Looking into the future a bit I've decided that I want to get myself a really nice watch as a graduation present. I've spent a great deal of time reading about watches and visited quite a few stores to see them in person. The elements most important to me are "glowing" hands, automatic movement, durability, suitability for dress wear, and an exhibition case back. Why spend the big bucks on an automatic movement if you can't see it. Some of these are far beyond my current means, but someday.....
With a hefty price and hefty specs the IWC Aquatimer is a diving watch which can go easily from boardroom to ocean. The white and black version is probably the most "dressy." A sapphire bezel over SuperLuminova enhances underwater legibility and is more scratch resistant than aluminum bezels found on most other dive watches.
Tag Heuer Monaco
Iconic watch worn by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans and one of the very first automatics. This is one of the coolest square watches around. This watch might be the easiest to find of any on this list. Give me the version with an exhibition case back please.
Stowa Flieger Automatic
One of the five original pilot watch manufacture's. Stowa pilot's watches are made to be supremely legible. Since I'm unlikely to receive an IWC Big Pilot at $10,000+ I'll settle for the Stowa which is supremely legible and has an unfinished "straight from WWII" look.
Made by Xetum, a newly formed company in San Francisco, these watches have a unique watch which appeals to me. I'm sure any new architect would appreciate the purity of form evident here. The cylindrical case is not actually all that tall at 11 mm, but provides a wrist presence which many watches only achieve through massive diameter.
The Rolex brand is considered the epitome of success and luxury. If you care about name brands this is the one to get. The Explorer is also availible in a GMT version, the Explorer II, which has just been re-released.
Oris is known for their good quality diving watches. The BC4 is their basic pilot's watch. It is a little unusual in that the day is displayed via pointer hand. The Oris red rotor is maintained along with their typical price to value ratio.
Nomos Glashutte Tangente
Glasutte Original Sport Evolution
Similar in appearance to the Rolex Submariner, this watch is superior in most every way. The in-house movement is well detailed and visible the the case back. Bracelet is very comfortable and permits micro-adjustments. I'm not qualified to detail all aspects of this watch but it should suffice that this watch is considered a great value dispute its very high price.
I've left off some of the most common "graduation watches such as the Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster, and Speedmaster. While I have nothing against these watches, in fact they are well known, easily recognizable, and symbols of achievment. With this list I've attempted to provide a range of high end watches which speak to those with a bit more of an appreciation for the finer things in life. For example, everyone with a rich uncle and a degree has a Rolex, but not everyone even knows about Glasutte or Nomos.
If anyone is really interested in a watch with a great pedigree, look into the used market. A 20 year old Vacheron Constantin or Patek Phillipe, can be a fantasic and timeless value.
A special thanks to Ablogtoread for furthering my horological education and helping me waste time during work hours.