Six bloggers pick their favorite "bargain" watches that are well-made and super-stylish.
“Bargain” is a highly relative concept in an industry in which $2,500 is sometimes considered entry level. Even so, cheap chic exists in regards to timepieces, at least if you know where to dig.
We asked six influential watch bloggers to unearth the ultimate envy-inducing timepiece for less than $1,000. Here are their picks.
Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch
($950 at weisswatchcompany.com), chosen by Matt Hranek, the William Brown Project.
Brand: A Los Angeles startup inspired by nautical gauges and pocket watches from the early 1900s.
Model: A 42-mm sport watch that features a mechanical movement, a sapphire crystal and case back, and a hand-painted dial.
Wow factor: “Weiss was trained in Swiss watchmaking techniques, and honed his craft with Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. He then set up shop in Los Angeles to make a watch exclusively on American soil,” Hranek says.
($450 at store.moma.org), chosen by Ian Skellern, Quill & Pad.
Brand: An independent Swiss company known for envelope-pushing design and customization.
Model: Instead of hands, time is represented by rotating rings that reveal the hour, minute and second at the traditional 12 o’clock position.
Wow factor: “The real magic is that you can quickly swap straps and watches using the patented quick-release dock, so that your accessories complement your mood and social context,” Skellern says.
Autodromo Group B
($925 at autodromo.com), chosen by Stephen Pulvirent, Hodinkee.
Brand: A Brooklyn watchmaker inspired by midcentury European sports cars.
Model: The titanium capsule evokes the storied rally cars of the early 1980s.
Wow factor: “I honestly think this is one of the best buys in modern watchmaking. It’s super-slim, the combination steel-titanium construction keeps it lightweight, and it has a sort of industrial feel that makes me feel comfortable beating it up a bit. It’s a design-guy’s sports watch,” Pulvirent says.
Baltic Bicompax 001
(about $630 at baltic-watches.com), chosen by Zach Weiss, Worn & Wound.
Brand: This Parisian newcomer specializes in 1940s-style timepieces.
Model: The “neo-vintage” design features a two-register chronograph, column-wheel movement and a calfskin strap.
Wow factor: “A near-perfect example of why affordable watches can be great,” Weiss says.
($199 at timex.com), chosen by Frank Geelen, Monochrome.
Brand: It’s Timex. Duh.
Model: A reissue of a “Mad Men”-era classic, it features midcentury styling, retro sizing and a hand-wound mechanical movement.
Wow factor: “Timex recreated an old model, the Timex Marlin, to exact specification as the original one from the 1960s. One could even say it’s a straight copy-paste, but it simply looks great. A classy hand-wound watch with a diameter of 34 millimeters makes this new Timex Marlin a great dress watch,” Geelen says.
Mr. Jones Watches The Accurate
(about $180 at mrjoneswatches.com), chosen by Ariel Adams, aBlogtoWatch.
Brand: A whimsical British company known for playful, often inscrutable, pop art dials.
Model: Based on the medieval memento mori, the watch offers a sobering message, “Remember you will die,” across its hands to remind its wearer that life is fleeting.
Wow factor: “This boutique London-based watchmaker offers expressive, artistic watches at accessible prices normally associated with much more boring products. The Accurate, for example, entertains the form of a daily-wear watch, but with a message that reminds people not to sweat the small stuff,” Adams says.