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One & Done: One Watch Collections at Five Different Price Points
The definition of an everyday watch can, of course, be highly subjective, based on one’s individual needs, tastes, and budget (I have met people who rock A. Lange & Söhne, F.P. Journe, and even Richard Mille as their “everyday” brands). But most of us can get behind Teddy’s idea that an everyday watch is one that combines versatility with specifications suited for day-to-day needs; it can be dressed up or down, is highly legible in most conditions, and is water resistant enough for worry-free daily wear (i.e., rated to at least 50 meters). As a timepiece that will spend much more time actually on the wrist than in a safe, it should also be affordable. Hence, our selection of the 17 best everyday watches starts under $500 and tops out under $10,000.
Price: $450, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 9.1mm, Lug to Lug: 45mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber 8210
Best known for its light-powered Eco-Drive movements, Japan’s Citizen also offers a lineup of appealing mechanical timepieces, including the recently introduced NJ015 automatic series, nicknamed “Tsuyosa,” a Japanese word meaning “strength.” Speaking to the contemporary trend towards eye-catching colorful dials, Tsuyosa models offer five, all with a subtle sunburst finish: blue, yellow, green, turquoise, and black. The round, chamfered steel cases measure 40mm in diameter and 11.7mm thick, with an unconventionally positioned crown at 4 o’clock for better ergonomics on the wrist. The bracelet has what Citizen describes as a “mountain-shaped” design thanks to its individually curved links; the center links and the bezel are both sleekly polished. The self-winding movement inside is Citizen’s own Caliber 8210, ticking at a frequency of 21,600 vph and storing a 40-hour power reserve.
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 an everyday watch that also comes 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.
Price: $845, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 10.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 43.9mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Auto ETA 2892
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 power reserve of 42 hours.
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 then Tissot featured here, the Mido Multifort Patrimony contains another version of the ETA-based Powermatic 80 caliber.
Price: $725, Reference: SPB1221, Case Size: 39.5mm, Case Height: 13.2mm, Lug to Lug: 46.4mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Seiko Caliber 6R35
The Alpinist, the first dedicated Seiko sports watch, traces its history back to a 1959 model that was targeted, as its name implies, to outdoorsmen like mountain climbers. This modern version, part of Seiko's Prospex series and taking its aesthetic cues from the now-classic SARB017 reference, reimagines that vintage piece with a contemporary spin. Faithful to the historical model are the cathedral hands, gold accents on the markers and numerals, and magnifying lens over the date at 3 o’clock. New are the dark green dial that contrasts attractively with the golden details, the “X” logo above 6 o’clock identifying the watch as a member of the Prospex family, and the 6R35 automatic caliber. A bonus for actual mountaineers and other adventurous explorer types: the inner rotating compass bezel, operated by the additional crown at 4 o’clock.
Price: $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.
Price: $999, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 10.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1 (Mühle version)
Germany’s Mühle Glashütte started its 150+ years of business as a producer of precision timers and measuring tools for various professional fields and now specializes in high-end tool watches for sailors, divers, pilots, and military units. The minimalist Panova model is something of an outlier, intended for more “everyday” situations. The selection of stripped down, highly legible dial options includes the shiny green version featured here, with simple, thin rectangle hands and thin luminous hour markers. The Panova is outfitted with a modified Sellita SW200-1 with Muhle’s a customized rotor and proprietary woodpecker-neck regulator. The 40mm steel case has a robust 100-meter water resistance. It’s fitted on a brown leather NATO-style strap that recalls the German maker’s more utilitarian timepieces.
Price: $1,250, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic ETA A31.L11
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 is defined by its ultra-legible dials with big, applied Arabic hour numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock, lume-coated rectangular indices at the other hour points, and a small date window at 3 o’clock. Below the 12 o’clock numeral is Longines’ familiar logo with its winged hourglass emblem to represent the flying of time. The 39mm model, the more modest version of the 41mm original, has a black or sunray blue dial and fastens to the wrist with a steel link bracelet whose links bear the same combination of brushed and polished finishes as the case. The movement inside is the ETA-based Longines Caliber L888, with a weekend-proof 72-hour power reserve.
