As watch enthusiasts, hobbyists and collectors, we are often exposed to an endless stream of watches, whether it's from our favorite social media sites, our real-life social circles, or in the case here at TeddyBaldassarre.com, each day at work. There is a lot to sort through and discover almost daily, it can be overwhelming at times. As a company, we want to educate, inform, and provide access to our favorite brands for our friends and clients. In this blog, we have put together a list of 47 watches priced under $1,000 that we feel offer good value for the money.
There are a few ground rules to this list. Rule number one, no single brand will have more than four watches included. We could have easily added many, many more here, but we wanted to keep it both open to more brands and as concise as possible. Number two, this list is comprised of only contemporary watches that can still be purchased new, so no vintage or otherwise discontinued models. Rule three, we are avoiding the inclusion of most microbrands here, as we cover those much more extensively here.
We have also divided up this blog into the different styles of watches - Aviation, Digital, Diver, Everyday, and Field - to make sorting through the list a bit easier. While this list is far from exhaustive, if you need more options, be sure to check out other blogs, including our choices for 40 Best Automatic Watches Under $500.
Alpina Startimer Automatic
Sharp, clean designs help define the Startimer Pilot Automatic, the signature flieger-style watch from Alpina. It has an IWC Big Pilot-esque style to it in two different (and more restrained) cases sizes of 44mm and 40mm. Alpina showcases high-level case finishing on either case size and dial choices of blue and silvery-white are available. Matte finishes to the case and dial along with the large hour markers, crown, and hands give the Startimer a classic aviator style while the Sellita SW200-1 based AL-525 automatic movement provides the power.
Case Size: 40mm or 44mm, Thickness: 10.9mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Caliber AL-525 (Sellita SW200-1), Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $950 for the 40mm version, $995 for the 44mm version.
Bulova Lunar Pilot
The Bulova Lunar Pilot is an homage to the Bulova chronograph worn by U.S. astronaut Dave Scott on the Moon on Apollo 15. Visually, the Lunar Pilot is a faithful recreation, retaining the curvy case shape and distinctive elongated pushers of the original. The dial is mostly similar too ― except for the addition of a date window at 4:30 and the label “262 kHz” at 6 o’clock within the running seconds subdial. Some enthusiasts will turn up their nose at this piece because it has a quartz movement, but this isn’t just any quartz. Bulova’s high-performance quartz movement buzzes away at 262Hz, which is 8 times that of typical quartz movements, and has an accuracy of +/-5 seconds per month. This quartz caliber also makes the Lunar Pilot a screaming deal with both aviation and space connections.
Case Size: 46mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 52mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Quartz Bulova 262kHz, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $525
Laco Pilot Augsburg
One of the icons of watch design with a more interesting history is the German Flieger, initially produced by five different brands for the German Luftwaffe in WWII. One of the original makers of those watches was Laco of Germany, which is still a great and authentic source for Flieger watches today. My pick in terms of value and everyday wearability is the Laco Augsburg, a 42mm version of the Flieger design that originally featured a 55mm case that might make it a bit difficult for daily wear if you’re not Arnold Schwarzenegger or wearing the watch outside your pilot’s jacket. When it comes to the Laco Augsburg, there is a lot to like. For just north of $400, you get multiple case sizes to choose from, an iconic dial design, and it is made in Germany by one of the original five brands that produced these watches. Viewed together, the Laco Augsburg is the best Flieger I think you can buy for a very reasonable price of around $400 and an excellent daily wearer for the aviation enthusiast.
Case Size: 42 mm, Thickness: 11.75 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.9 mm, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821A, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $410
Citizen Promaster Nighthawk
The current generation Citizen Promaster Nighthawk is a refreshed military-inspired aviation watch that goes big on the functionality and bold on the design. The sporty 42mm case features a slide rule bezel to go along with the dual time zone, chronograph, and date. More than just for fun in the sky, 200m of water resistance means it has some underwater abilities, too. Powered by Eco-drive, the Nighthawk will be ready when you are, whether it's your daily wearer, your weekend go-to, or something you throw on just once in a while. Two-color options are available, one in steel with a sunburst charcoal dial on the olive drab strap and an all-black version as well.
