Editors Pick Guides Watches

20 Best Watches to Buy for Under £1,000

Hamilton Field Murph 38mm

It’s no secret that watch collecting is an expensive hobby and while you might be saving up for that next dream watch on your list, sometimes you just need something accessible. However, just because a watch is accessible doesn’t mean it can’t be beautifully crafted, fun, interesting and an asset to your collection. So, let’s take a look at some of the best value propositions on the market.

MoonSwatch

Swatch x Omega MoonSwatch, £218

By this point, the MoonSwatch should need no introduction. There’s a reason it won the Accessible category of the Oracle Time Community Watch Awards and that’s because it’s one of the most ambitious collaborations in watchmaking history. Plus, who wouldn’t want a version of one of the most iconic watches in history for only £218.

There are 11 different colourways available, each inspired by a celestial body in our solar system, including the Sun, Earth, the Moon, Mars and more. They all have bioceramic cases measuring 42mm in diameter and housing quartz chronograph movements.

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Tissot PRX Mint

Tissot PRX Mint, £295

When it comes to sports luxe vibes on a more accessible budget, the Tissot PRX collection should be your go to. Tissot recently expanded the range of colours available for the quartz model with the new Tissot PRX Mint, which introduced a gorgeous light green dial.

Like its predecessors, it has a 40mm diameter case in a tapering tonneau style, creating the strong outline and silhouette that gives it its sports luxe pedigree. That aesthetic is further enhanced by the quick release, integrated bracelet in stainless steel, which matches the finish and style of the case.

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Undone Vintage Salmon

Undone Vintage Salmon, £297

It’s difficult to predict which ultra-accessible watches will become hugely popular when they’re released and one of the surprise hits of recent months has been the Undone Vintage Salmon. It’s a classy take on their Urban design with a pink-coloured salmon dial and stainless steel case.

The signature salmon dial features a vertically brushed finish and is accented by the pair of subdials on either side of the central hand stack. A nice feature about the dial is the inclusion of Breguet numerals, they add a sense of retro nostalgia to the piece, which is totally in keeping with the classy theme.

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Brew Method Chronograph

Brew Method Chronograph, $375 (approx. £315)

When it comes to niche watch concepts, Brew have the rest of the field beat. They have gone above and beyond for the cause of coffee. A spiral scale around the dial lets you time various brewing methods, from espresso to cold brew, neatly set on this fabulous yellow dial. If you thought there were limits to where Brew Watches can take their glorious concept, think again.

The watch itself has a 40mm case in stainless steel in a shape that’s a hybrid between rectangular and cushion. Housed inside is the Sellia SW220-1 automatic chronograph movement with 38-hour power reserve.

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Citizen Super Titanium Chronograph

Citizen Super Titanium Chronograph, £399

The Citizen Super Titanium Chronograph is a super sporty tricompax chrono with made from Citizen’s Super Titanium material. Super Titanium is titanium that has undergone a surface treatment that results in greater scratch resistance and better finish. Ideal for racing and timing sporting events.

Its eco-drive movement includes hours, minutes, chronograph seconds, a 60-minute timer, a 24-hour timer, small seconds and date complications. Usually a high number of functions would result in a lower power reserve or battery life but since the eco technology of Citizen means the watch is being constantly charged by light, that’s no issue here.

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Herbelin Newport Slim

Herbelin Newport Slim, €490 (approx. £430)

The Newport is an important model in Herbelin’s heritage, originally designed in 1988 it was the watch that really established them at the top of the French watchmaking game. In 2021 they revisited the collection to introduce the Newport Slim, a thinner, more refined edition of the watch. Then, this year, they expanded the slim collection with the Newport Slim duo, a His & Hers pair of watches with steel cases, blue dials and PVD yellow gold accents. Both the 32mm and 40mm editions house Swiss Ronda quartz movements. 

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Furlan Marri Nero Sabbia

Furlan Marri Nero Sabbia, CHF 555 (approx. £480)

Furlan Marri burst onto the scene last year with their meca-quartz chronographs, which they have subsequently re-interpreted into watches like this, the Nero Sabbia. The Nero Sabbia is unique within their collection due to its asymmetrical design, foregoing the classic bicompax layout in favour of a single subdial.

