#LookCloser – Team Matick Picks: Best Watches Around RM500, RM1,500 and RM3,000 for the 2020 Holiday Season

Introduction

Yes, it is that time of the year again. Be it Christmas, the year’s end, or you just wanting to buy a watch to commemorate your 2020 (for all the right reasons, we hope), or perhaps even to buy a new watch for a friend / family member / significant other who is fairly new to the watch collecting scene, the sheer amount of choices on the market can be intimidating. Not sure where to start? Fret not, Team Matick is here to help you out. In this buying guide, you will find our recommendations to consider at 3 different price points to suit everyone’s budget.

For the purpose of this article, our recommendations span across 3 different categories of watches for each price point, namely: a tool watch, dress watch and all-rounder.

Note: None of the photos used in this article belong to The Matick Blog, all respective owners have been credited accordingly as indicated under each segment.


WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS AROUND RM500 AND BELOW

MARSHALL’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

1) The Tool Watch: Casio Duro Marlin Diver MDV 106

Photo credits: Watches You Can Afford, Dive Watches Blog, Strap Code, Deployant

The Marlin is one of the very first tool watches that I personally owned which eventually led to the growth of my appreciation for dive watches as a whole. It is the catalyst to my growing affection for the “Submariner” aesthetic. Fun fact: the Marlin was also known as the “Bill Gates watch,” as it was seen on the wrist of Bill Gates on several occasions. Ultimately, the Marlin is a no-frills, “everyman’s” watch. It is understated, simple, reliable (thanks to the 200 meter water resistance and quartz movement), with decent legibility, and most importantly, it is wallet-friendly. It is everything you’d like to see in a budget tool watch.

  • 44mm case diameter
  • 200m water resistance
  • Japanese quartz movement
  • Mineral crystal
  • Approx. RM160+

2) The Dress Watch: Seiko 5 SNKL23

Photo credits: Watch Gecko, Hodinkee

The SNKL23 is, in my humble opinion, arguably one of the best looking Seiko 5s in its class. This specific model is widely coveted and has a dial that screams a million bucks. It offers a lot of ‘watch’ at this price point as it brings to the table a solid workhorse movement with a great size for most wrists. This watch is definitely for those looking to acquire their first dress watch and are not ready to break the bank. This watch right here, is the true definition of value proposition.

  • 38mm case diameter
  • 30m water resistance
  • Seiko 7S26 automatic movement
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Approx. RM300+

    3) The All-Rounder: Seiko 5 SNK809

    Photo credits: Monochrome Watches, The Modest Man

    The ‘809 (and its other more colourful counterparts) is one of the most iconic and recognizable Seiko 5s of our time. The military pilot / field watch-inspired look checks a lot of boxes for both new and experienced enthusiasts alike. It offers a lot of versatility and durability, which is a substantial plus point for a watch that is potentially suitable for every occasion. To put it simply, it is an everyday watch with mainstream appeal. In fact, this is the watch I’d recommend the most to anyone who’s looking for their first watch purchase on a tight budget but would like to own something that is tough enough to withstand the rigors of daily wear.

    • 37mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Seiko in-house caliber automatic movement (with Diashock)
    • Hardlex crystal
    • Approx. RM265+

    KC’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: G-Shock DW5600

    Photo credits: Strap Change, World.G-Shock

    In my mind, this is the quintessential tool watch. It has an array of functions combined with legendary G-Shock toughness; all in a retro package that looks good on any wrist. Size concerns go out the window with this model, as it wears great on practically any wrist, and it comes in a multitude of variants to suit any taste. Splurge a little over RM500 and you can even swing a solar charging version for which you’d basically never have to change the battery. As is often the case with G-Shocks, it’s hard to beat the value proposition of this core model.

