Home >mint-lounge >indulge >Classy watches for some classy old chaps

Nothing warms the cockles of the hearts of Indulge staffers quite like hearing from readers. But something takes this delight to even higher level of ecstasy: readers who ask for help in making educated buying choices. Each month we received numerous SOS messages from panicked shoppers. And each time we reach into our collective expertise and revert back urgently. This month we feature a watch-shopping query from a reader. One that we think will resonate with many Indulge readers all through this gifting season.

Send your own shopping conundrums to the Mint Indulge team at askindulge@livemint.com

Q: Dear Indulge,

I’ve been in the market for two simple watches for male relatives who both turn 60 this year. The Omega DeVille’s are a bit beyond my range—I’m looking at a total outflow of 1.5 lakh (75k each tops, preferably lower). I’m looking at a classic Longines, but was also told to look at Frederique Constant and Raymond Weil. Any Advice? Please help me find classic watches: simple dials, white background, automatics and with leather straps.

Sincerely, M.

A: Thank you for writing to us M! And what an excellent query.

One would assume that with all the choice out there in the watch market, finding an elegant, simple, straightforward watch would be a breeze. Surely there have to be hundreds of references out there suitable for gifting to elegant, 60-year-old gentlemen?

The problem is, simultaneously, one of excess and one of scarcity. Yes, there are dozens upon dozens of options to match your particular criteria. But it is not always easy to find any of them in the wild. This is because of the way in which different price segments work. At the apex of the world watch pyramid brands such as Patek Philippe, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin proudly flaunt their simple, two-hand models. This is because they can afford to. Even their so-called “entry" models cost tens of thousands of euros.

At the more affordable level, on the other hand, brands like to draw attention to their more high-end products. This is why you will rarely see Seiko, for instance, flaunt any of their mind-blowingly good Seiko 5 models in the media. These models are great. But Seiko would rather spend ad dollars on the more high-end products. Which is why people in the market for elegant, simple models often feel like their choices are either too expensive, or too cheap.

But no need to fret. We’ve done the heavy lifting and catalogue browsing and brainstorming and arrived at four indulgent recommendations.

Tissot Tradition Chronograph

Why we like it: A chronograph may seem like an odd selection here. But in this Tissot interpretation of the chrono works very well. The subdials are clean and uncluttered. And the dial is clean and spacious. A very easy to read watch with a nice elegant finish especially in the yellow-gold case model.

Longines Conquest Heritage Men

Why we like it: This timepiece is so retro, it hurts. It actually physically makes us hurt inside just looking at its beautiful, beautiful pictures. The dial is so wonderfully balanced with the date window at the 12 o’clock position. Everything about this is excellent. Even the typography. Elegant, and versatile.

Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic

Why we like it: Raymond Weils are trusty, dependable watches that are usually great value. This Maestro Automatic is a quintessential Raymond Weil model. The 39mm case is a subdued in size but not in texture. Along with the hands, the watch has just enough personality. It whispers, never screams.

Rado Centrix L

Why we like it: What? Rado? Don’t they make all those high-tech ceramic pieces? Yes, yes, they do. But who cares what else they make when the new Centrix models are so elegant and understated? And yet, as is Rado’s wont, they are also modern and solid. This is an elegant, minimal watch that marries all that is good with old and new watchmaking.

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