Although, while its dark dial is different from any other Furlan Marri chrono, its overall structure is the same. A 38mm stainless steel case that contains a Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement. While it would be cool to see a full mechanical version, the hybrid helps to keep the watch accessible.

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Spinnaker Croft Mid-Size Skeleton Medallion Black

Spinnaker Croft Mid-Size Skeleton Medallion Black, £510

Last year Spinnaker launched the Croft Mid-Size Skeleton Automatic Limited Edition and it was such a success that now they’ve created a second generation of limited editions based on it. This is the Croft Mid-Size Skeleton Medallion Black, which has robust with a 40mm case with a yellow gold colouration and 150m water resistance.

However, the star the technical looking skeleton dial, although it’s deviation from the traditional understated designs of dive watches. The piece is powered by a Seiko NH70 automatic movement with 41-hour power reserve.

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Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium Black

Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium, €710 (approx. £610)

Baltic continues to be on an ascendancy that few watchmakers can match. Its initial dive watches were met with the kind of success you can’t manufacture, and the brand has since made lightning strike more times than a finial in a storm. Building on the incredibly successful Aquascaphe is the Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium.

Titanium makes perfect sense for a dive watch. It’s light, hardwearing and has a cool, grey look that works incredibly well on a tool watch. Plus, titanium is regarded as a top tier watch material at the moment and so for less than £1,000, the value alone is impressive.

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Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic 369 Tropical

Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic 3/6/9 “Cadran Tropical”, $750 (approx. £630)

When it comes to vintage watches, one of the most fascinating aspects to them is the way that the visual wear and tear they build up can contribute to their desirability and price. One of the most desirable forms of wear is called tropical dials, a form of discolouration that can give dials a faded tint. The Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic 3/6/9 “Cadran Tropical” embraces this quirk of vintage watchmaking with a manufactured tropical dial, which has been purposely weathered to create the effect.

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Certina DS+

Certina DS+, £705 – £815

The Certina DS+ is an intriguing watch because it follows a build your own watch format, allowing you to pick from multiple dials, bodies and straps in any combination. All told, there are 180 different combinations you could create, which is why the price ranges from £705 – £815 as different choices have different prices attached.

To run through some of the options quickly. The dial can be black, blue or white and the case can be round, cushion, diving, sports luxe, bi-colour or sports luxe with bi-colour. There are loads of straps to pick from including steel bracelets, fabric NATO options and classic leather straps. Regardless of your choices it houses the Powermatic 80.

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Boldr Odyssey Freedive GMT

Boldr Odyssey Freedive GMT, £754

A GMT dive watch doesn’t necessarily seem like a natural combination. Dive watches are all about ultra-high legibility and displaying only the most vital information whereas, for the most part GMT complications are for convenience. However, the Boldr Odyssey Freedive GMT makes it work. That’s because with its robust 44mm stainless steel case and 24-hour ceramic bezel, it has a lot in common, at least thematically if not visually, with watches like the Rolex Explorer. You should think of it as an adventure watch, its diving specs (300m water resistance) keeping it safe in almost any circumstance.

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Junghans Form A

Junghans Form A, €870 (approx. £760)

Junghans are a German watchmaker who engage with one of the most important artistic movements to have been born in Germany, Bauhaus style minimalism. This aesthetic style focusses on function, geometry and colour, which is why the Form A has purposefully simple line indexes and a rich blue dial. Junghans describe it as following the concept of Heimat, or hometown, a reference to how this German design philosophy has become an international staple.

The Form A contains the automatic calibre J800.2, which is based on the ETA 2824-2 with 38-hour power reserve. Not the most impressive calibre but certainly a well tested and accessible one.

