A € 1,000 for a watch is a lot of money. Although some of us are used to buy watches 5x that amount or even a multiple of that, € 1,000 is still more than the average amount spent on a watch, world wide. Actually, any watch above € 50 could be thought of as ‘luxury’. However, in the ‘luxury business’ – and believe me, I hate that word – spending a € 1,000 on a wrist watch is considered ‘entry level’ or ‘affordable luxury’. I don’t like the word luxury as it is just a stupid definition for everything expensive and unnecessary. I love watches and rather see people use ‘good watch’ instead of ‘affordable luxury’ when it comes to sub € 1,000 timepieces.
For a € 1,000, you can buy a seriously nice watch that will probably last a life time. In this article I will give you my Top 10 of (mechanical) watches under € 1,000. All watches presented here are new, as a list of my Top 10 of pre-owned or even vintage watches would look slightly different. Something for another time.
The Longines HydroConquest is the typical divers watch. A 41mm stainless steel timepiece with a uni-directional bezel, large Arabic numerals on the dial, large hour markers and screw-down crown. Yes, it looks a bit like the Rolex Submariner if you want, but still different enough to stay away from the ‘hommage’ pieces that are flooding the market.
Water resistant up to 300 meters, ETA based movement and a solid stainless steel bracelet. This could be your perfect daily watch for the next coming decades.
Longines Conquest GMT
Another Longines, but face it: Longines is one of the biggest brands in the ‘good watches’ segment for a decent amount of Euros. This Conquest GMT is – as the name implies – a watch below € 1,000 with a GMT function.
One of the most useful complications on a mechanical watch if you ask me, especially when you are traveling or if you have family (or business) in different time zones. I bet this watch would also look awesome on a NATO strap.
ORIS has an impressive manufactory in Hölstein, Switzerland. It probably doubles the amount of citizens of that village during working hours. This ORIS Aquis is another diver’s watch on this list. It comes on a nice rubber strap or a steel bracelet and measures 43mm across the well-made watch case.
It has a Sellita mechanical movement and can handle a pressure of 30ATM (300 meters). This classic diver’s watch is available in several dial and colour variations as well as models in Titanium.
Certina DS Action
Certina is part of the Swatch Group and should be positioned just below Longines. This DS Action is an interesting diver that will give you quite a bit of spare change with a € 1,000 budget. It is water resistant up to 200 meters and has an ETA 2824-2 movement inside.
A solid looking watch with a red second hand that gives a nice contrast on the black dial. Large hour markers and a uni-directional bezel make it a true divers watch.
Glycine Combat “Golden Eye”
Glycine is famous for its legendary Airman model, used by chopper pilots in the Vietnam war. The Combat watch is based on military watches as well, but the “Golden Eye” edition gives it a nice fancy look & feel with its black PVD coating and 5N PVD coating on the bezel and crown to give it a red gold look.
Like most other pieces in this segment it’s powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement which means pure reliability. You will easily steal the show with this modern sports watch.
Tissot Seastar 1000
Tissot is another Swatch Group brand that is available in the sub € 1,000 price segment. A rich history – also with a close relationship with OMEGA – gives Tissot a bit of an edge to other watch brands I guess. They managed to do very well with their Powermatic 80 watch and the T-Touch models of course. However, I selected the Tissot Seastar 1000 for this list.
A great sporty watch available with a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap. Powered by the aforementioned ETA 2824-2. Another solid performer that will give you back some change.
Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer
You can’t make a Top 10 list of watches below € 1,000 without mentioning Hamilton. This time it is not a diver but a nice classic piece with these cool old-school looking wire-lugs, silver dial and blued hands. The Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer is a true classic looking timepiece!
Put it on a nice brown leather calf strap or even a black alligator strap and you will have an amazing piece that goes very nicely with a suit. Great design, high quality swiss-made movement and a perfect size of 40mm, what more does a fine watch need?
The Frankfurter watch company that develops and creates functional non-BS watches. I love Sinn. This 38.5mm timepiece with ETA 2824-2 is what a timepiece should be about in my humble opinion. Awesome finish on the case, a very readable dial, large bright hour markers and luminous hands, a display back and a good calf strap. Period.
This understated tool-watch is also available with a steel bracelet but a simple black leather strap creates the perfect classic look for every occasion.
The only watch from Japan in this list. The Seiko Prospex line stands for ‘Professional Specifications’ and is a true divers watch. The SBDC001 is also nicked ‘Sumo’ and has a large share of followers on the internet. An interesting watch for an interesting price.