    • Resin case / band
    • 48.9mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance 
    • Mineral Crystal
    • Rugged af / zombie-proof
    • Approx. RM300+

    2) The Dress Watch: Seiko 5 SNK381

    Photo credits: BabyJoe from Watchuseek, Creation Watches

    This is… an unconventional choice for a dress watch, I know. But hear me out. This particular Seiko 5 comes in a 38mm case with a bracelet that’s reminiscent of the beads of rice aesthetic, with an applique dial plus the requisite day-date complication framed in a polished window. While the look is closer to that of a field watch than a pure dress watch, I think the SNK381 is a watch that punches far above its weight (as many Seiko 5s do) and maintains a semblance of being a dress watch while remaining different from your run-of-the-mill dressier Seiko 5 options.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Seiko 7S26 automatic movement
    • Hardlex Crystal
    • Approx. RM385+

    3) The All-Rounder:  Invicta 8926OB Pro Diver

    Photo credits: Two Broke Watch Snobs

    If you thought the previous one was controversial, well, I’m not sure how you’re going to react to this one. But once again, hear me out: the Invicta 8926 is, objectively, an excellent entry level watch. A classic Submariner homage in the classic, pre-maxi 40mm case, it comes with a decent oyster bracelet, your typical Sub dial and hands, plus a reliable Seiko NH35 movement. Yes, it does come with the twin stigmas of being both a homage and an Invicta, but it also works as an incredible base for any modifications down the road as it has robust aftermarket support, allowing you to modify this basic watch into nearly anything you can think of.

    • 40mm case diameter
    • Seiko NH35 automatic movement
    • 200m water resistance (diving not recommended)
    • Mineral Crystal
    • Approx. RM243+

    VINCENT’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Timex MK1 Aluminium

    Photo credits: Style & Stylus, Timex, Hypebeast

    As someone who works in carpentry that involves much heavy duty work, I tend to lean towards a watch that’s durable, easy to wear, coupled with a slim profile and great comfort. That has me naturally recommending the MK1 Aluminium as a durable tool watch with its acrylic crystal and aluminium watch case. It doesn’t scream ultimate “tool watch,” coming without many functions and complications that digital watches can offer. It is instead a simple watch that tells time with great legibility and features Timex’s famous Indiglo™ electroluminescent dial. At just RM470, I think this is a deal you shouldn’t sleep on.

    • 40mm case diameter
    • Aluminium case
    • 30m water resistance
    • Acrylic Crystal
    • Quartz
    • Approx. RM365+

    2) The Dress Watch: Swatch Skin Black Classiness

    Photo credits: Hodinkee

    Although it is a watch made from plastic with a silicone strap, the Skin defines the form and dimensions that a dress watch should be. A ridiculously svelte quartz watch with a case measuring only 3.9mm thick, 34mm in diameter, with minimalist looks, it pairs really well with smart casual or dressier outfits. Topping up just a little over RM10 from the base price of RM445 will get you the milanese bracelet which I’m an absolute fan of, being an owner of it myself. I personally have my Black Classiness paired with the milanese bracelet, and its look still puts me over the moon.

    • 34mm case diameter
    • ETA Quartz movement
    • 30m water resistance
    • Plastic case
    • Approx. RM445+

    3) The All-Rounder: Seiko 5 SNK393

    Photo credits: Gliderbee from Watchuseek, Creation Watches

    The Seiko 5 catalog is populated with a whole plethora of, you know, Seiko 5s. But among the billions-and-billions-and-billions of Seiko 5s, the SNK393 here takes the cake for me for the ultimate everyday watch under RM500. As with most Seiko 5s out there, it has a diameter of just 37mm and a lug-to-lug of 42mm, which is a blessing in disguise for small wrists out there. Plus, any automatic watch at this price is pretty much a no-brainer, and a more easily accessible crown compared to many other Seiko 5s makes this an easy recommendation that will only set you back RM379.

    • 37mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Seiko 7S26 automatic movement
    • Mineral Crystal
    • Approx. RM379+

    JON’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Seiko 5 SNK803

    Photo credits: Fifth Wrist, Worn & Wound

    Honestly, anything from the SNK80x range will do. The only difference is a matter of colour, but my personal favourite is the beige. The 5 in Seiko 5 represents the five principle attributes behind the line, which are: Diaflex (unbreakable mainspring), Diashock (shock resistant design), automatic winding, day/date indicator, and water resistance. All of these qualities lend the Seiko 5 range enough versatility to basically cover every category in our list, which is a bit of foreshadowing here, but in terms of a starter tool watch, it’s hard to get past this particular model. I should know, as this is the watch that kickstarted my journey into the hobby.

