36 Affordable Swiss Watches for 2024

36 Affordable Swiss Watches for 2024

Swiss watches are regarded by many as the finest timepieces in the world, and finding truly affordable Swiss watches can be, to put it mildly, somewhat challenging. Watches mass-produced in Japan and other Asian countries have cornered much of the market in the affordable realm, which we're defining here as watches with prices roughly topping out at $2,000; even Switzerland's neighbor, Germany, might be able to claim more "serious" brands that aim for this price segment. But due to the sheer size and diversity of its watch industry, Switzerland does offer its own fair share of value-oriented watches, all of which meet the globally respected "Swiss Made" standard. To coin a cliché, you just have to know where to look, and which labels to focus on. Here are 36 affordable Swiss watches, from some of the world's most admired Swiss watch brands, in a handful of popular categories.


Swatch Sistem 51

Swatch Sistem 51Price: $155, Reference: SUTN405, Case Size: 42 mm, Case Height: 13.9 mm, Lug To Lug: 50.6 mm, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Automatic

Swatch, often dismissed as the maker of plastic-cased, quartz-driven, mass-marketed timepieces for limited budgets and trend-driven youth, made the watch world sit up and take notice when it unveiled the Sistem 51 in 2013. Priced at an astounding $150, the watch contained an innovatively designed 51-part mechanical movement with five assembly-line produced modules held together by a single central screw. Swatch has since expanded the collection from its original handful of models to encompass a wide range of colorways and designs, including the stealth-look model above. Flip the watch over to get a glimpse of the groundbreaking self-winding caliber through a caseback window.

Zodiac Olympos

Zodiac Olympos

Price: $895, Case Size: 37.5mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber STP 3-13

The original Zodiac Olympos, launched in 1970, was positioned as a “more classical execution” of the Swiss brand’s iconoclastic Astrographic model, known for its floating-hands “mystery” dial. The revival of the Olympos, in 2018, included a limited edition based on the mystery-dial model, and another with a field-watch-style “military” design, as well as the dressy version with a quartered dial that remains in the collection today. The sharply angled “manta ray” case, in steel or gold-toned steel and measuring a modest 37.5mm in diameter, is reminiscent of the era from which the original emerged, with quirky details like the crown tucked between two protective shoulders at 2 o’clock. Like its sportier siblings in the Super Sea Wolf family (see below), the Olympos contains the STP 3-13 automatic caliber.

Bulova Joseph Bulova Collection Breton Blush Dial Limited Edition

Bulova Breton Blush

Price: $1,050, Case Size: 46mm x 32mm, Thickness: 10.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200 

Bulova introduced a new line of limited-edition dress watches in 2019, named after the brand’s visionary founder, Joseph Bulova, and featuring a variety of Art Deco-era case shapes and dial designs paying homage to historical Bulova watches from the 1920s and 1930s — when Bulova still made timepieces in its hometown of New York City. The watches in the modern Joseph Bulova collection, however, are proudly Swiss-made, like this Breton model with a faceted rectangular case and a blush-colored dial with a railroad minute track and period-evocative vintage-style Arabic hour numerals — displaced only at 3 o’clock by a small date window. The movement is a Swiss-made Sellita SW200, which is visible behind a semicircular sapphire window in the caseback; the other half of the circle is elegantly engraved with Joseph Bulova’s signature and the watch’s limited edition number.


Doxa SUB 200

Doxa SUB 200 AquamarinePrice: $950, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.8mm, Lug to Lug: 46mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic ETA 2824-2

Introduced in 2020, the colorful models in the Doxa SUB 200 collection are the most value-oriented descendants of the famous SUB models that the Swiss company made beginning in 1967, which are widely regarded as the first purpose-built divers’ watches that were accessible to the general public. The 42mm case is made of stainless steel and topped with a domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The three-hand dial, framed by a unidirectional rotating bezel, has large rectangular applied indexes and a date window at 3 o’clock. All of the elements relevant to timing a dive, including the hands, indexes, and bezel scale, have been treated with Super-LumiNova. Behind the solid screw-down caseback, engraved with Doxa’s fish emblem, the reliable self-winding ETA 2824-2 movement ticks away at a frequency of 28,800 vph and stores a power reserve of 38 hours when fully wound. 

