Weíre less than a month from Watches & Wonders, which is a period of time when the watch world is focused mostly on high end luxury watches, often with eye watering price tags and a built-in inaccessibility. Of course, we enjoy discussing and covering those watches, but ahead of that time of year when things get well and truly crazy in the watch world, we thought weíd take a step back and ask our contributors to pick their favorite watches at a more accessible and welcoming price point. For under $1,000, thereís a ton of variety out there, and a curious watch collector can have just about any style of watch they want, from sports watches of all stripes, to contemporary design focused pieces, and even iconic vintage staples. The choices below reflect the enormous breadth of affordable watches available today, and they only scratch the surface. Let us know what youíd pick for $1,000 in the comments below.*
Zach Kazan

For $1,000, watch collectors have a lot to choose from. The first task, I think, is deciding on what lane you want to travel in. Sports watch? Something more casual? Quartz or mechanical? Big brand or small? Vintage, vintage inspired, or totally contemporary? All of these things are possible, and represent open questions at $1,000 or less, which is exciting, and speaks to the overall health of the hobby at an affordable level. There are myriad ways to get into the watch world, or scratch an affordable itch regardless of how experienced you are.*
Personally, I find myself drawn toward original design at this price point. Nothing against the Seikos and Hamiltons of the world, or the many great microbrands that are riffing on mid century classics, but I continuously find myself blown away by the enormous creativity in the watch space that weíre seeing at this level year after year, and Iíd be remiss not to highlight one of my favorites here. So Iím going with the Brew Retromatic, and even though you canít buy it on the brandís website, Iíll pick the no-date copper/salmon dial variant with the trippy concentric circular ridges emanating from the dialís center.*

Maybe this is a bit of a cheat since you canít really buy this watch new, so Iíll provide a blanket recommendation to Brew in general. Everything they sell is under $1,000 (most of what they sell is under $500), and they are leading the charge in the affordable indie/micro scene at the moment when it comes to original, design forward watches. Each watch is a completely original thought, and while some might evoke earlier eras in watchmaking, they are all unmistakably Brew, and are imbued with founder Jonathan Ferrerís unique sensibility and taste. Theyíre an insiderís watch brand in the grand scheme of the larger watch landscape, but theyíre not exclusive in an uptight way, and owning one immediately makes you part of a vibrant, fun, and welcoming community of watch lovers. Could you really ask for much more for less than a grand?
Chris Antzoulis

One thousand dollars is a helluva lot of money for most folks, myself included. So, for a watch to be a favorite in this category, it would have to be something I can wear just about everywhere and can go with any color combination my mind can dream upÖand I can conjure some crazy fits. With that in mind, you might think the Hamilton Murph is a mellow pick, but if youíll allow me a moment to pontificate on its perfection, you might see why itís the best choice for you as well.*

First off, the Hamilton Murph is the perfect size for anyone, with the build quality to match. While I own the 42mm Murph that fits just fine on a fella a few notches shy of an eight-inch wrist, it may overhang on those who partake in fewer slices of pizza. And for those folks Hamilton released the 38mm version. Beyond the sizing, the build is primo for the price. The brushed and polished finishing on the relatively thin case catches light in just the right ways while also hugging closely to your wrist. The Hamilton H-10 movement, modeled after the ETA 2824 has 80 hours of power reserve, is easily serviceable, and itís an upgrade from Tissotís Powermatic 80 in that it ditches the plastic components. Cathedral hands set against a matte black dial with cream accents give off a rugged yet classy vibe.*
And while the Murph represents a subdued elegance, the main reason this watch is my favorite is that it looks phenomenal on every strap and bracelet you can put it on. The black leather strap it comes on is great, especially after you break it in, but you can put it on a fabric strap, a rubber strap, sailcloth, nylon, or even a bracelet and the watch looks right at home. I have yet to find a color strap that doesnít suit it, and an outfit that isnít enhanced with the Murph on the wrist.*
Meg Tocci*

Itís no secret that Seiko tends to be a popular entry-point for watch newbies, and for good reason. The brand provides solid craftsmanship, a wide array of styles to choose from, and a heritage that rivals many of its Swiss contemporaries in much higher price brackets.

While Seikoís repertoire runs deep and wide, there is only one that holds the title for my favorite watch under $1,000. Seikoís SNK80X series is a great choice for any watch enthusiast, from first-time buyers to seasoned collectors. At 37mm in diameter, this watch is universally flattering. The colors are in the neutral family (black, green, blue, and beige/cream) which means this watch is a great daily driver that will complement most outfit choices. The entire case is bead-blasted, which hides scuffs well (speaking from personal experience). Its lug width is 18mm so finding alternate straps is easy, and the Type B-style flieger layout, with the minute track on the outside, gives it a vintage vibe that is a little harder to find in this price range. The water resistance is low (30m), but the crown is fairly recessed and Iíve never had cause for concern. If something happens, the price-point makes a replacement simple, if necessary.
These watches have an unassuming profile, which means Iím not worried about attention while traveling. Additionally, owning any Seiko gets you into a fun and friendly community Ė watch modders are known for their love of the brand and their robust online presence.