    • 37mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Seiko in-house caliber automatic movement (with Diashock)
    • Hardlex crystal
    • Approx. RM265+

    2) The Dress Watch: Orient “Bambino” FER2400BW0, Gen. 2 Ver. 2

    Photo Credits: Worn & Wound, Drop

    While the Orient Bambino has gone through multiple generations, my pick would be the 2nd generation-cum-2nd version Bambino. The mix of Roman numerals coupled with baton indices give it a vintage vibe, one that might be associated with some of the works of Vacheron Constantin. Now, that is genuinely high praise for a humble brand like Orient. Like the aforementioned Seiko, the beige dial is my preferred choice, which provides a perfect canvas for the blued hands. With dress watches, it’s all about the little details, something the Bambino is not short on. With the vintage coat of arms, minutes track, and cursive fonts, there is much to admire here.

    • 40.5mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Orient F6724 Caliber automatic / hand-wound movement
    • Approx. RM500+

    3) The All-Rounder: Casio AE1200 “Casio Royale”

    Photo credits: Tick Talk, Afford Some Time

    Originally, this was going to be classified under the tool watch category, but it has since been changed to an all-rounder, simply because of its resemblance to a watch a certain James Bond wore in “Octopussy”. This watch, affectionately nicknamed “Casio Royale” for aforementioned reasons, retails for basically spare change, but has a whole host of features; more so than any other watch in this article can boast. The most important of these is the world time function, which allows this watch to track all the time zones in this world.

    • 39.5mm case diameter
    • Japanese quartz movement
    • 100m water resistance
    • Mineral crystal
    • Approx. RM125+

    WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS AROUND RM1,500 AND BELOW

    MARSHALL’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: BOLDR Venture Field Medic II

    Photo credits: BOLDR Supply Co

    The VFM II is an enthusiast-level watch that was specifically designed as a tribute to medical professionals who are currently at the frontlines battling against the COVID-19 pandemic. A noble and meaningful cause by BOLDR, I would say. But for the average person, the VFM II is a heck of a tool watch to have on the wrist. It houses a hybrid meca-quartz movement (think half-mechanical, half-quartz) by Seiko, a.k.a the VK64. The dial features a very unique pulsometer scale which is usually only found on “Doctor’s watches”. That said, the VFM II is a tough-to-beat option (quite literally) with a light-weight titanium case and a visually stimulating dial. There is simply no reason why you should overlook this.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • Titanium case
    • 200m water resistance
    • Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM1,211+

    2) The Dress Watch: Orient “Bambino” Small Seconds RA-AP0005B10A

    Photo credits: A Blog To Watch

    In my book, the Bambino lineup has always been a solid contender from Orient over the past few years for affordable classic dress watches. This particular model, the Bambino SS (small seconds), is no exception. For just under RM1,200 (actually, the Bambino SS costs even less in Malaysia, depending on how hard you look), you are getting an exceptional timepiece in almost every technical aspect. The Bambino SS is handsome, houses a workhorse movement, and is very wearable for its size for most people. A true value proposition in its own right, I personally and highly recommend the Bambino SS wholeheartedly.

    • 40.5mm case diameter
    • Orient F6222 caliber automatic / hand wound movement
    • 30m water resistance
    • Domed mineral crystal
    • Approx. RM1,235+

    3) The All-Rounder: Seiko SPRE55 “DressKX”

    Photo credits: Watchclicker

    The DressKX is, in my mind, one of the best value-contenders coming out of the Seiko umbrella this year. Here at Team Matick, it has been affectionately dubbed by our KC as the “DressKX”. The marriage between the SKX signature case aesthetic with a less-cluttered dial seems to be hitting all the right spots for many watch enthusiasts, including myself. A significant plus for me is the upgraded 4R movement. Mark my words, this is a Seiko you do not want to miss if you are planning to opt for an all-rounder type of watch. It is one of the best watches; one I’d highly recommend for anyone who’s just getting into the hobby. For less than USD300, you are essentially getting a watch which fits the “all-rounder” category almost too effortlessly. That said, my only complaint is that, unlike its older brothers (SKX007 / 009), the DressKX does not feature a screw-down crown, but is still rated for water resistance of up to 100 metres. All things considered, it shouldn’t pose any issue for the average wearer / watch enthusiast, just don’t dive with it for good measure.

