King Jewelers has the best mid-tier watches to spruce up your holiday season.
Tis the season to fill that void in your watch collection or on the wrist of your favorite watch lover. Here are a few picks from the cases at King Jewelers that meet these important holiday criteria:
They are all available, in-stock and ready to wind, at least as of the moment this post goes live.
Each one has a pedigree and story that will satisfy the watch nerd in all of us.
They are all surprisingly affordable and packed with design elements and features that are worth way more than their price tags.
Yeah, this is a watch you want. It’s beautiful red and blue bezel is reminiscent of a certain close cousin from the Wilsdorf family. Like that one, the Tudor screams GMT but this watch will leave a few dollars, euro or yen in your bank account to fund your wanderlust. It’s available with a steel bracelet or on a NATO or leather strap. The watch measures 41mm. It is a COSC certified chronometer that’s powered by Tudor’s in-house cal. MT5652. The MT5652 is a purpose-built GMT with a few tricks up its hairspring. My favorite is that when you put the crown into the middle position, you can adjust the hour hand in either direction without stopping time. If that COSC certification is important to you, you’ll probably appreciate that trick, too. The Tudor Black Bay GMT (ref. 79830RB) carries several of the brands most recognizable design elements – snowflake hands and round, triangle hour markers, prominent exposed rivets on the bracelet – and is water resistant to 200 meters.
The Autavia re-editions were among the highlights from TAG’s collection earlier this year at LVMH Watch Week 2022. TAG introduced several models including a stunning blue-dial GMT and two chronographs. The Autavia’s origins go back to the 1930s with Heuer’s race car dashboard timers. Its name is a combination of “auto” and “aviation” that points to the two primary markets for the original timers. The re-editions are part of TAG Heuer’s heritage collection that pays homage to some of the brands most important watches. Be sure to check out the panda dial chronograph that picks up the legacy of the original. It’s a 3-register flyback chronograph that’s controlled by a set of oversized pushers. Instead of the typical tachymeter bezel you’d expect on a chrono, the Autavia features a bi-directional rotating ceramic bezel with a 60-minute scale. The flyback function is handy, especially if you’re used to a lap timer. Just press the lower pusher to restart the chrono without stopping and resetting.
The history of Zodiac stretches back 140 years, and it’s legendary Sea Wolf dive watch was there in the 1950s when the category emerged. After a lengthy break, the Super Sea Wolf surfaced again in 2015. The modern editions have some of the coolest bezel designs on the market. With vibrant colors and interesting configurations, they combine functionality with attention-grabbing style. On the 500-unit limited edition Sea Wolf World Time, a bright red bezel emblazoned with 24 cities that represents each of the globes time zones surrounds a black inner 24-hour ring. By using the GMT hand and the bezel ring combo, this watch allows you to track time anywhere in the world. It’s a different take on the world timer complication that’s simple and affordable. The Super Sea Wolf World Time is also available in a more muted 500-unit limited edition black bezel/grey dial combo. It’s a beauty but make a statement and go with the red.
Hamilton is another watch brand that’s been around to see two centuries turn. Originally manufactured in the US, the brand packed up its family in 1969, moved to Switzerland, and after a couple of ownership changes, became part of the Swatch Group. Hamilton’s designs include some of the coolest art deco watches ever produced including the Ventura. They were also masters of more traditional designs, which is reflected in the hand-wound Khaki Aviation Pioneer Bronze. It’s a modern masterpiece based on the World War 2-era Hamilton Model 23 pocket watch that’s loaded with vintage cues including a 43mm bronze case, a small seconds register at 6:00, a prominent crown that feels like it would be easy to grab with a pair of leather flight gloves on, and old-school super-LumiNova on the cathedral hands and markers. The Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Bronze is presented on a perfectly complimentary leather strap with a single stitch above the spring bar. There’s also a 38mm version that has a sweeping second hand instead of the sub dial on the larger model.Oris Okavango Air Rescue Limited Edition
While we’re on the subject of pilot’s watches, let’s look at this green limited edition automatic version of the Big Crown from Oris. The watch takes its name from an air rescue initiative that provides emergency medical support in the most remote areas of Botswana. The texture on its distinctive gradient dial looks like the grass of the Okavango Delta and provides depth and dimension, especially when framed by the turbine-like engraving on the bezel and crown. Even with all that motion, it is still highly legible in the air, one the ground or underwater at depths up to 100 meters. The Okavango Air Rescue Big Crown is 41mm with a steel case and a matching safari green NATO strap. Production is limited to 2,011 pieces in a nod to the year that the Okavango Air Rescue began.
Bobby Frank is a freelance writer and musician based in Nashville. He’s been an avid watch collector since discovering a sample case full of early digital watches at his father’s office in the late 1970s. Current favorites include the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight and Zenith Chronomaster. A timekeeper to his core, Bobby plays the drums in several bands that perform across the Southeast including Tennessee Dead, a Grateful Dead tribute band.
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