As much as watch enthusiasts may love Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and similar brands, there are other not-as-prestigious watches that should have your attention too. Why? Because only a tiny percentage of the timepiece buying market has ten or fifty thousand dollars lying around, and they definitely don’t want to finance such a substantial purchase over many years. As a result, many get scared off from the watch collection hobby because of the prices.
This trend of consumers being intimidated by luxury brands and the prices that come with them is precisely why I decided to write this article. The truth is that many affordable brands have everything you’d want from a more prominent name: Heritage, aesthetics, and excellent reliability. Below, I take six picks from those brands and assemble a fantastic watch collection for under $1,000.
The Affordable Classic
One thing I love to ask watch collectors about their watch collections is what their first timepiece purchase was.
While you might think that I would get 100 different answers for 100 people, this is not the case. Strangely, a substantial portion of them start to rave about the Timex Weekender. These references even come from the highest levels of the watch community. The reason is simple: This piece is incredibly reliable and is one of the most affordable products on the market. My favorite aspect of it is how good it looks on a NATO strap. This characteristic allows you to customize its look and make it perfect for whatever setting you want to wear it in.
The One That’s Tough as Nails
Another essential piece is the Casio G-Shock DW5600.
If you’re a true horology freak, you want a watch on your wrist at all times. But what if you’re doing yard work or some other tough task? While some enthusiasts keep their more expensive pieces on for these activities, I prefer to throw on a watch that can take the abuse and keep on ticking. My favorite product in this category is this Casio G-Shock, which is packed with capabilities despite having a manageable price tag. One additional note is that every G-Shock is exceptional. While I prefer this model, you might like one of the chunkier ones that costs a bit more.
The Solar-Powered Field Watch
Next, we have the Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180.
It serves two purposes in this watch collection. First, it has a solar-powered quartz movement, meaning it is ultra-reliable and should never need a battery replacement. Second, it has a classic field watch aesthetic, which is a perfect look for a diverse collection. Ultimately, this watch is good looking, highly functional, and has a respected brand to back it up. Those factors combine to make it a can’t miss option.
The Classy Dress Piece
While some will argue that this watch is too large to be in the dress category, I believe it is just right, especially if you have a large wrist.
It is the Orient Bambino, which masters the elegant, minimalist look that many horological companies are trying to replicate right now. Given its simple design and classy coloring, the Bambino can fit in anywhere. That’s precisely what it will do when you add it to your collection.
The Dependable Diver
No affordable watch article is complete without a Seiko.
In this instance, I’ll choose one of the many exceptional pieces in their Prospex collection. All of them provide three crucial features. First, they are sleek and beautiful, which is always essential for fashion products. Second, they live up to their diver designation, with exceptional versatility and water resistant. Last, they have reliable automatic movements that outperform their price range.
The Swiss Crown Jewel
Up to this point, I’ve presented only Japanese brands. Despite how exceptional each of them is, we have to include a Swiss piece in this collection.
In my opinion, the best way to do so is with the Hamilton Khaki King. This watch simply exudes luxurious energy, and it has the raving customer base to back it up. I personally have never heard about someone being disappointed with this Hamilton, as it exceeds expectations in every way. If you’re looking for a crown jewel to top off your collection, the Khaki King is an excellent choice.
Watch Collection Conclusion
As you can see, you can build a diverse and elegant watch collection with just $1,000. That sum is a fraction of the price of one luxury piece, and you can get six or more watches for the same amount. When you do, you’ll be choosing from historic brands like Seiko, Hamilton, and Casio, each of which has an excellent reputation in the timepiece community. What this article proves is that you don’t have to be a CEO or professional athlete to collect beautiful watches.