If you’re racking your brain trying to unearth the perfect holiday gift, consider the most foolproof present of all: a watch. Watches make for ideal gifts for a few reasons. Unlike, say, a wool overshirt or a corduroy chore jacket, watches are pretty much guaranteed to fit their recipient right out of the box (and are way more impervious to moth holes and coffee spills). Unlike a set of noise-canceling headphones or a ritzy scented candle, they’re built to last long after your neighbors finally pack up their holiday decorations in July. And while there’s no upwards limit on how much you can spend (just ask Rafael Nadal, or the guy who scored this $1.1-million grail), there are plenty of options to be had on the lower end of the price spectrum too.
But all that variety makes for its own kind of headache: there are hundreds of worthy options to consider, and finding the right one—whether for yourself or a pal—can feel a little daunting. Quartz or automatic? Swiss or Japanese? And what the heck is a CasiOak, anyway? If those questions are starting to give you a migraine, the wisest advice we can impart is to keep it simple and stick with the classics. Whether it’s a rugged mechanical field watch or a MoMA-worthy Swatch, the most giftable watches are the ones that have stood the test of time (sorry) and will always look cool no matter which way the fashion tailwinds blow. So to make your job even easier—and help you put a smile on the face of the finickiest fella on your list—we rounded up 23 of the strongest contenders available right now, each one equal parts stylish and affordable.
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