Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

The Best Accessible Watches (Under EUR 2,500) we Saw at Baselworld 2019

Cool watches that won't break the bank, but with great wrist pleasure!

| By Brice Goulard | 6 min read |

With the Swatch Group gone from Baselworld 2019, the “Value Proposition” category, meaning watches under EUR 2,500, has been seriously affected. Brands like Tissot, Mido, Hamilton or Longines usually perform well in this segment. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some cool things at Baselworld this year (and around the fair too). Here are the best accessible watches we spotted in March – all priced under 2.5K, and because you’re reading MONOCHROME, they all feature a mechanical movement.

Doxa SUB 200 130th Anniversary

Doxa is mainly known for its rugged, cushion-shaped dive watches, inspired by the original 1960s SUB 300. Reducing the brand to only this watch would be sad, and as it celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, Doxa is about to re-edit more of its past glories. At Baselworld 2019, there was an insanely cool full gold SUB 200 Chronograph (insanely expensive too) and on the other side of the spectrum is this “bang for the buck” SUB 200. First launched as a limited edition, this 42mm dive watch, with its monobloc steel case, announces the introduction of a new collection based on this vintage-inspired design. Nice dial and bezel with “Light Old Radium” markers, touches of orange, beads of rice bracelet and Swiss automatic ETA 2824-2 inside. Price-wise… This 130-piece limited edition will be priced at CHF 1,190 and expect the “standard” model, later this year, for just EUR 990.

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Quick facts: 42mm diameter – monobloc stainless steel case – domed sapphire crystal – unidirectional bezel – 200m water-resistant – automatic ETA 2824-2 – beads of rice steel bracelet – limited to 130 pieces – CHF 1,

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer

Needless to say that the luxury sports watch category is hot these days, with watches such as the AP Royal Oak or the PP Nautilus becoming objects of speculation (sadly). Being unattainable for most mere mortals, Maurice Lacroix had the clever idea to fill the gap in the market by offering an accessible vision of its luxury sports watch, the Aikon. Shaped case, round bezel with 6 claws, integrated strap or bracelet, relatively thin profile, still sporty and robust and equipped with an automatic movement, it features all the elements of the aforementioned watches, for a fraction of the price. Earlier this year the brand added a dose of ruggedness, by presenting the Aikon Venturer, with a rotating bezel, larger markers, rubber strap (or steel bracelet) and improved water-resistance… But still a very reasonable price.

Quick facts: 43mm diameter x 11.60mm height – stainless steel case – sapphire crystal – unidirectional bezel – 300m water-resistant – automatic Sellita SW 200-1 – interchangeable rubber strap – CHF 1,850 –

MeisterSinger Vintago

MeisterSinger is mainly known for two things: producing nicely executed watches at accessible prices and having a collection almost entirely based on the “single-hand” concept. Surprisingly enough, year after year, the brand manages to diversify and innovate within these rules. The latest addition to the portfolio is the Vintago, an elegant, discreet and slightly retro take on the mono-aiguille. Once again, a simple watch with a lot of charm, due to its restrained 38mm diameter combined with an ultra-thin bezel, a domed dial and the beauty of having only one hand to display the time. Available in several colours, it is powered by an automatic Sellita SW 200-1 and comes for less than 1.7K…

Quick facts: 38mm diameter – stainless steel case – domed sapphire crystal – 50m water-resistant – automatic Sellita SW 200-1 with hours and date – calfskin leather strap – EUR 1,

Oris Divers Sixty-Five BiCo

Two-tone watches are back… Who could have imagined that this outdated 1980s style was about to become cool again? However, two-tone usually means the use of gold, something that isn’t totally in line with this “value proposition” selection. Unless you’re Oris and have the idea to combine steel with bronze, even for the bracelet. Two-tone watches are hot, so is bronze and the new Oris Divers Sixty-Five BiCo is playing on that. And honestly, it works. Based on the handsome, vintage-inspired 65, it incorporates bronze on the bezel and on the centre links and combines it with a deep blue dial with faux patina indexes and hands. Powered by an automatic Sellita movement, it is also very decently priced, as all Oris watches should be.