Certina DS Super PH500M

Certina DS PH500M

Price: $960, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 14.95mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, ,Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 500m, Movement: Automatic ETA Powermatic 80.611

Certina is a watch brand much better known outside the U.S. than within its borders, but that is rapidly changing as the company, which is owned by the Swatch Group, has expanded its distribution and thus the profile of its Swiss-made, value-oriented line of timepieces — particularly the divers’ watches that have put it on the radar of enthusiasts over the years, like the models supplied to Royal Australian Navy divers in the 1970s. Like many brands, Certina has mined its archives to inspire updated takes on some of its classic designs, including this orange-dialed PH500M, which is in most respects a faithful replica of the vintage model that inspired it, but updated with a sapphire crystal, improved luminous elements, and a modern movement, the impressive Powermatic 80 caliber that bestows the watch an 80-hour power reserve. The steel case, topped with an aluminum rotating divers’ bezel, is water-resistant to a phenomenal 500 meters.

Certina DS PH200M

Certina DS PH200M

Price: $995, Case Size: 42.8mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: ETA Powermatic 80.611

The “DS” in Certina’s lineup of dive watches stands for “Double Security” and refers to the innovative case structure, in which the watch’s movement is protected within an extra shock-absorbing rubber ring inside the main case and the crown watertight crown features a proprietary sealant system. Not quite as robust underwater as the PH500M, the PH200M, which takes its vintage aesthetic from a watch made in 1967 (and its “PH” from the French term “Pressure Hydrstatique” for water pressure), still offers an impressive 200 meters of water resistance. The version featured here has a stainless steel case, just shy of 43mm in diameter and a smidgen below 12mm thick, mounted on a supple Milanese bracelet. The dial’s hallmarks include a sword-shaped handset, a 3 o’clock date window, and a crosshairs motif in the center. The Powermatic movement inside features a magnetic-resistant Nivachron hairspring. The divers’ bezel has a domed ceramic insert.

Certina DS Action Diver 38 Powermatic 80

Certina DS Action Diver

Price: $795, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12.2mm, Lug to Lug: 44.9mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: ETA Powermatic 80.611

Rounding out our trifecta of Certina diving watches, all of which fall under the eminently affordable $1,000 threshold, is the Action Diver, which despite its professional 300-meter water resistance, is mostly regarded as the brand’s entry-level diver, likely due to its very understated 38mm diameter and sub-$800 price point. The steel case has a mostly brushed finish on its various surfaces and facets and its 120-click, coin-edged, unidirectional bezel uses an anodized aluminum insert for its graduated dive scale. Baton-shaped hands reveal the time on the dial’s geometric hour indexes, all treated with a high level of lume for underwater legibility. Connected to a three-link steel bracelet with a diver’s extension, and outfitted with a Powermatic 80 caliber, meets the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches, a talking point for serious diving enthusiasts.

Longines Hydroconquest

Longines Hydroconquest

Price: $1,700, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Longines Caliber L888

The Longines HydroConquest builds upon the brand’s sport-luxury Conquest design for an even more rugged and sport-oriented aesthetic, one aimed squarely at recreational divers and those looking to emulate their look. The HydroConquest’s unidirectional ratcheting bezel has a 60-minute dive-scale insert, with the first 15-minute sector delineated by minute markers and Arabic numerals at each subsequent 10-minute interval. The dial features a short, faceted hour hand with a bulging luminous diamond, a baton minute hand, and a lollipop-style sweep seconds hand. On this model, a military green dial and bezel harmonizes with a rubber strap in the same color. The case is water resistant to 300 meters, more than sufficient to meet ISO requirements for a diving watch, and contains the Longines-exclusive, ETA-based Caliber L888, with a 72-hour power reserve.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Skin

Price: $1,195 - $1,295, Case Size: 39mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic STP 1-11

The Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic is the model that most faithfully re-creates Zodiac's original Sea Wolf dive watch from 1953 (before “Super” was added to the name). Available on either a rubber strap or steel link bracelet, the watch has a steel case measuring 39mm in diameter — far larger than its ancestor’s but still the smallest in the current collection. The dial features prominent triangle hour markers with accompanying interior numerals and maintains a cleanly balanced symmetry, with no date window at 3 o’clock. The luminous material used on the markers and hands glows a bright orange in the dark. The movement inside is the STP 3-13 (following up the STP 1-11 used in previous generations), provided by parent company the Fossil Group.

Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80

Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80Price: $1,075, Case size: 46mm, Thickness: 16.3mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 600 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111

Tissot's ruggedly attractive Seastar family of dive watches, which debuted in the 1960s, welcomed its most robustly engineered member in 2021. The ISO-certified Seastar 2000 entices deep-sea enthusiasts with its integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock, unidirectional dive-scale bezel with engraved ceramic insert, and its most eye-catching element, a turquoise-blue gradient dial with a maritime-inspired, engraved wave motif. The 46-mm steel case is water-resistant to a very "professional" 600 meters. As with several other watches in our roundup, the Seastar 1000 contains the Swatch Group-exclusive Powermatic 80, which is based on the standard ETA 2824 but as per its name boasts an increased power reserve of 80 hours. 

Oris Aquis Date

Oris Aquis DatePrice: $2,000 - $2,300, Case Size: 39.55mm/41.5mm/43.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm/22mm/24mm, Crystal: Domed Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris Caliber 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)

Since its introduction in 2011, the Oris Aquis dive watch has established itself as a tentpole collection within the brand’s portfolio, with numerous versions of the core three-hand-date model now available in a variety of colorways, materials and sizes. At the large end of the range are the 43.5mm models, with the 39.5mm versions at the smaller end and the versatile 41.5mm variants occupying the middle ground. Predominantly in stainless steel, the cases feature scratch-proof ceramic inserts for the rotating bezel’s dive scale, and screw-down crowns with shoulder-like crown guards to secure the 300-meter water resistance. The gradient dial, with the eponymous date displayed at 6 o’clock, features luminous hands and indexes and a lollipop-style central seconds hand.

Rado Captain Cook Automatic

Rado Captain CookPrice: $2,000, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug to Lug: 48.2mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.611 

The Captain Cook is based on a 1960s diving watch and eschews Rado’s usual modernist aesthetic in favor of a sporty, vintage look. The 42mm case diameter of the watch featured here elegantly splits the difference between the more modest, historically accurate 37mm and the stately 44mm models that preceded it. The unidirectional rotating bezel has a dive-scale insert made of high-tech ceramic, a hallmark material of the brand. The 200-meter water-resistant case has a solid caseback stamped with three seahorses, an aquatic motif that references historical Rado dive watches. The green dial is modern with a touch of vintage, sporting a rotating anchor symbol at 12 o’clock whose ’60s-inspired ruby-colored background echoes the eye-catching ruby-red date numeral in the 3 o’clock date window. Behind the stamped caseback is the automatic ETA C07.611 caliber, notable for its 80-hour power reserve.


Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic

Price: $1,295, Case Size: 44mm, Case Height: 11.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Alpina Caliber AL-525

The vintage-inspired Alpina Startimer Pilot, launched in 2011, was relaunched in 2017 with a new dial design and additional case options. The watch’s’ 44-mm case is equipped with an oversized crown typical of today’s pilot watch designs and a solid caseback featuring an engraved Alpina logo. On their dial is an outer minute track with Alpina’s hallmark red triangle at the 12 o’clock position, along with applied Arabic numerals broken up with rectangular markers at each of the quarter hours. The hour and minute hands are markedly curved and the red seconds hand uses the triangle logo as a counterweight. The date appears subtly in a small window at the 3 o’clock position. Ticking Inside the Startimer Pilot is the self-winding, Sellita-based caliber AL-525, with a 38-hour power reserve and special finishing by Alpina. 

