Five of the best watches under £1000
Making a lifelong watch purchase for under £1,000 is much easier than the ever-rising prices of Swiss watches would have you believe. It’s true that at this level there is more chaff than wheat, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can get world-class design, build quality and reliability for three figures. Here’s a handful of the finest timepieces £1,000 can buy.
Junghans Max Bill
Chances are you have never heard of Junghans, and depending on your line of work you may never have heard of the late, legendary product designer Max Bill. But one look at this watch and you immediately feel a flicker of recognition; the clean lines, modern sans serif fonts and perfect proportions all combine to produce a genuine classic of 20th century German design. Inside is an automatic movement, and while it doesn’t have any other functions, being effortlessly wearable every day of the year goes a long way. It’s a modest (and on-trend) 38mm wide, but the effectively bezel-free face means the dial still feels airy and spacious.
Buy one HERE
TAG Heuer Formula 1
It’s easy to forget these days that you can still get into TAG Heuer ownership for less than £1000. Of course, the trade-off you make for that is that it’s a quartz watch, but outwardly it’s nigh-on indistinguishable from the pricier Formula 1 watches in the brand’s range, and you get the same build quality and sporty looks – with even a bit of retro watch cred thrown in: the current TAG Heuer Formula 1 has been redesigned to resemble the famous (among watch nerds) Heuer Autavia of the sixties and seventies – worn by everyone from racing drivers to Mick Jagger.
Buy one HERE
Fortis Aviatis Flieger
Fortis is a brand back on the way up, having endured a few years in the doldrums – a period characterised by some questionable releases. Its “Flieger” range (German for pilot) dates back from the brand’s glory years, however, and has barely changed since. It’s another example of functional design, with a clear dial, luminous hands and numerals, and a date window at 3 o’clock. It uses an ETA automatic movement; at this price level, about the best possible option as they’re built to last and easily serviced if they do go wrong. If the looks are a little traditional for your liking, Page&Cooper also offers the jazzier “cockpit” model with yellow, orange or green dials for £90 more.
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Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT
Seiko’s Prospex (the name derives fromprofessionalspecifications) range offers somewhat ludicrous value for money, if you ignore the generic-looking and overly busy-looking quartz chronographs. This GMT diver’s watch takes its design from a 1975 Seiko diver that has become a total cult classic in certain circles; the bulky looks and cartoonish dial markings all have to be seen as part of its charm. Being Seiko, it’s about as hardwearing and as likely to break down as a claw hammer. It runs off a battery, but here’s the clever part: the motion of your wrist charges it, combining the best of traditional and modern watchmaking. It’s water-resistant to 200m and comes with a GMT hand displaying time in a second timezone of your choosing.
Buy it HERE
One of the biggest drawbacks of shopping at the sub-£1000 level can be that, to an extent, everything tends to look like everything else. It would be the easiest thing in the world to recommend a black leather strap, gold-plated dress watch from the likes of Longines, Raymond Weil or Frederique Constant. But also the dullest. Instead, why not take a step towards the avant-garde with SevenFriday’s multi-layered dial and “TV” shaped case (an epithet dating from the pre-widescreen days, naturally). Hours, minutes and seconds are read from the outside in on three concentric discs. It’s a bit big at 47mm, but if you’re buying one, you’re not the shy and retiring type in any case. Inside beats a Japanese automatic movement.
Video: 5 BEST WATCHES UNDER £1,000
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