Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches
Buying Guide

Some Of The Coolest Affordable Watches Of 2023, So Far

With a budget of less than EUR 1,500, what are your options for the first few months of 2023?

| By Robin Nooy | 7 min read |
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Ice-Blue Dial T137.407.11.351.00

Very few of us watch nuts are fortunate enough to hunt down and acquire tourbillons, minute repeaters or perpetual calendar watches. There’s no denying the appeal of such complex mechanical marvels, but there’s just as much fun (if not more) to be found on the lower end of the spectrum. And while we’ve compiled many lists of this year’s best sports watches, calendar watches or complex chronographs in various instalments of our weekly Buying Guide, it’s now time to take a look at watches that don’t break the bank. So, we capped the budget at EUR 1,500 and go through a selection of watches from the first few months of the year to see what’s out there for you to consider adding to the collection!

Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Green

When it comes to value for money, the Swatch Group is home to several brands impossible to ignore, Hamilton being one of them. The new Khaki Navy Scuba in 43mm stainless steel case looks very attractive in this new gradient green attire. It comes with rock-solid specs, including a ceramic green insert, 300m of water resistance and the reliable calibre H-10 automatic movement (derived from the Powermatic 80). The stainless steel three-link bracelet with a folding clasp completes the look. The price is EUR 1,095.

Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto 43mm Green H82525160

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Quick Facts – 43mm x 12.58mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – unidirectional bezel with green ceramic insert – screw-down crown – sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 300m water-resistant – gradient green dial – applied indices & hands with Super-LumiNova – 13-24h scale – H-10 calibre, automatic – 80h power reserve – three-link stainless steel bracelet – hours, minutes, seconds – EUR 1,095

Yema Urban Field

Yema is known for its fun and creative vintage-inspired watches, and the new Urban Field collection confirms this. Available in two sizes, multiple colours and leather straps or bracelets, it’s proving to be a very versatile package! The slightly less tool-ish range of watches is perfect for everyday wear, boiling down watchmaking to the essentials: hours, minutes and seconds. Power comes from the Sellita SW210-1B, which can be seen through the back. Prices are EUR 1,099 for the Bonklip bracelet or EUR 1,249 for the multi-link bracelet with complementary leather straps.

Yema Urban Field Collection

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Quick Facts – 37.5mm or 40mm x 7.80mm – stainless steel case, polished – sapphire crystal front & back – 100m water-resistant – field-inspired dial in white, black, blue, green or ochre – contrasting minute track and markers – hands and indices with Super-LumiNova – Sellita SW210-1B, manual winding – 42h power reserve – hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds – multi-link steel bracelet or Bonklip bracelet – additional leather strap – EUR 1,099 to EUR 1,249

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Ice Blue

There’s no denying the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is a very good watch for the money, especially with this new and very cool ice-blue dial. It ticks all the right boxes – and then some! The hobnail pattern on the dial pops thanks to the light blue colour and elevates the PRX into the perfect summer watch. All the rest remains the same as before, so we still get a 40mm brushed and polished case fitted to an integrated bracelet and the Powermatic 80 movement. The ice-blue PRX retails for a very reasonable EUR 745.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Ice-Blue Dial T137.407.11.351.00

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Quick Facts – 40mm x 10.8mm  – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – sapphire crystal front & back – 100m water-resistant – ice-blue hobnail dial – applied indices & hands with Super-LumiNova – Powermaatic 80 movement – automatic winding – Nivachron anti-magnetic hairspring – 80h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, date – integrated stainless steel bracelet with easy exchange push pin – EUR 745

Certina DS-2 Turning Bezel

The DS-2 Turning Bezel is one of the latest retro-cool watches to come from Certina. Taking inspiration from historical pieces, the DS-2 Turning bezel adds a, well, turning bezel to the barrel-shaped case giving it a sporty and more utilitarian look and feel. It comes in stainless steel with blue or black dials or a special titanium edition in collaboration with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. The movement is once again the Powermatic 80, and it’s worn on either a steel bracelet, leather strap, synthetic fabric strap or a NATO strap made of #tide ocean material. It costs EUR 1,110 in steel or EUR 1,045 in titanium.

