When it comes to buying a watch, there is definitely something to be said for making an investment in the best one can afford.
For some of us, that means the $143,000 Panerai Lo Scienziato. For others, it may mean the Swatch Sir Blue at $65. No judgments either way, but at a certain point in a man’s life — maybe when he’s just starting to dip his toes into custom-made shirts or seriously considering a two-seater car — it’s probably time to leave behind the sports watch of his youth and move up to something with a bit more swagger. Here we’ve assembled a group of watches that (mostly) price out between the $500 and $1,000 range and that also should be on your radar for upgrading your wrist candy a bit.
The Best Watches Under $1,000
The warm combination of an olive face, pink-gold case, and brown leather strap on this Mido Ocean Star style offers a utilitarian, almost military vibe, that goes perfectly with this season’s workwear-inspired casual clothes, but does double-duty when paired with a warm tweed sport coat for work or dressier occasions.
Greens, olives, and pale chartreuses are the leading edge colors of the season. Like the Mido, this Hamilton timepiece offers an off-the-trail, adventurous vibe. It’s an automatic, so all those exploits just keep fueling the watch for hours of performance.
The Weiss Standard Issue continues in a military vein, but with a more severe, pared-down aesthetic. Cameron Weiss designed this watch to not only incorporate traditional Swiss watchmaking precision but also put his concepts to the test, diving into the kelp forests of the Pacific and climbing the Sierra Nevadas. Today the watches are assembled by hand in Los Angeles, California.
Make a bold statement with this Italy-inspired timepiece. The deep navy face and band offset the rose gold case and hands stylishly. We particularly love the gold butterfly deployment clasp on the supple blue Italian leather strap. The back features a “bas-relief” of Venice’s Basilica di San Marco. Che bello!
Junghans celebrates the outstanding simplicity of design. Inspired by Swiss architect, artist, and typeface designer Max Bill of the Bauhaus school, the watch is crafted in Germany with a self-winding Swiss-made movement, and its spare design looks as great with a black T-shirt and jeans as it does with a trim-fit suit.
In a similarly minimalistic vein, but with a bit more retro impact, the Longines Conquest may just be the archetypal reference for “watch.” Its solid stainless steel case is countered with a handsome black leather band and a bold face. It’s a substantial style for a substantial guy.
In this case, minimalistic and retro styling meet to form a backdrop for some sophisticated functionality. The Canfield Sport is a chronograph, featuring stopwatch functions in a polished gold case with a crisp black face, tough sapphire crystal, and a premium black leather strap. It incorporates all the quality you’ve come to expect from Shinola and then some.
One of the most badass watch designs we’ve seen in a while, Master of Puppets, named for the breakthrough 1986 Metallica album, features a three-dimensional face of layered cemetery crosses, and the “Metallica barb” second hand. The black, textured stainless steel band has an indestructible, yet modern look. Even the case looks like a rock-and-roll band’s equipment trunk.
Providing a solidly futuristic take on timekeeping, the Bold chronograph features a clean, monochromatic gunmetal surface that seems to envelop face, case, and bracelet with robotic precision. Its weighty, solid look crosses boundaries from dress to casual with ease.
The Group B is name for what Autodromo considers the “last romantic era of motorsport,” from 1982 to 1986, an homage to the technical advancement and exotic materials in automobile racing of the time. Its high-tech, industrial design includes a face inspired by a racing tachometer from that time period. It’s also available with orange or white numerals and hands, with the orange giving it a Tron-like feel.
If you’re in the market for something a little less expensive, check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $500. You might just be surprised at how many great options there are out there for less than five Benjamins.