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Low-Cost Luxury Watch

Low cost luxury watch

Guide to choosing a high-quality men’s watch within a budget of less than 1000 €.

Going after a watch on a budget of around $1,000 can sometimes be frustrating. We are indeed on the border between premium watches and luxury watches, and it can then become difficult to know if we are getting a good deal. If you are in this case, rest assured: this budget can actually allow you to acquire a watch worthy of the name. Provided you find the right piece, you can then own a timepiece whose manufacturing quality and options can compete with the creations of the major watchmaking houses.

In this selection of watches under €1,000, you will notably discover watches designed by brands that are in more affordable segments than other major well-known brands. Concretely, it will be less a question of Rolex or Omega but rather of watches that enthusiasts will appreciate for their intrinsic qualities.

In concrete terms, you will be able to find in terms of technique the best the watch industry has to offer: automatic movements, sapphire crystal or even high-quality materials. These are elements that will make your watch a treasured object that promises to be passed down from generation to generation.

If you are rather against the idea of ​​buying an analogue model, note however that high-end watches still offer this mechanism, despite the advent of smartphones and other connected watches. Conversely, these watches are now enjoying some success. It is explained by their vintage and old-school look, after which many men are looking. To be convinced of the fact that analogue watches are still relevant, just look at the latest releases from houses like Timex or Seiko.

Of course, a budget of a maximum of €1,000 will not allow you to afford a model from Vacheron-Constantin or Audemars Piguet’s. However, it will be more than enough to acquire a high-quality watch which could even be an investment.


Criteria for choosing a good watch

Watchmaking is a complex field that requires years to learn and decades to perfect. But unless you’re looking for a very special or extremely rare watch, you only need a few benchmarks to identify a good watch.

The movement: the three main types of movement that can be found in a watch are automatic, mechanical or quartz. The automatic is often seen as the reference in terms of luxury watches and it is no surprise that it is found in the pieces of big houses. It collects the kinetic energy of its wearer to recharge the watch through a balance and spring system. Mechanical systems are the vintage option for movements today, requiring manual recharging every two to three days. Finally, quartz watches are the most widespread, in particular, because they are the least expensive and have great autonomy thanks to their battery.

Related article: How a watch works

The brand: in watchmaking, a reputable brand is often a good indicator of the quality of the watches on offer. Concretely, the houses founded for several decades or centuries often enjoy a good reputation justified by the quality of their creation. Conversely, brands whose core business is not watchmaking will be treated with greater reserve.

The glass: the watch glass (sometimes called watch crystal) is the part that protects the dial and through which the time can be read. Ideally, it should be sapphire crystal, which is a lab-created material that has the same qualities as natural sapphire. It is particularly resistant and reduces reflections.

Water resistance: the vast majority of watches today are water resistant, but not all are equal. Over time, the weather seal weakens. If a model shows a resistance that is not more than 30 meters, it is better not to take any risks and not to get it at all. From 50 meters, you can wear it in the rain and not be afraid of splashes; beyond that, you can swim with it without difficulty and from 100 meters, diving will not be a problem.

Complications: some watches may display additional features known as “complications” in watchmaking. Concretely, it can be the display of a date, a chronograph (and not a “stopwatch”) or even the phases of the moon.

Related article: Complications

The best watches under €1000

Seiko Prospex

Seiko, a watchmaking house that has blown out its 140th birthday, is renowned in the world of watch lovers for the great reliability of its models, as well as for their classic aesthetics and their rather affordable price. The Prospex model, which is a diver’s watch, is more of the brand’s expensive watches. And for good reason, there are all the components of a large watch inside a sapphire crystal, an automatic movement and a complication displaying the date.

It will also resist water with a displayed depth of 200 meters; it can thus really serve diving enthusiasts who like to combine style and utility. The case is rather large with its 44 mm and will suit those who like their watches bulkier.

Price: from 400 €

Tissot PRS516 Chronograph

This model also illustrates the fact that it is possible to find a premium watch in the catalogue of a rather affordable brand. This Swiss-made model called PRS 516 is a car racing watch. We, therefore, find, without surprise, a chronograph, a tachymeter (which makes it possible to determine the speed of movement) and a perforated leather strap. Not to mention a sapphire crystal, a stainless steel case and a ceramic bezel. Finally, for the movement, it is automatic.

Price: from 655 €

Hamilton Ventura Open Heart

If the Ventura rings a bell, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in a famous movie, on the wrists of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. This model created by Hamilton is indeed part of the Men In Black equipment. Its triangular shape makes it a special watch that will delight lovers of originality.

This watch comes in an Open Heart version, which includes an automatic movement visible directly through an opening in the dial. This evolution also includes a sapphire crystal and a calfskin strap.

Price: from 940 €

Longines Presence

Longines is one of the reference houses in terms of watches. Founded in 19832, this Swiss brand often displays prices that are close to peaks. However, there are some more affordable models such as the Presence among its collections.

Longines is renowned for its sober and elegant design, and this edition is no exception to the rule. With its premium materials and minimalist style, it hides an automatic movement under its sapphire crystal and Roman numeral dial.

It is a relatively small watch since the case is 34 mm in diameter.

Price: from €640

Christopher Ward Trident C60 Sapphire

Christopher Ward is a brand that combines British design with Swiss Made. Among its premium models, we find in particular the Trident C60 Sapphire, which is a diver’s watch with water resistance up to 600 meters (!). It is powered by a Sellita automatic movement, visible through a semi-breathable blue dial.

Price: from 905 €

In the press: 10 accessible watches from major fashion houses.

Frederique Constant Business Timer

If it is not easy to find Frederique Constant watches below €1,000, there is still the Business Timer model. This Swiss house, although relatively recent compared to the competition (it was founded in 1988), is now widely renowned for the quality of its creations.

The Business Timer includes a complication displaying the phases of the Moon; if it is not necessarily the one that will be most useful to you, it is nevertheless one of the most aesthetic that can be found on a watch. Again, there is a sapphire crystal and a calfskin strap.

Price: from 850 €

Sevenfriday M-Series

Unlike classic watches, the Sevenfriday brand offers an analogue watch with a very particular design. It will be ideal for lovers of modernity and originality, thanks to the time which is displayed using three rotating discs. Under the hood, it is an automatic Japanese mechanism that we find.

The watch will be a strong piece on its own, in particular, thanks to its size (the case is 47 mm wide.

Price: from 930 €

Baltic Aquascape

Cocorico, for this watch, is a French brand in question. Baltic specializes in vintage-style diving watches, notably through the Aquascape model. Its 2020 edition features a 12-hour dial as well as white hands and markings.

The watch is resistant up to 200 meters and can be mounted on a steel or rubber strap. The case is of moderate size at 39 mm.

Price: from €579

Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto

It is again in the Hamilton collections that we find a new watch that is worth the detour for less than €1,000. The Intra-Matic model is a blend of simplicity and elegance, thanks in particular to its golden dial with a matte finish. It also features the brand’s vintage “H”-shaped logo. Below is an automatic ETA movement; on the water resistance side, the watch displays 50 meters.

The leather strap is rather thin, just like the watch whose diameter is 38 mm.

Price: from 825 €

Yema Superman Steel Bronze

Yema is another French watch brand, founded in Besançon in 1948. Among its collections is Superman, which comes in several versions including the Steel Bronze. It is easily recognizable with its steel case, its bronze bezel and its black and white dial. Below is an automatic mechanism specific to the brand found, designed and assembled in France.

The watch comes in two sizes, 39 and 41 mm and displays resistance of up to 300 meters.

Price: from 990 €

And you, what are your reference luxury watches under €1,000?

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