    • 40mm case diameter
    • Hardlex crystal
    • Seiko 4R36 Movement
    • 100m water resistance
    • Approx. RM1,114+

    KC’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Seiko “Arnie” SNJ025P1

    Photo credits: Hodinkee

    The Seiko Arnie is, as its name suggests, a reissue of the original H558 worn by Arnold Schwarzeneggar in movies like Predator and Commando. Encased in a Tuna-like shroud, this analog-cum-digital watch offers a terrific array of functions in a chunky but surprisingly wearable case. Falling under the Prospex banner, the modern Arnie offers ISO-certified dive credentials, and even includes solar charging, so you’ll never have to worry about switching out the batteries. For a tool watch at this price that offers more than your basic set of features, while also having the cool factor of being a watch featured in popular media, it’s hard to look past the Seiko Arnie.

    • 47.8mm case diameter
    • Solar H851 movement
    • Hardlex crystal
    • 200m water resistance
    • Approx. RM1,450+

    2) The Dress Watch: Swatch Sistem51 Knight

    Photo credits: Swatch, Watch Shop UK

    Once again, I’m going left field for this option. But in my humble opinion, this Swatch offers a lot of bang for your buck. Besides the novelty of having a fully-machine assembled mechanical movement, it comes in a stealthy PVD treated stainless steel case and minimalist dial design that makes for a subtle yet interesting watch on the wrist. It may be a little beefier than the ideal dress watch, but the overall design stops it from sticking out on your wrist, which is what you need from a dress watch. Plus, the 30m of water resistance is right at home in this category.

    • 42mm case diameter
    • Sistem51 Automatic movement
    • 30m water resistance
    • Stainless steel case
    • Approx. RM895+

    3) The All-Rounder: Citizen Promaster Nighthawk BX1010-11L

    Photo credits: Citizen

    The Citizen Promaster Nighthawk range is a series of watches that I have always admired, but have yet to own. While there are a couple of models that are very well known, for the purposes of this list I am looking specifically at the BX1010-11L. A modern take on the quintessential pilot watch aesthetic, it comes with a world time complication, a perpetual calendar (in the sense that you’ll never have to adjust the date, though there are no indicators for month or year) and 200m of water resistance. This all comes with a deep blue sunburst dial and Citizen’s signature EcoDrive solar charging. Hard to argue with as a watch that wouldn’t look out of place in any situation.

    • 42mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance
    • EcoDrive movement
    • Mineral crystal
    • Approx. RM1,205+

    VINCENT’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Seiko PADI ‘Turtle’ SRPE99 

    Photo credits: Watchuseek, Designer Optics

    In my opinion, the Turtle is the ultimate tool watch at this price point and needs no introduction. Just ask Uncle Google about it and it will tell you just how much of a legend the Turtle is. It was THE tool watch that assisted in Antarctic explorations, deep sea diving expeditions, and the modern adventurous desk diver at their day jobs. In all seriousness, the watch wears really well despite its deceptively large on-paper dimensions, a result of its cushion case. With the rich historical significance of this watch, you can’t possibly get more watch for your money at only RM1,494, or you can even opt for the SRP779 at RM1,199.

