“You get what you pay for,” is again used to justify spending more. Whether it’s cars, tea overdoes or winter coats, there is an inherent belief that the profuse noughts on the price tag, the better something is. Watches used to be the unvaried – spend big and you’ll be rewarded for it, whether that’s in terms of office vaunting rights or superior mechanics.
Some things haven’t changed in that greetings though – if you’re after a timepiece that can boast ‘in-house’ this or ‘fabrication’ that, then you are going to have to accept the accompanying fee tag, however, the canny watch lover knows that intriguing things are also happening below the sub-£1,000 importance.
Know where to shop and you could come away with anything from a Swiss unfeeling to a modernist classic to add to your watch wardrobe. You won’t have to look too far today – this is a burgeoning sector of the make available and plenty of brands are scrambling to offer quality at a lower charge.
Expect considered design (perhaps referencing vintage posers), simple mechanical or high grade quartz movements, and well-engineered fortify cases. High-tech titanium or precious gold you will not get here, and you can pretty much forget complications – mechanical chronographs, for example, are significantly diverse expensive to produce to a standard of quality you’d want. If, however, you’re after improvement and simple quality, here’s our handy guide to the best representations out there that offer substantial horological bang for your buck.
Hamilton Khaki Handle Mechanical
Every man should have a military-style watch in his clothes-press, but not everyone is lucky enough to have the budget for one of the Dirty Dozen (the 12 tags who made watches for the British soldiers in World War II including IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Omega).
Provoked by the military watches from the Vietnam War era, specifically the MIL-W-46374 that was key launched in 1964, this Hamilton has all the swagger of a vintage mil-spec timepiece but without the unreliability. For beneath the waves £500, you get a Swiss automatic movement from ETA and sapphire crystal, all in a modish 38mm case with NATO-style strap. Perfect for taking into any (boardroom) hand-to-hand encounter.
Available at Hamilton, priced £375.
Seiko SKX007 Diver
Seiko has a news of making robust, reasonable and great-looking diving watches – honest look at the amazing Orange Monster, which has achieved a cult-like prominence. The SKX007 is no exception. First thing to note is, unlike some some, this is built for scuba diving thanks to its 200m ring false resistance and incredible luminescence.
Seiko’s lume is legendary – it is wonderful bright (hence the name Lumi Brite) radiation-free, environmentally familiar and has a great exposure to glow ratio. But this isn’t just a be prepared to save for the deep seas; it the ideal weekender – substantial adequately to knock about in but still stylish enough to pass round up down the pub.
Available at Amazon, priced £251.90.
Tissot Heritage Dainty Seconde
Scouting for watches under £1000 doesn’t note always having to opt for sporty, as this Tissot shows. It is based on a intend from 1943 that, according to the marketing blurb at the stretch, was aimed at gents who work in cities. Its reach probably be discharged c occurs a little further these days because this is a first-rate vintage everyday watch.
The dial has a clean symmetry that have the weights it could work just as well with a suit as with disentangles. The added bonus is, because Tissot is a Swatch Group mark, you get a super reliable ETA movement powering it, which you can see through the sapphire caseback.
At ones disposal at Tissot, priced £785.
Longines Conquest Heritage
Longines’s Tradition section, with all its fabulous reissues of iconic designs from the brand’s sometime, has long been a horological treasure trove for those who yearning retro style but without the dodgy mechanics. Usually the real inspirations are military or diving watches, which is why this Domination is such a treat. With its raffish charm, it has an air of off-duty flier about it, putting it somewhere between a dress watch and an customary wearer.
The art-deco applied indices are unusual and a tad flamboyant but, thanks to the elegantly go down diminished hands and the low-key stainless-steel case and black leather strap, they don’t jar. As ageless designs go this is one with more flair than the middling, which could just as easily describe anyone display it.
Available at Longines, priced £810.
Victorinox I.N.O.X Mechanical
If you’re in the market for a keep safe that can take everything life can throw at it, then look no remote than the I.N.O.X, which is legendary for being practically indestructible. It can nave a 10-metre drop on to a concrete surface; two hours in a washing prime mover (in case you forget it’s in your pocket) and having a 64-tonne sundries driven over it.
It has been subjected to such corrosives as gasoline, solvents, cleaning consequences and insecticides as well as temperatures as extreme as -51° C or, at the other end of the spectrum, +71° C and common knowledge out unscathed. On top of all that, you get a great-looking steel watch that, sartorially act as agent for c demand, is definitely for life.
Available at Victorinox, priced £689.
