Rescuing Horology: How and Why Millennials Can and Should Start a Collection.
Horology (Noun): The study and measurement of time.
Look around you, how many people are wearing a watch that isn’t a smartwatch? Not a lot isn’t it?
That is what I noticed as well. I am a millennial as well so before any of you call me a, “backward thinking baby boomer,” hear me out.
I am not anti-smartwatch, nor am I anti-technology. I believe that you wear what you like, however I respectfully disagree when many of my peers say that traditional wristwatches are obsolete.
To start off, we must define what is a traditional wristwatch? I would go as far as saying that a traditional wristwatch is any wristwatch that isn’t a smartwatch, so yes that G-Shock is a traditional wristwatch for all intents and purposes. There are many reasons however that a traditional wristwatch should also be worn.
- Fashion: There is no doubt, a strong wristwatch makes a bold fashion statement. The watch is also a very versatile piece of accessory for both men and women.
- Reliability: A Quartz or Mechanical watch will never run flat (Or not for at least 2 years). A smartwatch on the other hand will require charging every week or so.
- Simplicity: A wristwatch tells time, and does nothing more or less (other than a few other complications such as date or even a stopwatch). It is the easiest to use to just simply tell time.
- It will never become obsolete: Wristwatches tell time, but they are one of the very few things we can own that can truly be timeless (yes I tried). You can pass it onto your children, and they can do so for their children. While smartwatches will quickly become obsolete as the next new iWatch get released.
Am I saying to ditch all smartwatches? No! What I am saying is that I believe anyone should, and have the ability to have at least 2 traditional watches that they can wear. Or if you’re really into General Norman Schwarzkopf, you can rock a smartwatch on a wrist and another wristwatch on another.
Here are 5 of what I reckon are some of the best value propositions for anyone with a maximum budget of $500 USD, especially a millennial like myself to start a collection:
Number 1: Seiko 5 SNK607 ($99.00 USD)
The Seiko 5 isn’t a single watch. It is a line of watches that was launched by Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko in the 1960s to reinvigorate and introduce mechanical timepieces to youngsters of that generation.
This particular watch is the SNK607, and what does it offer for just $99 dollars? Well it offers the 5 key aspects that make Seiko 5 what it is.
- Automatic Winding: The movement (or the engine) of the watch is wound through an oscillating weight in the watch which keeps the watch going with the natural movement of your wrist.
- Day Display: It shows day.
- Date Display: It shows the date.
- Diaflex Mainspring: The mainspring is what builds and stores the energy for the watch to tell time and drive the hands. The Diaflex mainspring is touted as “indestructible” for its low mass construction that reduces friction.
- Shock Resistance: The movement has to be shock protected.
Now of course since this is a mechanical watch, the shock resistance wouldn’t be as good as let’s say a G-Shock. However as I have owned one of these before I can confidently say that it is more than adequate for everyday life and even sports. This particular watch has the basic 7S26 mechanical movement that is a workhorse and incredibly reliable and is also made by Seiko in house (I used my old Seiko 5 with this movement rock climbing and hiking, it took many hard hits and it still works perfectly)! Furthermore, it features a minimalist dial which I think suits the trend of minimal, simple watches that both my fellow millennials and I like and it is also built incredibly well with many instances of them lasting a decade before any major service is required. It is also only 38mm in diameter, which is a versatile size for both men and women to dress up or dress down. This means it will look equally at home in a suit and tie or T-Shirt and shorts. It also has 30m of water resistance, suitable for daily use but not swimming.
And for $99, what else can you ask for?
Number 2: Citizen Eco-Drive Solar Quartz AW1430–19E ($115.00 USD)
Maybe you want a more accurate piece? Maybe you want the durability of a quartz movement (Not saying that the previous watch’s movement isn’t durable but let’s face it, Quartz is more durable) but not the hassle of battery changes. I present to you the Citizen Eco-Drive line of watches. Citizen is one of the pioneers of solar powered watches, and now they have an incredibly large collection of these watches. You get the accuracy of a quartz watch without the hassle of battery changes every couple of years. What else can you ask for?
This watch is also fitting with today’s love for minimalism, though it’s a little more sporty with the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock indices and with a larger case size of 43mm it is a little less versatile. However it can still be somewhat dressed up if you put it on a nice brown leather strap.
