Watches: What you wanted for Christmas. And what you got.


Sometimes in life we almost get what we want. Almost. But due to lack of budget, lack of understanding or, let’s face it, plain old lack of interest, the ‘ho, ho, ho’ dreams of Christmas glory become a ho hum reality once the fancy wrapping is torn away; never more so than in the world of fantasy Christmas watches.

What you wanted:

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116523


Ah, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, first introduced in 1963. It was designed to meet the demands of professional racing drivers. With its highly reliable chronograph and bezel with tachymetric scale, it allows drivers to perfectly measure average speeds up to 380 miles per hour. An iconic watch eternally joined in name and function to the high‑performance world of motor sport – and a certain racing fanatic Hollywood legend called Paul Newman.

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What you got:

Invicta 9224 Speedway

Invicta 9224 Speedway

As your heart sinks, the tag inside the plastic watch box reads ‘Conveying time with the utmost sophistication while keeping in mind the needs of the active sportsman, the Invicta Speedway collection will effortlessly transpose into any journey. It’s on special on Amazon for $68.48.


What you wanted:

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Originally introduced in 1953 in the post war boom when consumers wanted to forget about World War II and indulge in leisure pursuits. The latest additions to the collection are extraordinary technical achievements as well as a tribute to the pioneers who made scuba diving possible. It is their passion and dedication which opened up whole new vistas for underwater exploration and that continue to inspire Blancpain in using innovative materials and new technical solutions.

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What you got:

Timex Originals Diver

Timex Diver

Not so much a time check as a reality check. At $85, although not as pricey or as sophisticated as a Fifty Fathoms, at least your heart won’t break should you lose this diver on your next underwater adventure.


What you wanted:

Swatch Sistema51


You cleverly thought asking for a Swatch Sistema51 would set the bar sufficiently low to receive exactly what you wanted. The Sistema51, comprising 51 parts, keeps on working without batteries thanks to its kinetic movement. Although easily affordable, it has delighted Swatch fans and watch aficionados alike. And at only $150 you anticipate it is well within grasp.

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What you got:

Swatch Watch


Well, at least it’s blue and it has Swatch written on it.


What you wanted:

TAG Heuer Monaco


Released in 1969 and made famous by Steve McQueen in the 1972 film ‘Le Mans,’ the timeless Monaco is one of TAG Heuer’s most admired watches, hand-picked by McQueen for the movie. It has seen several reincarnations over the years, including updates to the watch launched only last year.

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What you got:

TAG Heuer Red Bull Racing


So near, and yet oh so far. The quartz chronograph movement is accurate to within a tenth of a second, and is displayed on the small counter at 6 o’clock, with the minute counter at 9 o’clock and the current seconds counter at 3 o’clock. The hands are red, matching the team colors and complement the white counters and deep blue case back. But does it have oodles of retro Steve McQueen cool. Hmm, maybe not.

What you wanted:

G-Shock MR-G G1000-D GPS Hybrid Radio Solar


Known as grown up G-Shock, this remarkable watch corrects itself automatically wherever it goes with Multi Band 6 synchronization  and is solar powered. At around $3000, It is the most luxurious and technically accomplished of all G-Shocks. A grail for any ardent G-Shock collector.

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What you got:

Skmei S-Shock


It runs on a genuine Japanese movement, and depending where you look on eBay, you can pick one up for under $10.00. The cheapskate gift giver may have thought you wouldn’t notice the difference.

What you wanted:

IWC Big Pilot’s IW500912


You absolutely love the latest iteration of the Big Pilot’s Watch launched at SIHH 2016, from the clean pitch-black dial, to the printed white indices and numerals, as well as the return of the lowered triangle and number 9. You can almost feel it on your wrist.

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What you got:

Ticino Vintage Hand Wind Chronograph

Ticino Pilots watch

At 44mm it’s as large as an IWC Big Pilot’s, and it runs on a Seagull TY2903 movement. Made somewhere in Asia, Ticino make IWC and Panerai style watches for a great deal less than the originals. Not copies, just tributes. At only $250, it’s a clever substitute, but nevertheless, a poor man’s substitute. Never mind, there’s always next year.