Certina DS-2 Turning Bezel Titanium Sea Turtle Conservancy special edition

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Quick Facts – 41.10mm x 11.70mm – stainless steel or titanium case – unidirectional rotating bezel with dial-matching insert – sapphire crystal front & back – 200m water-resistant – sunray-brushed blue or black dials (steel case) or matte black dial (titanium case) – indices and hands with Super-LumiNova – Powermatic 80 movement – automatic winding – Nivachron hairspring – 80h power reserve – steel bracelet or leather, synthetic fibre, #tide ocean materials straps – EUR 1,110 (steel) or EUR 1,045 (titanium)

Depancel Serie-R 5th anniversary limited edition

Say what you want about the Serie-R by Depancel, but you can’t say it is a generic, uninspired design. The radiator-shaped case is unusual yet very cool, especially if you’re a car guy. In fact, the entire brand revolves around cars, as even the name is derived from Delage, Panhard and Facel Vega, three prolific French car manufacturers. The Serie-R is the brand’s best-selling watch, and this 5th Anniversary Edition comes with a handsome blue dial with orange and white details. Powered by the Miyota 9122, it’s worn on a blue racing-style leather strap or alternatively on a stainless steel bracelet. The price is set at EUR 795.

Depancel Serie-R 5th Anniversary Limited Edition

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Quick Facts – 43mm x 36mm x 12.95mm – steel radiator-shaped case – sapphire crystal front & back – 50m water-resistant – metallic brushed blue dial with radiator grille texture – applied markers and hands with luminous orange and white accents – Miyota 9122, automatic – 40h power reserve – hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds, day, date and month – blue leather strap or steel bracelet (+100 euros) – EUR 795

Seiko 5 Sports SKX Sports style 38mm

Whenever value-for-money pops up, Seiko is never far away. One of the coolest and most popular collections by the Japanese manufacturer is the Seiko 5 Sports SKX range. New for 2023, Seiko decided to drop down the size to 38mm and present it with four coloured dials. Classical black and beige for a subdued, almost understated look, or mint green and bright orange for a bit of pop! Regardless, all four come with Seiko’s calibre 4R36 and are worn on a three-link steel bracelet with a folding clasp. Our advice? Go for the mint green one! And retailing at EUR 350, you can’t go wrong!

Seiko 5 Sports SKX Series 38mm Collection Mid-Size - SRPK29 SRPK31 SRPK33 SRPK35

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Quick Facts – 38mm x 12.1mm – stainless steel case – bidirectional bezel with metallic insert – Hardlex crystal on top with see-through caseback – 100m water-resistant – black (SRPK29), cream (SRPK31), mint green (SRPK33) or orange (SRPK35) dial – applied indices and hands with LumiBrite – calibre 4R36, in-house automatic – 41h power reserve – hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds, day, date – three-link stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 350

Circula AquaSport II GMT

The Circula AuqaSport II was already a favourite of ours when it comes to accessible and retro-cool dive watches, and the AquaSport II GMT only adds more charm to the collection. Now featuring a practical GMT functionality (office-GMT, sadly, but still), the funky diver becomes even more versatile. The petrol blue dial and two-tone bezel are just cool, and the watch is powered by a reliable Sellta SW330 movement. Worn on a matching petrol blue Tropic-style rubber strap or a beads-of-rice bracelet and a starting price of EUR 1,299, the Circula AquaSport II GMT is a very loveable watch!

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Quick Facts – 40mm x 13.4mm (incl. crystal) – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – bidirectional bezel with two-tone insert – screw-down crown – sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 200m water-resistant – circular brushed dial in petrol blue – applied indices – hour, minute, seconds and GMT hand with Super-LumiNova – second time zone – date window – Sellita SW330-1, automatic – 56h power reserve – tropic-style rubber strap or beads-of-rice bracelet – EUR 1,299 starting price

4 responses

  1. Yema and Certina for the win. Good height on both. Do not like integrated…heard roumors about plastic parts in the movement of the Tissot, no go…i do like Tissot though

  2. Yema and certina for the win, good height on both of them, tissot i normally like, however the movement on this one? + integrated bracelet not My Style

  3. My favorites are the Depancel & the Tissot, even though the Depancel may be channelling the Tag Heuer Monaco


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