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The Best Watches Under $1,000, From Classic to Sporty

A man’s style reflects his inner self, as well as who he wants to be, and where he sees himself in society. There is probably no one item in a man’s wardrobe that says more about his hopes and aspirations than his watch. The best thing is that, with a quick swap, we can change that expression; from all-business to wild and crazy to chic sophisticate. Is this the day you stride out to the driveway looking like the neighborhood’s most-followed style influencer? Maybe tomorrow you’ll channel your inner Speed Racer, even if it’s on the drive to the grocery store. Later in the week you’ll save the planet by sorting the recycling and picking up some litter from the sidewalk.

What kind of man will you be today? To help you figure it out, we’ve selected some of today’s best watches, focusing on those that — for under $1,000 — represent a bit of an investment, but also won’t blow your clothing budget for the rest of 2020. 

Hamilton Ventura

Okay, so you’re that guy. You drive an impressive sports car. You’re perfectly groomed, even on Saturdays. You know that first impressions count, and that a watch with a little flash is a sure conversation starter. The Hamilton Ventura is that watch. Hamilton introduced the engaging crest-shaped face in 1957, the same year the Soviet Union kicked off the Space Age. The black-on-black design tones everything down, celebrating its quirky, asymmetric silhouette. Now that’s a watch worth watching. 

Movado Bold Mesh

Movado Bold Mesh

When the invitation says “black tie,” your only concern is which of your tuxedos you’re going to wear. You recognize that restraint is a virtue to be cultivated in your wardrobe as much as in your social life. The Movado Museum Watch — a mid-century design originally inspired by the Bauhaus — reduces the elements of timekeeping to a bare minimum, with a single, simple dot at 12, representing the sun. The Bold Mesh in gold makes a statement of quiet elegance, pairing nicely with French cuffs and silk knot cufflinks. 

Shinola Canfield

You’re the guy that recognizes that the devil is in the details. If you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans to work, it’s the most advanced, performance-based tee you can find, and it fits flawlessly. Your jeans are selvedge denim, made by hand in an artisanal shop with locally woven denim from sustainably grown cotton. The watch you wear every day is far from the everyday and the Shinola Canfield fits the bill perfectly. It’s made in Detroit, Mich., from sandblasted stainless steel to withstand just about anything you can throw at it, yet the classically designed face and light brown leather strap speak to timeless style and a kind of informal elegance. 

Torgoen T16

The best things in life are free, but everything else is negotiable. You don’t fall for marketing hype, and look at finding a bargain as a badge of honor, the spoils of the hunt. The Torgoen T16 brings tough guy styling to a Swiss movement watch. It’s vintage leather strap gives a lived-in edge that, when combined with the burnished black case and watch face, looks as great with a suit as it does with a pair of khakis.

Marathon Navigator

You may march to the sound of your own drum, but when you march, you march hard. From outdoor adventures, to endurance training, to scavenger hunts with the kids … you know discipline and hard work get you to the goal. Marathon has been making watches for the Marines, Homeland Security, the Mounties, and other government and military bodies since the 1940s, so the brand knows how to make a timepiece that can keep up with you. The Navigator features a quartz movement, glow-in-the-dark markings, and an end-of-life battery indicator.

Dan & Méz Automatic Black

From your sustainable shampoo bar to your vegan running shoes, you’re doing your best to save the planet every single day. You’re a match for this hand-made watch with a precise Swiss movement. It’s automatic, powered by your own movement, so you’ll never have to worry about replacing a battery. Five trees get planted in the rainforest with every purchase, and maybe coolest of all, the strap is made from pineapple leather. 

Eone Bradley Element Black

Eone Bradley Element Black

When an enigma calls, you’re there to answer. You know Stranger Things Season Four comes out next summer and you’re already planning a binge. The top five mystery titles on the summer reading list? They were crushed before Memorial Day.  All Eone watches present a conundrum in their appearance, but were actually designed for the visually impaired. With the Bradley Element, the ceramic watch face allows the wearer to “locate” the time by tracing the topography of the dial and locating the magnetized bead. For the rest of us, it’s just one of the coolest looking watches out there. 

Autodromo Heritage 67

Autodromo Heritage 67

You watched Ford v Ferrari and named your daughter Shelby. You can rebuild a carburetor in your sleep. Athleisure is what you call coveralls. Autodromo makes an art form out of watches inspired by the heritage of auto racing, but the Heritage 67 was specifically designed as a tribute to the 1967 24 Hours of LeMans race and Ford’s legendary GT40 race car. It features a Seiko movement, bright red and white graphics, and a white leather strap. 

Freestyle Shark Week The Meg

Freestyle Shark Week The Meg

You’re the kinda guy who doesn’t mind a cheap thrill, now and again. Yeah, this watch costs way less than anything else you’d ever consider putting on your wrist, but sometimes in life, you just gotta have a little fun. Or is that a little fright? You’ve been counting the days and maybe being a little more careful as you wade into the waves this summer, knowing that the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is lurking right in front of you.  Make some popcorn, kick back, relax…and “Smile, you son of a…!” 

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