Case Size: 42 mm, Thickness: 12.5 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.5 mm, Water Resistance: 200 m, Movement: Eco-Drive, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $495
Marathon Black Pilot's Navigator
For pilots and navigators, Marathon designed the Navigator, a straightforward time-only quartz watch in a rugged, lightweight composite case with a new sapphire crystal upgrade. The Marathon Navigator series has been issued to military pilots around the world for decades for a reason. As an inexpensive and comfortable watch with a highly legible dial and handset thanks to tritium, and built specifically for low-pressure environments like, you know, a fighter jet’s cockpit, the Marathon Navigator is a serious bit of kit for pilots and flight enthusiasts who want the real thing.
Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 60m, Movement: ETA-F06 High-Torque Quartz, Battery Life: 5 Years, Crystal: Sapphire Price: $320
An icon of style and affordability for over three decades, the Casio F91W is the everyman’s digital watch. This small and relatively sleek piece is churned out by Casio at incredible numbers and continues to be well regarded as the ultimate daily driver watch. While the traditional definition of a quality timepiece might not apply to the F91W, there are very good reasons why it’s perhaps the most popular watch in the world. Mainly, the screen is crystal clear and it has a series of practical functions, including an alarm, a stopwatch, a day and date display as well as a 24-hour military time display along with a light. The case is made of plastic and when it stops working, its $19 retail price makes it easily replaceable.
Case: 34mm, Thickness 8.5mm, Lug-To-Lug: 38mm, Lug Width: 18mm Crystal: Acrylic Movement: Casio Digital 593, Water-Resistance: 30m, Material: Resin, Price: $19
Similar to the F91W, the A168WA features iconic 80s and 90s digital watch styling, this time in a steel case and bracelet configuration rather than the resin, or plastic, material used on the F91W. It too is thin, and maybe, even more, understated in its steel configuration. The digital display is clear with good contrast in nearly any lighting and cycling through the functions is a hassle-free endeavor. If it’s an accurate and affordable watch that you can rely on, no matter the situation, the A168WA fits the bill.
Case: 33.5mm, Thickness 7.5mm, Lug-To-Lug: 37.5mm, Crystal: Acrylic, Movement: Japanese Quartz, Water-Resistance: 30m, Price: $25
Casio G-Shock DW5600
The Casio G-Shock takes the fundamental elements of the digital display we see in the A168WA and F91W and repackages it in a more youthful and stylish case along with some enhanced tech. Beyond the basic display functions, the DW5600 is also solar-powered and features Bluetooth technology that allows you to sync up with your mobile phone for alerts. The G-Shock is a bit bigger than its much sleeker Casio companions on this list, coming in at about 43mm across and 14mm in height, which enhances the bold, sporty case and strap design.
Case: 42.8mm, Thickness 13.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48.9mm, Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Quartz, Water-Resistance: 200m, Material: Mineral, Price: Starting at $140
The most famous digital watches in the world usually have large flat screens with a lot of information on display at one time, usually within a TV shaped or rectangular case. However, Bulova’s answer to the digital watch with Computron is an entirely different approach. Here, Bulova has gone with a reasonably sized trapezoidal case with a display screen that is pitched at an angle and oriented towards the wearer, giving it a very distinct three-dimensional look. The most distinct function of the Computron is the on-demand display that saves battery life while not in use. When activated, the blue light LED screen on the silver stainless steel model is clear, bright, and hard to miss.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 13.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 41mm, Crystal: Mineral Crystal with LED display, Movement: LED Quartz, Water-Resistance: 30m, Price: $280
Timex Q Reissue Digital LCA
With the Q Timex Reissue Digital LCA, nostalgia is the name of the game from the designs down to the use of pre-Indiglo, single bulb lighting on this piece. Familiar digital functionality is on full display with the large bright screen, including a chronograph, alarm, and day-date indicators. In addition to the vintage looks, the Timex Q also embraces vintage sizing, from the 32.5mm case to the thin, manual adjusting bracelet with its retro jewelry clasp.
Case: 32.5mm, Thickness 9mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Quartz Digital, Water-Resistance: 30m, Price: $149
Mido Ocean Star 200
If you're looking for any entry-level luxury dive watch that pulls no punches and offers clean looks that combine everyday practicality with true performance abilities, then the MIDO Ocean Star 200 should be on your radar. It's value-packed with 200m of water resistance, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet with a slick clasp extension, and the Powermatic 80 supplying reliability and a long 80-hour power reserve. The finishing of the case and bracelet that sets this out from others in its price range.
