Source: Hamilton Watch Company

Giving Someone Their First Mechanical Watch? These Nine Are Perfect

Here are nine well-made watches that are good investments but won't break the bank. Perfect for teaching responsibility (and punctuality).

Father Christmas is about to have a rendezvous with Father Time, and the job of buying your son his first wristwatch has fallen to you, dear reader. OK, maybe the young man in question is actually your grandson, or your godson, or your nephew; he’s somebody’s son, at any rate. And it may be an occasion other than Christmas, but this young man in your life has reached the age of putting away childish things, and it’s time to quit Mickey-Mousing around. Below, a roster of timepieces chosen as foolproof gifts for the budding scholar of horology. 

(Corrects watch in the sixth slide; an earlier version of this article included a watch that had a quartz movement. It has been replaced.)
  1. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch

    Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch

    From monitoring your sleep to tracking your activity to vibrating with notifications, this smartwatch offers a full complement of tech amenities in a package gleaming with old-world charm. Approx. $1,325

    Source: Frederique Constant

  2. Eza Sealander

    Eza Sealander

    Made in the Netherlands, this 300-meter dive watch arrives packaged with a tool for changing out its leather band in favor of a NATO strap (also included). Approx. $900

    Source: Eza Watches

  3. Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 40MM

    Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 40MM

    Quite literally battle-tested, this watch is built according to standards Hamilton developed while supplying the U.S. Army during World War II. $695

    Source: Hamilton Watch Company

  4. Mondaine Helvetica No. 1 Regular Hand Winder

    Mondaine Helvetica No. 1 Regular Hand Winder

    A perfect expression of Swiss midcentury modernism, this Helvetica honors the famous typeface (designed in Zürich in 1957) and boasts a movement manufactured by Sellita (founded in 1950). $1,200

    Source: Mondaine

  5. Montblanc Tradition Date Automatic 

    Montblanc Tradition Date Automatic 

    With its domed sapphire crystal, white lacquered dial, and timeless roman numerals, this stainless steel watch offers a proper introduction to classical watchmaking. $1,520

    Source: Montblanc

  6. Movado 1881 Automatic

    Movado 1881 Automatic

    Named for the year of the company’s founding, the austerely clever 1881 plays its stamped hour markers and minute index against the streamlined angularity of Movado’s signature hands. $1,395

    Source: Movado

  7.  Panzera Breuer Aurum Flair

    Panzera Breuer Aurum Flair

    “Bauhaus” is at risk of becoming an empty buzzword, but this mechanical watch stays true to the art school with its numberless white dial, graceful rose gold case, and the satisfying small square of its date window. $535

    Source: Panzera

  8. Victorinox Infantry Chronograph

    Victorinox Infantry Chronograph

    This 40-millimeter chronograph splits the difference between field-ready ruggedness and dressy refinement. $550

    Source: Victorinox

  9. Baume et Mercier Clifton 10052

    Baume et Mercier Clifton 10052

    It's a superb everyday dress watch precisely because its silver dial and blued steel hands make a dynamic departure from business as usual. $2,850

    Source: Baume & Mercier