My top mechanical watch recommendations
Before you buy a watch, it helps to know the difference between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch. Skip to the recommendations if you already know them.
Quartz watches are accurate and cheap to manufacture. They have artificially grown quartz crystals in them and have an interesting habit of vibrating (very consistently) when a voltage is applied. Quartz watches use these vibrations as a reference to measure how much time has passed.
Mechanical watches have hundreds of parts, are less accurate, harder to manufacture and cost more. They are also more interesting to wear because of their mechanical nature. Mechanical watches use a spring as its energy source which gets wound up as you move your wrist. The spring is held under tension and slowly releases energy to move the clock forward.
When buying a watch, make sure the watch fits. A well fitting watch is one whose lugs fit comfortably on the top of your wrist. If you have a smaller wrist, look for watches with a dial of 34-38mm in diameter. If you have a bigger wrist, you could sport a 38 to 42mm watch. 44mm is massive, I'd stay away from them (unless you're a giant).
My suggestions for great mechanical watches
Steinhart Ocean 1
I've owned this particular watch and it's gorgeous! You'll be hard pressed to find a watch with a reputed ETA 2824 movement, Sapphire Crystal display and stunning build (marine grade stainless steel) quality for the price.
If you decide to buy, get the Ocean 1 with the Ceramic bezel which is a real stunner.
This watch will run you $480 and it's worth every bit of that.
Seiko SKN Series
The SKN series is an anomaly. It's the perfect everyday watch and retails for much less than it should. Built to last many decades. It comes with a see through-back so you can look at how the watch functions and the dial is incredibly easy to read at a quick glance (you'd be surprised how often watches fail at this fundamental design requirement).
This watch is a no brainer. It's a workhorse and it will deliver every day.
It costs $60 but it's worth a lot more.
A dive watch is one you can take diving but most buy it for how it looks.
The SKX013 is one of the smaller, lesser known Seiko dive watches. It's classy, simple and functional. The watch is on the heavier end of the spectrum and tends to look better on larger wrists.
This one runs around $200.
The Orient Bambino is about 4mm larger than it should be in my opinion but if you don't hold that against it, it's a great looking dress watch.
I especially love the domed mineral glass top and the roman numerals.
Goes for $150.