    • 45mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance (ISO rated, suitable for diving)
    • PADI special edition
    • Seiko 4R36 automatic movement
    • Approx. RM1,494+

    2) The Dress Watch: Dan Henry 1937 Dress Chronograph

    Photo credits: Time & Tide Watches, Dan Henry

    While there are many dress watches like the Seiko Presage series in this price bracket that might offer more bang for your buck with automatic calibre movements, I think the 1937 is something that’s great for its price and has a magnificent look. Inspired by watches from the Art Deco era of the 1930s, and being a bit of a Patek Phillipe Ref. 130 homage, the watch demonstrates elegance with its vintage sector dial. Coupled with a Seiko meca-quartz chronograph movement within, the watch remains slim without sacrificing that mechanical sweep seconds goodness when activated. Value, elegance, great vintage execution? It’s a yes to all three for me, and at a price of just RM1,100.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement
    • Sapphire coated K1 mineral crystal
    • Approx. RM1,100+

    3) The All-Rounder: Brew Retrograph

    Photo credits: Brew Watches

    This is another meca-quartz chronograph, but one in a unique rectangular case with exciting dial colour options that is very easy to pair with any casual, business or even dress outfit. Despite its limited availability with only seasonal restocks, it is still a watch that’s still too good to overlook at RM1,400+. For your information, Brew Watches was born from an inspiration and association with coffee, and it’s all about the coffee-centric details with the watch. You get a coffee bean motif Brew logo on its crown and specific chronograph markings at 30 to 35 seconds as it’s the optimum time for espresso extraction. If you’re a coffee nerd like Marshall and I, these details are just the cherry on top of an already excellent watch.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 50m water resistance
    • Hybrid meca-quartz movement
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM1,418+

    JON’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Nodus Sector Dive (Tidal / Seafoam)

    Photo credits: Nodus Watches

    This price segment is interesting in the sense that there are various microbrands that the vast majority of people outside of the watch community might not be aware about. One of these is Nodus Watches (“Nodus” us, senpai!), who has built up quite a loyal following and may or may not have a reasonably close relationship with Matick. Their Sector Dive range has cool dial colours, are powered by the reliable Seiko NH35 movement, resistant up to 150m of water, and have incredible lume. Seriously, what more could you want?

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 150m water resistance
    • Seiko NH35 automatic movement
    • Approx. RM1,722+

    2) The Dress Watch: Baltic HMS 002

    Photo credits: Baltic Watches

    Do you like the Jaeger Le-Coultre Master Control Sector Dial, but can’t stump up the best part of RM25,000 to purchase it? Well, luckily for you, Baltic is here to save your bank account. This may be stretching our under RM1,500 category, but at current exchange rates at the time of writing this article, you only have to stump up just over RM100 extra to be the owner of the HMS002. For that price, you get a classic, almost JLC-esque design, powered by a reliable Miyota movement. You’d also be able to appreciate a variety of finishing, from a sandy matte central dial, to the brushed sector ring, and a polished case.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 50m water resistance
    • 821A Miyota automatic movement
    • Hesalite crystal
    • Approx. RM1,642+

    3) The All-Rounder: Seagull 1963 Chronograph

    Photo credits: Worn & Wound, Watch Review Blog

    I don’t want to get too political here, but anti-China sentiment has been rife within the past few years. Despite the majority of products being made in China, some of which may be the devices you’re reading this very article on, there’s still a stigma to that label, unfortunately. That being said, the Seagull 1963 Chronograph is very much made in China; a faithful reproduction of the original used by the Chinese Air Force in the, you guessed it, 1960s. Replete with this gorgeous gold dial and Chinese characters, and powered by a column wheel chronograph, I’ll wait here patiently while you research other column wheel chronographs at this price point.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • Seagull ST19 hand-wound movement
    • Acrylic crystal
    • Approx. RM1,576+

    WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS AROUND RM3,000 AND BELOW

    MARSHALL’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Laco Aachen 39

    Photo credits: The Columbia Watch Society

    I am of the view that pilot watches are severely underappreciated as a tool watch. The Laco Aachen 39 is, in my humble opinion, one of the best and most solid pilot watches in the market currently at this price point, and one that is not talked about enough in the watch enthusiast community. Whilst the Laco Aachen 39 uses a smaller case than most traditional pilot watches, I personally think that 39mm is a good size for most wrists in today’s modern context. Furthermore, the finishing of the dial and the case of the Laco Aachen 39, along with the extra-bright luminescence, exerts a lot of wrist presence which makes up for the slightly smaller case size. The dial is your standard “Type-B” dial with an inner hour index and larger outer minute index, which is typical for most pilot watches at this price range. This is a watch that is built like a tank and one that I cannot recommend enough, especially for those who are fans of the pilot watch aesthetic.

