i recommend

Editor’s note

Customer reviews on most platforms are kinda crap—and a lot of those Insta posts are just glorified ads. Most of us end up relying on the same set of friends for advice any time we have to buy something new. So we decided to trial a community-sourced version of the ‘I Recommend’ section—to pool our collective wisdom to help each other out. 


Here’s how it works: You tell us what products/services you need help with. We will then gather together the best suggestions from our subscribers, personal networks and social media followers. Each month will have a different theme—examples: workout equipment, jewellery, men’s clothing, luggage etc. This edition of I Rec features all kinds of watches—both digital and analog. FYI: also check out our previous editions on the perfect red lipstick, all kinds of athletic shoes and sunscreens.


Each edition is based on your requests. So be sure to let us know what help you need by filling out this single-question formand we will make it the theme for next month.


Wanted: The perfect watch

There was a brief period of time when the smartphone killed the wristwatch. That’s until we all came to our senses and realised there that a good watch does way more than just tell the time. It expresses who we are—in a way no other accessory can. So if you’re in the market for that perfect watch, here’s what the splainer fam recommends.


Analog watches

One: Seiko 5 Sports. This was the most loved analog watch on our list. Ronit says he is “big fan of automatic watches since they are usually higher quality, built to last longer, and more reliable since you don't have to mess around with batteries. Plus, there's something vaguely romantic about well made automatic watches.” 


Promith adds that it “looks (and makes you feel) like a million bucks. Mechanical automatic movement. Relatively inexpensive ($200 to $250) if purchased from abroad. Lovely formal/dress watch. Looks and feels much nicer than it costs.” (Rs 40,000)


PS: Ronit also recommends a dress watch—Presage Cocktail Timefrom Seiko: “Good for more formal occasions and suits. I personally find the black strap more versatile but the brown strap Mojito looks stunning.” (Rs 39,500)


Two: HMT mechanical. If you want a beauty made in India, Stella reminds us that we cannot do better than good old HMT: “Some of the watches have transparent front/back glass where you can see the tiny machinery run. They also have watches with numericals in vernacular languages. And they are very reasonably priced. You cannot own a more unique watch than these!” 


Ramakrishnan adds that these “watches are hand made, traditional and a symbol of India's technical expertise. Sad that it no longer carries the same fame although a select few people still enjoy collecting them nowadays.” (Rs 2,689–Rs 4,880)


Three: Citizen Eco Drive. Here’s something if you want a ‘green’ option that looks good. Bhageerathi D R loves this because it requires zero battery changing and is sustainably powered by wrist movement. “When you wear multiple watches and have to change batteries even though you hardly use it. Having an eco drive makes one feel less guilty.” Find more watches in the collection here. (Rs 12,510)


Digital watches

One: Apple Watch SE. It isn’t exactly surprising that many of our subscribers swore by this winner. Maryann Taylor says: “I primarily use it to track my workouts, number of steps, heart rate and meditation… Another handy feature I love is that it helps me take calls, especially if I’m out and my phone starts ringing in my bag, saves me the frustration of fumbling around trying to locate it.” (Rs 29,900) 


Speaking of Apple: If you’re in the market for an Apple Watch, Promith highly recommends the Series 7. He says it is “versatile, one watch many faces. One-stop watch for fitness, or formal or casual. Multiple always-on watch faces, optional leather or metal straps. My go-to daily driver.” Vaishak Muralidharan too loves the Series 7 because “[It] is quite capable of tracking my jogs + besides more upfront data, I use the Apple watch for everything else as I'm in the ecosystem and it makes life easy.” (Rs 41,900)


Reminder: Sourabh says this option only works if you are in the Apple bubble: “If you are not in the Apple ecosystem of gadgets, then the Apple Watch does not make any sense at all.” 

FYI: CNN has a handy guide that compares the Series 7 with the Series SE.