Case Size: 42.5 mm, Thickness: 11.8 mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48 mm, Lug Width: 22 mm, Water Resistance: 200 m, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.671, Crystal: Sapphire, Material: Steel, Price: $930
Orient watches are an absolute mainstay across all of my watch content for a reason. With a wide range of watches all offering an impressive value proposition, Orient deserves the attention. Orient’s Kamasu is a perfect example of what they do best, putting a reliable automatic movement (that hacks) of their own manufacture into a well-sized, highly wearable diver case that looks a lot more expensive than it is. Frankly, for the money, I don’t think you can do better in an automatic diver’s watch than the Kamasu, and that’s the reason I so often recommend this watch to new entrants to the watch collecting hobby. If you’re looking for a tough yet attractive diver in this price range, just buy this.
Case: 41.8mm, Thickness 12.8mm, Lug-To-Lug: 46.3mm, Lug Width: 18mm Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Automatic Orient F6922, Water-Resistance: 200m, Material: Mineral, Price: $280
Doxa Sub 200
As a brand more closely associated with the $1,500-3,000 price range, Doxa took a lot of enthusiasts by surprise when they unveiled the Sub 200 at the end of 2020, way back when the world still made sense. By any metric, the near $1,000 package offered by the Doxa sub is a good deal and allows for more enthusiasts to get in on Doxa’s colorful designs, diving heritage, and excellent beads-of-rice bracelet. With dial colors and matching bezel inserts to satisfy nearly any color preference, the Doxa Sub 200 has very wearable dimensions, is simply a lot of fun, and is easily one of the better recent affordable diver’s watches to grace the scene.
Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Movement: Auto ETA 2824-2, Water Resistance: 200 m, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $950
Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80
The Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 is available in various colorways but my favorite is the one you see above with a gradient blue dial, which reminds me of the ocean depths the watch was intended to operate in. The ingredients of the Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 are as no-nonsense as they come, with a muscular 43mm stainless steel case, large unidirectional bezel, and huge hands and hour indices. Interestingly, it also has a see-through caseback which is an uncommon feature in dive watches. The movement within is the Powermatic 80 — so-called because it has an 80-hour long power reserve. For well under $1,000, it’s hard to find another Swiss-made diver that’s as robust and impressive as the Seastar.
Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.3mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto ETA C07, Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $725
Bulova Devil Diver
If you like your watches with funky vintage charm, few watches on this list can compete with the Bulova Devil Diver. Based on the original Oceanographer from the 1970s, the Devil Diver gets its nickname from the depth rating of the original watch, a satanic 666 feet. With a stainless steel cushion case (conveying a Doxa-esque feel) very much representing the original design’s era, and some of the more unusual hour indices you’ll see, the Devil Diver gets by on sheer uniqueness as well as its reasonable retail price.
Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 14.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.9mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821D, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $795
Certina DS PH200M
Chances are that unless you're a vintage dive watch enthusiast, Certina may be one of those brands that fly under your radar. As it often happens with brands, Certina has gone back into their catalog with a series of vintage diver reissues including the DS PH200M. Its modern reinterpretation avoids some of the common themes that we've seen over the years with faux patina paints and colors. High-end features like a domed ceramic bezel, domed sapphire crystal, and exhibition case back to show off the very good Powermatic 80 movement within giving you that lengthy 80 power reserve. Bracelet and NATO options are available.
Case: 42.8mm, Thickness 11.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 52mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Powermatic 80.611 Water-Resistance: 200m, Material: Steel & Ceramic, Price: 880 CHF
Seiko SRPE03 King Turtle
Seiko’s excellent King Turtle builds on the success of the SRP Turtle collection released in 2016, addressing some of the most commonly modified aspects of the original turtle by adding a ceramic bezel insert, an interesting waffle-patterned dial, and a sapphire crystal. Both of these watches are inspired by an important dive watch from Seiko’s older catalog, the cushion-cased 6309 collections, likely one of the most popular dive watches of all time judging by the sheer number of them on offer pretty much everywhere watches are sold. While on the larger side, the combination of the classic Seiko DNA in this dial’s design, some of the best lume in the business, and the upgrades everyone wants in the ceramic bezel insert and sapphire crystal, the King Turtle is “shut up and take my money” material for many dive watches enthusiasts for a reason.
Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.7mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $625
As with its counterpart the Marlin, Timex M79 was introduced with an automatic Miyota movement after the success of Q Timex reissue, with the ‘M’ signifying mechanical movement, and ‘79’ is the year Q Timex was introduced. It features a case size slightly larger than the Q Timex, but despite that, it has a great 46mm lug to lug length that helps accommodate the majority of the wrists out there. It's one of the most reasonably priced mechanical dive watches on the market, making it a solid alternative to Orient in this price category.
Reference: Q Timex Reissue 38
Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 8215, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Acrylic, Price: $279
A larger size diver from Orient, the Kanno captures the market with its much dominant case sizing and different design element that separates itself from the Kamasu. The Kanno has a streamlined and simple design with its markers and handset while offering a middle-of-the-road presence despite its larger case size. The broad hour and minute hands give somewhat better legibility and ease of time reading in any condition and is a great looking diver for the money.
Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6922, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Mineral, Price: $425
Citizen Promaster Diver
In the tightly-packed world of truly affordable dive watches, Seiko rules the roost, with Orient for many stealing the second position. However, the entry-level Citizen Promaster has a lot to offer. The 44mm case is robust and oozes tool watch appeal. The dial is fuss-free and features large hands and markers filled with luminescent material for easy reading regardless of the circumstances. The orange minute hand is playful but also makes it easier for divers to see when they are underwater. The movement may be quartz, but it’s solar-powered and can last for up to half a year on a full charge. Best of all, you get all of this for well under $300, making this an excellent argument for a diver on a budget.
Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Solar Quartz Citizen E168, Power Reserve: 6 months, Crystal: Mineral, Price: $280
Of the many Orient Bambinos that have been mentioned in the past, the 5th version of Bambino takes the cake with its Arabic numerals and clean dial that makes it ever so dressier than the previous versions. While it sits on the slightly thicker side of the dress watch, thanks to its domed crystal and size, it sits rather well on the wrist. It’s hard to fault this watch with its basic movement from Orient, especially at this exceptionally affordable pricing under $500.
Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6724, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Domed mineral glass, Price: $185
Frederique Constant Index Automatic
The Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic is a no-nonsense Swiss-made dress watch that can be had in a variety of dial configurations and colors. In one of its dressiest examples, you get a formal black dial with stick markers and sword-style hands that are fitted with a decent amount of lume - an element that’s often inexplicably absent from dress watches. It’s powered by the staunchly reliable Sellita SW200-1 based FC-303 caliber and features the bells and whistles you’d expect: date, hacking second, and hand-winding capabilities. Sapphire glass is standard here and the quality of the leather strap is a step up from most others in this price range.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 10mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1, Water-Resistance: 50m, Material: Steel, Price: $895
Timex Marlin Hand-Wind
For decades, Timex focused on affordable, mass-produced quartz watches, but recently the company has tapped into the mechanical market with the Marlin collection. The Gentleman’s Hand-Wound comes in a 34mm case with only a single silver dial configuration that’s heavily influenced by Timex’s early 1960s catalog. Additionally, there is a larger 40mm automatic movement option with a wider array of dial options including eye-catching “Cali Dials”. Timex is light on the mechanical movement specs other than to note they are provided by a Chinese supplier, which isn’t surprising given the accessible $199 and $249 price tags, making it one of the more affordable mechanical options available.
Reference: Timex Marlin Collection
Case: 34mm, Thickness 10mm, Lug-To-Lug: 41mm, Lug Width: 18mm Crystal: Acrylic Movement: Hand Winding or Automatic Mechanical, Water-Resistance: 50m, Material: Steel, Price: $199
Seiko Presage Series SRPB41 ‘Cocktail Time’
The Seiko Cocktail Time are some of the most compelling dress watches for the money on the market. Being members of the Presage family, the SRPB41 has been a staple and one of the prominent faces that represent the forefront of the Presage series. The Cocktail Time series are all inspired by unique cocktails that are the point at which the dials begin to take their shape. The dials come in a fine finish in a variety of colors to offer something for everyone. To put it simply, not only does it check off the boxes from a specification perspective, but it looks well beyond its price in terms of its looks.
Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: Hardlex, Price: $450
Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding
If you follow our content regularly, you'll know that we are fans of Junghans around here. Their most signature element being Bauhaus minimalism principles with thin straight line elements and lots of open "airy" space. The understated design language of the Max Bill Hand-Winding is married with a sleek and undersized case that comes in at a moderate 34mm across and just 9mm thick. The large Plexiglas crystal (which can be retrofitted to a sapphire crystal) and expansive domed, almost pie-pan styled dial should appear a little larger on the wrist than the modest case measures. Additionally, it's powered by the hand-winding ETA 2801-2 based Junghans caliber J805.1.
