My first Best Watches Under $1000 article is still one of the best performing pieces ever published on The Versatile Gent. Since that piece, the minimal watch craze (which is dead I tell you!) and the uncapping of the Swiss Franc has hit the industry like Cyclone Debbie, leaving a trail of distraction and years of horror sales.
A category that hasn’t been affected by dwindling sales, however, is that of the sub $1000 mark, because it’s a reasonable, and accessible price to pay for a watch. I still get asked, all the time, what I’d pick with this budget, so I’ve thrown a new list together.
Here’s my collection of Best Watches Under $1000 for 2017.
It’s hard to believe you can buy an automatic watch this handsome for a little over $400, let alone one made in Japan by a Seiko-owned subsidiary. This is a watch any true enthusiast would recognise and respect.
If you’re going to go the minimal (and quartz) look, go to the people who’ve been doing it since 1986, Mondaine, creators of the Official Swiss Railways watch. The go to for architects, designers and creatives alike, this 41mm option comes with an Ultra Thin case and Milanese mesh bracelet powered by Ronda Quartz.
Last year we featured the extremely wearable, and likeable, Martenero Marquis. Martenero’s latest release, the Edgemere, continues the brand’s assault on the sub $1000 category with a stunning nautical-themed watch inspired by the marine chronometer.
In our first Best Watches Under $1000 article some years ago, we featured the Hamilton Thin-O-Matic in a 42mm case. For 2017, I opted for the newer, smaller and more attractive 40mm Valiant Automatic available with Black or Silver dial powered by a Hamilton Cal. H-10 movement.
Stowa is a brand we’ve pushed a number of times on TVG, supported by Felix pre-Time and Tide days who penned an article titled ‘Superb Watch Choices Under $1500‘. The Partitio is pure sex, combining military aesthetics with Nomos wearability, at a fraction of the price – a versatile classic.
Last year we got the opportunity to work with Seiko producing a fun clip up the coast. The watch in question was the one above, a Kinetic Diver with GMT function in association with PADI. I was so impressed with the build quality for the price, as I am with all Seiko watches be it Cocktail Time, Samurai or Turtle. Hard to beat Seiko under $1000.
If you haven’t heard, Melbourne Watch Company has opened a retail space – no guesses where! The ability to be able to open a bricks and mortar space shows the strength of their product and loyal customer base. For me, the pick of the bunch is the elegant Portsea but I’ve had a good time rocking my Flinders since its launch.
I’ve been aware of Erroyl for some time but didn’t pay too much attention until I saw The Duke, set to realise in June this year. The Canberra-based team has spent the last few years building the brand’s credibility, focusing on creating products that are original and classic. I think The Duke is a triumph, especially the detailed guilloché dial with sector ring.
Alpina is so hot right now. All these folks out their spending 3 times the money on IWC Pilots when they can get the same movement in a more interesting looking watch for considerably less. I’ve included their Horological Smartwatch here which has the ability to monitor activity, sleep cycles, 24 time zones and more, with all functions adjustable via the crown and a 4-year battery life.
You may have seen our post on the original Cocktail Time back in 2015, professing its insane value. Well friends, this year the brand unveiled the new Cocktail Time under the Presage family. It’s not as svelte as the original but it’s still an undeniable beauty with that sunburst dial.
The third battery powered watch on the list. SCANDAL. I’m sorry but these Farer watches are so nice to look at, and this one is a GMT! Why aren’t more people making GMTs? It’s the only function worth having on a watch. The colours, the date window, the fonts, the function, the crown, the strap. You’ve got me Farer.
You’re going to click on that link and see a watch that retails for $795 US (which is still a fantastic price) and feel disappointed that it’s more than $1000 AUD but don’t because I’ve seen it online for $973 AUD and the predecessor (since discontinued) for $624 AUD, which is a steal if you can find it. The 1960s motorsport inspired T-Sport rocks a Powermatic 80 Calibre movement and fantastic ceramic bezel finished with an iconic leather strap.