Not all watches need to be an investment. True, to get serious quality or rarity you need to show some dollars but for an everyday, runabout kind of watch – the wrist-mounted equivalent of a Toyota Prius – there are plenty of options that don’t require dipping into savings, some of which even happen to be pretty good. Here’s our selection of the best…
Seiko 5 (£150)
This is both the cheapest watch on this list and arguably the best, at least from a mechanical point of view. There’s just nothing bad to be said about it; the movement’s good, the style’s unoffensively classy and Seiko are a well-respected watchmaker. If that doesn’t seal it for you, I own an older model myself. Because we both know I’m that important in your life. For £150 it’s simply unbeatable. Hell, for four times that too.
Bruno Sohnle Stuttgart Automatik Big (£750)
Their contemporaries may be among some of the most exclusive watchmakers on the market, but Bruno Sohnle is a rarity in itself: Glashutte on a budget. Take the Stuttgart Automatik Big. It still has a decent automatic movement – a riff on a Sellita – and the finishing is great for anything under 5k, let alone £750. It’s a good size at 42mm (don’t let the ‘Big’ in the name put you off) and in blue is a very decent all-round timepiece.
Oh, and not to blow our own trumpet but if you did want to get your hands on one, check out our latest competition here.
Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Quartz (£890)
If you’re ever going to buy quartz, at least make it one that started as an electric watch. The Ventura from Hamilton – first released in the 1950s – embodies retro futurism to its core and was a marvel before the quartz crisis hit. There’s still nothing else that looks quite like it over half a century on, especially in this modern update; not bad for an accessible £890. If you’re a watch snob there are automatic versions but we’re happy to follow The King on this one. If it’s good enough for Elvis…
Junghans Max Bill Automatic (£825)
If you’re after something a little more design-led, a watch inspired by architect, artist and typeface designer Max Bill seems like a good place to start; all the better if it’s available from Junghans for £825. Clean and minimal, there’s more than a little Scandinavian cool here, despite the German manufacture and Swiss subject matter. Clean, clear and beautifully simple, it’s the kind of everyday elegance your collection shouldn’t be without.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600 (£795)
Bronze seems to be the coolest material in diving watches and if you don’t fancy investing in Tudor’s alloyed version of the Black Bay, Christopher Ward’s is a great alternative. It’s water resistant to 600m which is impressive in and of itself and the blue / bronze colourway shouts old maritime. We’ll still never get to grips with how Christopher Ward manages these watches at these prices, but even so £795 seems a bit ridiculous.