    • 39mm case diameter 
    • Type B dial layout
    • Miyota 821A automatic movement
    • 50m water resistance
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM1,645+

    2) The Dress Watch: Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic

    Photo credits: Monochrome Watches, Tissot Official

    The Visodate was one of the very first dress watches I desired so very badly during my university days. There is simply nothing I can nitpick with this watch. It is simple, handsome, well-built and comes in a great size with a robust Swiss movement. It is also one of the most versatile dress watches I have come across so far due to its neutral looking dial; it is simply effortless to have it look good on almost any strap you desire to wear it with. Don’t believe me? Check it out at your nearest Tissot boutique and you can thank me later for this recommendation. It is THAT good.

    • 40mm case diameter
    • ETA 2836-2 automatic movement
    • 30m water resistance
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM2,800+

    3) The All-Rounder: Merci Instruments LMM-01 Original Mecanique

    Photo credits: Hodinkee

    The Merci LMM-01 is a watch that is high on my “to-own” list. There is something very compelling about the overall look and feel of the watch. What I really adore about the LMM-01 is how Merci Instruments has found a way to conceptualize a watch that utilizes a design meant for mid-century military usage and infused it with an elusive sense of romanticism that is hard to come by in today’s world of watches (at least in my humble opinion). To sum it up, the LMM-01 is one of my favourites for 3 specific reasons. One: it has a purpose-driven form and evokes mid-century design in a very appealing way. Two: it is very simple to dress it up and dress it down to suit any occasion. Three: It is a watch you just don’t see everyday.

    • 37.5mm case diameter
    • ETA 2801 hand wound movement
    • 50m water resistance
    • Mineral crystal
    • Approx. RM2,482+

    KC’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Certina PreciDrive DS2 Chronograph

    Photo credits: r/Feathered_Brick from Reddit, Certina

    The PreciDrive movement is, in my opinion, one of the absolute best bang-for-buck movements in the horological world today. It is a thermo-compensated quartz movement with a chronograph that measures up to 1/100th of a second, with 30 minute and 12 hour counters (no absurd 24-hour indicator subdials here, hint hint Seiko) all in an extremely wearable 41mm case. In addition to this, the chronograph hands reset extremely quickly for a quartz chronograph; a little nod to enthusiasts who enjoy the snap reset of mechanical chronographs. Just a fantastic package overall and an exemplary quartz movement for a phenomenal price.

    • 41mm case diameter
    • ETA quartz movement
    • Sapphire crystal
    • 100m water resistance
    • Approx. RM1,823+

    2) The Dress Watch: Orient Star Power Reserve RE-AU0002S00B

    Photo credits: Orient Watches

    It’s hard to make one of these lists without including an Orient, but I’ve opted to go above and beyond the typical Ray/Mako/Bambino choices, and go for one of Orient’s more premium offerings. The Orient Star Power Reserve is a reserved, understated and classy affair, with a subtle power reserve complication to boot. Offering a refined design and surprisingly good finishing for its price, the Orient Star offers a sterling dress watch that punches well above its surprisingly humble price point.

    • 38.7mm case diameter
    • Orient Caliber F6N43 automatic / hand wound movement
    • 50m water resistance
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM2,000

    3) The All-Rounder: Longines Conquest VHP

    Photo credits: Watchoninsta, Deployant, Longines

    In case you haven’t been able to tell, I am a quartz enthusiast, and I am including yet another stellar quartz movement here from the house of Swatch Group. The Longines Conquest VHP (Very High Precision) has a thermo-compensated quartz movement that is rated to +/- 5 seconds per year. For context, a typical quartz movement is rated for +/- 15 seconds per month, and even the fabled 9F quartz movement from Grand Seiko is only rated to +/- 10 seconds per year. Coming on either a rubber strap or steel bracelet, plus an extremely wearable 41mm case, the Longines Conquest VHP could easily be the only watch you would ever need.

