Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches
Buying Guide

Tight Budget? Here are 5 Newly Launched Mechanical Watches under 1,000 Euros

More money, more pleasure? Not sure!

| By Brice Goulard | 5 min read |
Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical - Reedition hamilton W10

Despite what the masses think, there’s no need to amass an incredible budget to enjoy the “tic-tac” of a mechanical watch on the wrist. In fact, the past years have been great for watch lovers, even those with a tight budget. The rise of crowd-funded projects (most of them not worthy of being mentioned though) and the effort of some brands to offer entry-level pieces allow young generations or enthusiasts with a lower budget to access the world of mechanical watches. For our latest buying guide, we’ve gathered 5 cool, well-made and original mechanical watches priced below EUR 1,000. More money, more pleasure? Not sure!

Note: the following list is based on a consensus among the MONOCHROME redaction team. If you have other examples of recently launched, affordable watches (under EUR 1,000) that impressed you, feel free to share them with us in the comment box.

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical

Hamilton has always been known as the entry-level brand of the Swatch Group, with solid offers in the mechanical watch field. What’s new is the great “touch of cool” found in the latest creations. This started with the Khaki Field Mechanical in 2018 and a few weeks ago, the brand did it again with the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical, a re-issue of the 1970s W10. It comes with some solid pros: pedigree, faithfulness, great historically relevant dimensions (33mm x 36mm), handsome textured dial, well-constructed case and an improved hand-wound ETA movement with an 80h power reserve and a reasonable EUR 745 price tag. If you like vintage-inspired military watches, you know what to do!

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Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical - Reedition hamilton W10

Quick Facts: 33mm x 36mm steel case – hardened mineral crystal – 100m water-resistant – Calibre H-50 – hand-wound with 80h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds – storm-grey textile NATO with steel hardware – H76419931 – EUR 745

MeisterSinger Urban Day-Date

MeisterSinger is a brand that we love here at MONOCHROME for the simple reason that it offers original displays at reasonable prices. The brand is known for its “single-hand” watches, where time is depicted in an unusual way. No minutes or seconds hands, just one large hand displaying the hours and minutes to the closest 5-minute interval. Recently, MeisterSinger introduced a new entry-level collection, still based on this display but powered by Japanese Miyota movements, allowing for a price below 1K. Two versions of this “Urban” are available: a time-only and a second model with additional calendar indications (day-date), which makes it a practical piece on a daily basis.

Quick Facts: 40mm x 13.25mm stainless steel case – sapphire crystal – 50m water-resistant – Miyota 8285 – automatic – single-hand with hours, day and date – calfskin leather strap with pin buckle and additional NATO strap – EUR 995

Ollech & Wajs OW P-101

Ollech & Wajs is a brand that is only known by a small part of the watch community but that comes with an incredible pedigree. A Swiss brand dedicated to tool watches founded in 1956, the brand created multiple cool and nicely designed mechanical pieces and even bought stock and equipment from Breitling when it shut down its operations. The brand, unfortunately, didn’t survive the quartz crisis and ceased its production. But we’re in 2019 and Ollech & Wajs is back on track, with new, accessible and historically relevant watches. This includes the OW P-101, a solid tool watch with cool vintage/military design, 39.5mm steel case with 300m WR, domed sapphire crystal and automatic ETA movement. And the price remains very reasonable too.

Ollech Wajs OW watches re-birth

Quick Facts: 39.56mm stainless steel case – domed sapphire crystal – 300m water-resistance – ETA 2824 – automatic – hours, minutes, seconds and date – natural leather strap – CHF 956 (approx EUR 865)

Seiko Samurai SRPD23K1 “Save the Ocean”

It is hard to write a buying guide on affordable watches without mentioning Seiko… The Japanese brand is the master of this category, with many cool watches priced from EUR 400 to EUR 1,000 – and not only divers but also elegant watches (Presage), chronographs or adventure pieces. For this selection, we chose the latest edition of the well-known and beloved Prospex Samurai, a modernly shaped dive watch with 200m water-resistance and an automatic in-house movement. The present ref. SRPD23K1 is part of the “Save the Ocean” project and features a specific colour scheme – blue and grey – as well as a nicely decorated dial. A good watch for a good cause, for only EUR 479.

Seiko Save The Ocean Special Edition 2019 Samurai SRPD23K1

Quick Facts: 43.8mm stainless steel case – hardened mineral crystal – rotating bezel – 200m water-resistance – movement 4R35 – automatic – hours, minutes, seconds and date – steel bracelet with folding clasp – ref. SRPD23K1 – EUR 479

Vario Empire Automatic

When you think elegant, dress watch you usually associate it with a high price. But as this buying guide is focussing on accessible watches, we thought it would be good to include a watch that addresses this category. Recently, Singapore-based brand Vario introduced the Empire, an Art Deco-inspired model with automatic (or hand-wound) mechanical movement. We had the watch in our hands and it impressed us by its overall quality. The case is well proportioned and well assembled and the dial is full of nice details. Elegant with a twist, it is powered by an automatic Seiko movement and is available through crowd-funding for just USD 278…

Vario Empire Automatic

Quick Facts: 38mm x 11.5mm stainless steel case – sapphire crystal – 50m water-resistance – Seiko NH38A movement – automatic – hours, minutes, seconds – Italian leather strap or Harris Tweed strap – USD 278 for Early Bird (retail will be USD 348)

9 responses

  1. That Ollech is beautiful. I wish more dive watches had a second time zone bezel. Makes perfect sense as most of us travel but to not actually dive.

    I’m amazed you left off the Steinharts. They remain some of the best made watches for the money I know. If you don’t like homage then they’d be trickier to choose but they are superb and hold their value. The Gnomon limited edition versions are highly collectible.

  2. I’d have included Longines’ VHP and a Bulova at least. It’s all well and good being purists but the lion’s share of <£1,000 watches are quartz. The vast majority of people, even in the developed world DO NOT consider a grand to be a tight budget for a watch!

  3. The point of the article was showing 5 mechanical watches at under €1000. There are so many quartz watches under €1000 that there is no need to explore that fact in this article. The clue is after all in the title. The Hamilton is, for its price, pretty great value. If you consider that the Omega 1957 Trilogy watches were one to one reproductions of the original watches at €6000+ the Khaki Pilot Pioneer is pretty much the same idea for far less money. One can argue brand prestige, build and finish, technology etc in which case Omega have it hands down but on a budget it is a great looking homage. The Seiko is also a great buy at its price. As always a great write up from Monochrome.

  4. Nice mix of case sizes, function, and design here. Including a couple surprises. There’s a lot of value here for the buck. And most have timeless appeal.

  5. Found a beautiful 21 jewel Bulova at a flea market antique show. Runs perfect and in its original case for $25. My kind of deal.

  6. Yema Superman Heritage all day, and, instead of the Hamilton, go SMITHS.

  7. Okay Brice. I also participated in a crowfunding … still waiting. It is true that you can get great and fun watches for less than € 1000, and in fact most of the population moves below those spending figures. I think it is very appropriate that magazines such as Monochrome provide this type of information that facilitates access to good pieces to people with little information and who can wear very good watches without having to have a large budget.

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