Iit’s officially the beginning of the Holiday Season. ‘Tis the season when most people scramble to stores, scour the interwebs and simply just search for gifts for their loved ones. If you’re searching for a gift for the car enthusiast in your life, and you’re willing to actually spend a decent bit of money on this deranged (we’re all a bit deranged) person, then we must recommend a good watch. Watches and cars go together like football (either kind) and beer. So we’ve compiled a list of watches that any car enthusiast would love and we’ve done so with various budgets in mind.
Watches are expensive, especially because they’re a bit superfluous in today’s world. If you just want to know the time, the mobile phone in your pocket can do that with far better accuracy than any watch. And if you really want it on your wrist, a $20 quartz Casio will tell time just as well as any high-priced watch. But what fun are those? Car enthusiasts want something real on their wrist, something mechanical. So to keep costs down, and still have something cool on the wrist, it’s always wise to buy pre-owned. Pre-owned watches offer far better value than new watches and are absolutely worth looking into, so long as you can guarantee authenticity.
Which is where StockX comes in. StockX is a viable option for gifts as all watches are in excellent condition and guaranteed authentic, and it makes buying pre-owned an option for the holidays and other occasions.
There are several pre-owned watch companies on the interwebs that offer premium, certified watches for affordable prices. However, StockX is a bit different, as it uses a stock market-style approach to its listings, showing truly transparent supply/demand pricing. So rather than go by traditional pricing, you browse by each watch’s lowest “Ask” and can place bids on all watches.
It works similar to eBay, in the sense that it basically pairs buyers and seller together. The difference, though, is that StockX actually handles each watch sold and makes sure that it’s authentic and in excellent condition. So it’s far less frightening to buy a watch from StockX than eBay.
This might not be that exciting, because it seems like everyone has an Apple Watch these days, but that doesn’t make it a bad watch. While an Apple Watch isn’t as beautiful or interesting as any of the other watches on this list, it’s certainly just as helpful and probably even more so. Not only is it inexpensive but it can do so much more than a regular watch. So it’s actually a great tool that can be used for all sorts of stuff. However, it’s especially good for car enthusiasts because a lot of brand-new cars have apps that are compatible with the Apple Watch. So it’s actually quite helpful for many new car owners.
While used Apple Watches aren’t as enticing as used mechanical watches, they’re still cheaper. For instance, this Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS and Cellular has a lowest ask of $315, rather than the $409 from Apple brand new.
For under $1,000, there may not be a better watch brand than Seiko and for that money, you can get something truly special. Sure, on the used market, you might see a Tag Heuer or Tudor squeak under the $1,000-mark but they’ll likely be highly-worn examples of those brands’ cheapest watches. Rather than do that, get a lightly-worn example of one of Seiko’s finer watches and the quality will be far better.
The Presage series is one of Seiko’s more expensive series of dress watches. This Presage SPB045J1 is a very pretty dress watch, perfect for when you take your significant other out to dinner in your BMW. It’s the classic color combo for a dress watch; black leather band, stainless steel case, white face, black hands and roman numerals. It also gets a power reserve sub-dial, which is really cool looking. I also personally love that crown, which looks elegant and sophisticated. Are there nicer dress watches? No doubt. But are there nicer dress watches for under $1,000? Not many. This watch can be had for $900.
Tudor sometimes gets a bad reputation for being a Poor Man’s Rolex. Due to it being a sister brand of Rolex and significantly cheaper, it doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. However, the quality and attention to detail are right up there with its bigger-sister brand. The Tudor Black Bay is probably the most famous, due to its similarity to the Rolex Submariner. However, there’s a bit of a whiff of youth to the Tudor Black Bay. While every old-timer who retires gets a Rolex, the Black Bay seems a bit more stylish, a bit more youthful to own. So if you’re a more youthful enthusiast, or you’re buying for a more youthful enthusiast, the Tudor Black Bay might be the perfect choice.
It still gets an automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve and is waterproof up to 200 meters. It’s also almost as tough and rugged as the Rolex Submariner, though it must be said that Tudor’s testing process isn’t as rigorous as Rolex’s, so it can’t be guaranteed to be as tough as the Submariner. Still, it’s an awesome watch, looks great, is made incredibly well and it only costs $2,800. That’s a lot less than a Rolex.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional is one of the most iconic watches in the history of timekeeping. It’s the first and only watch to be worn on the moon. That’s because back in 1969, it was the only watch deemed tough enough by NASA to withstand the rigors of space travel. And you can buy one if you’d like. That alone is incredible, that anyone with enough money can own the very same watch that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore when they took those very first steps on the moon, as the very first humans to ever do so. Just that alone is worth the money.
But throw in the fact that it’s one of the best looking watches of all time, with its classic steel/black color scheme. There have been a lot of variations of the Speedmaster over the years, with Omega trying to capitalize on its heritage, but the silver and black Speedy Pro is the real deal. It can be worn with a stainless steel bracelet (as seen here) or with a NATO strap or leather band. All options are great, so long as the watch itself is a silver/black Speedy Pro with the hand-wound movement (currently Caliber 1861). Car enthusiasts rightly love the Speedy Pro because it’s not only great looking but it’s mechanically fascinating and has great heritage. Some snobs find it to be a bit typical but if it’s good enough for Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin, it’s good enough for anyone. Especially at $4,410.
I was tempted to go either Rolex or IWC here, as those are two incredible and prestigious brands. However, I decided to go with Panerai, as it’s the popular choice right now. Also, as a gift, they’re really nice. They’re big, brash and beautiful, with typical Italian flare. Sure, the watches are actually made in Switzerland but the brand is Italian and that’s where its style comes from. Panerai’s watches are big, stylish and very well made and they’re very in at the moment.
This Luminor 1950 GMT is very cool. Its luminous hands/numerals/sticks and its cool crown guard are all signatures of the brand and make it very unique. If you’re looking for something high-end, well made, luxurious and different, it’s hard to pass up any Panerai. This one also happens to be a GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), giving another hand to indicate a second time-zone (even if it doesn’t actually have 24-hour indicators like a proper GMT should). So there’s some additional function to its form. At $7,400, it’s not cheap but it’s a great luxury watch and one that will stand out in the crowd of Rolexes and Tag Heuers.
Disclaimer: The watches above contain affiliate marketing links, but the selection of them was purely based on the items we believe are the coolest gifts.