Best Watches Under $1,000
If you’re always on the lookout for cool watches that are affordable, you’ll want to know which the best watches under $1,000. But where to start? There are so many watches out there you can pick up for under a grand and they’re not all equal.
Swiss watches are often your best bet (for quality and retaining value), but there are also some American brands worth noting. So let’s take a look at the timepieces under $1,000 that offer the best presentations, highest performances, and greatest values.
Is the Price Right?
Can you get a good watch for under $1,000? Heck, you can get a good watch for under $100! So yes, in fact, you can get a great watch for under $1,000, and moreover one that looks and performs well beyond its price tag. But you have to know what to look for and, better yet, what you are looking for. How much should you pay? Well, anyone who has a general ceiling of $1,000 for a watch probably wants a floor of around $500. And while there are great watches in the under $500 club, let’s concentrate on the $500 to $1,000 range. And there’s a lot in there.
For Impressing at the Office
Finding a good watch to wear at the office sounds easy. It isn’t. Office-appropriate watches can range from a classic round case on a leather strap to a tool watch on a stainless steel oyster bracelet. Consider a mix of both breeds with the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic. It has a subtle military-inspired style that comes off as quite simple and somewhat reserved, especially with a 38mm case — though the 42mm option doesn’t feel bulky. The Swiss watch wears equally well on a stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap. As a bonus, it’s a field watch so similarly feels at home on a NATO strap for more casual weekending. You can pick one up for just north of $500, though deals for less can be found.
For the Weekender
You probably have a favorite pair of jeans for the weekend that go perfectly with the casual shoes you wear mostly on Saturdays and Sundays. Now you want a watch to complete the wardrobe. Consider a Shinola Runwell. The first-ever offering from the Detroit-based watchmakers debuted in 2013 and has seen little alteration in the years since. And why would it change? With a modern style that yet has a semi-retro feel with mid-century leanings, the Runwell is at once an elegant and a laid-back timepiece. And since your weekend wear is apt to have a splash of color, especially in summer, the Runwell is perfect with a variety of dial and strap colors. Most of the Runwell offerings cost just over $500, while select models in the line go for up to $900.
For Your Sporty Side
A sports watch must be durable. So who better to go to than the creator of the famed Swiss Army Knife? Victorinox crafts the I.N.O.X. to withstand extreme temperatures and absorb shocks to protect the mechanical automatic movement. It’s also easy on the eyes with a polished bezel and unique guilloché dial that echoes the texture of a knife handle. Dress it up on a leather strap or down on a sturdy rubber strap. Or you could go with Victorinox’s signature paracord strap, handwoven from the same heavy-duty nylon cord used in parachute lines. Serious outdoorsmen will like the fact that the strap can be unraveled into seven strands for use in any number of applications, from constructing a shelter to hanging wet clothing over an open fire. While you can expect a retail price of up to $800 for a new I.N.O.X., they can be found for less.
For Staying Connected in Style
If you want to wear your smartwatch like a badge of honor, you’re probably going to want to go with the Apple Watch. It’s the smartwatch against which all others are compared, and it sits at the forefront in terms of technology. But the Apple Watch really looks like a smartwatch. For something less obvious, look to the Montblanc Summit 2. Coming in at just under a grand, this watch that’s crafted in Le Locle, Switzerland is on the pricey side for a smartwatch. But one glance at the high-end stainless steel case, sapphire glass and good looks of a traditional watch and you know where the money is going. The timepiece leans dressy, best worn in business settings, but its classic design can go with casual ensembles as well. Plus you’ve got all the technology on a screen with sharp 390 x 390 resolution and 1GB of RAM running apps on Google’s Wear OS.
For Dress Occasions
Orient has taught us the lesson that you can actually get a great dress watch for well under $500. But, of course, that’s within limits. You could take out a second mortgage on your house and go for a Patek Philippe Nautilus. But perhaps a more reasonable way to get Swiss luxury in a dress watch is with a Frédérique Constant Classic Automatic.
As its name suggests, this is the “classic” watch against which other classics are compared, which is somewhat astounding given that the brand has only been around since 1998. While their history may be short, Frédérique Constant’s commitment to Swiss watchmaking heritage runs deep. This watch exudes old-school charm that melds into any dress occasion. It has stately Roman numerals, a guilloché dial, simple black hands, and an unassuming round stainless steel case.
There really is no wrong price range when it comes to watches. You can find some really nice everyday pieces from Seiko, MVMT, and Invicta (to name a few) for under $100. Or you can wisely invest in luxury timepieces such as a Hublot Big Bang or Omega Seamaster. But in between the low and high ends, it’s good to know that there are some really great watches under $1,000.