Taste, style, design … purely subjective matters, so listing some of the best watches for under £1,000 doesn’t really work … I have a guilty secret … I’m quite partial to the Citizen Eco-Drive range of watches but I know that for a number of people, they’re too busy, too complicated and just too … Citizen.
Keeping with that thought, these would be just some of the watches that I’d pick if I had a few thousand going spare, that had to be spent on yet another watch. Don’t judge me.
Styling it out
It’s all very well picking a style that works for you, and if you were limited to just one or two watches then I can see how that makes sense, but this is about ‘the list’ … the one list that every horolophile has, either virtually or physically (when that board meeting turns in to a bored meeting) … it doesn’t have to cost thousands to make that list, it just needs to switch something on, to make you think twice, to scratch that itch.
My daily wearer style is chunky, usually with a bracelet, and a chronograph, but having said that, I do appreciate classical design with simple function and form; my dress to impress watch is a 1950s simple winder on a tan leather strap.
Casio Calculator Databank
This is where it all started for me … a birthday present in the early eighties that encompassed the miracle of a calculator into a digital watch. Mind Blown.
Still available today, still with miniature buttons that my sausage fingers wouldn’t be able to press, still in love with it. Priced around £35.
Longines Conquest 41mm Automatic
Depending on the exact model, you can buy a Conquest automatic for around £800, which when you consider the history behind a Longines watch, that’s a great buy.
The Conquest is pretty simple, nothing too fancy, but therein lies the key … it works with pretty much anything and will always look stylish.
Elliot Brown Bloxworth Chronograph
These watches are built tough which is kind of appropriate because Hangin’ Tough was an album by New Kids On The Block, which fits with the Elliot Brown company. Tenuous you say?
These definitely are the NKOTB, but there’s something about the styling and thought toward a watch that will last a lifetime for less than £600 that works for me.
I’ve written before about the Citizen watches, and for me, the Eco-Drive range of watches just work brilliantly, whether that’s styling-wise or technological marvel. Owning a few watches means that some don’t get worn as often as they should … I can place mine down and go back to it 6 months later and it’s right.
Prices range from around £150 – £650.
Hamilton Khaki Aviation ETO
American spirit, Swiss-made goes the strapline, and for around £550, it’s a steal.
It’s a little small for me at just 42mm, but for a normal person, it would look well. I like the styling, and while the ‘fussiness’ may put some people off, it does actually have a use rather than decoration.
Apple … love them or hate them, Apple produces some fantastic products (and yes, I’m an Apple fanboy) so I just had to include their watch. But … as to whether it’s that practical (needing charging every day or so) or that pretty is purely in the eye of the beholder.
Picking a watch for under £1,000 (or any budget for that matter) is purely about personal style and taste, and possibly need – a beautifully simple Rado Coupole Classic isn’t going to work for you if you spend half your life underwater or punching bags at the gym, equally, a hand-tailored suit needs something more than a Casio Databank.
In an ideal world, you’d have a selection of different timepieces that suit your lifestyle, but that’s not always practical or feasible, so finding THE watch is almost an art … dressy enough for a suit, rugged enough for jeans and tee, casual enough for board shorts and flip-flops.
If you have just £1,000 to spend on a watch, you can blow it all in one, or choose two or three of the cheaper brands and mix and match. If you’re looking to buy a statement piece, then a low-end model won’t necessarily cut it, but you could always look to the used or vintage market.