Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

5 Reasonably Priced and Elegant Watches Presented at Baselworld 2019

You don't need to sell one of your legs to look classy!

| By Brice Goulard | 5 min read |

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.

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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

10 responses

  1. The tutima is clearly superior and amazing. I wish it didnt have the crown guard things. Only detail I don’t like.

  2. Is this ANOTHER bracelet with zero micro-adjustment?
    Are we all now expected to accept this? We have already seen it become normal to wear watches on the hand (as in the headlining photograph for this very article). Is “understanding how a watch fits” to become arcane knowledge, like using a shaving brush or a manual choke in a car?

  3. JD, agree 100%. It is the most expensive on the list, though, so we should expect it to be superior – but that movement…wow.

  4. Yes, the Tutima looks to be the most desirable of these even given the price and that annoying, and rather inappropriate, crown guard. I wonder if the enamel is low temperature enamel, though? In none of the reviews that I have seen is it described as grand feu, so I suspect it is the rather cheaper, easier – and presumably less resilient – modern alternative.

  5. @Ian E

    To me the actual visual quality is much more important. For example, FPJ Chronometre Bleu’s dial is lacquer rather than enamel, but it’s no less stunning than the best enamel dials I’ve seen.

  6. Irrespective how pretentious I attempt to be, my inner redneck keeps head-butting me, when I look away from the two-tone (Tudor). There can be little doubt that two-tone is the next fad, but (to me at least) little presents an air of elegance, as much as a ‘sharp dressed man’ (notably the one in the dark grey suit) – sporting a dark dial two-tone watch.

  7. Setko EUR 1,950…a bargain? I think we lost the meaning of the words…

  8. @danaos

    I think bargain or not is not only determined by the price alone…

  9. To me it will be none of these watches :
    Junghans: i have never been a fan of Bauhaus design for a watch
    Oris: i love the same in green or faded blue
    Seiko: i do agree on the right price and good built, i have actually no proper reason to say no but…..
    Tudor: it’s just a joke, i have the standard BB36 on steel bracelet and i love it, it’s such a simple and unpretentious little watch so why the two tones ????
    Tutima : a no with a bitter taste, i love this watch and if it was 38mm it would be mine already !!!

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