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

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by Robin Lim on August 11, 2019
Reviews

It is the graduating season once again. It is certainly a milestone that is worth celebrating, considering the sizeable amount of time and effort spent to attain the elusive certificate.

We have always said that watches tell a story – both for the manufacturer and the owner. For such an important milestone, we think that a watch is certainly a great graduation gift to have.

There are certainly several things to consider when you are getting a graduation watch. Some of the important things to consider includes the budget, the frequency of wearing the watch, as well as the personality of the owner. We know it is subjective, but having some options certainly help to narrow down the choices.

With that, we have decided to come up with a selection of a few watches that we reckon will work as excellent options for a graduation watch. These watches differs mainly in style and price range. We have written a similar article last year, and hence this can (and should be) treated like a supplement to the previous one that we’ve written. Let’s see what we have selected!

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm

We begin the article with a great timepiece that offers an excellent value proposition: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm.

This Hamilton was based on the historical military watches that were issued to the ground troops in the past. The watch remains faithful to its original aesthetics, and interestingly Hamilton had fitted the watch with faux cream luminescence to enhance the classic looks of the watch.

The watch is fitted with the ETA 2801-2 ébauche – a manual winding and dateless version of the renowned ETA 2824-2. It is a three-hand timepiece, with a decent power reserve of around 42 hours. The Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm is priced at S$690, and it is probably one of the most affordable mechanical Swiss-made timepiece. We like it for its appropriate case size, but more importantly its manual-winding movement. This is a fun piece that is great for casual wear.

Rado Captain Cook Automatic

The new Rado Captain Cook Automatic has been one of the more interesting pieces that were launched this year.

While the Captain Cook is not exactly a new timepiece, but Rado had tweaked it a little to make it more appealing to the collectors. The latest variant features a 42mm stainless steel case, with 4 different colour variants (black, grey, blue, and green) for both its bezel insert and dial. It still retains its classic aesthetics, which we thought was a nice touch.

Powering the new Captain Cook is the self-winding ETA C07. It has a power reserve of approximately 80 hours, and an additional date indicator (with red fonts) at the 3 o’clock position as well. The new Captain Cook Automatic is priced at S$2,800.

Staudt Praeludium

The Staudt Praeludium, by one of the latest kids on the block.

Following that, we take a look at one of the more interesting entrants into the horological world. Cue Yvo Staudt from the Netherlands – the brainchild behind Staudt Watches.

Yvo was interested in watches since young, and his passion for it proliferated when he was reading up on them when he was 14. He began experimenting with old watch movements, and he decided to eventually build his watches after he couldn’t find on that matches his budget and criteria. Eventually, he decided to focus full-time on watches in 2014, after his girlfriend had broken her back during an accident (and ditching his professional musical career in the process).

The Praeludium is one of the first collections in Staudt’s repertoire. It is a simple three-hand watch, featuring a hand-wound Unitas movement that is modified to his specifications. It is self-assembled, with three-quarter gold-plated bridge, enhanced beat rate (21,600 instead of 18,000, swan-neck regulator and the use of chatons, jewels, and blued screws. Every other component, such as the case, dial, and hands are also designed by Yvo himself.

The 42.5mm timepiece is not just any timepiece – it is an amalgamation of Yvo’s stories and passion, combined and crafted into a watch. The Praeludium is priced at €2,349 (approximately S$3,681), and we feel that it is perfect for someone who wishes to own a timepiece that is special and unique from the rest of the crowd. It is also very dressy and elegant, which is suitable for those who are interning in the corporate world.

Grand Seiko SBGA011/SBGA211 “Snowflake”

The Grand Seiko collection is probably one of the best kept secrets in the horological world, until its popularity proliferated with many rave reviews within the community in the last few years.

Amongst the finely crafted watches from the atelier, the “Snowflake” (Reference SBGA011/SBGA211) is perhaps one of the most popular options. This is highly attributed to its textured dial, combined with the immaculately finished case and Spring Drive movement. The result is an aesthetically stunning timepiece at all angles.

Priced at ¥570,000 (approx S$6,900) in Japan, the Snowflake offers collectors tremendous value. The Grand Seiko is discreet and low-profile, but it is surely one of the most well crafted pieces at this price point. It is difficult to go wrong with this exceptional piece.

Chopard Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition

Chopard’s Mille Miglia collection, launched in 1988, was born out of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s love for motor sports and classic cars in general. The name, incidentally, is a nod to the historical open-road endurance race that took place between 1927 to 1957. Chopard has been a sponsor and the official timekeeper for the revived version of the Mille Miglia, and they have been producing a special timepiece for each edition of this racing event ever since.

The 2018 Race Edition is a little special, as it was produced to concurrently celebrate the brand’s 30th year of partnership with the race itself. The highlight of this watch perhaps lies in its dial, in which it is fitted with a dashboard-inspired circular-grained anthracite dial. The dial is paired with white transfer-printed railroad markings and tachymeter scale surrounding it, as well as white luminous numerals and three sub-counters to complete the look. The contrast between the grey dial and white accents look amazing, with it producing a mellow but handsome aesthetic that surely makes one’s knees weak.

The watch is available in two variants. It is either cased in stainless steel, or a two-tone option that comes with a rose gold bezel and crown/pushers. Prices begin at CHF 5,450 (approximately S$7,772), and the watches are limited to a production of 1,000 pieces and 100 pieces for the steel and two-tone models respectively.

Rolex Explorer

When it comes to watches, there is no brand that is probably as famous as Rolex. Incepted in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf, the brand had cemented itself as one of the top Swiss watch manufacturers in the world. Talk about marketing and brand equity.

The Rolex Explorer is one of the tool watches in the Rolex Sports collection. As its name suggests, the watch is well-built to be used for exploration – as exemplified by Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay in their expedition of scaling Mount Everest. The Rolex Explorer is the watch of choice for the former, and it had managed to withstand the tough conditions that were thrown at it.

What makes it a more interesting option is that fact that the Explorer is often overlooked as compared to its brethren. The likes of Submariner, GMT-Master II, and Cosmograph Daytona have a waitlist that stretches out to years, while the Explorer is relatively more readily available. The Explorer doesn’t fall short as compared to the rest in terms of its design and quality, and yet it is nowhere as popular as the rest. This makes it an interesting underdog within the Rolex family.

Priced at S$8,770, the Explorer offers great value. It is a durable and versatile watch that will last for many years to come, and it is well-respected by both collectors and non-collectors alike. This is a brilliant option for anyone who is looking to get a Rolex timepiece.

Concluding Thoughts

When it comes to getting a timepiece for graduation, we think it is important to choose something that one like. For an important watch that marks an important milestone, one should not settle for the second best. It’d be better to save up and delay the purchase, rather than getting something and regret it later.

There are many options out there, and whatever that we have highlighted are just the tip of the iceberg. We definitely think that it will be a good idea to go to different boutiques to check out the watches as well.

So, what watch did you buy as your graduation gift? Or, what are you planning to buy upon graduation? Let us know in the comments section below!

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  • D.L.
    August 12, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Your inclusion of a Rolex as a graduation gift is a tad out of touch. The kids of today understand much better than you may know, about value and the hyperbole of arrogant and dismissive companies that play upon their reputations in such a way as to actually devalue the reputation they do covet. Smart kids.

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