Adam Craniotes started the RedBar Group ten years ago when, as a collector, people would only ask him two questions about his watches: What’s the watch? And how much did it cost? “Based on your answer, you were either a rich asshole or an idiot,” he says. Instead, he wanted to talk about watches, his beloved hobby and passion, without the price being the focus of the conversation. “You can own a Swatch and have the same knowledge as anyone else, and just not have the bank account,” he says. Which is why we called on Craniotes to tell us about the best watches you can get, and be proud of, without dropping ten stacks on a Patek Philippe (although, don’t get us wrong, he has some pretty pricey watches in his collection). Here, we break them down between those under $500 and those under $1,000. Either way, they’re sure to make excellent and memorable Father’s Day gifts.
For the Dad Who’ll Never Take It Off
“A simple, rugged, and handsome diving chronograph that can take a beating and still come back for more. And thanks to its solar-powered battery, it’ll run pretty much forever. It’s just something that does what it says. It’s solid, good-looking, and affordable.”
For the Dad Who Remembers the Space Race
“This is an almost one-to-one homage to the watch worn on the moon on Apollo 15 by astronaut David Scott. (The original sold for $1.6 million at auction.) Unlike the original, however, this one uses a high-frequency precisionist quartz movement that’s accurate to an insane +/- ten seconds per year. They actually upgraded it slightly this year, so it now comes with a PVD black case, and the Bulova logo is a spot-on reedition of the original logo.”
For the Dad Who Can’t Make Up His Mind
“A sophisticated take on a GMT world timer, the KLOK-02 uses a Swiss microprocessor movement to control its unique jump-hour and world-time complications. It’s just wild. The design is like nothing else out there, and it works. You just have to learn it. Plus, you can easily mix and match bands by just pressing a button and twisting. That’s a selling point. It’s really easy to change bands.”
For the Dad Who Wants Something Classic
“What’s nice about this is that for under $700, you’re actually getting a Swiss watch. It’s the standard-bearer, the classic, everything you’d expect in a watch, but you’re not paying a crazy price. It represents such a solid value with respect to traditional watchmaking.”
For the Dad Who Calls Brooklyn a Beach Town
“Designed, assembled, and tested in Brooklyn, these nautical-themed watches look absolutely fantastic and can be had in four different colorways. You can’t get the same look from Omega, Rolex, or Breitling, but they’re still all under $1,000. They’re watches you can wear and be proud to own, and it has nothing to do with if you spent $10,000.”
For the Dad Who’s Always Prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse
“One of the most technologically sophisticated watches on the planet, and one that can also pinpoint exactly where you are on said planet, thanks to its GPS Hybrid Wave Ceptor technology, which uses a GPS receiver to transmit the time to your watch directly from orbiting satellites. It also connects via Bluetooth to your phone, which allows you to control its functions, record data to a flight log, and create a 3-D map of all the places you’ve visited. It’s insane. It’s a fun watch, and it works — spot-on accurate. A good zombie-apocalypse watch, if you will.”
For the Dad Who Loves Espresso
“Believe it or not, but this collection of watches was inspired by the gauges of an espresso machine. That premise shouldn’t really work at all, but somehow it does. Classically sized at 38 mm, they manage the trick of being completely unique in appearance, yet also completely versatile and appropriate for almost every occasion. Crafted from 316L stainless steel, with a scratchproof sapphire crystal and a Seiko-sourced automatic mechanical movement. You’ll be the only person in the room wearing one. (Disclaimer: I have one on order with a custom lumed dial for nighttime visibility.)” [Editor’s note: There’s another watch from this company with a leather band available on Amazon.]
For the Dad With a Thirst for Adrenaline
“This is a boutique brand, and Bradley Price, the guy behind it, also races vintage cars. He was inspired by the gauges of racing cars from the ’80s, specifically the ones that became known as Killer B’s because they were so powerful that they were too much for the roads they were traveling on to handle.”
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