be hidden beneath the main dial. While the concept is intriguing, but the execution is deceiving simple.

The watch utilises the workhorse ETA 2824 movement, with an additional triple seconds module exclusive to Tissot. In addition, it has a date indicator, and a power reserve of around 42 hours. It retails at S$1,620.


NOMOS Tangente


A pair of NOMOS Tangente.


When it comes to watches in the low four-digits price tag, there are not many competitors that can match what NOMOS has done. The Glashütte-based watch manufacturer, who is known to produce Bauhaus-inspired timepieces, is one of the brands that offers in-house produced movements at a rather reasonable price point. Its simple design, which leans on minimalism, is also a hit with many collectors as well.

One of their best-selling collection is the Tangente. It is a simple three-hand watch, with the only two available complication being the date and power reserve indicator. It is also available in different case sizes, as well as the option of having a manual-winding or automatic movement. We have a soft-spot for the manual-winding version, as it is the oldest movement (the Alpha) that is produced by NOMOS. It has a power reserve of around 43 hours, with a hacking seconds mechanism. It also features the signature German three-quarter bridge and the Glashütte ribbing as well. The finishing, in addition, is pretty decent as well.

With a starting price of S$2,170 for the basic Tangente 33, it is definitely a watch that offers an excellent value proposition. It is also very elegant, and we feel that it will go well with any office wear.


Breitling Colt Skyracer


The Breitling Colt Skyracer – the new base model in the Breitling family.


For the sporty individual who fancies an epic adventure, we have a timepiece that will suit perfectly: the new Breitling Colt Skyracer.

Launched earlier this year, the Colt Skyracer is the new entry-level piece in Breitling’s line-up. The watch is mean for the younger crowd, who has a keen sense of adrenaline and adventure. One of the main highlight of this watch is its case material – which complement its characteristics nicely. The 45mm case is produced with Breitlight, a material that is produced by Breitling themselves. It is said to be three times lighter than titanium, and significantly more resistant to scratches and wear than stainless steel. In addition, it is fitted with a rubber strap, which makes an excellent companion for any outdoor adventures.

Powered by Breitling’s Caliber 74, the SuperQuartz movement record of a 10 second deviation per year, and has a battery lifespan of around 8 years. It is certainly a reliable and solid timepiece, and with a price tag of US$2,000 (approximately S$2,745), the Colt Skyracer is definitely an interesting proposition for someone who wants a rugged and sporty timepiece.

Seiko Presage 60th Anniversary Automatic Limited Edition Chronograph


The Seiko 60th Anniversary Automatic Limited Edition Chronograph. This one features the lustrous Urushi dial.


In recent years, the interest in high-end Seiko watches is increasing steady. With the proliferation of rave reviews and excellent timepieces, Seiko has carved a niche for themselves in producing affordable timepieces that are capable of beating the Swiss at their own game. The Seiko Presage 60th Anniversary Automatic Limited Edition Chronograph, is an excellent example.

The watch, which was produced the celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Presage collection, comes with two different variants. It is fitted with either the black Urushi lacquered dial, or the white enamel dial. The former is especially interesting, as the dial is produced by using the sap from Japanese lacquer trees, and it is applied a layer at a time then hand polished. This is done several times over, to achieve the shine that we see from the final product. It contrasts rather nicely with the silver markings on the dial as well.

Powered by Seiko’s Caliber 8R48, the automatic movement features a vertical clutch and column wheel for the chronograph. It has a power reserve of around 45 hours, and the finishing is decent for its price point. It retails at €2,800 (approximately S$4,400), and they are only 1,000 pieces for each variant that are produced.


Omega Speedmaster Professional


The Omega Speedmaster Professional, otherwise also known as the “Moonwatch”.


If we are talking about watches with a cool provenance, there aren’t many timepieces out there that are capable of beating the Omega Speedmaster Professional. After all, there are not many watches that can claim that it has been on space missions, let alone being the first watch that is worn of the Moon.

Aside from its cool history, the “Moonwatch” is an extremely iconic and well-designed timepiece. The watch, which was first introduced in 1957, retains its classic design despite being around for a good six decades. In addition, the movement – Calibre 1861 – is a solid movement. The manual-winding movement is fitted with a cam actuated chronograph, and it has a power reserve of around 48 hours.

The 42mm timepiece is available in different variants, but we highly recommend the Speedmaster Professional. It is because the model is similar to the one that had went to the Moon, and that we reckon its timeless looks will still remain relevant even decades from now. It retails at S$6,850, and we believe that it will make a cool graduation gift for someone who is fascinated with its interesting history.


Rolex Explorer


The new Explorer. The dial layout and design is maintained, but with some subtle updated.


Finally, we round up the article with the quintessential Rolex Explorer.

Many people buy a Rolex to celebrate an achievement, and what would be more apt than to celebrate a graduation with a timepiece from one of the most iconic watch manufacturer? Of course, Rolex produces many wonderful pieces – from the likes of the Datejust, to the sporty Daytona. But we have selected something that is simpler and versatile – the Explorer. Recently updated in 2016, the Explorer features a simple three-hand layout, coupled with a dial that combines both bar indices and numerals (3,6, and 9).

The 39mm watch is fitted with Rolex’s Caliber 3132. The self-winding movement is certified to Rolex Superlative Chronometer Standards (+2/-2 second a day), and boasting a decent power reserve of around 48 hours. It is also equipped with a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers.

Priced at S$8,770, the Explorer is certainly a tad pricier than the watches that we have highlighted today. But nonetheless, it is an excellent timepiece, and one that is definitely worth its slightly hefty price tag.


Concluding Thoughts


The idea behind this week’s theme was rather interesting. Many of the author’s friends have recently graduated from university, and they are looking to commemorate this occasion with a nice timepiece. Many of them have a budget of a low to mid four-digit figure, which is the reason why we have selected four watches that fits the criteria. For those who are able to stretch their budget a little, or if their parents are sponsoring the gift, then perhaps we reckon iconic watches – such as the Explorer or the Speedmaster – are classic choices that they might want to potentially consider.

Do you agree with the watches that we have selected? We would love to hear what are some of the other alternate choices, as well as some of the watches that you have bought or received as a graduation gift.


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  1. Having just being through this process (I ended up buying the Speedy), I will just say that it is worth trying all your options on before committing. Based on internet pictures, I wanted to buy the Rolex Explorer, but in person it is a very restrained and quite frankly older person watch. The other options listed here are much younger and sportier.

    • Thanks Ben for your feedback and comment. The Speedy is a good choice as well. There is no right or wrong answer, we hope to have offered you some suggestions to point you to the right direction. And yes, always try the watch on your wrist in person. Our usual advice is to do that at an Authorized Dealer. Try two or three…don’t buy immediately. Go home and think, dream about it. Come back and buy the one you dream about. Have fun.