These watches are slowly creeping up in price, but still come in well-under $1,000. Zach Weiss reviewed the SNK802 in 2011 when the watch was only $69. I purchased the same reference as my first mechanical watch back in December 2021 when it was $99. Itís currently priced around $200 depending on the colorway, which still places it in the very low end of a sub-$1,000 budget.
While there are certainly a myriad of great watches one can purchase in this range, the quality-to-cost ratio of a Seiko SNK80X is second to none.*
Griffin Bartsch

Itís no small secret that great lume, military provenance, and design that claims functionality are great ways for watchmakers to reliably draw in collectors. Iím certainly not immune to the allure of a nice military-inspired tool watch ó especially if it glows. I mean, I wear a Vertex M60 AquaLion ND just about every day, and the Tudor Pelagos FXD is probably in my near future. But those watches arenít cheap and you donít need thousands of dollars to get a great watch with all the toolish, military-adjacent vibes of the Pelagos FXD. For a couple hundred bucks, you can get a Luminox.

I will be the first to admit that I donít devote much brain space to Luminox. I donít track their new releases; I probably couldnít identify most of their catalog. Thankfully, I donít need to because I have the only Luminox I need ó*the Luminox F-117 Nighthawk Series 3400. The Series 3400 is essentially a stainless steel PVD version of the Original Navy SEAL watch that was launched way back in 1994. It swaps in a 12-hour bezel, has a Nighthawk engraved on the caseback, and was produced with F-117 pilots in mind. The thing is wicked. And you can pick one up on eBay for under $300.
My grandfather bought what would become my Series 3400 new about twenty years ago, and since then has worn it for just about anything that didnít require a tie (he has his Breguet Classique for that ó heís a man of dichotomous taste). Iíve seen this watch on sailboats, in gardens, playing golf, in the workshop, and on multiple continents. The watch stood up to it all.

Last Christmas, my grandfather handed me the watch; he told me it was broken, that he had already replaced it, and that, if I fixed it, I could have it. Turns out, the only thing broken was the clasp, so I popped it off the bracelet and stuck it on a NATO. Since then, it has become my go-to watch anytime I donít feel like winding or setting something mechanical. Sure, the tritium gas lume has dimmed, and the PVD coating is wearing through at the edges, but the watch just keeps going, and gets more awesome every day.
Nathan Schultz

Watches historically have had some pretty cool jobs. Theyíve been 55mm ultra-legible tools for pilots, impressively accurate navigation instruments for seafaring adventurers, and even water resistant timing devices for scuba divers. But as technology advances, watches keep losing their cool jobs. Pilots have flight instruments, captains have GPS and divers have dive computers.*

Acknowledging that wearing a watch in 2024 is usually optional, lately Iíve been embracing the concept of wearing watches simply because they bring me joy. From the amusing gold dial manta ray shaped Zodiac Olympos to the pixelated 8-Bit Brew, enthusiasts are spoiled for choice when looking for watches under $1000 that prioritize fun over anything else. But when I scour the market looking for smiles per dollar, nothing can beat the $760 Maurice Lacroix Aikon #TIDE.*

I only recently discovered this plastic integrated bracelet watch even existed. It was one of those horological love at first sight moments. An orange one was on my wrist a week later, and hasnít left it since. The #TIDE Aikon was released the same week as the Moonswatch, and I suspect the shadow of its widely hyped plastic counterpart kept it off my radar. So for anyone else that missed it too, hereís a quick run down of why I love this watch so much: Itís comfortable (plastic is light, afterall), durable with a screw down crown and a sapphire crystal, andÖ did I mention it has a bright orange case? The quirky and bold #TIDE Aikon is a watch that just wants to have fun, a task it excels at while maintaining an accessible price point.*
Tanner Tran*

Picking a favorite sub-$1000 watch can be akin to walking down memory lane and reflecting on the watches that we started with and still hold dear to our hearts Ė in other words, watches we liked before we knew better. Thereís nothing wrong with that, of course, but the watch Iíve chosen is one that I have not lost any love for ever since I bought it nearly six years ago. The watch in question is the Swatch Calypso Diver, and the story behind it is as fun as the watch itself.
In the summer of 2018 I found myself in Northern Virginia for my first job out of college. What better place to funnel that homesickness than watches, right? A quick search through the NoVa Craigslist classifieds yielded a blurry ad for what appeared to be an old Swatch dive watch. It stuck out to me simply because of how blue it looked. It belonged to a professor of furniture design (yes, really), and I arranged to meet him in a backlot in Alexandria. I must admit I had my reservations: A professor of furniture design? In a backlot in an unfamiliar town? All that for just $10? If this was some scheme, I suppose it was worth the price of admission to find out.

