Love Watches, But Prices Have You Stressed Out?
Between all the depressing headlines about the economy and ever-higher prices for many iconic timepieces, these aren't easy times for a watch lover on a budget. But the good news is that beyond straight-up enthusiasm, watches are still a solid investment. And despite all the gloomy reports, there really ARE some great values still to be had out there – and a surprising variety of types and models, at prices that won't make you wince – whether you're looking for your first watch or the latest addition to your collection.
Full disclosure: I'm one of those "first watch" people. With props to the inimitable Sarah Miller, I'm also a bit of newbie to the world of watches, even though I've now been here at HODINKEE as Managing Editor for over a year. Every day, I read and edit stories about some of the most beautiful and fascinating timepieces in the world, but I totally understand the POV of my predecessor, Dakota Gardner. In his spot-on essay from 2021, "I Can't Afford Any Of These Watches. And That's Just Fine," he wrote that "the watch becomes something beyond a commodity to be purchased. It becomes that which can be appreciated."
Still, all that I've learned over the last year makes me want to be a part of this community. I've come close to pulling the trigger a couple times recently – and I even took part in our under-$100 story, last fall. (And in case you're wondering, yes, I'm still wearing that Withings, for now). But each time we do a roundup of affordable or great-value watches or highlight some really cool and surprisingly wallet-friendly new watch, I'm paying extra-close attention since even at a price below $1,000, I want to know that my first "real" timepiece is going be something that makes me happy and that I'll want to wear for a long time. Of course, sometimes, window-shopping and thinking through all the options is half the fun.
Am I in search of the perfect dress watch to wear as we begin to venture back into the office and start going to events again? Or do I want something more casual and fun for my off-hours – a dive watch, perhaps? Do I want stainless steel or gold? Quartz or mechanical? On a bracelet or a strap? The truth is that, headlines aside, there really are a lot of relatively affordable options to choose from. I just need to keep working through them until one finally hits me. So in the spirit of sharing my journey, today I'm zeroing in on the watches in that under-$1,000 price category.
In fact, we covered one great example, earlier this week, with Brandon Menancio's A Week On The Wrist about the G-Shock CasioOak GA-B2100. Price? $150- $160, depending on the model.
And just the other day, there was James' Intro post about the latest Seiko Prospex Re-interpretation, where the classic black-dial model, the SPB317, comes in at a cool $900.
We've also covered a variety of budget-friendly smart watches that can help keep track of steps or monitor your sleep (and lots of other things). But beyond smart watches, divers, and tool watches, great value-proposition watches can also be found from brands including Bulova, Certina, Hamilton, Parchie, Swatch, Timex, Tissot, Unimatic. Check out some of our other recent stories, below, to learn about the offerings from these brands and more. And stay tuned. Someday soon I'll finally find my watch, and I'm sure you'll be among the first to know!
Originally published in February, the title of this one says it all, and the list includes everything from classics to new brands – with some way way under budget and others skirting right up against the ceiling.
When Swiss watchmaker Certina wanted to create a women's version of its bestselling DS PH200M diver, an affordable tool watch known for its quality and robust specs around precision and shock resistance (the DS stands for Double Security), they asked their followers to vote on key aspects of the watch's design. As Ming Liu wrote in this October 2021 review, it probably won't surprise anyone that the end result was a mechanical watch that wasn't pink or jewel-encrusted.
As James wrote in July 2021, sometimes it's nice to take a break from the endless parade of asset-class wrist wear and just throw on something that makes you smile… Here, he highlights five good-time watches that can hang out happily in any serious collector's collection, and the most expensive one in the bunch is $550.
If you still think of Timex as an old-school brand, one of their recent offerings is ready to blow the cobwebs off your pre-conceived notions. As Logan explained just last month, the Giorgio Galli S2 Automatic 38mm was created by Timex's longtime Milan-based creative director, Giorgio Galli, to set a new high standard within the company's product families, and checks in at just $450.
Tissot recently came out with an updated (and mechanical) version of their PRX design from 1978, and as Jack opined in 2021, wisely, the company didn't change the original much at all. And best of all, the price is still accessible, at $675.
Sometimes it's nice to take a break from the endless parade of asset-class wrist wear and just throw on something that makes you smile while also being interesting enough to stand in for other options you might have at your disposal.– JAMES STACEY, IN "FIVE FUN WATCHES FOR SERIOUS COLLECTORS"