Oris Big Crown ProPilot

Oris Big Crown ProPilot

Price: $1,700 , Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200

One of the flagships of Oris’s varied and versatile timepiece portfolio, the Big Crown ProPilot has a multi-part case measuring 41 mm in diameter and 12.4 mm thick and featuring the familiar hallmarks of the ProPilot series, like the coin-edge motif on the sides evoking a jet’s turbines and the large, fluted, screw-down crown referenced in the model’s name, an emblematic features of historical aviation watches. The double-domed sapphire crystal covers a black dial with indexes and applied hour numerals made of solid Super-LumiNova. The exhibition caseback offers a view of the Sellita-based Oris Caliber 751, which stores a 38-hour power reserve and is equipped with an instant date-change function, a date corrector, stop-seconds capability, and a red-highlighted Oris rotor.

Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea-Diver

Nivada Grenchen Aviator

Price: $1,800, Case Size: 38.5mm, Thickness: 13.7mm, Lug to Lug: 46.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Manually wound Sellita SW510 M BH B

Founded in 1926, Nivada Grenchen made a name for itself throughout the 1950s and ‘60s with watches like the Buccaneer, Aquamatic, Wanderer, and Antarctic before claiming its most prominent spot in watch history with the Chronomaster collection of chronographs. Unveiled in the early 1960s, the original Chronomaster collection paired a hand-winding third-party chronograph caliber with a sporty case and rotating bezel; the original Aviator Sea-Diver, built to be a reliable companion in nearly every environment, inspired the modern version presented here, which has nearly identical case dimensions and dial elements. Under a vintage-style domed crystal, the bicompax dial has rectangular hour markers, arrow hands, and a 30-minute sundial standing out with a pop of red in its countdown sector. Sellita provides the movement, a manually winding chronograph caliber with a hacking seconds function and a 48-hour power reserve. A retro-style beads-of-rice metal bracelet completes the picture.


Mido Ocean Star GMT

Mido GMT

Price: $1,250, Reference: M0266291105101, Case Size: 44mm Case Height: 13.28mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Mido 80 (ETA C07.661 base)

Wildly popular in Latin America but only vaguely familiar to many watch aficionados in the U.S., Mido has been making watches since 1918 and its nautically inspired Ocean Star line has been around since the 1940s, even before the era of the modern diver’s watch. The Ocean Star GMT, launched in 2020, is that collection’s first dual-time-zone watch, with a sturdy 316L stainless steel case and a ceramic divers’ bezel. The 24-hour scale that you might expect to find on the bezel is instead printed on the flange of the black dial; a long, arrow-tipped hand points to the scale, enabling the wearer to read the time in additional time zones while the two main lume-tipped hands display the local time. The Powermatic 80 caliber inside the 44mm steel case has been equipped with a specially made module for the GMT functionality.

Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT

Christopher Ward Aquitaine GMT

Price: $1,425, Case Size: 41mm Case Height: 12.7mm, Lug to Lug: 46.68mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW330-2

U.K.-based Christopher Ward (which makes its watches in Switzerland) added a GMT to its sporty Aquitaine collection in 2022. The 41mm steel case hosts a 24-hour GMT bezel, made of sapphire, that frames a clean, readable dial with sharp sword hands for the local hour and minute, a seconds hand with the telltale trident-shaped counterweight, a subtle 6 o’clock date window, and the signature element, a fourth center-mounted hand with a colorful triangle tip that indicates a second time zone. The C65 GMT offers the robustness of a dive watch — its case is water-resistant to 200 meters — and the convenience of an automatic Swiss-made caliber, the Sellita SW 330-2, which beats at 28,800 vph behind an exhibition caseback.


Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80

Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80

Case: 39.3mm, Thickness 9.8mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111 Water-Resistance: 30m, Material: Steel, Price: $575

Named for the Swiss watchmaking town in which Tissot was founded (and where many other watchmakers still reside), the Tissot Le Locle is a classically elegant, automatic gentleman’s dress watch that comes in just under 40mm in size and under $600 in MSRP. Its round case has a polished finish and its dial hosts applied Roman hour numerals, swept over by leaf-shaped hands, along with a practical and unobtrusive date window at 3 o’clock. The “pyramid”-style textured finish in the center lends the watch an added layer of refinement, and the self-winding Powermatic 80 movement inside ensures that it runs reliably for 80 hours.