Junghans Max Neb Automatic
This is democratic watch design at its most made-to-order. The original was created for German watch brand Junghans in 1961 by Max Banknote, who was a Bauhaus student and a lead proponent of the concrete art movement; one which was anti-impressionist and privileged bold geometric abstraction.
In this watch, you can see blend of Bauhaus and literal art both of which shared principles of simplicity of design and shape needing to follow function. The dial seems almost childishly uncomplicated, until you start to notice the elongated hour markers, which fill out the time easier to read and the lack of date so the design isn’t imbalanced. It is an ready-made signifier of a certain refined style. For those in the know, at any place.
Available at Junghans, priced £870.
TAG Heuer Formula 1
Generally, Labels come in at about the £2,000 mark, but, if you’re willing to ditch the mechanics and opt for quartz rather than then this is an amazing buy. The Formula 1 has a very special in the right in TAG’s history, because it was the first watch launched in 1986, applying the acquisition of Heuer’s by Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) thereby construct Heuer into TAG Heuer. It was the brand’s attempt to compete with the Swatch and was a important success.
Looking at this sixth-generation iteration, it’s easy to see why – this is a practical, fantastic-looking sports watch. The blue sunray dial with orange inflections is very of the moment and you can’t go wrong with a NATO strap. The fit look is ‘easy weekender’, so unfortunately it will have to go forsake in the box when Monday’s alarm goes off.
Available at TAG Heuer, cost £900.
Movado Museum Classic
The unadorned black dial has been a bit of a fad over the last couple of years, but for Movado this isn’t anything new. Patterned in 1947 by the US industrial designer Nathan George Horwitt, the Movado Museum was purpose to be a Bauhaus take on a sun dial, with the silver circle at 12 o’clock to paint the sun at high noon.
Since its launch, it has become such a pattern icon that, in 1960, it was the first-ever watch to be selected for the long-lasting design collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Given all this provenance, you’d indulge Movado for adjusting the price accordingly. Instead this chiding of design history can be yours with change left all about for two tickets to MOMA to see the original. Not including the fare to New York, that is.
Handy at Movado, priced £450.
Baume & Mercier Classima 10385
With fates of brands playing with horological fireworks to get everyone’s distinction and cash, it is sometimes worth remembering that there’s a lot to be turned for a simple two-hand design. Uncomplicated is not the same as easy – with minuscule on the dial, there is nowhere to hide so proportions have to be superlative, which is exactly what they are in this Baume & Mercier.
The Roman numerals are completed by a more modern Arabic numeral outer ring, while the offensive dial gives this unelaborate design a contemporary meander. The decision to opt for a light brown leather strap, rather than the multitudinous traditional chocolate, gives the whole look a trans-seasonal manipulate, meaning it would look just as good with virtuous linen as with boiled wool.
Available at Baume & Mercier, prize £820.
Whenever a Farer comes out there is till the end of time some little added detail or process that earns you wonder how they continue to keep the prices as amazing as they are. For the Stanhope that enumerate is in the dial. Farer has opted for a multi-layer design, which earmarks a piqué, textured, off-white, sandwiched central plate, with a lay out punched out for the sub dial, which is displayed on a base layer.
There are also pits around the outer edge of the upper dial, which rob room for the raised wedge markers complete with Super-Luminova dots that run on all sides the outer ring for after-dark legibility. Add to this the applied hour markers and numerals in midnight smutty, the slightly cushioned case, ETA automatic movement and Barenia control leather strap and you’re left looking at this timepiece distressing to work out where corners have been cut. Spoiler active – they haven’t. This is quite simply an incredibly well-made protect at an equally incredible price. Just enjoy wearing it, don’t gall about working out how Farer has done it.
Available at Farer, cost £975.
Despite looking like a retro revival, Unimatic is alone three years old. Based in Italy and the brainchild of two industrial intriguers, it has a touch of Panerai – that other notable Italian Navy-affiliated brand – approximately it and has an equally enthusiastic following, with its limited runs deal in out fairly soon after launch. This is the brand’s principal chronograph, which is powered by a Seiko mecha-quartz movement (a quartz drift boosted with chronograph setting system you’d find in a inanimate watch).
It is good to 300m, so you can properly dive in it, and with those oversized dot markers, you be familiar with you’d be able to see it easily at depth. It also comes with an bonus NATO strap, so you don’t have to ruin your leather one when you beat it to the seas. It may be paying homage to other diving watches but there is something charming upon its chunky form and no-frills approach to design. If you’re won over by it then sport buy now, these don’t hang around for long.
Available at Mr Porter, assayed £675.