Case Size: 34mm, Thickness: 19mm, Lug-to-Lug: 37mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Hand Winding J805.1 (ETA 2801-2) Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Plexiglas with sapphire retrofitting option, Price: $845
Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic
Favoring the casual end of the dress watch spectrum, the Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic is a piece that does a little bit of everything. Hamilton keeps the looks classic with a bit of flair, especially on the blue dial variant with the white chapter ring and applied hour markers. A sleek and thin 40mm case is enhanced even further with short lugs opening this piece up to many wrist sizes. The Intra-Matic runs on the dependable Swiss-made ETA 2892-A2 that puts out 42 hours of power reserve at 4hz. Outside the office practicality front and center with the sapphire crystal, luminous markers, and 50m of water resistance.
Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 10mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto ETA 2892-A2, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $995
Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 Silicium
There are no rules that say dress watches can't come on a bracelet. We do normally associate dress watches with leather and exotic straps, but a well-done bracelet can pair nicely with a dress watch and that's what you have with the Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 Silicium. The Ballade is about more than the looks, too. It's loaded with one of the highest-end Powermatic movements which include the standard 80 hours of power reserve but in addition, you get the upgraded assembly with the Silicium hairspring in the free-sprung balance and the movement is a COSC certified chronometer.
Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 9.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Powermatic 80.811 Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $950
Junghans Form A
As with the Max Bill Hand Wind by Junghans, the Form A comes in a handful of dial options that all exhibit Bauhaus design principles that make its design so eye-catching. This runs a more modern, larger size of 39.1mm and has a more broad appeal because of it. Thinness and lug-to-lug size aren't compromised either, sitting just 9.5mm thick and running only 44mm the length of the lugs. You also get the benefit of the sapphire crystal over the dial rather than the Plexiglas at the time of purchase. Inside you'll find the ETA 2824-2 based caliber J800.2 putting out some familiar, reliable specs, most notably the 38-hour power reserve while oscillating at 28,800 vph.
Case Size: 39.1mm, Thickness: 9.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.4mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: Splash, Movement: Automatic J800.2 (ETA 2824-2) Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $950
Bulova Fly Me to the Moon
Specifications: Price: $825, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug to Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 8215, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Back in the 1950s, Bulova was a sponsor of television’s Frank Sinatra Show, and the brand’s series of Sinatra timepieces pay tribute to the legendary Chairman of the Board with retro-look designs inspired by the singer’s 1950s-1960s heyday. The Fly Me to the Moon model features a multi-part cushion-shaped case, alternating applied Arabic numerals and pyramid-shaped markers for the hours, sword-shaped hands, a date window at 3 o’clock, and immaculately clean dials with no outer minute ring, a radiating line motif from the center, and a stylized Sinatra signature at 6 o’clock. The watch’s automatic Miyota movement is visible behind a clear caseback. Shop here.
Ball Fireman Enterprise
The overarching objective of a so-called "everyday" watch is to be versatile enough to meet the moment during daily wear. That means it is comfortable to wear at the office, durable enough to stand up to tough conditions outside the office, and good-looking enough that you enjoy wearing it no matter the situation. The Ball Watch Fireman Enterprise offers rugged durability, streamlined good looks, and proprietary technology to ensure that no matter what the situation, you can depend on it. Stabilized tritium micro-gas tubes for low light visibility are Ball's signature feature and here they are applied subtly as the baton-shaped markers. It's also powered by the practical and reliable automatic RR1103 movement, most recently based on the Sellita SW200-1 ebauche.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 11.3mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic RR1103 (Sellita SW200-1/ETA 2824), Water-Resistance: 200m, Material: Mineral, Price: $999
Tissot PRX Automatic
The design formula of the Tissot PRX is inspired by both the recent surge of steel sports models as well as their own historical catalog, borrowing a page from their late 1970s Seastar. The PRX comes in either quartz or the highly desirable Powermatic 80 automatic variant, which comes in a couple of different dial colors. A thin and moderately proportioned case with an excellent integrated bracelet. The fit and finish is elite among other sports models in this price range and is a testament to Tissot’s decision not to cut corners and further solidifying the brand’s position as a premier gateway into entry level-luxury.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 11mm, Lug-To-Lug: 44.6mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111, Water-Resistance: 100m, Price: $650
Swatch Sistem51 - Irony Petite Seconds
The introduction of the Sistem51 in 2013 was met with serious intrigue as Swatch touted this new movement as a revolution to modern watchmaking. Swatch was right, the Sistem51 was - and is - a revolutionary concept, where the mechanical movement is entirely machine assembled, consisting of 51 parts (hence the name) and secured and mounted together with a single central screw. The movement is hermetically sealed and cannot be serviced or repaired, only replaced. Beyond being an economically efficient way of producing a mechanical movement, the Sistem51 also boasts impressive specs, including a 90-hour power reserve.
