We are no strangers to the splurge, but we are equally fans of finding serviceable – and even exceptional – timepieces that don’t make the bank balance tremble in fear. There’s a lot of discussion about what constitutes “affordable” when it comes to men’s watch brands, and finding an automatic that is also reliable and stylish can be difficult when you’re looking to keep costs down. With that in mind, we’ve dug up a handful of watches that represent good value for money for a range of different budgets, from the tightest to the more generous.
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Hamilton Jazzmaster Day Date Auto
Sleek, elegant and classic, the Hamilton Jazzmaster Day Date is another exercise in timelessness. Simple lines reign supreme in its refined aesthetic, a landscape of stainless steel and gold designed with lovers of traditional watches in mind. Throw in its day-date function and reliable automatic ETA 2834-2, and the Jazzmaster Day Date Auto becomes the perfect everyday companion.
The Autodromo Stradale draws inspiration from the dashboard instruments of Italian sports Berlinettas in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Its most unique feature is a multi-layered dial – the hour indexes sit on a transparent glass ring, which floats over the coloured dial below creating a cool 3-dimensional effect. The timepiece is powered by a 24-jewel Japan-made automatic movement, beautifully finished and displayed behind a sapphire exhibition caseback.
Gucci G-Timeless Stainless Steel Automatic Watch
Gucci is never a brand to shy away from luxury, and the G-Timeless Stainless Steel Automatic Watch is no exception. The stainless steel case is a sizeable 40mm, and there’s no ignoring the combination of black diamante-patterned dial and bronze-toned details. Powered by a Swiss Made ETA 2895-2 automatic movement, the G-Timeless combines the best of both worlds: Italian design and Swiss engineering.
Magrette Moana Pacific Professional
Magrette is a boutique watch company based in Auckland that produces entirely in small, restricted batches. Following the successful Moana Pacific Diver, Magrette introduced the Moana Pacific Professional in three colourways: stainless steel with a blue dial, black PVD with a black dial, and rose gold PVD with a grey dial. Each features a matte black bezel, a pressure escape valve for enhanced diving, and a 9015 Miyota movement with hacking seconds.
Longines’ long history reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance, all of which can be clearly seen in this watch. Only a cursory glance is needed to see that the L2.7188.8.131.52 is classically handsome, refined and dignified. Those good looks are combined with strong performance in the form of a L619 self-winding mechanical movement that beats at 28’800 vibrations per hour and provides 42 hours of power reserve.
Sinn Spezialuhren Model 6068 NK
The Model 6068 NK is a special limited edition produced for the German town of Neunkirchen, birthplace of Lothar Schmidt, owner of Sinn Spezialuhren. An image of the Neunkirchen coat of arms is imprinted on the transparent back, which is made of anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass to show off the exquisitely finished SW 300-1 movement (where you’ll find engravings of the limited edition number and the Sinn logo on the rotor). The run is limited to only 200 units.
With its mid-sized body and multiple strap choices, the Seiko SNZG13K is a solid option if you’re looking for a companion that can go from work to play and back again. The classic face design is suitable for either, and the 7S26B 21-jewel movement makes it an accurate, reliable and durable timepiece. There are no frills to be found, but what else would you expect from a mechanical military field watch? It gets the job done and it does it without emptying your bank account.
Swatch’s Sistem51 blew away Baselworld back in 2013, and we’re still loving it here in 2015. As the name implies, the automatic movement (developed by ETA and Nivarox) is comprised of just 51 parts made from ARCAP, a highly anti-magnetic alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. Unprecedented technological innovation (we’re talking 17 pending patents) enabled the development of the 3 Hz movement, which is 100% Swiss-made and features a power reserve of 90 hours.
Ingersoll Lawrence Cream
Ingersoll has a long-standing reputation, stemming back more than 120 years, for providing superb quality, mechanically sound, automated timepieces. Beloved for their precision and affordability, Ingersoll watches graced the wrists of men like Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt and James Dean. For your own, we suggest the Lawrence Cream – a 46mm stainless steel watch with a caliber 620 movement and leather strap.
Tissot Carson Automatic Watch
The Tissot Carson is an exemplary illustration of the style found in simplicity. The line offers pieces that range from casual to sophisticated and vintage to contemporary so all tastes will find something that appeals, but we like the timeless elegance of the white dial and brown leather strap. Inside the stainless steel case all versions are packing a Swiss-made Automatic ETA C01.211 with a power reserve of 45 hours.