In the $1,000 space, you begin to see watches that have a distinct character and a certain build quality that you can see and feel without doing too much damage to the hip pocket. Here we present ten of the best cheap watches you can score in this attractive price bracket.
Autodromo Prototipo Chronograph – Brian Redman Edition
Taking inspiration from watches of the 60s and 70s, the Autodromo Prototipo Chronograph brings a retro vibe to the wrist. Resembling old chronographs designed for drivers, the Prototipo Chronograph borrows many design elements from watches of this period including colour contrasting dials and markers, brightly coloured hands and tachymeter/pulsation chronograph scales.
The watches feel delightfully nostalgic with the perforated “rallye” style straps. In the case of the Brian Redman Edition, the watch is inspired by his racing Porsche of his era with dashes of red and green on the dial. Paired with the suitably 70s tonneau shaped case, and what you get is a nostalgia trip back to the days of Le Mans and the Targa Florio.
Arguably one of the toughest watches on this list, the Victorinox INOX range sets itself apart from the competition with its sheer ruggedness. The company had put the watch through its own tests which included a fall of 10 metres, exposure to a flames of over 1,200 degrees Celsius for 1 minute, and being driven over by a 64 tonne tank in order to prove its unbreakable Swiss engineering.
The INOX, therefore, is one of the most robust watches for this price point on the market today. It’s a watch that you can literally go anywhere and do anything in. Available on different strap options such as bracelet, rubber, leather, or woven parachord, the INOX is a truly versatile choice that can move fluidly from the office to a weekend away with the added confidence that its build quality will stand the test of time.
Gucci Dive Quartz XL
An elegant mix of Italian style with Swiss engineering, the Gucci Dive Quartz XL brings iconic elements of the House of Gucci to a watch enthusiast’s much-loved style – the diver’s watch. Water resistant to 200m in a stainless steel case, the Dive Quartz XL proudly shows off its craftsmanship, with polished and brushed surfaces. To tie it all together the strap is made of nylon in the signature colour of the House of Gucci in green with a red strip down the middle.
Meticulous attention to detail has been given to the wearability of this watch, such as the buckle on the nylon – traditionally a pin buckle, this one instead uses a deployment buckle making way for easier wearing. The bezel and crown are also easy to grasp and operate. A functional and fashion-forward statement piece by Gucci that shouldn’t be ignored.
Shinola Runwell Chrono 41mm
Shinola’s Runwell Chrono brings with it a distinctly American feel to a watch with bold numerals, easy-to-read chronograph registers and a classically shaped round case with pump-style pushers. Relatively conservative in its design, the Runwell Chrono is designed to navigate changing fashion trends with ease making pairing with a suit or smart casual outfit straight forward.
Assembled in Shinola’s Detroit factory the watch utilises movement components from Switzerland. The Shinola Runwell Chrono combines the hardy American spirit with the best that the world has to offer.
Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG1000
Another hard-wearing watch this time hailing from Japan is the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG1000. It features a special case construction to resist the entrance of sand, mud and dirt that may affect the functionality of the watch. Aided by special seals on the buttons and gel lines on the sides and the underside of the movement, the Mudmaster can easily disperse the effects of shock to the movement.
The watch features G-Shock’s famous Triple Sensor technology, incorporating a compass, altimeter and thermometer into the one watch. There’s also Radio Controlled time synchronisation and a 200m water resistance, making this watch the choice for those needing something capable of taking on the extremes.
There’s many variants of the Apple Watch but the one we’re after is the 38mm on a Saddle Brown Leather with Classic Buckle. The Apple Watch features an up-market construction not seen in other watches in its category and is definitely a hard one to beat when it comes to smartwatches.
It boasts one of the best user experiences for a smartwatch on the market today thanks to its intuitive watchOS paired with touch screen with Force Touch technology. This enables a hard press on the screen to present further functionality of an app.
In terms of straps, we have chosen leather as our preferred method of wearing the watch, however you can change the strap out easily with a push of a button, and a slight slide sideways. This description only scratches the surface on what the Apple Watch is capable of, but it is definitely worth a look if a smartwatch is what you’re after.
Tissot Luxury Automatic Gent
The Tissot Luxury Automatic Gent is a great choice for those wanting to get a solid mechanical watch with features to boot. Its automatic mechanical movement is based on 200 years of development in mechanical watchmaking – a traditional craft if there ever was one.
It also sets itself apart from its competitors with an 80 hour power reserve when fully wound – most mechanical watches will only last for 42 hours before stopping. Paired with a leather strap, the watch’s classic design means that it can be worn with anything from casual to formal wear without looking out of place. The fantastic movement is also visible through a transparent caseback.
Seiko Prospex SRP777K1
A re-issue in many respects, the Seiko Prospex SRP series is a throwback to the 70s where it was a very affordable diver’s watch with a solid build for one purpose. The modern Prospex SRP series looks very much like the original with a 44mm stainless steel case, dial and bezel design. The watch’s appeal comes from its use as a tool watch – simple, reliable and no frills. It is powered by the Seiko 4R36 automatic mechanical movement and is water resistant up to 200m. A watch with not only history but a purpose in mind.
Bringing a fresh approach to watch design, the Klokers Klok 01 is designed with the circular slide rule in mind. Visually it has a great impact on the wearer, with the entire dial moving to tell the time. Its round case ensures that it will fit many wrist sizes due to the absence of lugs. In addition, watch straps are easily changeable, with a clip system used in the watch and the strap itself. The Klokers Klok-01 makes for a fun choice for those looking for something a little bit different.
Melbourne Watch Company Portsea
A home-grown watch company from the great city of Melbourne, the Melbourne Watch Company is turning heads around the world and its Portsea timepiece is our pick for this category. The Portsea is inspired by marine chronometers of old and acts as the reference clock for a ship as well as a navigation tool.
The watch features a stainless steel case paired with a stark white dial made of ceramic to show off a multi-layered construction. The Portsea displays day, date and month on the dial and is powered by an automatic Miyota movement. The Portsea is a compelling watch that is made even more interesting with the fact that the company is based on home soil.