I believe, as the title of this article suggests, that the best value for money in the watch industry is in and around the £1,000 mark. The variety of modern and vintage watches to be had, from notable brands with incredible build quality is amazing. If you want a brilliant entry into the Swiss watch industry, as well as being able to buy a watch that will last you for ever, then I think one of the watches in the list below, or another option more to your liking around £1,000, is definitely the place to start.
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date (Blue Dial)
I am slightly biased with the inclusion of this watch, as it is not only my favourite modern watch at the moment, but is also most likely the next addition to my humble collection (whenever that might be). It is hard to deny how gorgeous this watch is... 40mm case,stunning blue grey dial, lovely bracelet, and one of the nicest executions of a date functionality I have ever seen. The particular example of the watch that Is my personal favourite is the 40mm in blue. It also comes in a 36mm version, and both come in a variety of dial colours. Unfortunately Oris have not produced a blue dial 36mm version, but having seen this watch in the flesh, I can assure you that the 40mm wears closer to a 38mm anyway, so thats not too much of a bug bear. If you do not love this watch as much as me you may not agree with this, but I think the photos really do speak louder than words when it comes to this watch, so have a look below and make up your own mind as to whether you are a fan or not. This watch can be had for £977 on the strap, and £1,079 on the steel bracelet.
Maybe my favourite modern watch currently on offer... Having handled this in the flesh I can tell you it is just brilliant...
Tissot Powermatic 80 Gentleman
This is a watch that has only recently been released. It was brought to our attention by a friend of ours, who replied to an instagram story I put up asking for peoples suggestions for the topic in question, the best watches to be had for £1,000. We instantly did not recognise this watch, so I went over to Worn & Wound to check out their review, and this watch is remarkable. First of all, this watch is packed full of features you would never expect to get in a watch that is worth £1,008. The bezel, which you can see in the photos below, is not gold plated, or gold sprayed on steel. It is a solid 18 Karat rose gold bezel. Which is pretty remarkable considering the price of other two tone watches that actually use gold. Secondly is the movement. The movement is the most attractive part of the offering here. The movement in question is the Powermatic 80. At its heart it is an ETA 2824. However, the version in this particular watch has an outstanding 80 hour power reserve. 80... hours... and that can be had for £1,000. Insanity. But thats not all, it also has a silicone hairspring. Oh and did I mention it is also COSC certified?? There is genuinely not enough room on top of the cake for all of the cherries... So just to summarise. You are getting here a COSC certified watch, in a two tone case, with an 18k bezel, 80 hour power reserve, silicone hairspring, in a variety of stunning dial colours, for £1,000. Cal released an article about this watch on Monday. As he said, it is the biggest value prop in the world right now. Suffice to say I want one.
I have to say I must agree with Cal here... These two dial colours are just stunning...
Now, I think it is about time that we move onto the plethora of stunning offerings that the vintage watch scene provides.
One of the most iconic, and brilliant vintage watches of all time is this. The Cartier Tank. Now, this watch is a design icon, because of this, as far as I am concerned, what is going on inside doesn't really matter. As a result, quartz or manual wind, it does not matter in my eyes. In terms of being able to get a vintage one around the £1,000 mark, you have to delve into the stunning line known as Must De Cartier. These stunning little watches come in a variety of case colours, dial colours, and dial variations. Unfortunately, if you are a fan of the larger watch, this is probably not for you. They come in at 26mm x 34mm. For me, this is brilliant, and at the end of the day if Muhammed Ali wore one, why can't any of us? Suffice to say, if you want a dressy watch, which will never go out of style, for around (and sometimes way under) £1,000, this is definitely the choice.
Three examples of the stunning dial variations you can get in the stunning Must De Cartier line...
The other vintage goldmine is vintage chronographs. I don't necessarily mean chronographs from well known brands. I mean chronographs from brands such as Croton, Orfina, and Marvin. These companies are incredibly respectable, unfortunately they just met their death in the heat of the quartz crisis. This means that they are incredibly well made, use quality movements, and are styled to perfection. The reason they can be had for such a bargain is because no one knows the brands. This means that they are just fantastic. And if you do not believe me, look at the three examples I have put down below.
Photo credit here goes to the brilliant orangeclockwork007 on Ebay. He has some FANTASTIC watches, please go and check him out if you haven't...
There is also a third option. This option, I have decided, is going to be known as the wildcard. If you take your £1,000 watch budget that is burning a hole in your pocket, you could always chop that in half, and get two watches at £500? If that is something that interests you, then I think you might be quite interested about the options I am providing.
First of all, we have the best watch for £450 on the market, the Hamilton Field Mechanical 38. As the name gives away, it is a classic field watch offering from Hamilton, with a mechanical movement, in a perfect 38mm case. This watch is inspired by a historic model from Hamilton, named the Hamilton 'Hacked'. Not only is this watch housed in a lovely 38mm case, the whole case is entirely matt, which plays perfectly into the vintage military watch stylings. The vintage styling does not end there. The dial features a double hour scale. Meaning it has 12 hour dial in large around the outside, and running along the inside of that is a smaller, 24 hour scale. It then has military style hands, no date, lovely fauxtina. Simple, uncomplicated, fit for purpose. Everything a military watch should be. There is no better watch on the market for this price range. Try and convince me otherwise.
Hard to deny how beautifully simple this watch is...
The perfect desert after this military themed main course, is naturally something lovely and vintage. So why not buy one of the best vintage offerings out there? A vintage time only Omega. It is hard to turn these down when they can sometimes be found sub £500. They are from one of the most famous and brilliant watch brands of all time. I mean ask our very own Calum Moore, who owns two! We also recently sourced one for a very good friend of ours. The thing that is brilliant about Vintage Omega is the sheer variety. The variety of lines, case styles, case materials, dial designs etc means that you can have a lot of fun within this brand.
Some examples of what can be had in the 'stunning vintage Omega under £500 category'...
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I really do believe that £1,000 is the horological sweetspot, and I think that the watches that I have mentioned are definitely some of the top pics. As always geeks, check us out on instagram for daily content, and as always we would love to hear your suggestions for watches in this category.
Editor and Co-Founder