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Christopher Ward Sealander Lucerne Blue

Christopher Ward Sealander Lucerne Blue, £770

Earlier this year Christopher Ward released a new collection of C63 Sealanders at 36mm. They were bright, summer watches following in the bold footsteps of timepieces like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. However, one model in particular was the most sought after, the Lucerne Blue edition. And so, the 39mm C63 Sealander Lucerne Blue edition followed shortly after. Be warned though, as a limited edition of 300 pieces, it won’t be available forever.

The larger watch is virtually identical to the smaller, with a stainless steel case and smooth bezel presented on either a blue leather strap or steel bracelet. It houses the calibre Sellita SW200-1.

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Hamilton Field Murph 38mm

Hamilton Field Murph 38mm, £820

Hamilton should always be one of the first names you think of when it comes to quality horology for great value and the Field Murph 38mm is no different. It’s a smaller version of the watch that starred in the Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar and is one of the most requested watches from Hamilton’s dedicated fan base.

Its case is, of course, 38mm in diameter and is made from stainless steel. However, the most impressive part of the piece is arguably its movement, the H-10, which has an astonishing 80-hour power reserve. For just £820, that should count as theft.

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Laco Scorpion Mojave

Laco Scorpion Mojave, $980 (approx. £855)

In many regards, the 39mm case size of the 2022 Laco Scorpion suits the watch far better than its original 42mm sizing. From a thematic perspective, scorpions are known for being small and tough and the new edition lives up to that concept far better. It has a double-domed sapphire crystal and a uni-directional rotating ceramic bezel, both of which provide plenty of scratch resistance.

It’s amazing how much a difference that 39mm sizing really makes. It’s gone from being a large adventure watch to a fairly svelte daily beater that’s perfect for use in any situation. Plus, with 300m water resistance it doesn’t lose any of its robust qualities.

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Farer Stanhope II

Farer Stanhope II, £895

Farer brings a large scoop of quirky British style to all their creations, experimenting with fun colours and unique designs. Now their combining their funky colours with their new for 2022 cushion shaped case. This is the Farer Stanhope II.

It has a 38.5mm cushion case made from stainless steel with 50m water resistance and a curved sapphire glass. The main focal point is the textured dial with combination of white, dark blue and red accents. Housed inside is the Sellita SW216-1 automatic with 45-hour power reserve.

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William Wood Fearless

William Wood Fearless, £895

The Fearless from William Wood has a brand-new case at a size of 40mm, making it a touch smaller than William Wood’s existing chronograph and dive watch timepieces. The reduction in size makes a lot of sense because it’s a field watch designed for action. A smaller size makes it both lighter and less intrusive on the wrist.

Alongside the new black case is a new black dial with a rough, grainy texture designed to evoke images of charcoal. A somewhat chilling reminder of the role fire and rescue serve in our communities, although it’s also really cool at the same time.

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Isotope Old Radium Bronze Pilot

Isotope Old Radium Bronze, £960

There is a fantastical and fictional story behind the Isotope Old Radium Bronze. In 1942 the British Ministry of Defence needed a pilot’s watch and so Isotope created the Old Radium. The modern Old Radium Bronze Pilots’ watch is a re-interpretation of that non-existent watch.

The real watch has a 40mm diameter case in bronze with a flat bezel and a titanium caseback. Its dial is uncluttered and understated in classic pilot’s watch fashion. There’s an hour scale with large Arabic numerals around the periphery of the dial and a small minute scale on the flange. At the centre of the display is Isotope’s signature raised tear drop shape with a grainy texture.

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Seiko Heritage Turtle 1968 Re-Interpretation

Seiko Heritage Turtle 1968 Re-Interpretation, £810

The Seiko Heritage Turtle 1968 Re-Interpretation is a landmark watch in Seiko history, being the thinnest version of the Turtle ever produced. A notable feat for a watchmaker known for producing absolute giants such as the Tuna and Monster.

In addition to the model’s redesigned 41mm case, it has a classic retro diving display with oversize hour markers and plenty of lume. Inside is a reliable automatic movement from Seiko, the 6R35, with a great 70-hour power reserve. Seiko have long been a major player in accessible watchmaking and the Heritage Turtle only cements their reputation further.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.