Price: $1,345, Case Size: 44mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic AL-525
Alpina based its Alpiner 4 collection on a classic model from 1938 built to achieve the “four essential features” by which the brand defined a sports watch: anti-magnetism, shock resistance, water-resistance, and stain-resistance. The Alpiner 4 Automatic, the flagship three-hand date model of the collection, has a 44mm stainless steel case and a bidirectional rotating bezel that can be used for timing events. The watch has a convex, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a threaded crown, and a solid, engraved caseback. Its sunray-finished dial has applied luminous indexes, luminous hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. Ticking inside is Alpina’s automatic Caliber AL-525, with 26 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency and 38-hour power reserve.
Price: $1,390, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 10mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200 COSC
Founded in 1999 and 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 simple dials are lent an extra layer of interest by their CNC-machined horizontal line pattern.
Price: $1,500, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 8.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.2mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Nomos Alpha Manual
Spinning off from the German maker’s Club collection of timepieces in 2017, the Nomos Club Campus is noteworthy for its streamlined, no-nonsense aesthetic and its use of a “California” dial, i.e., one that uses a combo of Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, and plain indexes for its hour markers. An orange seconds hand in the subdial at 6 o’clock adds a splash of color. The earliest Campus models offered two sizes (36mm and 38mm) and utilized manually wound calibers; the second generation introduced additional case options at 37.5mm and 39mm and were the first models within the overall Club family to contain automatic movements.
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 collection of timepieces, 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. 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.
Price: $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.
Price: $3,100, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Caliber 5
The Autavia (which takes its name from a portmanteau of “automobile” and “aviation”) was designed by none other than Jack Heuer, scion of TAG Heuer’s founding family, and made its return to the brand’s lineup in 2017. The three-handed Isograph model has the extra-large pilot-inspired winding crown and bidirectional 60-minute bezel of the original, and a dial with large legible Arabic numerals. Most notably, the Autavia Isograph contains a specially developed movement equipped with a carbon-composite hairspring, the automatic, COSC-certified Caliber 5. The innovative hairspring — engineered to be lightweight, low-density, completely antimagnetic, and virtually impervious to both gravity and shock — is paired with an aluminum-alloy balance wheel to render the movement “isographic” (from the Greek term iso, meaning equal), meaning its regulator boasts the highest level of stability and consistency.
Price: $4,350, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 10.7mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.7mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Breitling 17
Breitling's Aviator 8 series derives its numerical suffix from the Huit (“8”) Aviation Department, established by brand scion Willy Breitling in 1938 to produce onboard clocks and dashboard instruments with eight-day power reserves for pilots. The aviators’ wristwatches developed by the Department lend their elements and spirits to the modern Aviator 8 timepieces, which, like most of Breitling’s portfolio, is heavily dominated by chronographs. The more versatile three-hand model in a 41-mm case is an appealing everyday choice, with hands and Arabic hour numerals coated with Super-LumiNova, and a date aperture at 6 o’clock. The bidirectional rotating bezel has a small red pointer at 12 o’clock that lines up with the numeral “60” on the minute track and harmonizes with the red-tipped central seconds hand. Inside the case beats the self-winding Breitling 17 caliber, based on the ETA 2824-2, with a 40-hour power reserve and a COSC chronometer certification.
