In 2014, the average price of an exported Swiss watch was about $725 and more recent reports show a negative outlook for the Swiss watch industry as a whole, but the negative outlook for the industry doesn’t mean there is a negative outlook for consumers. Watch makers have a lot of competition these days thanks to the emergence and widespread acceptance of the smartwatch as well. Competition and a sub-$1,000 average price for imported Swiss watches equate to an abundance of excellent timepieces in this price bracket for you. Here are my top picks in the sub-$1,000 watch category:
Tissot PRC 200 Automatic Chronograph
Usually, a sub-$1,000 automatic watch will deliver a date window at most, the Tissot PRC 200 Automatic goes above and beyond by delivering not only a date window at 3 o’clock but a chronograph as well. The 44mm case is large but it fits the more sporty look well. The black dial, Arabic numerals, and three sub-dials come together to create an easy to read watch with a clean aesthetic. The chronograph features a 60-second, 30-minutes, and 6-hour counter.
Buy from Tissot for $995
Braun Prestige Chronograph
The Swiss always get all the credit for making the best watches, but you can’t deny the classic German craftsmanship and clean design featured here in the Braun Prestige Chronograph. The watch’s case is carved out of a single block of steel, which eliminated the need for a case-back. It’s a cool piece of engineering with classic Braun aesthetic. If your style is mid-century modern this is a great pick.
Buy from Amazon for $600
Filson Mackinaw Field Watch
Filson is a true American heritage brand, with roots back to the late 1800s. The Mackinaw Field Watch is assembled by hand in Shinola’s Detroit factory. Unlike most field watches which carry the namesake only, this one is built to take a beating. Featuring a matte brass PVD coating, scratch resistant sapphire crystal face and an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare. This watch is rated to 20 ATM (660 feet) with a screw-down crown and case back secured by six screws. The face is easy to ready day and night thanks to Super-LumiNova hands and numbers. Just an all around cool, American-made, watch. Perfect for those of you that spend every free moment outdoors.
Buy direct from Filson for $700
Frederique Constant Slimline Gents
The Frederique Constant Slimline is a proper dress watch. It’s slim, small, classic in appearance, and minimalist. Featuring only hour and minute hands, this quartz watch is the definition of minimal and at just 5mm-thick it won’t be getting stuck on any dress shirts. The case measures in at 38mm and the dial is adorned with simple silver indexes and a date window at 3 o’clock. I also love the tiny pumpkin crown. A very classy watch at just under $1,000.
Buy now for $995
Junghans Max Bill
Clean, understated and slim. This Bauhaus-inspired Junghans hits well above its price. It catches your eye immediately and keeps it. Inside its 38mm polished stainless steel case is a self-winding movement based off the ETA 2824-2. The hour and minute hands along with the indexes at 6 and 12 have Super LumiNova applied so you can read the watch at night.
Buy direct from Junghans for $995
Halios Laguna II
Halios Watches is a small bespoke brand based in Vancouver, Canada, Their latest offering, the Laguna II, is powered by a Miyota 9015 self-winding automatic movement and features an impressive 300m water-resistance rating. The Laguna II features a bi-directional, non-locking internal bezel and a black dial with Super LumiNova indexes and hands.
Buy direct from Halios for $675
Lum-Tec Combat B31
Lum-Tec has made a name for itself with watches that have high visibility in the dark. The Combat B31 features a 43mm solid bronze case, a thick sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to 300m. The watch is powered by a Miyota 9015 movement with hand winding and hack feature. It’s a great looking military-inspired field watch with superb readability both day and night.
Buy direct from Lum-Tec for $995
Tsovet Automatic SMT-FW44
The Tsovet SMT-FW44 is inspired by the watches issued to WWI infantrymen. The watch is encased within an aero-grade black stainless steel case and has a leather band with rugged exposed stitching. It’s a great do everything watch; sharp enough for the office, strong enough for the outdoors.
Buy direct from Tsovet for $975
Autodromo Group B
If you are a car guy, look no further. Autodromo has perfected the art of making automotive-inspired watches that don’t look kitschy. The Group B watch has a 39mm case comprised of a titanium capsule mated to a stainless steel chassis.
Buy direct from Autodromo for $925