There’s a common misconception that, in order for a nice watch to be considered “nice,” it needs to be really expensive. Once upon a time, that may have been true. Nowadays, however, there are a number of watches available from a range of reputable brands both big and small that offer great value for the money and come with some serious street cred. With that in mind, in no particular order, here are some of the best watches on the market for less than $2,000. Whether you’re buying your first watch or are just value-conscious, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste and budget.
NOMOS Club Campus 38
Despite being a relatively small, independent watch manufacturer based in Glashütte, Germany, NOMOS has managed to become a worldwide sensation. This is thanks, in large part, to the brand’s commitment to building high-quality mechanical watches with in-house calibers and selling them at reasonable prices. Club Campus series is a perfect example, with the Club Campus 38 officially retailing for $1,650. This’ll get you a polished 38.5-mm steel case that houses one of NOMOS’ own calibers, the Alpha. This manual movement displays the time (including seconds) and can run for around 2 days before needing to be wound again. You can also buy this piece directly from the manufacturer in Chrono24’s Brand Boutique.
Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph
Introduced in 2011, the Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph made waves by offering a highly coveted complication at a very affordable price. Up until that point, column-wheel chronographs had most mostly been reserved for high-end watches with 5 or 6-figure price tags. Even now, 8 years later, the Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph is still considered a great watch for the money. While it’s official list price sits just over $2,000, there are a number of great pre-owned options available on Chrono24 for under that price point.
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date
Oris is another one of those under-the-radar brands that offers great watches for relatively little money. Launched in 1938, the Big Crown Pointer Date celebrated its 80th birthday in 2018 and is still going strong. As the name suggests, it features a large crown, making it easier for pilot’s wearing heavy gloves to operate, and a classic time display with a pointer date. Even after all these years, it remains a significant model for Oris and one that is popular among watch and aviation enthusiasts alike.
Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph
In recent years, Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko has been highly successful in promoting its more luxurious collections, such as the Presage. Part of the company’s strategy has been to create modern-day versions of classic models. That’s what it did in 2016 with the limited-edition Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019. At the time, the brand was celebrating the 60th anniversary of Seiko’s first automatic mechanical watch from 1956. To mark the occasion, they created this gorgeous model with an enamel dial inspired by a Seiko Laurel watch from 1913.
Mido Multifort Escape
If you want to get in on the vintage-inspired watch trend, the Mido Multifort Escape is a great option for those on a budget. Available new starting at just $890, it comes with a 44-mm aged PVD-coated steel case and a clean dial inspired by the original model from 1934. As an interesting side note, the Multifort was among the first anti-magnetic watches with a self-winding movement. Inside is the automatic Mido caliber 80, which beats at 21,600 alternations per hour and offers an 80-hour power reserve.
Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC
It’s almost impossible to put together a list of great, affordable watches without mentioning at least one Tissot. Looking at the Ballade Powermatic 80 COSC, it’s not hard to see why. You can wear it as an everyday watch or even a more classic dress watch and it’ll never look out of place. The 41-mm steel case features a bezel decorated with a distinct “Clous de Paris” pattern, which is also replicated in the center of the black dial. Inside is the automatic Powermatic caliber 80.811, a COSC-certified chronometer movement with an 80-hour power reserve and an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring.
A no-nonsense tool watch, the Sinn 556 offers precise German engineering at its refined best. This is a watch for minimalists, who value practical functionality and superior legibility. The Sinn 556 delivers this with white, glow-in-the-dark hands and indices that contrast beautifully against the glossy black dial. Presented in a satin-brushed steel case measuring 38.5 mm wide x 11 mm thick, this is a great choice for anyone looking for a watch to wear wherever they go.
Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope
Inspired by the early days of modern motoring, the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope has a distinctly vintage look and feel to it. From the font used for the Arabic numerals on the dial to the twin-register layout for the chronograph display, this is a watch that takes us back to the golden years of the automobile. Its 40.8-mm steel case is comfortably sized and houses the automatic caliber J880.3, which provides this timepiece with its 42-hour power reserve. Protecting the dial is convex plexiglass with a special coating for enhanced scratch resistance.
Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
Swiss watch manufacturer Frederique Constant has earned a reputation for classic watches that look and feel significantly more expensive than they are. The Classic Index Automatic is one such timepiece. Intended as an elegant dress watch, its dial features alternating Roman numerals and baton hour markers, leaf-shaped hands, and a central “Clous de Paris” decoration. Inside is an automatic movement, the caliber FC-303, which comes with a 38-hour power reserve and date display.
So, there you have it: a small taste of some the great watches available for around $2,000 or less. There are, of course, a lot more models we could have added to the list, but as ever we are limited by time and space.
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