Mido Multifort Patrimony

Mido Multifort Patrimony

Price: $890, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-To-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 19mm Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic Caliber 80 (ETA C07.111),

The Mido Multifort Patrimony takes a host of mid-century vintage design elements and reinterprets them in a stylish way for the modern consumer while also paying subtle homage to the era that inspired it. The 40mm steel case features slender, scalloped lugs that lend both wearing comfort and vintage flair, while the wide, sector-style dial offers a very old-school element on its outer edge, a pulsometer scale of the type found on historical “doctor’s watch” chronographs, along with two syringe-style hands for the hours and minutes balanced by a date window at 6 o’clock. Like other watches from the Swatch Group featured here, from Tissot and Certina, the Mido Multifort Patrimony contains its own version of the ETA-based Powermatic 80 caliber.

Hamilton Intra-Matic Champagne

Hamilton Intra-Matic Champagne

Price: $845, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 10.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 43.9mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto ETA 2892, Crystal: Sapphire

Hamilton’s Intra-Matic models take their inspiration from a series of dress watches, made in the 1960s and early 1970s, which were among the brand’s first to contain self-winding movements (“Matic” in the name referring to the “Automatic” movement, of course). Those models’ minimalist mid-century design codes live on in this handsome Champagne-sunburst-dial model, a mainstay of Hamilton’s vintage-look American Classics collection. The modest 38mm case has a gleaming polished finish; the wide dial hosts thin baton hands and even thinner baton hour markers, a date window at 6 o’clock, and a retro Hamilton logo in a period-evocative font at 12 o’clock. Inside the case, behind an exhibition back, is the automatic ETA 2892-A2, a reliable Swiss-made movement with a frequency of 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 42 hours.

Raymond Weil Maestro Moon Phase Automatic

Raymond Weil Moonphase

Price: $1,175, Case Size: 39.5mm, Case Height: 9.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 44.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber RW4280 (Sellita SW200 base)

Raymond Weil’s collections take their names from the eponymous founder’s love of music and musicians, and the Maestro Moon Phase Automatic is a Moonlight Serenade for the wrist. Just shy of 40mm in stainless steel, the watch has a galvanic dial with a radiating textured motif inspired by waves of musical notes pulsing through a concert hall. Additionally, the outer minute track has an engraved pattern that evokes the grooves of an old vinyl record. The moon-phase display, in a crescent shaped aperture at 6 o’clock, draws the lion’s share of interest on the dial, below the central baton-shaped hands. Hidden behind the lyrical dial but evident behind a sapphire caseback is the Sellita-based RW4280 automatic movement that powers the watch.

Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic

Frederique Constant Classics Index AutomaticPrice: $995, Case: 40mm, Thickness 10mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic FC-303 (Sellita SW200-1 base)

The Classic Index Automatic is Frederique Constant’s no-nonsense, Swiss-made dress watch, available in a variety of dial configurations and colors. In one of its most elegant executions, it offers a clean, silvered white dial with applied bar hour markers and sharply faceted sword-style hands that are luminous-treated, an element that’s often inexplicably absent from dress watches. The watch is powered by the staunchly reliable FC-303 caliber, based on the ubiquitous Sellita SW200-1 and features all the bells and whistles you’d expect from it: date display, hacking seconds, and hand-winding as well as self-winding. The 40mm two-part case has a sleek, polished finish and the quality of the calfskin leather strap is a step up from most others available in this price range.