Nice finish, superb solid movement and very wearable on a rubber strap. The bracelet is not worth mentioning, but the watch itself is more than great.
Fortis Flieger Automatik
The Fortis Flieger Automatik has been around for so long, it should be considered a classic already. It also has remained ‘affordable’ over the years. A 40mm no-nonsense watch with the realiable ETA 2824-2 movement inside. Another example of a watch that will remain a life time and isn’t subject to the ever changing fashion ‘standards’.
Dear sir , my name is madhu and i am from India. I want to buy a dive watch which last for lifetime , i am currently in Austria . I have gone through many branda and finally decided either to buy certina ds or hydroconquest . i have bit confusions to choose either one by look wise certina is awesome but longines has pretty good brand name in india compared to certina . Performance wise i belive its same , so should i go for certina which is very high performance timepice or just brand crazy longines. Please advice .
Dear Mr. Madhu,
thank you very much for your request.
To choose between Certina and Longines isn’t easy since their entry level timepieces are quite close in terms of functionality and quality. Longines models are a bit more expensive but if you plan to purchase a watch that will be on your wrist for many years or even longer that should not fix your decision for or against one of the brands.
The most important point is, which model you like best when you look at it on your wrist.
Buying a watch is a highly emotional process so we suggest to let your feelings decide.
Thanks a lot for your valuable suggestions . One small doubt , should we service these watches once in 5 years or not required at all.
Have a nice day.
Dear Mr. Madhu,
always a pleasure to help.
In general it’s suggested to service all mechanical watches every 5 to 7 years to make sure it will work perfectly in the future.
If you plan to go swimming with your watch it’s important that you check the water-resistancy every year to be safe.
The only Japanese watch could be an Orient. It is Seiko property , i believe, and it is a very cheap but Good watch.
Six of this watches are ETA !
Do you work for them?
I have one Junkers ETA and is great.
But 6 in 10!!!???
Maybe because most mechanical watches use ETA movements?
Dear Chrono24, I would appreciate to have an independant opinion about the Tissot T-touch please. I bought one in 2009 and I went for a battery change in Oct 2014 and since I lost the tactile functions. I contacted Tissot head office and they propose to replace the watch by a T-touch II which came out in 2010 for an amount of 180 EUR (a watch worth 760 euros). But it looks like even this model has the same failures when you change the battery. Do you have an opinion about this watch please.
thank you very much for your request.
Unfortunately we don’t have any experience with the T-Touch to share.
We know a bit more about other brands and other models but not about that model from Tissot, sorry.
Thank you Chrono 24 for taking the time to reply to me and congratulations for this site which is clear and provide useful advice for watch-fannas like me.
Dear Sir, I am surprised not to see Mido featured in your article.
Please help me, I know 0 about watches (I use my cell phone to tell time, lol).
My son wants a watch as a graduation gift from college, but I only have about $850 to spend.
He wants something “cool looking”. Any ideas that you might be able to give would be great.
Thanks so much,
a watch as a graduation gift is a great idea, we’ll do our very best to help you with the task.
Please take a look at the three examples we put together:
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Great List that is value for money and very informative.
Cant go past a ETA Movement for reliability.
I’ll admit I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek, but I think you can make a good argument for the $58.00 US, Seiko series 5 for this list. My current collection contains a Datejust, a white gold Daytona, and my everyday watch, a stainless and gold, blue Submariner. I bought the Seiko after reading a bunch of great reviews on Amazon (and to be honest, a few bad ones. It seems quality control still lets some lemons slip by) and being incredulous that a genuine automatic, mechanical watch could sell for so little. I’ve had mine for a little less than a year and it keeps perfect time and can really stand up for some rough wear. I was wearing it today while working on my Jeep and I must have slammed it into the wheel well a dozen times. So Chrono24, there’s my two-cents on the Seiko series 5. Love your site by the way. You guys make it quite easy, if not pleasant for a watch collector to buy and sell.
Honestly if you are really into wristwatches I really think you should forget all about anything on this list. Read a book on really frugal living for a year and/or find a way to make some extra money. Heck selling plasma in the States gets you $300 plus though it takes time. Do that for a year and add it to the $1,000 you have and then go shopping for a $5,000 watch. Keep doing that and then two years latter buy a $10,000 watch. This is just with the money and time you would have otherwise wasted. If you bought right you’ll be able to get back most of your money even if you have to sell soon and in a rush. Try doing that with cars.
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