Your First "Forever" Watch

These Are 5 of the Best Men’s Watches Under $2,000


July 1, 2019 Watches By

A $2,000 watch budget gives you a lot of options. And that means, really, a lot. At this price level and close to it are watches that can potentially last you for decades and that you can even pass on to your children, or those that will fit in well to a larger collection. This is solidly within luxury watch territory, but still what might be called “entry-level” luxury in the wider scheme of the watch world where prestige, prices, and other factors can get rather carried away.

Under $1,000 live, for example, a lot of microbrands and approaching $5,000 is the lower end of where many of the big boys of Swiss watchmaking play. Typically, around $2,000 is a sweet spot where you will be able feel the quality you are paying for but with options that remain relatively down-to-earth.

At this price point you should expect features like sapphire crystal and Swiss mechanical movements, mostly sourced from makers like ETA and Sellita, but since these features are available at lower prices as well, you should expect more. This includes the prestige and peace of mind the bigger, established brand names offer, but you should also look for features that add value like water resistance, well made steel bracelets, premium materials like ceramic, and even complications.

Qualities like refinement, solid build, and finishing can be hard to quantify, but they factor in to the difference as well — so it’s always helpful to see a watch in person. The five watches below each represent some of the best options and examples of they types of watches you should look for in timepieces around the $2,000 mark.

Monta Atlas GMT

Monta increasingly looks more like an established brand, offering conservative but sporty watches with an excellent level of finishing for the price. The Atlas features a mixed brushed and polished case with sapphire crystal, applied elements on the dial, and other touches to add to its feel of quality like, signed a crown, buckle, and rotor. The Swiss Sellita SW300 series movement inside is considered a step up from the SW200, and here in its SW330 variation it offers a GMT complication for tracking a second time zone.
Diameter: 38.5mm
Water Resistance: 150m
Movement: Sellita SW330
Price: $1,410-$1,615

Nomos Club Campus 38 Night

In-house movements at this price point are rare, but offering value in this way is one reason the German brand Nomos is popular. Marketed for students or graduates, the Club Campus watch is the brand’s entry-level piece and uses a manually wound in-house movement with a 43-hour power reserve. Another thing Nomos is known for is its youthful and stylish approach, often combining restrained case sizes with minimalist, Bauhaus-influenced dial designs, and colorful highlights.
Diameter: 38.5mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: NOMOS Alpha manual-wind
Price: $1,650

Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Black Steel

Bell & Ross is rare among modern watch companies for being relatively young (it was founded in the 1990s) and yet well established among luxury brands. The simple dial design of B&R’s iconic square-shaped aviation watch is part of what makes it work so well, and here it is applied to a more traditional round case. It’s powered by the Sellita SW300-1, a Swiss clone of the well-regarded ETA 2892. Bell & Ross is a good example of a brand that offers a hard-to-pinpoint, high-end feel that might not be readily apparent from its specs or images.
Diameter: 38.5mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Sellita SW300-1
Price: $1,990

Oris Aquis Date

The Oris Aquis is probably one of the most undervalued dive watches, with its modern design and excellent build quality. Highlighted here is the smaller 39.5mm version on a leather strap, but it’s also available in a bolder 43mm size, as well as in a range of dial and (ceramic) bezel colors for the same price. (On a steel bracelet it exceeds the $2,000 mark, however.) Most dive watches with 300m of water resistance like the Oris Aquis have solid case backs, but here, a window displays the automatic movement inside, with its signature red, eye-catching rotor.
Diameter: 39.5mm
Water Resistance: 300m
Movement: Sellita SW 200-1
Price: $1,950

AnOrdain Model 1

The AnOrdain Model 1 offers a different value proposition among the other watches on this list. The specs remain strong, with a Swiss Sellita SW200 movement (ETA 2824-2 clone), sapphire crystal, and thoughtful details. It is the brand’s specialty, the dial, however, where it stands out. It is grand feu enamel, and it is produced in-house by the brand in Scottland — a feature usually found only on watches costing significantly more.
Diameter: 38mm
Water Resistance: 50m
Movement: Sellita SW200-1
Price: $1,333

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