No one knows your dad like you do, or can guess what kind of watch is right for him. Buying watches as gifts for others is hard, even when that person is close to you — maybe especially if he’s close. The good news is that, even if you totally misjudge Dad’s taste, the most important thing is that the gift is from you. Probably not every Father’s Day is going to be one where you give him a watch, but if it’s one of those years, these sub-$1,000 watches are a good place to start.
Geeky Dad: Casio World Time Digital Watch
This is a great option that just about anyone can afford. It’s got a nostalgic, retro-futuristic appeal, a lot of functionality, and is incredibly robust especially considering its price. All of this makes it a completely worry-free watch for almost any occasion.
Sporty Dad: Citizen Promaster Professional Diver
For the active dads out there, a sporty, rugged Citizen Promaster is a practical and satisfying choice. Citizen’s Eco Drive technology means the battery is charged by any light source, so it’ll never need to be changed. This will require some heftier wrists to be worn comfortably and regularly, with a diameter of 44mm wide — but if it fits the bill, it will serve Dad well for a long time.
Outdoorsy Dad: G-Shock Master of G Mudmaster
There’s a certain satisfaction to something that seems almost more like a piece of military equipment than a watch. If that’s something the dad in your life can appreciate, a number of G-Shocks probably match the description. The Mudman, however, just has that rough-and-tumble feel that seems like it would only get better by banging it up. It’s got all the specs to handle some abuse, like 200m of water resistance, and a lot of useful Casio tech as well.
Tool Watch Dad: Obris Morgan Nautilus
With a unique but pragmatic design, Obris Morgan introduces mechanical movements to this list. This is a tool watch with some character and a great Japanese automatic movement with the Miyota 9015. The Obris Morgan Nautilus offers 200m of water-resistance and strong value. At 41mm, it’s the kind of dive watch Dad can wear every day, whether to the office, swimming, or casually.
Retro Dad: Yema Superman Heritage
The Yema Superman offers a vintage dive watch aesthetic, modern dive watch specs with 300m water-resistance and sapphire crystal, and a solid ETA 2824-2 automatic Swiss movement. The suave dad that knows how to dress will appreciate the style Yema is offering backed up by thoughtful details and evident quality. The retro sizing of 39mm makes this versatile for a range of wrists, and more understated than the many bold-wearing dive watches on the market.
Analog Dad: Tissot Vissodate Automatic
What if your dad’s more of an analog guy with a nostalgic streak? The Tissot Vissodate is one of the best values out there with all the specs you’d want from a Swiss-made mechanical watch, like a sapphire crystal and automatic winding. At 40mm wide with a stout profile, this will wear modestly and handsomely, and is perfect for everyday duty with an understated retro flare.
Aviator Dad: Stowa Flieger Verus 40
Does your dad wear a leather bomber jacket and/or aviator sunglasses? That might be a good indicator of a candidate for a vintage-styled pilot watch like the Stowa Flieger Verus 40. Stowa is a German brand with legitimate history making pilot watches, and the Flieger Verus looks the part, is available in date and no-date as well as different movement versions, and remains very wearable at 40mm.
Weekend Warrior Dad: Victorinox I.N.O.X. Mechanical
This is a tough tool watch perfect for the dad who likes the outdoors and is rough on his wristwear. When first released in its quartz-powered version, Victorinox even put this watch through 130 tests more trying than normal wear would ever be — so you know it can handle anything. There are various colors, as well as diver models and more affordable quartz watches to choose from. This mechanical version offers a Swiss automatic movement for a pretty reasonable price.
Diver Dad: Seiko SPB053J1
This handsome and capable dive watch is one of the more premium among Seiko’s sub-$1,000 Prospex watches but, as always for the brand, it punches above its weight. Based on one of the brand’s most popular vintage dive watch models, the SPB053J1 is versatile and can easily do the job for a dad who just wants one tough, reliable watch to last for many years.
Motorhead Dad: Autodromo Group B
There’s a good chance that any dad out there who’s into cars in some form or another will also be able to appreciate a good watch. For those who are serious motorheads, the Autodromo Group B celebrates motorsport in a unique and fun way with some vintage cues and colorful dial options.