Rado Golden Horse Automatic

Rado Golden Horse

Price: $1,800, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 10.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40.9mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.111

The Golden Horse collection, which debuted in 1957, was the first series produced under the Rado brand name. In 2019, Rado re-introduced the model into its vintage-inspired Tradition line. In addition to its period-appropriate 37mm case, the watch’s hallmarks include an engraved bezel, a red-lacquered anchor emblem in the crown, a red date numeral in the 3 o’clock window, and a silhouetted pair of seahorses at 6 o’clock. The dial under the box-shaped sapphire crystal has dauphine hands, applied hour indexes, and a moving anchor in a red circle above  the Rado logo at 12 o’clock. The movement behind the sapphire caseback is an ETA C07.611, with automatic winding, 25 jewels, and an 80-hour power reserve.


Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Price: $650, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug to Lug: 44.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111

Tissot added to the growing roster of sport-luxury watches on integrated steel bracelets in 2021 with the re-release of the PRX, a watch that first hit the market in 1978. The “P” and “R” in the name stand for “precise” and “robust,” and the “X” is actually a Roman numeral “10” depicting the model’s 10 atmospheres (aka 100 meters) of water resistance. Like its predecessor from the disco era, the first modern PRX model had a quartz movement, but that one was swiftly followed by an automatic version containing the brand’s Powermatic 80 caliber. The stainless steel, barrel-shaped case measures 40 mm in diameter, a relatively svelte 11 mm in thickness, and integrates smoothly into a supple steel bracelet. The dial features a distinctive waffle-pattern motif and a sunray finish.

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80

Price: $775, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness 11.5mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 21mm Crystal: Sapphire, Water-Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80

Tissot’s Gentleman Powermatic 80 is an ideal example of a sporty watch with luxurious finishing that manages to come in under the magical $1,000 price threshold while still featuring a Swiss-made automatic movement. The watch is sized at 40mm and fits easily underneath a shirt cuff, thanks in part to its extended, downward-curved lugs that hug the wrist. The dial stands out with its crosshairs pattern at the center and Dauphine hands. The Powermatic 80.811 caliber inside the case is a modified ETA 2824 that has had its lower balance frequency lowered to 21,600 vph (from the standard 28,800 vph) to ensure an extended 80-hour reserve. Additionally, the movement’s silicon balance spring allows for increased resistance to magnetic fields as well as longer servicing intervals.

Ball Fireman Enterprise

Ball Fireman Enterprise

Price: $1,199, Case: 40mm, Thickness 11.3mm, Lug-To-Lug: 48.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic RR1103 (Sellita SW200-1/ETA 2824)

Ball Watch Company traces its origins to 1891 in the United States and is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Founded by Webster Clay Ball, a Cleveland jeweler and Chief Inspector for the Lake Shore railway line, Ball Watch built its reputation on its dependably accurate railroad watches, which were officially adopted as “Railway Standard” and worn by train conductors and other railroad workers throughout the early part of the 20th century. This dedication to “industrial function” drives the brand to this day, even in basic, dressy models like the Fireman Enterprise, which offers streamlined looks and a level of rugged durability rarely encountered at this price point. The clean dial uses well-placed tritium micro-gas tubes on its hands and indexes — a signature feature of Ball watches — to ensure nighttime legibility, while inside the 40mm steel case beats an automatic mechanical movement, the Sellita-based (originally ETA-based) RR1103.

Formex Essence Chronometer

Formex Essence Chronometer

Price: $1,390, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 10mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200

Based in Biel, Switzerland, independent brand Formex has drawn admiration for making durable and stylish watches at value-oriented prices. The Essence Chronometer at the heart of the Formex collection is, as its name suggests, a COSC-certified chronometer and also features all three of the technical elements upon which Formex builds its brand identity: a fine adjustment system for giving the straps and bracelets a perfect fit; a patented case-suspension system drawn from the world of high-performance bikes that uses tiny springs between the upper and lower case to cushion the movement; and a quick strap-changing system that requires no tools. The dial is lent an extra layer of interest by its CNC-machined horizontal line pattern and the mirror-polished bevels of its hands and applied hour markers. The chronometer-rated Sellita movement inside is automatic and impeccably decorated, with a signature skeletonized rotor.

