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martyndarkly

Advice on inexpensive, mid-size, automatic watches

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Hello,

I'm new to the site, but have been enjoying reading through the various posts here. I was spending some time on another watch site, but realised after a while that most of the people there were based in the states. Great to discover this English site instead!

I'm looking for some advice about buying a new watch, and hoped your collective wisdom could help. 

I've recently caught the bug and am in the market for an automatic (maybe a mechanical would do too) that I can keep for many years. 

It has to be small-mid size as I have slim wrists, and 38mm would be perfect. 

I like maritime, field, diver, and dress watches, but mainly something that is simple and classy without being too precious. 

I've looked at Seiko 5s, and while they seem great I've yet to come across a design that really catches me. 

Orient look lovely, but they seem a bit big on the wrist. 

Hamiltons are fantastic, but the autos are a bit out of my price range. I do like several G.Gerlach designs, as well as Laco, but again 38mm would be my preferred size rather than 40mm

Don't mind where they come from, or the brand as such, just want a keeper that will be my everyday wear. 

The main restriction is price, as I can only realistically stretch to £300. 

Here's a few examples of ones that have caught my eye. 

laco861887lar.jpg

p24_k_02.jpg

MSM-007-MIG-1.jpg

 

blue1.jpg?format=500w

 

Thanks for any advice!

Martyn

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Welcome......look at Tissot, you might have to up the budget a limitless or go for used. Don't buy Tissot from EBay......ends in tears :whistle:

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Welcome Martyn :) I'd second @RWP on Tissot.  There are a few nice dressy Seikos that may suit your needs too such as the SARB035 which could be had sub £300 with a bit of digging around. 

You'll get more for your money if you go preowned in that price range though, IMO.  There's a sales section here with lots of good deals to be had but you need to contribute to 50 posts before being able to see it.  I may be relisting a near mint Hamilton Viewmatic auto on there soon... :whistle:

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Hamilton Khakis, either preowned or on sale, would squeeze in under £300 and the designs are fairly similar to those you brought up already (particularly the white dial models).  Plus you are getting a very well known brand from the Swatch group which will have much better build quality than microbrands at the same pricepoint. 

 

h70455553.jpghamilton-khaki-field-automatic-black-dia

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Agreed, in the preowned market there are plenty of watches that with fit your brief and your budget.   You can get something excellent for that budget and far higher quality than if you insist on new.

On the minus side it could be easier to go wrong with pre-owned too in fairness.

 

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37 minutes ago, RWP said:

Welcome......look at Tissot, you might have to up the budget a limitless or go for used. Don't buy Tissot from EBay......ends in tears :whistle:

Thanks for the tip @RWP. I hadn't actually thought of Tissot. I shall pop along to its site. 

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Just now, martyndarkly said:

Thanks for the tip @RWP. I hadn't actually thought of Tissot. I shall pop along to its site. 

One of the best priced and nicest autos is th Le Locle :)

25375324771_eda4e983d8_b.jpg

 

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22 minutes ago, Stuart2103 said:

Welcome Martyn :) I'd second @RWP on Tissot.  There are a few nice dressy Seikos that may suit your needs too such as the SARB035 which could be had sub £300 with a bit of digging around. 

You'll get more for your money if you go preowned in that price range though, IMO.  There's a sales section here with lots of good deals to be had but you need to contribute to 50 posts before being able to see it.  I may be relisting a near mint Hamilton Viewmatic auto on there soon... :whistle:

I didn't know the SARBs came in at 37mm. That's a great shout. I'll have a look at those as well. 

Hamilton heh? Mmmmmmmmm. I'd better get posting. :)

 

I do like the Hamiltons @Jeremy Fisher. They've caught my eye right from the beginning. 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I have to say that Hamilton Khaki sounds pretty close to what you're looking for. If I had the money right now, I'd get one like a shot and I don't know anybody who has one that doesn't love it!

good luck.

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1 hour ago, RWP said:

One of the best priced and nicest autos is th Le Locle :)

25375324771_eda4e983d8_b.jpg

 

I love this watch. Nearly bought one but it was out of stock locally. Jealous does not cover my "green" look at the moment

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Thanks for all the excellent advice!

One question I meant to ask though, is how much do you usually spend on servicing your watches and how often?

I'm trying to look at the overall cost of running a mechanical/auto over my previous Quartz watches. 

Also, and I realise this is probably the wrong crowd for this question, is a Quartz watch a good choice if it's a more expensive model?

Many of the top manufacturers seem to offer them and I wondered why if mechanical is the accepted standard of quality expected by collectors?

I just wondered if they lasted for a long time (as in decades) and whether this would be a good investment as opposed to a mechanical?

Sorry for all the questions. If I need to start new threads for these then just let me know. Still new here. 

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6 hours ago, martyndarkly said:

 

I like maritime, field, diver, and dress watches, but mainly something that is simple and classy without being too precious. 

