To many, the notion of elegant, dressy watches usually means beautiful finishes, high-end movements and precious metal cases. In short: expensive pieces. Yet, Baselworld 2019 proved that you don’t necessarily need to spend a 5-figure amount to look classy. So, in order to avoid going to the bank for a mortgage or to enter a fight with your partner, here are five elegant and reasonably priced watches that were presented at the latest edition of Baselworld – all with a twist.
Note: this list is based on on a consensus among the MONOCHROME team and reflects our preferences. If you want to add some watches to this selection, feel free to share them in the comment section at the end of this article.
Junghans max bill Automatic 100 Jahre Bauhaus
Elegance in minimalism… That’s the best way to define the watches produced by Junghans. Not overly designed, not overly engineered, not overly priced either but still easily recognizable, the Max Bill collection is clearly the brand’s hero. Inspired by the “Bauhaus” school of design, this German watch collection, originally designed by Swiss architect and Bauhaus artist Max Bill, was the perfect piece to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this artistic trend. For the occasion, the brand unveils a cool three-hand version, in a 38mm anthracite PVD-coated case with a silvery-white dial and small details to set it apart from the crowd. Powered by an automatic movement (ETA-clone), it looks good, feels good and remains very decently priced.
Quick facts: 38mm x 9.7mm – steel case, matte anthracite PVD-coated – sapphire crystal on top and mineral glass on the caseback – 30m water-resistant – automatic calibre J800.1 (ETA-based) – grey calf leather strap – limited to 1,000 pieces – EUR 1,225
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date With Red Dial
The following one isn’t per se a dress watch, yet it looks rather classy and can easily be worn as a business watch – if there’s a bit of eccentricity in you. The Pointer Date is a classic of Oris and for two years now, the brand has revived this model in multiple (and all cooler than the other) models. The latest version was introduced at Baselworld 2019 and shows one very attractive dark red dial. Not your typical watch for sure, but the result is impressively “dandy” and has some true elegance. And if you consider a slightly less casual strap, it will look even better. The rest is familiar; 40mm steel case, central date by hand, fluted bezel and automatic movement for a very attractive price.
Quick facts: 40mm diameter – steel case with fluted bezel – glossy dark red dial – sapphire crystal front and back – 50m water-resistant – automatic calibre 754 (Sellita-based) – brown distressed leather strap – EUR 1,500
Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Dial SPB093
Yet another Presage watch, yet another exotic dial material usually reserved for high-end watches, yet another successful limited edition that will sell like hotcakes. Let’s be real, Seiko and its Presage collection have totally changed the perception of the affordable dress watch and redefined the category. Not only is the design of the watch pleasant, restrained and elegant, not only is it powered by an in-house automatic movement, not only does it features some pretty useful complications, but it comes with nothing less than a hand-made Arita porcelain dial (traditional Japanese craftsmanship). The result is a milky dial full of depth and reflections, and true elegance. And as always, this Presage Arita Porcelain Dial SPB093 is almost a bargain.
Quick facts: 40.6mm x 14.1mm – stainless steel, brushed and polished – hand-made porcelain dial – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – automatic calibre 6R27 – black crocodile strap – EUR 1,950
Tudor Black Bay 36 Steel-and-gold Jubilee Bracelet
The Black Bay by Tudor needs no introduction anymore. Since its launch in 2012, it has become one of the most successful modern watches. Although it started its life as a diver, the brand quickly updated it to a version with multiple diameters, a cleaner dial and a fixed bezel – a sort of “Tudor Explorer”. This year, Tudor gives the collection an even dressier (and trendier) touch, with a two-tone version combined with a 5-link, Jubilee-inspired bracelet. With its central links, its bezel and its crown in brushed yellow gold, it retains a casual look though. Consider the 36mm version as THE one to get, as it is more elegant and more balanced than the 41mm model. Also available with a champagne dial… to each his own. The price remains totally acceptable for a two-tone watch of this quality.
Quick facts: 36mm diameter – stainless steel case, 18k yellow gold bezel – glossy black dial – sapphire crystal dial-side – 150m water resistant – automatic calibre 2824 – 5-link steel and yellow gold bracelet – EUR 3,800
Tutima Patria Steel with Blue Enamel Dial
Last but not least, we enter the category of high-end watches – but stay with us, since this Tutima is one of the best deals of Baselworld 2019. Based in Glashütte, Germany, the brand is well known for the production of robust military or pilot’s watches. Yet, for a couple of years now, Tutima produces some true luxury watches with in-house movements and elegant designs. Previously only available in gold, the Patria collection receives a new steel member this year. For less than EUR 5K, you’ll get a true enamel dial, some hand-finished hands, a beautifully executed case and a hand-wound movement with hand decoration… impressive value for money!
Quick facts: 43mm x 11.2mm – stainless steel case, polished – sapphire crystal front and back – blue enamel dial – 50m water-resistant – in-house calibre Tutima 617 – dark blue alligator strap – EUR 4,900