If there’s one thing that a gorgeous timepiece is generally associated with, it’s a hefty and unreasonable price tag. If you take a short look at any good Swiss watchmaker’s website, you’ll find magnificent timepieces that cost more than the house – or, as they tactfully put it, price on application.
Given that one of the most important skills a guy can learn is making wise investments, you’ll be delighted to find that there is a slew of watchmakers offering excellent timepieces at significantly more affordable prices.
Here are the top watches under £1000 made of high-quality materials and have mechanical movements.
Best watches under £1000
Seiko Prospex Turtle SRP777K1
If you’re searching for a moderately priced sports watch, few companies do it better than Seiko of Japan. Its Prospex series combines more than 55 years of sports watchmaking knowledge in one location, with options for land and sky – but the Turtle SRP777K1 is our favorite of the bunch. It has all of the hallmarks of a superb diving watch – unidirectional bezel, 200-meter water resistance, Lumibrite coated hands, and indexes – in a classicly styled package that won’t break the bank.
The ‘Pioneer’ from Nordgreen, designed in Denmark by Jakob Wagner, strikes a difficult balance for a very low price. With its gunmetal frame and elegant navy dial, the watch treads a tight line between usefulness and elegance, appearing both a tool watch and something a bit more sophisticated. The black leather strap may be replaced with a metal bracelet. An indestructible Japanese Quartz movement powers the watch. The dial features numerous allusions to Nordgreen’s sustainable business methods, including wind turbine-inspired hands a clean chronograph face.
William Wood Valiant Red Watch
Do you know who William Wood is? It’s about time you get to know each other. Jonny Garrett developed the London-based watchmaker in honor of his late grandfather, William Wood, and it combines classic British design with high-quality Swiss and Japanese movements. William Wood is unusual in that it gives its consumers an option of mobility. For example, this red diving watch from the Valiant line is available with either an ETA 2824 automatic or a Seiko NH35 automatic movement, as well as five adjustable straps, providing a level of customization rarely seen in fine watchmaking.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic
Junghans is near the top of our budget, and if you can afford it, you’ll get a lot of watches for your money. The Max Bill Automatic, created in the 1950s by the late eponymous artist, is an exercise in perfect design. While this is a current re-edition, it is nearly identical to the original, right down to the domed plexiglass, long, slim hands, and monochrome dial design.
Baume & Mercier Classima
The Classima by Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier is all about refined taste and timeless looks, treading a careful line between everyday watch an exquisite black-tie timepiece. It’s the ideal choice for anyone seeking to buy their first serious watch – or who needs something boardroom-ready on a budget – thanks to its quartz movement, 40mm stainless steel casing, and clean white dial. For maximum daily style, pair it with a well-tailored suit.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
American watch brands are frequently chastised for, well, not being European, but we believe this is unjust. Especially when companies like Hamilton have been producing excellent mechanical watches for more than a century at very modest costs. A good example is this Khaki Field Mechanical watch. It more than holds its own against Swiss competitors, thanks to an in-house H-50 automatic movement with a vast 80-hour power reserve and optional date movement. The watch’s dramatic dial design and hard-wearing stainless steel casing also appeal to us.
Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Sicilium
This sleek all-black timepiece has a glass case back so you can see the inner workings of the automatic movement that powers it, which comes from a Swiss business as proud of its movements as any of its more costly neighbors. The sleek polished steel 40mm body, basic display, and bold hands and marks were created to be the ultimate wear-anywhere watch. They’re understated, unobtrusive, and up to the task of whatever your day-to-day entails.
As a descendant of Frédérique Constant, Alpina is sometimes referred to as the Swiss watch family’s sportier younger sibling.
Although he is younger, he is no less attractive. Alpina’s Horological Smartwatch is the perfect mix of contemporary technology and traditional elegance without becoming stuffy. That means a simple, wearable dial, a 45mm diameter, and all the functions you’ll need to keep your smartphone happy.
Gucci’s comeback has been well-received. But that also applies to watches. The Swiss greats used to have a stranglehold on luxury watches, and the fashion houses couldn’t keep up.
Gucci, on the other hand, has been an exception. Long known for its Swiss-made pieces, it’s a nice medium between Alessandro Michele’s logomania and Tom Ford’s nonchalant sex-on-suiting – much like the iconic and punchy G-Timeless model.
The ground rules are shifting. Because dress watches no longer have a monopoly on more formal occasions, you may go deeper and pair a dive watch with almost anything in your wardrobe. With the DS Action Diver Powermatic integrating all-black versatility into a sports-driven, rubber-strapped design, Certina is a terrific place to start, which is understandable, given Certina’s reputation for dive watches that also function well on land.
That’s right, £89. So you could theoretically purchase ten of them and still have changed from £1,000 (although it might be preferable to buy one of the others on our list first, then this with the money left over from your beater watch). More than one Esquire staff member is a Timex lover, and we like to think this is an excellent example of why. It incorporates Indigo lighting technology and sword hands and is based on the same watch that the US Army adopted for its legibility and utility. We honestly don’t understand why you wouldn’t want one.
In practically every imaginable situation, you’ll break apart before your INOX Swiss Army watch, which is known for its almost laughable robustness — testing includes being blasted by corrosive substances and being run over by a tank. This professional diving watch is made of titanium and is suitable for anything from high-impact sports to snorkeling, as well as the unusual black ops beach raid.
For less than £ 1,000, you can have a brand new TAG Heuer. Thanks to the traditional Formula 1, it can be done, and it can be done well.
This 41mm variant, first presented in 1986, saves £50 over the standard edition and comes in a versatile monochrome and steel style. Sporty for the track, but also functional in the field.
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