In fact, we’ve got it on good authority that you can wear a watch that looks like a million bucks … without even spending a thousand.
Behold, the five best men’s watches for under four figures.
From dress to casual, climbing the Rockies to diving in the Caribbean, any one of these sub-$1,000 timepieces will do you right.
The Military Issue: Hamilton Khaki Officer
If you want a high-quality mechanical watch on the low end of the price spectrum, you could do worse than the Hamilton Khaki Officer Mechanical. At $395, it’ll please your budget and your eye palette. It definitely sports the vibe of its name — the watch looks just like a mid-century Army officer’s field watch. The Officer features a 38mm stainless steel case, a black dial, date display and a beige or green canvas strap. Or you can opt for brown leather … if you’re a Major or higher.
The Daily Wear: Seiko Prospex SRP777
The SRP777 was the new darling of the watch nerd world last year. At $475, it’s an honest candidate for a daily beater. But more to the point, it’s an honest candidate for a serious-as-death-and-taxes dive watch. Consider: water resistant to 660 feet, legendary Japanese mechanical innards, LumiBrite hands and markers, a 41-hour power reserve and the classic Seiko “turtle” shape. There’s even a date display, just so you know what day it is while you’re admiring grouper and moray eels at 60 feet.
The Nighttime Diver: Halios Laguna Series 2
If your tastes tend toward a big dive watch with a unique look, you can’t beat the $675 Halios Laguna Series 2. The cushion-shaped, two-crown configuration isn’t truly unique, but you don’t see a lot of them around; the second crown controls the inner rotating bezel, making it “suitable for casual, sports and non-dive related timing,” as Halios notes. That said, the watch has some serious water chops. It’s rated to a depth of 300 meters and it features green (C3) Superluminova-coated hands and dial markers for max visibility (also great for making a stealthy nighttime beer run).
The Fighter Pilot: Archimede Pilot 39H
No logo, no date, but plenty of versatility. The Archimede Pilot 39H is a serious everything-you-need, nothin’-you-don’t timekeeper. Priced between $700 and $835 — depending on which version you pick — it’ll keep your pilot jones on fighter time, even if you only fly a Cessna (or a desk). The 39H is available with several different straps or a bracelet; there’s also a black PVD version and a left-hand-drive version. And should you want to trick it further, you’ll find a raft of accessories on the website.
The Minimalist: Junghans Max Bill
If you’re feeling the need to channel your inner Bauhaus, consider the Junghans Max Bill. Max Bill was man of many talents: architect, artist, painter, designer. He studied at the Bauhaus in the late 1920s and became one of the founders of the so-called Bauhaus school of minimalist design. Junghans was a client, and they’ve honored him with this slender 38mm beauty.
Bonus: If your $1,000 has been sitting there awhile, earning interest, consider...
Sinn 556 A
At $1,080, the Sinn 556 A is still a major contender. This three-hander’s tale of the tape reads at 38.5mm in diameter, and only 11mm thick and 65 grams. A crown guard protects the vitals, along with sapphire crystal front and back (yep, you can check the engine without lifting the hood), a 316L stainless steel case and a top grade movement – all on a leather strap. This one’s another piece with a pilot vibe, but if you’ve always wanted a Rolex Explorer, you need to know: this one’s an Explorer killer.