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Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendations for Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas, from Our Archives

'Tis the season to be jolly
by Robin Lim on December 22, 2019
Reviews

For watch fanatics, the choice of Christmas gifts for their loved ones are rather obvious.

Nothing brings us more joy than to share our passion with our family and close friends, and what better idea to do that by buying watches as gifts for some of your favourite people in this world?

In case you have yet to do your Christmas shopping (which we hope not), here are some last minute horological-related gift ideas that you might want to consider. Most of them are priced modestly, with a few entry-level pieces that costs only several hundred of dollars as well. What are some the watches that we have selected? Let’s find out!

Swatch Sistem51

For the past few years since its inception, we have been recommending the Swatch Sistem51 as the perfect Christmas gift for any young individual. This year, it is no different either.

The Sistem51 is one of the most interesting breakthroughs in the horological world over the last few years. What is interesting about this self-winding watch lies in its movement – its 51 components are completely put together by machines, and the movement is held by a single screw. It is also funky in its design, which allows collectors to enjoy Swatch watches with the option of a mechanical movement.

Priced at CHF 150 (approximately S$207), the Sistem51 is decently priced for a fun and casual mechanical watch. We think that it will be a wonderful gift for a young teenager who is starting to get into watch collecting.

Seiko Alpinist

First introduced in 1961, the Seiko Alpinist was touted as the first “Sports Watch” for the Japanese watch manufacturer. More than half a century later, however, the perennial favourite now has a cult following for both its functionality and versatility.

The latest variant, featuring a stunning midnight blue sunburst dial, is a limited edition piece for the US market. Fitted with a palatable 39.5mm stainless steel case, the Alpinist comes with two crowns at both the 3 and 4 o’clock position to adjust the time and bearings respectively. The latter points us to the roots of the Alpinist, in which it was produced specifically for Japanese mountain climbers in the past.

Powering the Alpinist is the humble Calibre 6R15, which is a self-winding movement that boasts a power reserve of around 50 hours. It is also additionally fitted with a Diashock absorber (for shock-resistance). It is priced at US$600 (approximately S$813), and we do think that it might be a tall order for one to pick up a brand new example from any retailers right now as we speak.

Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver Asia Limited Edition

Continuing with the theme of Japanese watches (and a limited edition one, since we are at that), we have the new Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver Asia Limited Edition.

The Asia Limited Edition timepiece, launched specially to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Promaster series, follows hot on the heels of relaunched Fugu collection that we have reviewed back in 2018. The 42mm timepiece now features a white dial, as well as a special red bezel insert that is similar to the original one that was introduced 30 years ago. The combination is uncommon, and it certainly adds a nice touch especially since it was produced for the Asian market (with red as a lucky colour in many different Asian cultures).

The Promaster Mechanical Diver Asia Limited Edition is a solid timepiece, and one that is expected from a respectable Japanese watch manufacturer that is known for its quality products. The watch retails at S$633.40, and it is limited to a production run of a mere 888 pieces.

Tutima Flieger Automatic

In recent years, the watchmaking scene in Germany began to attract attention from many collectors. Brands – such as Glashütte Original, A. Lange and Söhne, Sinn and NOMOS – are getting more interests and rave reviews for its honest and impeccable offerings.

Tutima, notably, is another brand that had attained some form of revival of late. Despite its roots that date back to 1927, collectors have only noticed the brand over the last few years. What is interesting is that the brand produces both haute horlogerie and entry-level collections simultaneously – as seen in the Flieger Automatic. The 41mm is a no-frills watch that is fitted with a solid ETA-2836/SW2000 movement, as well as a stunning dégradé green dial that adds a nice touch to the usual flieger watches.

Surprisingly, the Tutima offers a rather compelling packaging with a retail price at S$1,650. It is another great watch for someone who is new into watch collecting, but it also offers seasoned collectors a glimpse into German watchmaking (on the unlikely assumption that he/she has yet to own a German timepiece).

Rado Golden Horse Limited Edition

Rado has been rather strong in its Tradition collection, but the new Golden Horse Limited Edition is certainly a timepiece that you’d want to sit up and pay attention to.

Launched earlier this year, the Golden Horse Limited Edition pays tribute to the original collection that was launched in 1957. The watch, interestingly, was one of the more uncommon watches that features a stainless steel case in the past. It had proved to be very popular subsequently – as a fashion statement, no less.

Sized at 38mm, the timepiece features a rather attractive red sunburst gradient dial. It remains rather faithful to the original timepiece, especially with the small attention to details (such as the Golden Horse emblem and fonts). Priced at S$2,410, the Golden Horse Limited Edition offers collectors something different with an uncommon red dial – again, a fashion statement in its own right in today’s age.

Sinn 356 SA Pilot III

We conclude the article with the Sinn 356 SA Pilot III.

The 356 SA Pilot III is a reminiscence of watches in the 90s, with its instantly recognisable dial layout that was similarly adopted by brands such as IWC and Omega (due to the choice of movement). What is also special about this Sinn is its modest case size, at 38.5mm. This is a tad smaller than most of the typical pilot’s chronographs, and it is certainly a nice touch as compared to the larger watches that we are used to seeing these days.

Priced at US$2,570 (approximately S$3,482) for the leather strap variant, the Sellita SW500-powered timepiece is reasonable for a well-made timepiece. In addition, it is also both shock resistant and anti-magnetic – which is an advantage over some of the more expensive pilot’s chronograph that are currently on sale in the market. It is certainly a decent timepiece for someone who wishes to kickstart their journey on watch collecting.

Concluding Thoughts

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this article, and that the recommendations have came in useful for some last minute gift ideas.

Also, do let us know what are some of the best horological gifts that you’ve received this year, as well as what are some of the watches (realistically) that you hope you’ll receive as gifts from your loved ones this year.

Finally, here’s wishing all our readers a blessed Christmas, and we do hope that it will be a fruitful and enjoyable festive season for all!

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