Unless you’ve completely lost track of what’s happening in the watch industry for the last 2 years, you’re certainly aware of the sports watch with integrated bracelet’s comeback. Following the impressive popularity of watches such as the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, many watch enthusiasts have suddenly felt the itch for adding such a watch to their collections… But there are two major issues. One, these are very expensive watches. Second, availability is… almost non-existent. So what if you want the look and feel of the luxury sports watch with integrated bracelet, without the price tag that comes along? Well, there are some pretty good alternatives out there, such as these 6 watches we’ve listed for you.
Batavi Architect Copper
Batavi is a recently-launched microbrand from the Netherlands, which has given us until now a couple of handsome, colourful and original vintage-inspired watches, such as the Kosmopoliet GMT. What the brand will launch in a few weeks (the Kickstarter campaign will open on April, 2nd) is a rather funky take on the sports watch with integrated bracelet, at a very fair price. The Architect has all the desired ingredients; a 39mm tonneau-shaped case, a relatively slim profile (below 11mm), brushed surfaces with polished accents, a steel bracelet that follows the lines of the case, and it even adds a cool interchangeability system to switch between steel and leather. To reduce the price, it is powered by a proven Miyota movement. It’ll be available with a classic blue dial, with a very original genuine walnut wood dial (sounds odd, but looks cool) and with the one you see here, an attractive textured “copper” dial. And that for about EUR 400…
Quick Facts: 39mm x 10.6mm steel case – sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – Miyota 9039, automatic, 44h power reserve – quick-release system, integrated steel bracelet and leather strap included – available via Kickstarter from April 2nd – approx EUR 400 – www.batavi-watches.com
Citizen Series 8 870 Mechanical
Last week Citizen launched something truly impressive and clearly outside of its usual comfort zone, a watch named The Citizen with a high-end automatic movement developed with La Joux-Perret and a cool luxury sports watch look. But that wasn’t all, as the Japanese brand also unveiled the revived Series 8, an updated collection comprising watches with angular designs and integrated bracelets. Among them is the 870 Mechanical, a watch with a 40mm x 10.9mm tonneau-shaped case, two-tone bezel, clean sporty-chic dial and the new Caliber 0950, an automatic movement with 4Hz frequency, 50-hour power reserve and a claimed accuracy of -5/+10 seconds a day. It comes on an H-shaped stainless steel bracelet, with white or black dial. It will be available this Autumn, at a price of USD 2,000.
Quick Facts: 40mm x 10.9mm steel case – sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – Caliber 0950, automatic, 50h power reserve – H-shaped integrated bracelet in steel – ref. NA1004-87E in black and ref. NA1000-88A in silver – USD 2,000 – citizenwatch-global.com
Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic COSC
Frederique Constant is known for its take on accessible luxury, with elegant, well-designed and nicely equipped watches. Last year, the brand announced a new Highlife collection, which clearly played on the trend for luxury sports watches. The brand enters this dynamic market with a rather personal take, slightly more elegant, more curved than some of its competitors. But the recipe is well-known, with classic elements such as the tonneau-shaped case and a bracelet that follows its lines. Some nice features are to be mentioned, such as a focus on accuracy, as this entry-level model is equipped with a COSC-certified Sellita-based movement. Also, the brand offers an interchangeability system that lets you switch between leather strap or bracelet – and there’s always an additional rubber strap included in the box. The Highlife Automatic COSC starts at EUR 1,695.
Quick Facts: 41mm steel case – sapphire crystal – 50m water-resistant – Calibre FC-303, automatic, 38h power reserve, chronometer-certified – steel bracelet or alligator pattern calf leather strap with an additional rubber strap – EUR 1,695 to EUR 1,995 depending on the options – frederiqueconstant.com
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic
Back in 2018, Maurice Lacroix was one of the first accessible-luxury brands to enter the market for sports watches with integrated bracelet, with its Aikon collection. First presented with quartz movements, ML quickly added automatic movements to its now very large collection. Available in multiple colours, with a chronograph movement, or even in a more robust “Venturer” edition, our choice for today is the classic automatic time-and-date model. Sized at 42mm (there’s also a 39mm model if you want a more compact case), the design is typical of the category yet with ML’s twist, a bezel with 6 signature polished claws. The dials are textured, the bracelet is solid and nicely detailed and inside is a tried-and-tested Sellita automatic movement. And to make it even better, it is water-resistant to 200m and there’s a quick-release system to change the bracelet for a leather strap in a few seconds. All of that for under EUR 1,700.
Quick Facts: 42mm x 11mm steel case – sapphire crystal – 200m water-resistant – Calibre ML115, automatic, 38h power reserve – quick-release steel bracelet or leather strap – from EUR 1,590 on leather and EUR 1,690 on steel – www.mauricelacroix.com
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
The PRX is probably one of the most discussed watches of 2021 so far. In February, the Swatch Group-owned brand unveiled a very cool, super accessible reissue of one of its late-1970s design, the PRX 40 205. First presented with brushed dials and quartz movement, we had the opportunity to reveal here at MONOCHROME, in avant-premiere, the model you’ll really want to get, the PRX Powermatic 80. This compact watch has everything you’d expect from a 1970s-inspired sports watch, with its tonneau-shaped case, waffle-patterned dial, brushed surfaces with polished accents and, of course, a thin integrated bracelet. Inside is the Group’s Powermatic self-winding movement, with a strong 80h power reserve. And knowing it’ll be priced at EUR 650, we’ve been quite impressed by the overall execution. It’ll be available in June, so you’ll need a few more months of patience.
Quick Facts: 40mm x 10.8mm steel case – sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – Powermatic 80, automatic, 80h power reserve, antimagnetic Nivachron escapement – integrated steel bracelet – ref. T137.407.11.051.00 – available June 2021 – EUR 650 – www.tissotwatches.com
Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm
Last year, Tudor came with something quite surprising, a relatively unique take on the 1970s sports watch, something a bit more elegant than the rest of the crowd, the new Royal collection. If there’s a bit of baroque influence in this watch, with its patterned bezel, some Roman numerals on the dial and its Date-Day complication, it remains nevertheless in line with the codes of such watches, with its shaped case and integrated bracelet in stainless steel. Inside the case, no manufacture movement but a proven Sellita ébauche, as Tudor positioned this model as a relatively accessible option, at least to its standards. And despite being the least accessible here, at EUR 2,190, it offers the usual quality of a Tudor watch, meaning top-notch. There’s also a 38mm time-and-date model available, if you’re into more compact watches.
Quick Facts: 41mm x 10.5mm steel case – sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – Sellita SW240-1, automatic, 38h power reserve – integrated 5-link steel bracelet – M28600-0005 – EUR 2,190 – www.tudorwatch.com