What else can I say? It has 50m of water resistance which makes it good for light swimming, and is once again incredibly well built and like the previous one feels much more expensive than it really is.
Number 3: G-Shock DW5600E ($64.95 USD)
Maybe you’re in the military, police or you just want the functionality and a big digital screen and a watch that can be boiled, frozen and dropped from a 3-story building and still be working.
I present to you a watch that costs less than $100. The G-Shock DW5600E. It is shock resistant to a 10 meter fall, water resistant to 200m and basically resistant to just about anything.
This watch has a backlight for complete ease of use at night, a calendar that is programmed to 2039, ability to show time in 12 hour time or 24 hour time format, alarm, stopwatch and worldwide time zones. All for less than $100. Casio G-Shocks scream value and toughness and is the perfect everyday watch for anyone who doesn’t need a suit and tie.
This watch’s water resistance is 200m and despite not being cited as a watch suitable for scuba diving, many divers use this G-Shock or others in a similar price range for even advanced trimix diving with no issue. The case is made out of resin for toughness and lightweight. It has a 2-year battery life, although many people get 5 or even 10 years of life out of a single battery. Or you can pay a little more for the G5600, the solar powered version.
Another interesting tidbit is that the DW5600E is one of the few watches certified by NASA and the ESA for use in space.
Number 4: Seiko SKX007K1 ($227.00 USD)
Got a little more money to spend and you like something iconic and historical? Look no further than what is arguably the king of professional dive watches under $500. The Seiko SKX.
A professional dive watch by definition is one that has a screw down crown, 200m or more of water resistance, good illuminated hands and indices and a unidirectional rotating bezel. On top of that, the Seiko SKX complies with all of ISO 6425’s requirements for a dive watch. This includes water resistance, shock resistance, low level magnetic resistance, strap attachment strength and legibility in low light conditions. Note that many divers, even professional divers agree that an ISO 6425 compliant watch is not essential for diving, but it is something that is nice to have.
The watch uses the same movement as the Seiko 5, which ensures long term reliability despite being less accurate than say a quartz movement. However for daily use, the accuracy is more than sufficient. This watch and variants of the SKX series are used widely by professional divers due to reliability, value and ruggedness. It is used as a backup to diving computers if you intend to use it for diving. However for the people who don’t dive, it is a rugged and absolutely cool looking daily wearer. It is 43mm in diameter, although it wears much smaller than that as the shape of the case hugs the wrist extremely well.
All of this for less than $500, what else can you ask for?
Number 5: Seiko Turtle SRP777 ($372.00 USD)
This is the most expensive watch of the list, and carrying on with the theme of diving watches, this is the one step up from the SKX. The Seiko “Turtle” SRP777. Affectionately known as the turtle due to the case resembling a turtle, this is a reissue of the Seiko 6300 series of dive watches which were popular in the 70s among military divers and also servicemen who served in Vietnam.
What do you get for the additional price? You get better finishing, a better rotating bezel and more notably a different movement. Instead of the basic 7S26, you have a 4R35 in the watch which has two new features added. Hacking, which stops the second hand when setting the time and hand winding (in addition to automatic winding from normal wrist motion). This allows for you to quickly get the watch up and running again if it had been left on the shelf for more than a couple of days. The 4R35 is also more accurate in timekeeping when compared to the 7S26 and is just as tough.
On top of the tangible differences, you get a faithful rendition of one of Seiko's most historically significant piece. This watch as previously stated was used by the servicemen in Vietnam as they were easy to come by in Southeast Asia and they were more reliable than their issue timepieces made by Hamilton, Benrus or Marathon especially under such humid conditions.
In a Nutshell:
Start wearing watches! Trust me, there are so many things that happen behind that dial and those hands. History, engineering, art and design all molded into one miniature machine that tell the passing of time. Now I am not saying to get rid of that smartwatch you have, but I am saying that perhaps start wearing a watch as well. It is simple, reliable and adds many points to your style.
Most importantly, these 5 watches are only pieces of advice to consider. There are so many options out there. Pick the one you love, and wear it with pride because every time you look at it to check the time, it will bring you a smile. Trust me, I am a millennial who had been there before.