In 2014, the average price of an exported Swiss watch was approximately $750. The good news about this is that there is an abundance of excellent timepieces in the sub-$1,000 price bracket. The bad news: there is an abundance of excellent timepieces in this price bracket. The timekeeping market basically caters to you. There are watches, both mechanical and quartz, in every style or complication you could desire. That means you could spend the next six months staring at more faces and hands than you’d encounter in a lifetime of leaving your Bimmer at home and riding the MTA. Or you could take a look at our recommendations.
Bulova 96B251 Special Edition Moon Chronograph Watch
When people think “moon watch,” Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster Professional comes to mind. It was the first watch worn on the moon, after all, but there are actually quite a few timepieces that have ventured off this rock. When Mission Commander David Scott and his Apollo 15 crew touched down in the Hadley-Appennius, Scott checked his Bulova and logged the landing at 06:16:29 p.m. This Bulova 956B251 is a high-beat quartz powered homage to that very watch.
Junghans Max Bill
Understated, slim and impeccably clean, this Bauhaus-inspired Junghans is perfectly sized to peek out from under a French cuff. Its case measures 38mm and houses a self-winding movement (based off the ubiquitous ETA 2824-2) between 10mm of polished stainless steel and Sicralan-coated plexiglass. Super Luminova has been applied to the hour and minute hands as well as markers at both 6 and 12 to help it shine through the night.
Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch
Weiss Watch Company builds or finishes every piece of their military-inspired field watch in the their Los Angeles-based facility. Powered by a hand-wound, Swiss-made calibre 1001 movement, this 42mm timepiece features a legible white dial with black-oxide-treated hands and a seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock. Mounted on a gray cordura canvas strap, its ready to take on the world.
Halios Watches hails from Vancouver, Canada. Their latest offering, the Delfin, is powered by a Miyota 9015 self-winding movement and features an impressive 500m water-resistance rating. To handle those pressures and aid legibility, the Delfin features a double domed sapphire crystal that sits atop a black dial with raised indices coated in BGW9 (blue) Super Luminova.
Squale, which is Italian for “shark,” is a small but storied Swiss watchmaker, famed for its 50 Atmos case design, which features a distinctive 4 o’clock crown position and 500m depth rating. The design was so successful that Squale founder Charles Von Büren was tapped by marques such as Blancpain, Heuer and DOXA to employ the 50 Atmos for their own creations. This ETA-2824-2-powered self-winder upholds this heritage at an absolute bargain price point.
Tissot PRC-200 Automatic
More often than not, the only mechanical complication typically found in a sub-$1,000 watch is a date window. The Tissot PRC-200 Automatic not only delivers the date, positioned at 3 o’clock, but also adds a chronograph to its résumé. At 44mm, the PRC-200 is large (even for a sports watch), but its black dial, mix of Arabic numerals and applied indices and three sub-dials are all neatly arranged to deliver a balanced aesthetic. The chronograph, complete with Tachymetre bezel, measures elapses with a seconds, 30-minute and 6-hour counter.
Steinhart Nav-B Chrono II
The Steinhart Nav-B Chrono II is a modern take on the classic B-Uhr design of the iconic pilot’s watch introduced during WWII. Unlike the Luftwaffe’s originals, Steinhart boasts the inclusion of a Valjoux-powered three-register chronograph. The diamond crown, “old radium” coated hands, triangular 12 o’clock marker, Arabic numerals and matte-black DLC (diamond like coating) on the other hand combine for a patinated finish, right out of the box.
Frederique Constant Slimline Gents
A proper dress watch should be small in stature, classic in appearance and minimalist in its finish. The Slimline Gents collection by Frederique Constant ticks each and every one of those boxes, without ticking at all. Featuring only hours and minutes hands, this quartz-powered, 5mm-thick watch is as clean as they come. Its 38mm dial features applied silver indexes and a date window positioned at 3 o’clock. The final touch is a miniaturized pumpkin crown. Absolute class.
Autodromo Group B
Autodromo has consistently reached for new design heights as a maker of auto-inspired watches since its first model was introduced in 2011. Their latest release, the Group B, has a 39mm case comprised of a uniquely designed titanium capsule mated to a stainless steel chassis.
Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto 38mm
The Hamilton Intra-Matic remains one of our favorite affordable timepieces. Its simple mix of elegance and style harkens back to an era when understated design ruled drawing boards. Featuring a large sunburst dial, decorated minimally with Hamilton’s vintage “H” logo, faceted lugs and a thin leather band, the Intra-Matic could easily pass as an heirloom timepiece, without the fuss of vintage upkeep.