Thankfully, all went well, and for the first time, I had a vintage Swatch to call my own. I was impressed with its condition for its age. The acrylic crystal was a little scuffed and it needed a fresh battery, but thanks to some research, I learned about and took advantage of Swatchís lifetime battery servicing. The Calypso Diverís retro dial and its intricate features Ė the unique hands, the blocks of red on the outer track, the inner minute ring Ė*drew me to the watch, and itís still a cool look as the watch approaches 40 years old. The charm of vintage Swatch is that it hasnít changed much. You can still walk into a boutique and pick up a 34mm quartz watch under $100 to wear and enjoy every day.
I remember wearing the Calypso Diver on my first day of work and throughout my time in Virginia. It marks a period in my life when everything felt wide open, a time when I was deep enough into watches to develop a particular taste but not yet captivated by anything overly high-end. To this day, my Calypso Diver is a token to a particular time and a reminder to take it easy.
Brad Homes

There are many, many great watches under $1,000. And plenty for less than half of that. I spent a lot of my watch buying life hunting in that price range. But if someone gave me $1,000 and told me I must buy a watch with it, Iíd probably look to spend almost every penny. There are great hand-wind watches for this budget, and great automatics too. There are chronographs, moonphases and triple calendars. Exquisite dials and impressive case and bracelet finishing. Yet Iíd spend the money on a simple time-only quartz watch with no bracelet option available. For a rough and ready quartz dive watch, itís hard to go wrong with a CWC RN Diver. The brand has some real pedigree in this field too, previously supplying watches to the British Armed Forces after taking over from Rolex in the early 1980s.*

The RN (Royal Navy) Diver features a 41mm diameter Monnin style case with large crown guards incorporated into the case shape, and fixed bars. Large lume plots and wide sword hands contrast against the matte black dial. The watch comes in automatic flavor too, and with a variety of case finishes to boot. For budgetary reasons, and for the simple grab and go aspect, Iíd choose the quartz version. To enhance the clean and bold look, Iíd also opt for the dateless dial and fully matte case. I owned a destro version of this once before, and now that Iíve thought about what a great watch it is, I kind of want another one. The fixed bars to restrict strap changes a little, but throw your favourite nato on it and thereís a fair chance it will rock. The CWC RN Diver (in quartz) retails for £679, with plenty of used examples also available on the secondary market.
Alec Dent*

There aren’t many, if any, watches in the sub-$1,000 category that deliver as much bang for the buck as the Tissot Heritage 1938. A heritage brand, sapphire crystal, automatic movement, and slick design, all for $825? Sign me up.

The Heritage 1938 has a fun vintage vibe, with a design that feels like a cross between a field watch and a dress watch. Large Arabic numerals adorn an otherwise minimalist dial, which features the word ďChronometreĒ at the bottom and the classic Tissot logo at the top. The logo is what gives this watch a lot of its charm. Thereís just something fun and classy about that stylized ďTissotĒ with its long ďT.Ē The dial features a railroad track around the outer perimeter of the watch, giving it some extra visual details while keeping things simple. And at 39mm, itís in the Goldilocks range for watchesĖnot too big, not too small.*
The watch is available in both black/gold and salmon/black. Both are beautiful, but thereís just something particularly eye-catching about a salmon dial. There are a lot of black dial watches out there. Many of them, including the black dial Tissot Heritage 1938, are attractive. But salmon gives you a chance to mix things up a little bit without getting too loud and attention-seeking. Itís different, but itís muted, and itís as elegantly understated as the rest of the Tissot Heritage 1938ís design.

The most modern design element on the Tissot Heritage 1938 is a welcome one: the exhibition caseback that gives you a good look at the ETA 2824-2 COSC movement inside. It’s accurate to -4/+6 seconds a day, and one of the more visually appealing movements.
Watch enthusiasts notoriously struggle to keep their collections to just one piece. But the Tissot Heritage 1938 could easily be a one-watch collection: Itís a versatile watch that can easily be dressed up or down, and has enough vintage charm that youíll never tire of wearing it.
Brett Braley

Having come to watches a bit sideways, in the sense that I got into the hobby through writing about luxury menswear, Iím always very interested in the inspiration behind a watchís design. Take, for instance, US-based brand Bremoirís second release, called The Eastern. With its art deco touchpoints, geometric design, and teal color palette, itís a pitch-perfect representation of the Eastern Columbia building in Los Angeles.