Baume & Mercier Riviera

Baume & Mercier Riviera

Price: $1,800 - $4,400, Case size: 33mm/36mm/42mm, Thickness: 9.57mm/9.57mm, 13.2mm/12.1mm, Lug Width: 11mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters/50 meters/100 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW 200/Sellita SW 200/Baumatic BM13-1975A

There’s no hotter category in watch fandom today than the sport-luxury steel timepiece on an integrated bracelet, pioneered by trailblazers like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, making the recent revival of Baume & Mercier’s Riviera model a foregone conclusion. The modern versions of the 1973 classic stand apart from the more classically elegant designs from the brand’s portfolio, with their 12-sided bezels and four visible (and functional) screws at the corners, while also projecting a sense of historical luxury with their applied Roman numeral hour indexes. The dials host partially openworked Dauphine hands and eye-catching textured motifs. Inside the satin-brushed case, Baume & Mercier has installed either a dependable Sellita SW 200 or, in the pricier models, the in-house-made Baumatic BM13-1975A.

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic

Maurice Lacroix AikonPrice: $1,900, Case Size: 39mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber ML115 (Sellita SW200 base)

Prized by many as a quirky and eminently more affordable alternative to the Royal Oak and other trend-setting integrated-bracelet sport-luxury models that preceded it (and undoubtedly, to some extent, inspired its design), Maurice Lacroix’s Aikon Automatic is available in a modest 39mm version that comes in under $2K. The multifaceted case has a combination of brushed and polished finishing; the dial draws attention with its “Clous de Paris” textured pattern enhanced with a sunburst finish. The latter’s details include elongated, applied hour markers and hands, double applied markers at the quarter hours, and a small date window at 3 o’clock; said hands and hour markers are rhodium-plated, which is a rare enhancement at this price point.  Inside the watch ticks a Swiss-made automatic movement, dubbed Caliber ML115, a brand-customized Sellita SW200-1. Showcased behind a sapphire caseback, it offers a 38-hour power reserve.

Longines Conquest

Longines Conquest

Price: $1,975, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 10.9mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Longines L888

The Conquest collection is one of Longines’ oldest and most enduring, having initially launched in 1954 and which would eventually give rise to the popular HydroConquest subfamily of dive watches. The core Conquest collection, which had been defined by large Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock, was redesigned in 2023 to be even more streamlined and more versatile, with a 41mm steel case, a wider sloping bezel, elegantly curved crown guards, and a sunburst dial with thinner, tapered applied indexes and no numerals to be found, other than those in the subtle 6 o’clock date window. The time-and-date model (a new three-register chronograph version has also been introduced) comes in at an MSRP just under $2,000; the caseback has a sapphire window to show off the impressive decorative finishes on the proprietary self-winding Caliber L888.

Tudor 1926

Tudor 1926Price: $2,000, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 9.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.2mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200

Released in 2018 alongside favorites like the gilt-dial Black Bay 58 and Black Bay GMT, Tudor’s 1926 collection defines everyday versatility in a timekeeper and is now available in more than 100 variations, encompassing four case sizes in various materials and a plethora of dial colors and textures. The 1926 is not only a truly “unisex” model, suited for both gents and ladies, but also the single least expensive watch in Tudor’s catalog, coming in at or just under $2,000, thanks to its use of outsourced Sellita automatic movements rather than the in-house calibers used in sportier Tudor collections like the Black Bay and Pelagos. The fine finishing on the case and bracelet of the 1926 add an extra layer of luxurious refinement that’s nonetheless suitable for daily wear. 


Luminox Original Navy SEAL Watch

Luminox Navy SEALs 

Price: $475, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 21mm Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Hardened MineralMovement: Swiss Quartz

Luminox takes its name from a portmanteau of two Latin words, “Lumi” for light and “Nox” for night, an indicator of the Swiss brand’s commitment from the get-go to “offer cutting-edge luminescence and readability in its line of high-performance sports watches.” In 1992, Luminox debuted its Navy SEAL watch in partnership with that elite U.S. military group and has been producing versions of it ever since. The rugged watch has a 43mm case and rotating bezel made of Luminox’s proprietary Carbonox material, a lightweight yet durable carbon alloy; a double-security-gasket crown protection system; and a dial whose hands and indexes feature microtubes of bright-glowing, long-lasting tritium for maximum legibility in the darkest conditions. The dial is of hardened mineral glass, the movement inside is Swiss quartz, and the strap is made of genuine black rubber.

