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An automatic watch...do I just have uncommon tastes?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
For our anniversary, my wife bought me an automatic watch. She mostly bought it because she heard me say that if I bought myself a watch, it would be an automatic self-winding movement, because I have always thought those are cool. I also need a dress watch for interviews, church, etc. but I've never had a "real" watch. I typically wear $25 timex analog watches which last a year or two.

She bought me some Kenneth Cole thing at Dillards for $150. The coolness is that it's clear both at the top and bottom, so that you can see the movement. It's kind of silly that the bottom is clear considering it's against your arm, but this is very addicting when I look at my watch and see the little gears in there doing their thing. Very cool. A real machine; I can see the state of winding by looking at the spring. But after wearing it for a bit I think I should take it back and buy something a little better. The main gripes I have with this one is it's fairly thick, it has a very gay "Kenneth cole NY" black writing right across the crystal, you can't see the hands in the dark, and there is no date.

There are bazillions of watches out there so how do you narrow it down? I have absolutely no brand loyalty. Is there a "watch selection wizard" out there? I've found it nearly impossible to watch-shop online without just clicking through thousands of random men's watches. This is what I want

MUSTs:
-automatic movement
-leather band NOT metal
-visible at night
-second hand
-ALL numbers must be present and accounted for (except maybe 3 if there is a date); roman or arabic doesn't matter much
-Modest size and appearance, no gold. Stylish but not fancy. I'm an engineer; the stainless-leather-and-gunmetal appearance of this watch is acceptable.
-affordable: to me this means <$300

NICEs:
Date, no other complications needed or wanted, no diving dial wanted
Visible movement HIGHLY desirable.

Any suggestions on finding such a watch?
post #2 of 32
ChronoShark | The Watch Deal a Day Site
post #3 of 32
what you are looking for is typically called a skeleton watch. Ebay has lots of them. I suggest that you get a name brand one for warranty purposes. they come in all sizes. below is an example listed for $150 shipped.

yes, automatics do look good. Those mechanical pieces are work of art.

post #4 of 32
I like skeleton tank watches. From the same seller on ebay, less than $200 shipped.

post #5 of 32
warning about an leather watch after a year of constantly wearing it, the leather will start to smell, it's not a cheapo leather watch either
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonhapimp View Post
warning about an leather watch after a year of constantly wearing it, the leather will start to smell, it's not a cheapo leather watch either
by that same token, a replacement leather band is less than $100
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post
by that same token, a replacement leather band is less than $100
do you know a place to buy replacements?
post #8 of 32
Seiko 5 of choice (< $100) + 18mm aftermarket leather strap should hit all the high points of your selection criteria. Only caveat is that it's a bit small (37mm) for a modern men's watch.
post #9 of 32
I have a Seagull Skeleton:
Sea-Gull M182sk
Sea-Gull M182sk

I think it is a decent watch, a bit understated in the dial and case so it works as a dress watch. It probably has the same movement as your Kenneth Cole. I'm not sure if you are going to really find a lume on a cheap dress watch nor will it be easy to find a skeleton with numbers since that forces a larger dial.
post #10 of 32
Pay a visit to West Coast Time. They have an array of affordable stainless military-style autos. You can put a leather strap on just about anything they carry, too.

Invicta has quite a few autos that fit your needs - take a look.

Visit the Poor Man's Watch Forum. It's like Head-Fi for affordable cool watches. Sorry about your wallet.

You might want to look at some vintage watches, too. I like the old Eterna-Matics (superb movements), the vintage Hamilton automatics and I love the Longines Ultra-Chrons. They have a technically excellent movement that came out right before quartz swamped the market.

If you want some old-school geek cred, however, buy a vintage Bulova Accutron. Forget the new ones. You want a tuning fork. The Accutron was the first good electric watch. Hamilton was the first, but their electrics are delicate and a pain to work on. Accutrons are supremely reliable and can take a harder beating than pretty much anything. The original 214 movement (my favorite) was used in the instruments for the Apollo missions and were routinely used as the clocks in satellites. The consumer version is pretty much the same exact thing used in space.

An accutron works by using a chip to turn a coil on a tuning fork off and on 360 times a second. That, in turn, drives a pawl wheel which turns the hands. And, as you'd expect, they hum at 360Hz and the seconds hand moves smoothly across the dial. In the 1960s, every geek owned an Accutron. They still have a cult following today.

I usually wear a Sinn 656 daily, but put on an Accutron Spaceview at least a couple days a week.
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Indeed it looks as if Seiko 5 + leather band is closest to what I want....not quite a dress watch, though, and not a skeleton watch. Most of the other suggestions for skeleton watches violate several of the most important selection criteria, namely 'no gold' and 'numbers plz kthx'. As annoying as it is, it looks like I'll be keeping my current watch cause I can't seem to do any better anywhere. It sucks to be picky.
post #12 of 32
What you want is out there, you just need to keep watching the various watch deal sites til something cool shows up.
post #13 of 32
Um... I don't want to piddle on your strawberries here, but surely if the watch was an anniversary gift, then rushing out to immediately swap it would seem a little off, no?

Just my tuppence ha'penny.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by trains are bad View Post
it has a very gay "Kenneth cole NY" black writing right across the crystal
Before I go on, I just want to say that calling something 'gay' when you mean 'stupid' or something to that effect is just plain inappropriate and ridiculous. If you don't like something, say so, but don't say it's 'gay'.

Anyway...

I've found that eBay has an amazing selection of vintage skeleton watches for prices that won't cost your first newborn
post #15 of 32
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