As someone in the sales industry, I know exactly how a good watch can work as a conversation piece not only with your clients but also with your colleagues.
While I do own several top-tier luxury watches, you might be surprised to know that most of my favorites are in the under $1,000 category. In this article, I'll discuss the different categories of luxury watches, go over the benefits and drawbacks of each category, and give my thoughts on my favorite watches—both classic and new!
Japanese Vs. Swiss Watches
You may have heard that Swiss movement is always better than Japanese movement, but that's not necessarily the case. It's important to realize that both Japanese and Swiss watches have different tiers of movement depending on the watch and the watch company.
Understanding Swiss COSC Certification:
The most highly coveted watches are those certified by the COSC, the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres or the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, the organization responsible for certifying the accuracy of Swiss watches. To get certified, the watch must meet incredibly rigorous standards —only 3% of Swiss watches receive the certification! Some of the criteria require the watch be made of the finest material and be handled with care by a watchmaker during assembly. This along with additional jeweling makes the watches a bit more accurate than other budget products, but a lot more expensive as well.
Higher-end Japanese watches have caught up with the Swiss in many cases in terms of style, quality, and accuracy. As a result, you can get much more watch for your money by going with a Japanese mechanical or quartz watch over a similarly-priced Swiss watch that is not COSC certified.
Mechanical Vs. Quartz Movement
Both mechanical and quartz movement watches can be certified by the COSC. Mechanical watches are powered by winding the mainspring while quartz watches are battery-powered.
While mechanical watches are less accurate, they still appeal to many because of their elaborate inner workings. The combination of low technology with high-end materials makes such watches an obsession for many collectors.
There are high-end watches with both quartz and mechanical movement. While the most valuable are collectible, antique mechanical watches, there are certainly newer quartz watches that are just as pricey as new watches with mechanical movement.
Six Best Luxury Watches - An Overview
|Watch||Movement||Case Diameter||Water Resistance|
Citizen Men's JY0050-55L "Blue Angels Skyhawk A-T"
Bulova Men's 96B175 "Precisionist" Stainless Steel Watch
Movado Men's 0606502 "Museum" Stainless Steel and Black Leather Strap Watch
TAG Heuer Men's WAH1010.BA0854 Formula 1 Grande Date Black Dial Watch
Victorinox Swiss Army Men's 241355 Dive Master Black Dial Watch
Hamilton Men's H77616533 Khaki X Chronograph Watch
Three High-Quality Japanese and Swiss Men's Watches under $500
1. Citizen Men's Blue Angels Skyhawk A-T
My favorite dive watch under $500 is the Citizen Blue Angels Skyhawk. With Japanese eco-quartz crystal movement and radio controlled accuracy, it's both accurate and battery free. I also like that its water resistance goes up to 200 meters, making it a good buy for more serious divers.
Perhaps its most important feature is the watch face, which looks stunning with a 1/100 second chronograph, countdown timer and perpetual calendar.
There is a stainless steel version of this watch that is a little less expensive, but at just 4.16 oz. the titanium, in my opinion, is the more comfortable watch overall. You'll definitely want to splurge for it as I found the steel version at 6.74 ounces just a bit too cumbersome. That being said if you prefer the weight, then you can save yourself around $100 by going with the steel model.
2. Bulova Men's 96B175 Precisionist
The Bulova Men's Precisionist is a stunning Japanese quartz watch.
It's accurate to within 10 seconds/year, so you'll hardly ever have to adjust it, and is water-resistant up to 300 meters, meaning you're good to go in just about any situation.
If you're considering this watch, then you should know beforehand that it is on the heavier side at around 10 ounces—over twice the weight of the titanium watch above. That being said you have to take it for what it is: a beautiful, heavy watch that equals or bests many of my $2,000 watches in its look and appearance.
This watch is probably best-suited for medium- to large-sized wrists. The case is 46 millimeters in diameter and looks good on my round 7 inch wrist; however, it may not look good on round wrists smaller than that. Flat wrists at or around 6.5 inches or larger should be OK as well.
3. Movado Museum Watch
If you're looking for something that's a bit more unique and contemporary, then consider this Museum watch from Movado. With its minimalist design and calfskin leather strap this watch gets noticed nearly every time I go out.
I wouldn't consider it a diving watch with its 30 meters water resistance, but it is hardy enough to wear in everyday use and is perfect for my casual lifestyle. It's good for just about any flat wrist size over 6 inches and any round wrist at 6.5 inches or larger.
The 3 Best Luxury Men's Watches Under $1,000 for the Money
1. Tag Heuer Formula 1 Grande
Out of all the watches I own, this one gets the most attention and compliments. Tag Heuer is a high-quality Swiss watchmaker and their Formula 1 model is the perfect complement to a sports jacket and car. This makes it perfect for for both everyday and formal events.
It's inexpensive for a Tag Heuer watch, but still one of my favorites. It's a pretty large watch with a 44mm case diameter so it works with most mid to large-sized wrists. I bought mine for around $800 last year, but you may find it on sale for around $700. Features include a 1/10th of a second display, sapphire crystal face, security latch, and luminescent hands and markers.
2. Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master
A Luxury Men's Watch for Sports Enthusiasts
Believe it or not I call this thing my beater, not because of its looks, but because of the abuse it takes without damage. It's perfect for sports enthusiasts and is water resistant up to 500 meters. It's also super easy to read underwater with its luminous hands and hour markers.
It has the ETA 2892-A2 Swiss movement that you'll find on many higher-end watches costing multiple times the price of this one.
Don't overlook this watch because of its rubber band. It takes a beating and will stand the test of time. This is a great watch for the money.
3. Hamilton Men's H77616533 Chronograph Watch
While this watch may be just above $1,000, I felt I had to include it because of its good overall value.
It looks amazing in just about any situation and uses Valjoux 7750, a Swiss automatic chronograph movement mechanism, found in watches many times its price. The thick calfskin strap is durable and the synthetic sapphire window will keep it looking great indefinitely.
For this price, I can't recommend this watch strongly enough. You'll receive a compliment every time you wear it.
© 2013 JC Heppler
Speak Your Mind
Andy on April 11, 2014:
tissot t touch is just perfect !