Marathon General Purpose Mechanical

Marathon General Purpose MechanicalPrice: $640, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Manually wound ETA 2801

Manufactured by the sole official supplier of watches to today’s U.S. Armed Forces, the Marathon General Purpose Mechanical offers a number of distinctive elements seldom found in this price range. Designed in the company’s headquarters in Canada but made in Switzerland, the larger version of the GPM, in a 39mm stainless steel case, is designed to be a utilitarian companion to the large loads of military gear utilized by its wearers in combat operations. The dial has indices and hands with tritium-filled tubes, which offer brighter and longer-lasting luminescence than most other dials, whose luminescent elements need to be recharged by light. The movement inside is the manually wound ETA 2801. At around $650, the GPM represents impressive value and real military credibility despite the rather pedestrian 50-meter water resistance.

Hamilton Khaki Field

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium

Price: $895, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Hamilton H-10 (ETA C07.611 base)

The Khaki Field Automatic is directly descended from a military watch that Hamilton (which was founded in the U.S.A. but has made watches in Switzerland since the 1960s) provided for marines during the Vietnam War era and strives for a high level of authenticity in its period details. With a modest 38-mm case made of titanium, and containing the self-winding Caliber H-10, which packs an impressive 80-hour power reserve, the model also represents an impressive value proposition for lovers of vintage military watches. The cases have a matte finish to eliminate glare, which would have been a definite boon for an infantryman trying to stay out of sight of jungle snipers. A set of drilled lugs connect the watch to a sturdy nylon NATO-style strap with coordinating leather hardware that enhances both its look and its robustness. The military green tone of this model’s dial is more decorative than utilitarian, but it drives home the historical theme in an appealing way.

Victorinox INOX Automatic

Victorinox Inox Automatic

Price: $925, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 13.48mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Sellita SW200-1

The Inox watch collection takes its inspiration from Victorinox’s pioneering invention, the Swiss Army knife. (“Inox” is French for “stainless steel,” the material used for knife blades and the watch’s 43mm case.) Victorinox subjects the Inox watches to a battery of toughness tests to verify them as timepieces “built to last” — dropping them 10 meters onto concrete, driving over them with a 64-ton tank, subjecting them to extreme submersion, sandblasting, and even corrosive agents like gasoline, solvents, and oils. Inox watches can resist temperature variations from -51 degrees Celsius to +71 degrees Celsius and 12 Gs of acceleration and deceleration. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal on this model covers a blue guilloché-pattern dial, whose hour and minute hands are anchored by a reinforced axis. The sturdy steel bracelet attaches to lugs solidified by a crossbar. A Swiss automatic Sellita caliber beats behind a screwed exhibition caseback.

Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale

Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale

Price: $2,000, Case Size: 38.5mm, Case Height: 12.3mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Longines Caliber L888.5

Few watchmakers have mined their early 20th-century archives for modern hits as consistently and as successfully as Longines, whose popular and ever-expanding Heritage collection is underpinned by reviving models from the brand’s nearly 200-year history. The Heritage Military family is no exception, its most eye-catching member being this Marine Nationale model issued in 2020 and based upon a watch from 1947 that Longines supplied to the French Navy. The modern watch’s 38.5mm case is just slightly larger than its 35.5mm predecessor, and its gold opaline dial, with blued steel hands and black painted Arabic hour numerals, features the inscription “Fab Suisse” (for Fabrique Suisse, or “Swiss Made”) under the Longines logo, another period-appropriate detail. The movement is decidedly modern, the ETA-supplied, Longines-exclusive Caliber L888.5, which is COSC-certified for chronometric performance and features an antimagnetic silicon balance spring.

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