I've looked at Seiko 5s, and while they seem great I've yet to come across a design that really catches me. 

 

blue1.jpg?format=500w

 

Thanks for any advice!

Martyn

There is a huge amount of Seiko 5 variants out there, keep looking and you'll find one you like.

I like that Orion with its retro looks, and Seiko NH35 movement. I wouldn't bank on it holding any value, but it should last, and I'd enjoy wearing it. By the time the duty has been paid possibly a little over priced for what it is, but that's only my opinion. Regarding servicing, that's a can of worms. All I shall say from my own experience, is that ETA movements (Hamilton, Tissot etc) do require servicing more often, if worn all the time, than Seiko/Citizen. Be assured others will say different.

This O & W with a bog standard ETA Swiss movement usually requires a service every five years, because it needs one.

large.20170116_085920_kindlephoto-3102681.jpg.1dd3f87f6a20c2e25e70129ed9cb8870.jpg

This Seiko (obviously) hasn't required any attention in over 30 years, because it still runs fine.

large.IMG_20161230_1226265_rewind.jpg.a50f14d3133f58222120ec02bc728443.jpg

Its down to choice, and nothing wrong with what you've picked so far.

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Welcome to the forum!

If you want a diver then you can't go much wrong with Christopher Ward Trident C60, but get one in their regular sales and save a few pennies,,,

Friday 30 June

This "Vintage" version is on the dressy side of the diver genre, but the standard ones are more in line with traditional diver aesthetics.  38mm will be bang on for you.

If you really want a more dressy look then the Steinhart Marine 38 is great (as already mentioned).

Thursday 27 April

No lume on these, but the blue hands more than make up for it in daylight. :-)

J

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Out of the Ines you posted, the Gerlach looks particularly nice although I have never heard of them before. 

I did own a Laco pilot watch a while back but had to move it on as the lugs meant it didn't sit well on my wrist. 

Seikos are always a popular choice, both factory designs and some nicely modded versions doing the rounds. Shikoku movements are particularly reliable. 

Sorry, can't seem to edit my post. Autocorrect messed up the last sentence, should have read 'Seiko movement'

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@JonnyOldBoy Quartz would make a lot of sense - reliable, cheaper - but I must admit, the mechanical lure is strong, as I've never had one before. 

I've been looking at the Seiko SNK809 as an inexpensive starter watch. It's a seemingly popular and robust device, although the face and hands are a little busy for me. I'd probably get used to it though. I've seen it on a Nato strap and that seems to make it a more interesting watch. 

seiko_snk809.jpg

I also had a chance to try on a Hamilton Khaki (handwinding) model this weekend, and looked pretty sweet as well. 

hamilton-khaki-field-mechanical-men_s-wa

Oh course the main thing I'm arguing about internally is the price difference. The Seiko is £60, while the Hamilton is £300!

I really like the Hamilton, but not sure if I like it five times as much as the Seiko. 

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@WRENCH I like that O & W. I take it it's a vintage? Great style. 

 

@Migzy @JonnyOldBoy Are there a lot of fake Hamilton's on ebay? Mmmmm, that makes it tricky. So, where would you guys look for second-hand watches? 

I know there's watch sales on this site, but I'm about 40 posts short of being able to access it yet. 

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@Spy I saw a video of the Laco watch the other day. It looked fantastic, but then the guy put it on his wrist and it looked huge and thick!

Kind of dispelled the magic of the design for me. Real shame, as it's a beautiful dial. 

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I was looking through some other threads on the forum and stumbled across an almost perfect blend of the Seiko SNK809 and the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical.

It's the Seiko SRP275

srp275j1-big1.jpg

Or it's sibling the SRP273

FRONT.jpg

Great looking. Nicer hands. Simple dial. And of course.....completely sold out everywhere. 

I don't think Seiko even make them anymore. 

Bah!

Anyone know about these watches? Are they as good as they look?

Also, where would you look to find something like this? Ebay was a barren wasteland, and I'm not sure I want to order one online from Hong Kong. 

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I like them both, TBH the Seiko 5s are epic workhorses and will (most probably) never give rise for concern, excellent VFM as are the Orients, perhaps you should be looking at a mako or a Ray?

m_20161211174811_elfzarhr.jpg

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@biker I like the Makos and Rays, but really I'm looking for an everyday watch that I can wear with anything. The divers seem a bit bulky for some things. Also, it gives me the excuse to buy a diver later. :)

 

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13 hours ago, martyndarkly said:

@WRENCH I like that O & W. I take it it's a vintage? Great style. 

 

@Migzy @JonnyOldBoy Are there a lot of fake Hamilton's on ebay? Mmmmm, that makes it tricky. So, where would you guys look for second-hand watches? 

I know there's watch sales on this site, but I'm about 40 posts short of being able to access it yet. 

Unfortunately yes. Basically stay clear from any Hamilton on a black rubber strap or any that say "(great condition) just serviced" . The regulator is a big giveaway as well.

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