Price: $6,500, Case Size: 41mm, Lug Width: 24.2mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Master Chronometer Caliber 8900
Omega’s Constellation series — which has been around since 1952, predating both the Speedmaster and the modern Seamaster — got a major revamp in 2020, with a slew of Gents models equipped with Master Chronometer movements. Sized at a modest-yet-contemporary 39 mm, the cases feature polished and beveled edges; a slimmer bezel with redesigned Roman numerals; a more elegant finishing for the hallmark “claws” on the bezel’s sides; and a conical crown. The dial’s hands and hour markers take visual cues from the triangular facets of New York City’s Freedom Tower. Inside the case — made of “everyday” stainless steel (as shown), or special-occasion yellow gold or Sedna gold — beats the Omega Master Chronometer-certified Caliber 8900, with a co-axial escapement and s 60-hour power reserve.
Price: $6,500, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 10.75mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Zenith Elite 670
The Defy Classic is the time-and-date-only model within Zenith’s Defy family, which largely consists of El Primero-equipped chronographs. Its 41-mm case is made of titanium, a metal prized for its combination of toughness and light weight. Zenith offers two distinct versions of the Defy Classic — one with a skeletonized dial display, and the other, more everyday-friendly model shown here, with a solid dial in sunray-patterned blue. Both versions have rhodium-plated, faceted, luminous-coated hands and hour indexes and a date window. The movement inside the tonneau-shaped case is the Elite 670 caliber, which is a modified version of the famous El Primero, sans chronograph functions, with a star-shaped rotor.
Price: $8,250, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11.1mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.2mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic JLC 898E/1
Taking their cues from the original 1968 Polaris, an alarm-equipped divers’ watch, today’s Polaris models feature dive-inspired inner rotating bezels, dials with three concentric circles with contrasting finishes, vintage-inspired Arabic numerals and trapezoidal indexes, and large luminous hands. The Polaris Automatic, the simplest of the collection, hosts a three-handed time display and no date. Its stainless steel, 41mm case, with alternating brushed and polished finishes. houses Jaeger-LeCoultre’s automatic Caliber 896/1, with a 40-hour power reserve. The watch is available on either a leather strap or a three-link steel bracelet with a folding buckle.
Price: $8,300, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Rolex 3131
Released in 1956 for engineers and technicians whose work exposed them to strong magnetic fields, the Milgauss took its name (“mille gauss”) from its antimagnetic inner case that shielded the movement from magnetism up to 1,000 gauss. In 2007, Rolex launched the newest generation of the watch, whose orange, lightning-bolt-shaped seconds hand makes it distinctive among Rolexes. The patented magnetic shield inside the case, made of ferromagnetic alloys, protects the movement, whose key components are also made of nonmagnetic materials. The Oystersteel case with its Twinlock crown seal also render the watch water-resistant to 100 meters.
Price: $7,100, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.45mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.7mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic P.900
Panerai makes mostly larger timepieces, but at a relatively understated 40mm, the Luminor Marina Quaranta is the smallest version yet of the classic Luminor model and the one likeliest to appeal to a mass audience outside of the Florentine brand's loyal core of Paneristi. The watch has all the familiar elements of the Luminor family, including the cushion-shaped case, sandwich-style dial with sword hands and large hour numerals, and the patented, locking crown-protection device on the case’s right side. Small seconds are on display in a subdial at 9 o’clock. Each watch is delivered with two color-coordinated, easy-to-change straps and is equipped with Panerai’s in-house Caliber P.900, a self-winding movement boasting a three-day (72 hour) power reserve.
Price: $7,600, Case Size: 42mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber HUB1110, based on Sellita SW300-1
The Classic Fusion is Hublot’s subtler, more elegant alternative to its in-your-face Big Bang models, and also the model that pays the most faithful homage to the earliest Hublot watches of the 1980s. The sunray-blue-dialed, titanium-cased model is dressy but suitable for everyday wear, sporting hallmark Hublot details like the six visible H-shaped screws on the bezel, the stylized “H” counterweight on the central seconds hand, and the smoothly integrated lined blue rubber strap. The 42mm case packs the Sellita-based, self-winding HUB1110 movement rather than the in-house Unico caliber, powering a three-handed time display with a date.
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