Two: Garmin Vivoactive 4. Atul Nath says it is “great for running, cycling and all forms of exercise. Great as an everyday smartwatch.” Lalana Zaveri likes that it is a smartwatch that looks like a regular one: “I like that because I'm old school. I resisted switching to smartwatches for a long time because they looked too, well, smart.” (Rs 34,990)


Also from Garmin: Vaishak Muralidharan recommends the Forerunner 245 Music. He especially loves the Garmin Connect app: “The level of analysis I can do of my runs is amazing.” (Rs 36,490)


Three: Casio Youth Series Digital Unisex. Tresa Fernandez says:


I have been using iterations of this watch for the past 18 years. As a boarding school kid, I loved the fact that I could store contact numbers on my watch. Now I love it because it is versatile, practical and inexpensive. And it goes with every outfit :) And sure, we now have plenty of digital watches with all the latest tech, but I love the comfort and familiarity of this watch. It's simple and functional without being too clanky (like most smartwatches) or weirdly shaped (fitbits, I'm looking at ya)” 


This is the watch for you if you’re feeling the nostalgia. (Rs 3,595)


PS: If you want to stay within the Casio family, Nikhil Mishra suggests Casio Vintage Silver Digital. He loves it because “wearing the watch makes me feel really authentic and original. Goes without saying that the product is top-notch because of the brand name attached to it. Also: it's gender neutral so I’ve lent it to many of my female friends. They also love how easily it goes with all kinds of clothing.” (Rs 1,695)


PS: Need more options? 

Here’s more in the analog family:


  • Skagen: Tarini recommends watches from the brand because they are “elegant, hardy and look good with everything.” (Rs 3,477 to Rs 17,596)
  • Fossil: Lalana Zaveri likes the brand because she “likes watches that are slightly big, but not bulky. Fossil watches are pretty and practical.” Aditi Mittal adds that the brand “has a line that runs without batteries, (it harnesses your pulse at your wrist for energy?) The designs are amazing and the warranties last 10 years. Really really worth it.”
  • Casio’s vintage collection: Gauri loves this because of how the watch looks. Added bonus: “It goes with all my corporate clothes.” (Rs 1,795 to 11,995)
  • Casio Women's Analogue Quartz: Anupama loves it because it is “sleek, simple and transitions from office to evening”. She adds that Casio is a “reliable brand.” (Rs 2,817)
  • Timex: Nikhil recommends the brand because it is wallet-friendly. “You get classy looking watches for a really affordable rate. Using it for the past three years and totally love it. I still get comments from a lot of people and all of them are surprised by its cost. Though I had to change the battery once and that happened last month, exactly three years after purchase, other brands might last longer so as mentioned above, it's a pocket-friendly brand.”


For more digital options:


  • Fitbit Charge 5: Bharat G swears by this because “it's the sleekest and the most function-rich wearable watch. It's more than just a fashion statement!” (Rs 12,965)
  • Fossil Hybrid HR Collider: Jithin recommends this saying “I know I know! I'm not a purist, either way. Wanted to try out a digital watch, but I love analog faces. This watch combines both and does a decent job of tracking steps, heart rate, notifications etc. AND, looks good.” (Rs 10,496)
  • Galaxy Watch 4: Nishant Sharma contends that “it is the best android smartwatch in the market. With a little sideloading, it also takes reliable blood pressure measurements. It is just fab.” (Rs 18,999)
  • Suunto Ambit 2: Kaustubh says “It's my utility sport watch. It's got GPS and route plotting and tracking. And with the GPS on, it used to last 6-8 hours, so was super handy when doing long-distance kayaking or cycling expeditions. Oh, also it's waterproof. It comes in a shiny metal red. Mine is ages old, but the new Suuntos pack even more power.” The only con: “the rubber strap wears out every 2-3 years, and I've run through 3 straps already.” The Ambit 2 is no longer in production but you can find the Ambit 3 here.  (Rs 40,200)


Note: We do NOT receive any revenue from the brands recommended.

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