    • 41mm case diameter
    • L288 quartz movement
    • Sapphire crystal
    • 50m water resistance
    • Approx. RM2,890+

    VINCENT’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Seiko ‘Alpinist’ SPB117

    Photo credits: Hodinkee, Gear Patrol

    This elegant yet robust tool watch, at least in my book, comes from Seiko. Having personally owned an Alpinist SARB017, the SPB117 in black dial is one of the best, no-nonsense tool watches that you can get in the market. With a price tag approaching RM3,000, the reissued Alpinist has modern dimensions of 38mm that almost anyone can rock on their wrist, while staying faithful to the vintage Laurel Alpinist that started it all back in 1959. This variant of the Alpinist features shark tooth indices and offers more versatility for your day to day life, work or play.

    • 39.5mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance
    • Front: Sapphire crystal / Back: Mineral crystal
    • Seiko 6R35 automatic movement
    • Approx. RM3,034+

    2) The Dress Watch: Baltic Bicompax-002

    Photo credits: Baltic Watches

    The Baltic Bicompax 002 is yet another sector dial that I’m pretty much a sucker for. Being one of the dressier watches in Baltic’s lineup, it is still fit for the occasion despite being a chronograph. Beating within is a manual-winding Seagull ST19 movement that has been adjusted and regulated by Baltic themselves in their home base of France. The Bicompax 002 is able to deliver a quality chronograph without breaking the bank at RM2,600+. If you’re in the market for a simpler and more affordable option, look no further than the three-hander HMS-002 (see above) at only RM1,600+.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 50m water resistance
    • Seagull ST1901 hand wound movement
    • Hesalite crystal
    • Approx. RM2,671+

    3) The All-Rounder: Astor and Banks Fortitude 

    Photo credits: Hodinkee

    The Fortitude is an easy recommendation, coming from the microbrand Astor and Banks. In the spirit of keeping these recommendations within budget, the Fortitude is one of the best everyday wear watches that you can get below the price tag of RM3,000. The Fortitude measures in at 38.5mm diameter and 46mm lug to lug, making it easy to wear for Malaysians with smaller physiques like myself. The bracelet wears nicely too, measuring 20mm at the lugs, tapering down to a vintage 16mm. With a higher grade Miyota 9015 automatic movement from Japan and Swiss Superluminova-X1, the watch couldn’t possibly pack more punch at its price point ranging from RM2,600+ to RM2,800+.

    • 38.5mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Miyota 9015 automatic movement
    • Approx. RM2,600+

    JON’S RECOMMENDATIONS:-

    1) The Tool Watch: Hamilton Khaki H69439411

    Photo credits: A Blog To Watch

    The Hamilton Khaki has many visual similarities to the Seiko 5 SNK range, but it sits within the Swatch Group, which makes it Swiss and instantly better compared to its Japanese counterparts. Like the SNK range, there are also multiple models within the Khaki range that you can choose from, whether you want a quartz, manual, or automatic watch, and they all come in a variety of colours. My personal choice would be the H69439411, white dial with faux-tina indices like its 1960s forebears, and an 80 hour power reserve, so you don’t have to worry about constantly winding this watch.

    • 38mm case diameter
    • 50m water resistance
    • Sapphire crystal
    • H-50 hand wound movement
    • Approx. RM2,065+

    2) The Dress Watch: Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 

    Photo credit: Tissot Official

    Tissot, like Hamilton, is also a storied brand that has been absorbed into the Swatch Group. What this essentially means is that they have access to ETA movements, and are able to produce watches containing these movements at a reasonable price point. With this watch in particular, you get an 80 hour power reserve movement, which is basically unheard of for most brands, at an affordable price point. Once again, this watch may be a contender for an all-rounder, especially judging by its versatile looks and that lengthy power reserve, but it has been beaten by a watch that can actually better that power reserve.