Case: 42mm, Thickness 13.8mm, Lug-To-Lug: 50.6mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sistem51, Water-Resistance: 30m, Material: Steel, Price: $215
Mühle Glashütte Panova
If it’s a rugged and minimalist everyday watch you’re after, then the Mühle Glashütte Panova is a piece that fits that criteria, but is sometimes overlooked, even in this niche style. The Panova’s minimalist dial design strips back any unnecessary elements and instead focuses on a simple and highly legible layout in a handful of attractive dial colors combinations and strap options. It’s also fitted with a modified Sellita SW200-1 featuring a custom rotor and a proprietary woodpecker regulating pin. The well-sized 40mm steel case includes practical everyday features you would expect at this price point such as a sapphire crystal, screw-down crown and case back, and a water resistance rating of 100m.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 10.4mm, Lug-To-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200-1, Water-Resistance: 100m, Material: Mineral, Price: $999
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Mechanical
The Victorinox I.N.O.X. is a large and heavy sports model that comes standard on either a leather strap or on a steel bracelet. While this mechanical version may not be submitted to the same battery of tests as its quartz counterpart in the I.N.O.X. family, it's still a robust and reliable Swiss mechanical watch with a lot to like. Its weighty wrist presence offers a different dimension than other everyday watches by leaning into the sportier look, so it might not be an ideal under-the-cuff watch. However, if you can pull off the 43mm case diameter and 12.7mm case height, you should be rewarded for its looks and build quality.
Case: 43mm, Thickness 12.7mm, Lug-To-Lug: 52mm, Lug Width: 21mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1, Water-Resistance: 200m, Price: $850
MIDO Multifort Patrimony
The MIDO Multifort Patrimony is one of those models that excel at taking vintage design elements and reinterpreting them for the modern market. In other words, it pays homage to vintage styling without being overly vintage itself. The result of these thoughtful designs is an impressive package that blurs the line between dress and casual, making it a very viable everyday option. Slender turned-in case lugs and moderate dimensions dress the watch up while the expansive sector dial with the old school pulsometer track gives it a casual appeal as well. Inside, the Multifort Patrimony is powered by MIDO Caliber 80 from the Powermatic family of movements.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 12mm, Lug-To-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 19mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic MIDO Caliber 80 (ETA C07.111), Water-Resistance: 50m, Price: $890
The Seiko 5 series is considered by many to be one of the best mechanical watch values in the world, regardless of price or country of origin. When Seiko discontinued the SKX lineup a couple of years ago, it created quite a stir among hardened enthusiasts and collectors of the brand who were concerned with the lack of accessible mechanical dive watches that were the cornerstone of the brand for decades. Fortunately, Seiko came through and offered the SRPE53 (as well as other SRPE references), which has been very well received. Its 40mm case is easy to wear and its bezelless case gives it a transitional feel between a dive watch and a more casual sports watch. The SRPE53 is powered by the robust and reliable Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which features manual-winding and hacking second features.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 11.5mm, Lug-To-Lug: 44.6mm, Lug Width: 18mm Crystal: Hardlex, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R35, Water-Resistance: 100m, Price: $275
Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80
Tissot does an excellent job in producing dress watches and everyday watches, all made in Switzerland and powered by Swiss movements. Their Gentleman Powermatic 80 is a close-to-ideal everyday watch, thanks to a modest size, sapphire crystal, classy looks, and useful lume. The real star of the show and center of the value argument here is the Powermatic 80.811 caliber, a modified ETA 2824 with a lower than the standard rate of 21,600bph as opposed to a regular ETA 2824’s 28,800bph, enabling an impressive 80-hour reserve. Add to that the wearable modern case size, glossy dial options, and handsome applied indices, and you have one of the best entry-level Swiss everyday watches on the market.
