When it comes to watches, we here at DMARGE are keen advocates of the luxury watch industry, imploring many of you to go off and invest in something from the likes of Rolex, IWC, Panerai and brands of a similar ilk. Not only will you benefit from wearing some of the most exclusive and revered names in the world on your wrist, but you’ll also be getting a timepiece that will be made from exotic materials and/or have a technologically-astounding movement running the show.
However, we’re also well aware that the cost of some brands can be a deterrent for some. But fret not for there is much to be said about the sub $2,000 range of men’s watches. Design, movement and brand heritage all have a significant part to play in this arena and we’re here to show you some of the best bangs for your buck there is to offer.
SevenFriday is a Swiss watch brand that has never even heard of the word ‘conformity’. Each one of the brand’s watches rocks a unique dial that will require the use of the manual to understand how it tells the time.
The V3/01, for example, uses the company’s ‘Additioner Principle’ which tallies up the hours on a disc in the middle marked +0, +4 and +8, and the 120-degree hour indicator marked 0 to 4.
Powered by the very respected and hardy Miyota 82S7, the watch also features a day/night indicator and a seconds disc which also works on the same additioner principle. Also of note is the construction of the watch which plays with visual elements and materials to make a very futuristic look for prime wrist presence.
Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic
Alpina is another Swiss watch brand with a long history, having been founded in 1882. It’s perhaps best known for its Alpiner 4 timepiece, that, when launched in 1933, offered consumers a watch with antimagnetic, antishock and water-resistant properties in a stainless steel body.
While the Alpine 4 range continues today in the company’s “Land” collection, we’re focusing on Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic within the “Sea” collection. This diving watch is incredibly functional thanks to a legible dial and large hands. With a 300m water resistance rating, it is certainly a tool made to be used in the water and is equally an object of beauty out of the water.
As a nod to traditional watchmaking, the Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic is powered by a mechanical, self-winding AL-525 movement with 38 hours power reserve. A strong dive watch offering from this price category by a storied brand.
Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch
Frédérique Constant was founded in 1988 by a Dutch couple who named it after the names of their great-grandparents. Since its founding (and subsequent takeover by Citizen) the Swiss watch brand has become of the larger manufacturers, producing over 100,000 watches each year.
The Horological Smartwatch is a connected watch that displays its information through hands rather than a digital screen, resulting in a watch that, well, looks like a watch.
Powered by Motion X technology in the MMT-285 movement, the Horological Smartwatch is further differentiated from its contemporaries with a 25-month battery life which is powered by a traditional Quartz watch battery. As for smartwatch functions, the Horological Smartwatch can monitor your activity and provide dynamic fitness coaching within the companion app for iOS and Android. It will also automatically adjust the time to mirror whatever your phone displays, handy when you change time zones.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic
Junghans was founded in 1861 but didn’t start producing wristwatches until 1927. Before this, the company claimed to be the world’s largest manufacturer of clocks, sending some three million watches and clocks out of its facility each year.
Applying the principles of Bauhaus design into the watches, the Max Bill Automatic pays tribute to the clocks and wristwatches created by designer Max Bill for the brand.
An extraordinary painter, sculptor and product designer, Max Bill left his mark on a watch collection, one that displays an amazing amount of simplicity and elegance. The Max Bill Automatic is made in Germany and is a mechanical, self-winding watch which displays the basics of hours, minutes and seconds.
Longines Conquest Heritage
If you’re looking to invest in a brand that has some global presence, one of the biggest in this price bracket has to be Longines. The Swiss watchmaker has been around since 1832 and is credited with making such moves within the industry as switching to solely crown-wound pocket watches, ditching the conventional-for-the-time key-wound models. To this day, Longines is still used as the official timekeeper for major sporting events including the Commonwealth Games and the French Open tennis tournament.
The Conquest Heritage is particularly deserved of your attention. Based on models from the 1950s, it represents a faithful reproduction right down to the 35mm case size and even the crystal used in its construction, known as hesalite crystal. Housing a mechanical, self-winding movement in its stainless steel case, the Conquest Heritage is sure to please those who love the vintage look.
