Let’s agree on one fact: in the world of watches, 10,000 USD/Euro is a perfect median budget. It allows access to most of the luxury brands, including the most coveted ones, to benefit from proper Swiss quality (and by that I mean watches that really are Swiss Made) and finally, you can even access what drives the passion for watches: in-house or exclusive movements. If 10,000 USD/Euro is already a strong budget, trust us, it’s probably the best money-spent/pleasure ratio possible. Here are 5 watches launched in 2017 priced around the “10k psychological price point” and that won’t make you feel like you have lost your money (Oh and in fact, we have 6 watches…)
The Boldest… And the Slimmest – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
What a surprise…! And what a superb watch. While the records for the slimmest watches (automatic or not, with or without complications) usually were the apanage of a certain brand beginning with a P, it seems that the guys at Bulgari have decided to change the situation, drastically. After the slimmest tourbillon and the slimmest minute repeater, the brand now offers something a little bit more accessible (the 2 previous pieces were impressive for sure, but they are also expensive), with the slimmest automatic movement ever commercialized – only 2.23mm thick (which means the size of a coin) and with a micro-rotor winding mechanism. And that’s not all, as you’ll also get one of the most emblematic and daring designs of the past 20 years, the Octo case – here in full titanium (case, bracelet and dial) for a proper masculine look.
Main reasons to get it: well, you can simply tell the world that you have the slimmest automatic movement in the world. And then there’s the look, simply out of this world and far more original than 99% of the Swiss production, without being outrageous either. Oops: it requires slightly over 10k, as the entry-level model on leather strap is priced at USD 12,800. However, trust us, you won’t regret the investment.
Specs: 40mm diameter x 5.15mm thick – titanium, sand-blasted – leather strap or titanium integrated bracelet – Calibre BLV138, in-house – automatic winding (platinum micro-rotor) – 36.00mm x 2.23mm – 60h power reserve
The Dressiest – Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Steel
The Parmigiani Tonda 1950 is a watch that we’ve always praised here at Monochrome. Yet, until this year, this watch couldn’t make it to the 10K buying guide, as it had only been available in gold – and thus priced over 15k. Now however, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a beautifully designed watch, with a superbly finished micro-rotor, in-house manufactured and ultra-thin movement (and with the same level of decoration than gold versions) but in a steel case… And that means the price has gone on a diet: 8,950 Euro / USD 9,900. The overall quality of the Parmigiani Tonda 1950 is still present, as well as its restrained originality.
Main reasons to get it: it’s one of the classiest watches we know in this price range, and the steel case adds a bit of casualness to the package. At first, it seems quite sleek and not different from the rest of the crowd. Look further and you’ll notice many details, such as the teardrop lugs or the Alpha hands. And then there’s the movement, which justifies alone to buy this watch. Oops: some will find that it is almost an ineptness to wear such as dressy watch in a steel case and not in a gold case.
Specs: 40mm diameter x 8.2mm height – stainless steel, polished – leather strap – Calibre PF702, in-house – automatic via micro-rotor – 2.6mm thick – 48 hours power reserve
The Most Vintage – Omega Speedmaster 60th Anniversary
It was clearly one of the most anticipated watches of 2017. Most collectors were waiting for it, as we all knew that it was the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster (1957-2017). And that meant a new limited edition… and what a super-cool watch Omega has done. This Speedmaster 60th Anniversary is not even a vintage-inspired watch, it is a 1:1 copy of the 1957 reference CK2915-1. Same size, exact same 38.6mm case, exact same bracelet, exact same bezel, exact same dial… The only concession to modernity is the movement, as inside is the calibre 1861 (although it is quite vintage in its architecture). The result is just insanely desirable, and relatively accessible as limited to 3,557 pieces and priced at 6,700 Euro / USD 6,740. And if this Speedy is not enough, note that it’s part of a trilogy, alongside the two other 1957 Master watches (Railmaster and Seamaster)
Main reasons to get it: because it’s an ultra-faithful reissue of the first ever Speedmaster – no need to say, one of the most emblematic watches ever created. Because it is superbly executed. Because it has an immense charm on the wrist. Oops: some say that it is simply too easy to scan a vintage watch and to reproduce it to the closest detail.
Specs: 38.6mm diameter – stainless steel case with steel bezel – Plexiglas crystal – steel bracelet – Calibre 1861, chronograph – hand-wound
The All-Rounder – Rolex Datejust 41 Steel
When you have 10,000 USD / Euro to spend for a watch, the chances that Rolex doesn’t come to mind are… very low. Rolex introduced a new watch this year that perfectly fits today’s buying guide, the perfect definition of an all-rounder (a sort of SUV watch that can handle all possible situations), a new version of the iconic Datejust. While the previous edition, the Datejust 2 was quite unbalanced (fat bezel, maxi dial, bulky on the wrist), Rolex has redesigned the case with a slimmer profile, tapered lugs and a thinner bezel. Not to say that the Datejust has drastically gained in elegance and distinction. The icing on the cake is the new generation of Rolex movement, more efficient, more precise and finally with a practical power reserve. The most desirable version, this blue dial with fluted white gold bezel ref. 126334, is priced at 8,600 Euro / USD 9,350 – and it is also available on Jubilee bracelet, and in a cheaper version, with flat steel bezel.
Main reasons to get it: because it is an entire collection summed up in one watch… Whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you wear, the Datejust 41 will look appropriate. And because it’s a Rolex, it is made to last for the coming 30 years. Oops: it’s a Rolex… And that alone is a deal-breaker for some. But forget about the image linked to the brand and focus on the exceptional quality.
Specs: 41mm diameter – Steel or white Rolesor (steel and white gold) – Oyster or Jubilee bracelet – 100m water resistant – Calibre 3235 – mechanical with automatic winding – 70h power reserve
The Two-Watch Pack – Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver AND Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Date “Sector Dial”
Why choose only one watch when you can have two. It will double the pleasure! This last part of the selection is something of a personal favourite, with two very opposite pieces: one for the week, one for the weekend. The first one is the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Date “Sector Dial” – priced at 5,900 Euro / USD 5,700. Quite vintage-inspired, very well proportioned, and with plenty of details as well as an in-house movement.
Main reasons to get it: the look, the look and the look. While the standard version of this watch is quite plain and simple, the new Sector dial makes it hot, and slightly more casual. Oops: I would change the strap, as this blue alligator is too strict.
The second watch of this 2-watch collection is the new Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver. It is pretty much on the complete opposite side of the range, compared to the JLC, and this is the exact reason why it works so well. It is technical, bold, quite large, really original (a square dive watch, with a round dial and bezel) and the case is very well executed. The price is also quite attractive, at 3,300 Euro / USD 3,720. And together with the JLC, you’ll get a serious double package for under 10,000 USD/Euro.
Main reasons to get it: because it is a Bell & Ross, with its iconic shape, and because the brand mastered the integration of dive-watch codes in their design. Really, you have to try it. Oops: the design is certainly bold and won’t be for all collectors.
Specs: 42mm x 42mm square case – stainless steel – ISO 6425 standards – 300m water resistant – calibre BR-CAL.302 – mechanical with automatic winding – 38h power reserve