Case: 40mm, Thickness 11.5mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 21mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80, Water-Resistance: 100m, Price: $775
Seiko SPB159 "Baby Alpinist"
The Seiko SPB159 is both an elegant and rugged timepiece that pays tribute to Seiko's past while showcasing modern changes that appeal to the modern enthusiast. Its 38mm case size is appreciated by traditionalists while the 46mm lug to lug gives it enough case to be carried by larger wrists. Unlike its bigger brother, the SPB121J1, for example, the case is more restrained, dropping the 4 o’clock crown and the date cyclops for a more formal appearance. You still get the cathedral hands as well as a finely textured gradient dial and plenty of high-quality LumiBrite paint. It’s powered by the 6R35 movement, beating away at 3hz and providing a healthy 70-hour power reserve.
Case: 38mm, Thickness 12.9mm, Lug-To-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Seiko 6R35, Water-Resistance: 200m, Price: $700
The Mondaine Stop2Go offers an unusual and fascinating complication that replicates the motion of the official Swiss Railway clocks found throughout Switzerland. While it looks like a modern, minimalist three-handed timepiece and offering no visual cues to suggest anything otherwise, the Stop2Go has a clever mechanical trick it deploys each minute. The second-hand traverses the dial every 58 seconds and comes to a complete stop for 2 seconds once it reaches the 60-second marker. Once the two seconds elapse, the minute hand advances, and the second hand “resumes” operating.
Case: 41mm, Thickness 10mm, Lug-To-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 20mm Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Quartz 58-02, Water-Resistance: 30m, Price: $550
Casio Oceanus T200S
Casio combines the classic elements of the traditional analog wristwatch with useful Bluetooth technology with the striking Oceanus T200S. The case features some Seiko-esque finishing, with bold vertical brush surfaces broken up by large mirror-finished case bevels. Powered by the Casio Caliber 5596, which is in turn powered by the sun, the T200S is a true grab-it-and-go timepiece that also happens to sync with a connected mobile device for precision timing. The case and dial executions are nice and the slick integration of Bluetooth and Multi-Band 6 tech without looking like a smartwatch is a well-executed effort.
Case: 41.4mm, Thickness 14.8mm, Lug-To-Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 18mm Crystal: Sapphire Movement: Solar Quartz Caliber 5596, Water-Resistance: 100m, Price: Around $500
Stowa Marine Classic
Uncompromising and classic Marine chronometer looks are what define the Stowa Marine Classic. A glossy, bright white lacquer dial gives this piece an enhanced and luxurious look while the tempered blued steel spade hands and black Arabic numerals are tied in historically accurate design elements from ship clocks. Beyond these uncomplicated good looks is an impressive build quality to both the 36mm and 40mm case options. Customers can also choose which tier of Sellita movement (and also whether it's hand-winding or automatic) they’d like to have, with the higher end tier and mechanical offerings coming in at a slight upcharge.
Reference: Marine Classic
Case: 36mm, Thickness 11mm (automatic), Lug-To-Lug: 44.6mm, Lug Width: 18mm Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1 or ETA 2824-2, Water-Resistance: 50m, Price: Starting at €740
Mido Commander Shade Silver
Specifications: Price: $870, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 10.45mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic ETA 2836-2, Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: Acrylic
Mido introduced the Commander model in 1959 and has produced it continuously ever since, a rarity in today’s rapidly shifting watch world. The Shade Silver edition adds an avant-garde, airbrushed-look fumé dial to the vintage-inspired elements, including the modest 37-mm round monocoque case (a common men’s size at the time of the original’s launch), black varnished polished indexes and dots for the hours, a framed day and date window with text in both English and German, and the Mido logo stamped on the acrylic crystal. Also decidedly retro is the steel mesh Milanese bracelet that can be adjusted to fit any wrist size. Beasting inside is the Élabore version of the ETA 2836-2, albeit hidden behind a solid steel caseback. Shop here.
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph Auto
Hamilton is no stranger to having their pieces showcased on the big screen with movies such as the Men In Black franchise, The Martian, and, in this case, the 2014 sci-fi epic Interstellar. The Khaki Field Murph is a larger field watch that includes a notable reference to the movie with the sequence of Morse code in braille applied to the second hand. To maximize wearability, you will need a larger than average-sized wrist to accommodate the 52mm lug-to-lug. High-end finishes to the case elevate the overall look and the Powermatic based H-10 movement.
Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 52mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto H-10, Power Reserve: 80 hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $995
Marathon General Purpose
Frankly, sometimes, you just need a watch which tells the time and makes the trip in one piece. For the proverbial infantryman, Marathon produces the General Purpose Mechanical, a simple, rugged, and refreshingly compact 34mm watch in a composite case. While at first glance a bit dainty, the GPM’s modest size makes sense when you consider the amount of gear carried by the average soldier. Sometimes you just need something low profile. With a Japanese automatic movement for reliable timekeeping, tritium illumination for ready legibility day or night, and a reasonable cost of ownership, Marathon’s GPM is one of the best options for a battle-ready field watch. Also, thanks to the composite case material, the GPM is available in black, sage green, and desert tan to complement the uniform of the day.
Case Size: 34mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Japanese Automatic, Power Reserve: 41 hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $360
Orient Defender II
The Defender II is a large, multi-functional field watch that goes beyond displaying just the time in a standard three-handed setup. Orient has equipped the Defender II with their in-house caliber F6B22 which adds a date window, 24-hour indicator, and an interesting day of the week indicator at the 10 o'clock dial register. At 42.4mm across and just a shade under 50mm from lug to lug, it's large but not overbearing and since Orient reigns as one of the most reasonably priced mechanical watch brands in existence, it's a multi-functional field watch that gushes value.
Case Size: 42.4mm, Thickness: 12.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic F6B22, Power Reserve: 41 hours, Crystal: Mineral, Price: $245
Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 38
There is no question that the Hamilton Khaki Auto 38 with its wearable case, lengthy power reserve, and versatile looks is one of the best watches out there when it comes to value for money. Therefore in many ways, the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto is the standard-bearer for Swiss-made mechanical field watches, particularly in its price range. To accommodate a range of wrist sizes, there are two additional larger case sizes offered for the Khaki Field Auto, 40mm and 42mm options. Not to be outdone with just different case sizes, the Khaki Field Auto also offers several dial options outside of the typical matte black, including blue, beige, and silver.
Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Hamilton H-10, Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: Starting at $575
Bulova Hack Watch
The Bulova Hack Watch presents an alternative to some higher-priced military-inspired field watches such as the Hamilton Khaki. There are certainly a lot of shared similarities from the exclusive satin finishing to the case, to the military-style 24-hour dial layout, moderate case size, and oversized crown. The differences are primarily in the movement as well as the crystal material. Bulova has opted for the Miyota 82S0, which is majority-owned by the same parent company as Bulova, Citizen Watch Company. There are also a few different dial options, including this Ivory dial which stands out from the dark dials in the collection.
Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 13.45mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Miyota 82S0, Power Reserve: 43 hours, Crystal: Mineral, Price: $395
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38
Hamilton is another long-time supplier to the military, having produced field watches for issue to the US Army for decades. Hamilton’s Khaki Field Mechanical, available in a wide array of colors and case materials, is perhaps the purest field watch available, with a design language that evokes the classic image of the GI storming a beach somewhere, at least for me. In a modest 38mm-wide case, the Khaki Field Mechanical series is low key, easily fitting under sleeves, and unlikely to catch on on a soldier’s kit. For the watch enthusiast crowd, the Khaki Field Mechanical is also interestingly equipped with a lengthy 80-hour power reserve, but you will have to wind the thing yourself.
Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 9.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 150m, Movement: H50 Handwinding Mechanical, Power Reserve: 80 hours, Crystal: Sapphire, Price: $495
Victorinox FieldForce GMT
Specifications: Price: $425, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11.3mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Quartz Ronda 515-24H, Crystal: Sapphire
The inventor of the iconic Swiss Army knife, Victorinox has been making watches since 1989, and embraces its military roots with the FieldForce collection, which features robust, utilitarian designs, stainless steel cases, and spartan, ultra-legible dials with the large Arabic numerals commonly found on classical field watches. The GMT version of the watch, launched in 2021, has a 42-mm case, bidrectionally rotating bezel and a ring in the center of the dial displaying a second time zone with a dedicated hand. The Swiss-made quartz Ronda caliber powers the watch behind a solid caseback. Shop here.