A bi-product of my enthusiasm for watches is that many of the people who surround me catch the passion by osmosis. This is great because it gives me more people to talk to, teach and learn from when it comes to this tick for tics. I also find myself often giving advice on which watch would make a good purchase, which I am also more than happy to do. Except…when the question is “Which watch should I buy under $1000?”
I want to preface this by saying that we’re not talking about seasoned vintage watch hunters. I am well aware that there’s plenty of charming vintage pieces to be had in the price range, but that’s not within this hypothetical. This person wants a shiny-new brand name piece to wear.
And here comes the ‘unpopular opinion’ bit. If you’re looking for something notable (and I mean actually notable) for under $1000 brand new – you’re shit out of luck. And that’s not to say there aren’t any good pieces in that bracket; it just won’t say “Rolex”, “Omega” or even “Tag Heuer”.
Cynicism aside, what I’m trying to say is this; as a newby watch enthusiast, I think too much emphasis is placed on the importance of having a brand name piece. One of my favourite watches on this planet is a Seiko diver. It’s not going to get you a girl’s number at the bar – but someone like me will likely compliment you on it.
Starting out in this game (I say game, but games usually cost less) I went straight to Breitling as a brand. Now I have no regrets in doing so, but since I have owned and loved several pieces worth a fraction of my first. Have your fun, and play in the shallow end for a while. Enjoy your Seikos and Tissots – then you graduate to brands like Alpina, Oris and Sinn. If you jump in the deep end, you strip yourself of the ability to make mistakes without losing thousands – especially buying brand new.
Alternatively, you can learn how to buy used watches confidently. Brands like IWC, Omega, Panerai and Breitling usually enjoy some pretty average value retention on some models – so why not enjoy someone else’s financial faux pas?
In summary; stay in your lane. Buy what you can afford, and avoid what you cannot. I’ve seen plenty of people flexing $15k+ Rolexes saying “well I didn’t eat that much” whilst splitting a bill. Don’t be that guy.
And for fuck’s sake, don’t buy fakes.
For those looking in this budget check out our 2017 collection of Best Watches Under $1000 and Three Watches Under $1000 You Need To Know and Superb Watches for $1500 written by Felix from Time and Tide.