A great, stylish watch doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve collected a few of what I think are the best watches under $1000.
Watches, and of course my wedding ring, are the only jewelry that I wear. Over the last decade or so, as the iWatch and other high tech gadgets have replaced the “need” for a watch, a lot of men have abandoned these wondrous little timepieces. I, on the other hand, have not. Real watches are making a comeback! And I’m embarrassed to say that I have over 150 watches, much to my wife’s chagrin. Obsess much?
Now, in my defense, only a small percentage of those watches are expensive. They are high-end brands like Panerai, Breitling, Cartier, and Perrelet to name a few. An indulgence for sure. But the problem with expensive watches like these is that I really only wear them on special occasions: conferences, weddings, business meetings, or to incite jealousy in my friends. But for daily wear, I have found several companies that make affordable, high quality and stylish watches for under $1000. And because of the price, you can own several of them, like a dive watch, an exercise watch, a sport watch when you feel sporty, or a dress watch when you sadly have to wear a suit and tie.
There are basically 2 types of watches: Mechanical/Automatics and Quartz. The former tend to be a little pricier, but they also require a little more attention.
An automatic watch is basically a mechanical watch with a rotor that winds the watch as you wear it. If you get one with a glass “exhibition” back, you can gaze at the inner workings, humming along, deriving energy from only the wound spring, and watch as it ticks off the inexorable passage of time. It’s a wonder to behold. If you don’t wear the watch for a couple of days, though, you need to manually wind the mechanism to get it started.
While Swiss automatic movements have always been the gold standard, they can be expensive. Many watch companies use very reliable automatic movements from Japan, which can give the Swiss a run for their money. And, over the last 10 years, Chinese-made movements have improved significantly, allowing you to get an automatic watch at a much lower price.
A Quartz watch is basically battery operated. It contains, in most cases, a quartz crystal that is energized by the battery to vibrate at a fixed frequency that drives the motor to power the second hand. Quartz watches are a relatively new technology that continues to improve. They are more accurate than automatic watches, but you do have to change the battery every 2-3 years.
I have compiled a unique list of great watch companies that make quality watches for under $1000.
I don’t recommend that you buy 150, but one or two, or maybe three or four, would be fun! And these companies make nice timepieces for women as well, so if you get in trouble, buy one for your wife. That saved my ass many times!
My Top 5 Picks
This is a brand you might not be familiar with, but a lot of watch enthusiasts know and love it. It was started by George Fox, who designs most of the models, and is involved in almost every aspect of the manufacturing. I have several NFW watches and included some of my favorites below:
George is a tireless supporter of our military vets, and often gives a percentage of sales of specialty watches to their organizations. The company offers a variety of styles, but most are rugged dive or military style watches. NFW offers both automatic and quartz models and they’re great watches for under $1000.
George also participates in Tough Mudder events–these are like boot camp drills for civilians! He puts many of his watches to the test, wearing them during the competition. You can get a 15% Manopause discount on these watches by using the code MANO. Check it out on our shop, or by going to nfwonline.com.
*Manopause is currently offering an NFW watch in our Mega Giveaway! Click here to enter for your chance to win!
Invicta began as a watch company in 1837 in Switzerland. Their specialty was luxury watches at an affordable price. They were purchased by Florida-based Eyal Lalo in 1991 and renamed the Invicta Watch Group. Through excellent marketing and an enormous variety of styles, Invicta has the largest variety of great watches under $1000!
The company has become the largest retailer of watches in the world. I probably own more Invicta watches than any other brand because the watches are so different and stylish. The prices range from as low as $50 to over $5000. Below is a small sampling of my Invicta watch collection just to show the myriad of styles.
Invicta always has sales with significant discounts, so check them out!
Most of you have undoubtedly heard of Bulova watches, and many of you probably own one. The company was founded in 1875 and is now owned by Citizen. They were originally known for high-end luxury watches, and now make well-engineered watches for under $1000!
Bulova developed the “Accutron” watch in the ’60s, uniquely using a vibrating tuning fork powered by a battery rather than a balance wheel to keep time. In 2010, they launched their “Precisionist” series, an extremely accurate quartz watch. These are elegant and affordable. The photos below are of my “Precisionist” model, and my Bulova “Marine Star.” These are excellent watches for the money!
Bulova is another example of a company that develops unique designs with quality workmanship and proves that elegance doesn’t have to be expensive!
This company is relatively new to the watch-making business. They have a large variety of interesting original and homage design watches at very affordable prices, ranging from $100 to $1,500. As with most companies, Stuhrling Original offers both automatic and quartz watches. While many of their movements come from China, they are very reliable. The “Prestige” collection features Swiss movements and can hold their own with more expensive brands! I also own quite a few of these, as you can see by the collection photo below.
Zodiac was founded in 1882 in Switzerland. They are one of my favorite companies. The watches are unique, and they have a full line of their vintage watches updated for the modern world. They sell both automatic and quartz watches ranging in price from $450 to $2000. While diving and sports drive their watch innovation, you can find one to match any occasion.
Below is one of my favorite dive watches from Zodiac:
These are just a few of the good quality, economically priced watch companies out there. If you’re looking for some of the best watches for under $1000, these companies are a great place to start. They all offer a wide variety of cool, classy, and affordable watches.
Watch for another installment with more companies to choose from!
And remember, as Steve Miller sang: “Time keeps on tickin’, tickin’, tickin’, into the future!”