    • 39.30mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Swiss automatic movement
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM2,300+

    3) The All-Rounder: Mondaine Stop2Go

    Photo credits: A Blog To Watch

    The only movement that could better a mechanical movement with an 80 power reserve is a quartz. With the Mondaine Stop2Go, we have one, but it is a truly captivating one. For one, the seconds hand completes a smooth sweep around the dial in only 58 seconds, pausing for 2 seconds before the minute hand jumps to the next marker, and the cycle repeats itself. This is a representation of the sweep of its counterparts in actual Swiss railway stations. Secondly, its design is also a replication of actual clocks in said Swiss-Federal Railways stations. With the complexity and history in this watch, what more do you want?

    • 41mm case diameter
    • 30m water resistance
    • Mondaine stop2go caliber 58-02 quartz movement
    • Sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM2,860+

    HONOURABLE MENTIONS

    Lorier Neptune Series III, & Falcon Series II

    Photo credits: Watch Clicker

    In general, Lorier’s lineup of watches are some of the best looking vintage inspired watches out there. Both the Neptune and Falcon emphasise wearability, at 39mm and 36mm case diameters respectively, and straight lugs that emphasize its vintage design. The angular bracelets are rather playful under good lighting conditions, which is something to be commended at this price. While the clasp has fewer micro-adjustments, the focus on vintage inspired design can be seen from the domed plexiglass and the bracelet tapering from 20mm to 16mm. While the Neptune is more of a tool watch, the smaller Falcon will please more wrists out there. Both the Neptune and Falcon are priced at around RM2,000.

    Lorier Neptune Series III

    • 39mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance
    • Miyota 90S5 automatic movement
    • Dome plexiglass crystal
    • Approx. RM2,021+

    Lorier Falcon Series II

    • 36mm case diameter
    • 100m water resistance
    • Miyota 90S5 automatic movement
    • Dome plexiglass crystal
    • Approx. RM2,021+

    Baltic Aquascaphe

    Photo credits: Monochrome Watches

    The Baltic Aquascaphe is yet another vintage inspired dive watch that is rather popular amongst the watch community and costs RM2,800~. The strongest design points here are, in my opinion, its sandwich dial and overall dial proportions. Compared to the Lorier mentioned earlier, where the bracelet design is an integral part of the experience, the Aquascaphe here puts all its attention on the dial and watch head itself, and pairs well with either the tropic-style rubber strap for a skin diver aesthetic, or dressed up with a beads of rice bracelet. This can easily be swapped with the Alpinist as a potential tool watch, but the Alpinist makes it to the list as it’s more easily accessible at your local Seiko dealer.

    • 39mm case diameter
    • 200m water resistance
    • Miyota 9039 automatic movement
    • Double dome sapphire crystal
    • Approx. RM2,858+

    Mr Jones Watches the “Ascendent”

    Photo credits: Mr Jones Watches

    The Ascendent’s is one of MJW’s most interesting, ornate and delicate creations to date. The artist behind the gilded artwork, Marion Labbez, said that the watch was conceived as a celebration of the challenges we all face to scale our personal mountains. She wanted to create “a hopeful visual invitation to look forward. Explore, discover, climb, travel: experience the world around you. Never look down, the only way is up and the journey is fulfilling.”  As for the sophisticated and elegant gilded artwork on the watch glass (yes, you read that right), it was created with gilded palladium applied in different ways to achieve two different textures. All we can say is that the Ascendent is not a watch for everyone, it is only for those who like to live life a little off the beaten path. 

    • 37mm case diameter
    • 50m water resistance
    • Seagull ST1721 automatic movement
    • Sapphire glass
    • Approx. RM1,350+

    EPILOGUE

    With this concludes our list of watch recommendations that you can grab for your money at price points of RM500, RM1,500, and RM3,000 for this holiday season in 2020.

    Of course, this guide is not meant to be, by any means, exhaustive. But we certainly hope that our recommendations have given you a rough idea of the vast range of options out there in 3 different price points.

    Let us know in the comments if you have any recommendations of your own that you think should be on this list.

    Til’ next time, guys!

    Wear your watches in good health, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Here’s to a better 2021 ahead.

    For Team Matick,

    Marsh, KC, Vincent, Jon.

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