Bremoir has distilled the best elements of the iconic landmark into a wearable timepiece that is dressy but not flashy, sporty but not tactical. Itís done a great job of toeing the line between a watch with a lot of design without really being overly designed. You can see the restraint that has gone into The Eastern to provide just enough reference points to be recognizable without ever feeling like a kitschy carbon-copy of the building itself.*
And in terms of functionality outside of its aesthetics, itís also a well-made watch in general. From the 316L stainless steel 39mm case to the sapphire crystal to the Swiss-made, STP 1-11 Automatic that promises a 44-hour power reserve, itís a well-crafted watch that definitely is going on my wishlist this year.*

Because of all of this, I think that Bremoir is a brand to continue to keep on oneís radar and this watch definitely gets my nod within the sub-$1,000 category.*
Christoph McNeill*

My favorite watch for under $1000? Thatís a slam dunk easy one to answer, a vintage Seiko 6309-7040/9 diver. Is it as easy to pick one up as it is one of the (admittedly nice) new heritage remakes? No, but the original is worth the effort. The vintage Seiko 6309 diver is still one of the single most under-rated watches despite its enormous popularity amongst vintage watch collectors. It is popular enough that Seiko has released a multitude of heritage models like the SRP777 that are super popular in their own right. However, as great as the new ones are (and they are great), nothing beats the original.*

The Seiko 6309-7040 / 6309-7049 (6309 for brevityís sake) was made from 1976 to 1988. The huge cushion case is 45mm wide, yet it doesnít feel that big and wears quite comfortably. The 6309 is also built like a tank, with all of the typical Seiko ingenuity. The crown at 4 oíclock is recessed and guarded by the case, and screws down to maximum water resistance. The elapsed time diverís bezel is big, and has a large, deeply knurled texture that is easy to grip, even when wet. It turns both ways, and the click-ball system combined with its gasket keeps the bezel tight yet easy to turn. The matte black dial is a thing of utilitarian beauty, with a subtle pebbled texture and large lume plots for the hour markers. Large lume filled hands make time keeping in all situations easy as pie. The bezel and crystal retaining ring are easy to remove and the crystal and gaskets are easy to source, so keeping your 6309 tip-top is a breeze. The 6309 automatic movement is a wonder of engineering to be honest. Seiko built a simple yet robust movement that is reliable and a true workhorse. Iíve bought many examples of the 6309 that are 40+ years old with no watchmakers marks on the inside caseback and they still run perfectly without ever having been serviced.
The 6309 may be large, but it is a handsome watch that looks great on any number of straps. Iíve had them on the original GL831 strap, beads of rice bracelets, mesh bracelets, leather straps, and they always look killer on an Isofrane rubber strap. Each kind of strap/bracelet gives it an entirely new look, making it more versatile than you might think.*

The best part is that you can find these for sale fairly readily. Iíve found that prices can range from the mid $300s to around $750 for a really nice example. Of course, a NOS one with box and papers will break the $1000 mark, but those are definitely harder to find. Do be careful of reproduction parts like dials, hands and bezels if youíre looking on eBay, but with a little time and due diligence, you can have a truly iconic vintage Seiko 6309 on your wrist for under $1000.
Marc Levesque

When I was challenged to choose a sub $1000 watch, my initial reaction was to go hunting for a cool microbrand dive watch. But after really thinking it through, I came to a much different conclusion. If I were to acquire a new watch in this price range to complement my current collection, a dive watch it would not be.
I would like something in titanium, something that is packed with many features, perhaps even an alarm and something that I can grab at a momentís notice, that will keep near perfect time. The solution? A Citizen Promaster Skyhawk A-T, on a bracelet. The specific model is the JY8108-53E.

The way I see it, in this watch I have a 200m GMT semi-mechanical travel watch. I have a super tough, Super Titanium cased HAQ field watch, with plenty of lume. A dive watch would be fun, but this ultra-tool multi-functional analog-digital watch is just what the doctor ordered. What features does it have, you ask? So many! A partial list: atomic timekeeping, a 1/100th second chronograph, a perpetual calendar, two time capabilities, a countdown timer, multiple alarms, and a power reserve indicator.
It is only available with a black dial, but unlike the standard, the Blue Angels and the Red Arrows versions, the lume is not stark white, but just a shade darker than cream. I wouldnít call it fauxtina per se, but it is borderline. That said, in my opinion, it totally works on this high-tech modern piece.* Now, if you will excuse me, I have to set up a new Alert on watchrecon.com.

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