Laco Aviator Paderborn Erbstück
Laco was founded in 1925 and worked its way into being one of the leading watch manufacturers to emerge in the German city of Pforzheim, a city known for its jewellery and watch-making industry. From its early days right through to today, Laco has specialised in pilots watches, with its models sporting all the traditional characteristics, including large, legible and accurate dials.
The Aviator Paderborn Erbstück is definitely large, sporting a 42mm case, while the dial is the iconic Type B layout with minutes marking the outside of the dial and the hours on an inner ring, with the intention being time is quick and easy to read.
The Aviator Paderborn Erbstück is powered by an automatic Laco 24 movement, based on the ETA 2824.2.
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Day Date
Oris has always been a brand for the people since its founding in 1904. In order to attract more employees, the company built housing for them near its expanding portfolio of factories. In 1927 Jacques-David LeCoultre became President of Oris, and if that name looks familiar, it’s because Jacques-David is the man who merged with Edmond Jaeger to create Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Oris remains a force to be reckoned with in the luxury watch space, offering high-quality materials and movements in watches that are a fraction of the price of its peers.
The Big Crown ProPilot Day Date employs typical pilots watch styling, with a large, legible dial that’s decidedly uncluttered. While the addition of both day and date windows may not be on the original list of criteria for an authentic pilots watch, they certainly have their use in the modern-day. Power comes from an Oris Calibre 752 automatic movement, based on the SW 220-1.
Casio G Shock MR G
G-Shock is a line of supertough timetellers, produced by Japanese watch brand Casio. The line was created in 1983 after a Casio engineer dropped and broke a pocket watch given to him by his father. The concept for G-Shock was for them to be able to have a 10-year battery life, be water-resistant to 10-bar and to be able to survive a fall of 10 metres.
G-Shock watches today have kept up with modern demands and technologies, and offer such features as atomic clock synchronisation and solar power. Picking one of the best G-Shock watches is tough, but we think the ultimate all-rounder is the MR-G series.
It features Dual Dial World Time which displays two timezones simultaneously alongside a chronograph, countdown timer and an LED light for night time viewing and alarms. Encased in light-weight titanium with a bracelet, it’s Tough-Movement construction and Clad Guard structure means that it can take the hardest of knocks and still keep kicking on. Functional and tough with good looks to boot, the MRG-G1000D-1A is all the specifics you need.
TAG Heuer Formula 1
Yes, you can get a TAG Heuer watch for under $2,000, and one that we recommend all watch aficionados have in their collection. TAG Heuer, a luxury watch brand known the world over, came to be in 1985 following the TAG Group takeover of Heuer, however, throughout the watchmaker’s history, it has always had an association with motorsport. This includes being the official timekeeper for Formula One races.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1, then, is a perfect piece to start anyone off on their journey into the world of horology. It’s not an automatic watch, unfortunately, but the quartz movement you receive instead will be incredibly accurate. This particular iteration also sports 60-second and 12-hour chronograph dials and a water-resistance rating of 200 metres.
Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80
Swiss watch brand Tissot is another that balances the scales between luxury and affordable. A high-profile name among the watch community thanks to associations with some famous faces including Elvis Presley, Nelson Mandela and Grace Kelly, mean Tissot is a brand you should really be checking out if you haven’t already.
Don’t just let the list of celebrities sway your decision, Tissot has some notable horological heritage, being the first company to mass-produce the pocket watch and also introduced the first pocket watch with two zones way back in 1853.
This Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 combines the well-known diver’s style aesthetic with an interesting movement and comes equipped with a stainless steel case and nato strap. The Seastar 1000 has a 300m water resistance rating and comes with a ceramic bezel and blue colour accents that give a bit of pop to the black dial. Underneath the case is the Powermatic 80 movement, with 80 hours of power reserve, unusual in a watch of this price range, but certainly very welcome.