Quick facts: 40mm diameter – stainless steel case – domed sapphire crystal – unidirectional bezel with bronze insert – 100m water-resistant – automatic Sellita SW200-1 – steel and bronze rivetted bracelet – EUR 2,

Seiko “Sumo” Prospex Diver SPB103J1

What would a “value proposition” guide be without Seiko? Faithful to its credo of affordable, yet impressively well-executed watches, the Japanese brand presented multiple accessible watches at Baselworld 2019, including this revamped Sumo. The “Sumo” is one of the many much-loved and respected Seiko dive watches. Introduced in 2007, it is robust, rather simple, reliable and good looking. This year, this models gets an update with a new design (mainly the dial and the bezel), the addition of a green dial model, a sapphire crystal in place of the mineral glass and an uprated in-house movement, calibre 6R35, with a longer power reserve. And this Seiko Prospex Diver 200m SPB103J1 “Sumo” is still easily accessible, at EUR 850.

Quick facts: 45mm diameter – stainless steel case – sapphire crystal – unidirectional bezel with green or black insert – 200m water-resistant – automatic calibre 6R35, in-house – steel bracelet – EUR

Sinn 104 St Green Dial

Apparently, green is the new blue, which was the new black… Even a brand like Sinn, usually more focused on performance than trends, is now bringing the green touch to its utilitarian watches. But don’t get us wrong, the result is pretty cool. Using as a base the 104 St, an iconic pilot’s instrument, Sinn adds a shimmering metallic-green dial to give this usually cold and technical watch a well-balanced touch of cool. No worries though, this isn’t transforming the 104 into a fashion item either, and all the good attributes of this piece are still present, including a great quality of assembly, resistance to high and low pressure, a pilot’s rotating bezel and a reliable automatic ETA movement. And on leather strap, you can get it for just EUR 1,250.

Quick facts: 41mm diameter – stainless steel case – sapphire crystal – bi-directional rotating bezel – pressure-resistant to 20 bars – automatic ETA 2836-2 – leather strap – EUR 1,

Tutima Flieger Automatic

All things come in threes… So here’s another green dial by another German brand, Tutima. Specialized in pilot’s watches – so-called Fliegers – and utilitarian pieces for military forces, the brand recently started to created less rugged, more casual watches. Still pilot-oriented, less technical, the new Automatic Flieger presented by the brand at Baselworld 2019 is a modern take on the concept, with a nice green dial, a less aggressive case and overall more dynamic lines. It is still powered by a reliable self-winding movement and offers great quality for the price – as it will be offered for EUR 1,350.

Quick facts: 41mm diameter – stainless steel case – sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – automatic ETA 2836 – green leather strap (also available on steel bracelet) – EUR 1,

7 responses

  1. The Arita Porcelain is indeed a great, great watch. But we wanted to give more credits to the Sumo, which represents impressive value for the money. And the Arita is not entirely new, as more of an update of the material used for the dial. Still, it is a no brainer

  2. I have to say, the Sinn doesn’t quite work to my eyes with that particular dial. Still a great watch and a great company though. Everything else is the real deal.
    I am of the opinion that watches from about 1.5 to 3 grand are the sweet spot. You get high quality materials and workmanship but you lack the veblen factor which tends to miss the point or result in companies thinking up silly ways to justify the price, like engraving the brand name on the flange multiple times for no reason at all, or using an alloy of steel you pretend is superior but actually isn’t.
    Great selection.

  3. p.s.
    I just loooove that Doxa. That is the watch I have been wanting to own for a very long time.

  4. Might i suggest the Nomos Club Campus 37mm Neomatik? Personally I thought that this year’s Baselworld offerings were quite lacklustre.

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