The $500 to $2000 range is considered the entry level price category for many of the mid-level Swiss and German brands, and competition is fierce. This is traditionally prime Swatch Group territory with brands such as Certina, Hamilton, Mido, Longines, Rado, and the mighty Tissot offering an eye watering profusion of reiterations among their many most popular lines. But for the most part, for our choices, we avoided the temptation to take the safe and easy Swatch Group route. Here are a number of excellent watches, trying to do something different, concerned about looks, style, trends and performance and still falling into this affordable price category. It’s a vast division, and this selection is but a small, although we think, worthy representation.
NOMOS GLASHÜTTE CAMPUS GRADUATE EDITION
As the name of the watch suggests, this new model is cunningly aimed at the graduate, in the hope he will become a life-long supporter of this highly regarded Glashütte brand. Basically, the Nomos Campus watch uses the current Nomos Club case, current hand winding Alpha movement, and a fresh dial, which Nomos calls its own version of the California dial (a mix of Arabic, Roman numerals, and markers). The end result is a cool looking watch with either a 36mm or 38mm case, and Nomos throws in a caseback engraving at no extra charge. The Campus 36mm is attractively priced at $1,500 while the Campus 38mm is priced at $1,650.
SINN 104 ST SA WHITE DIAL
Hailed as Sinn’s no nonsense value proposition, and coming in at an extremely reasonable $1290, the 104 comes in a plain black or, in this case, white dial with offset rectangular hour markers for optimum legibility. A minute and seconds track runs around the dial perimeter with markings down to the quarter-second mark. Superluminova coating is applied to the hour markers as well as the key mark on the rotating 60-minute countdown bezel. The hour and minute hands are deliberately retro in looks, and are also luminous. Apertures for the day and date sits at 3 o’clock. The watch runs on a Selitta SW220-1 self-winding movement.
LACO BRONZE CASE FLIEGER
The bronze case Flieger was a winner this year. The sandblasted bronze develops a unique patina after oxidizing. The case back is stainless steel to protect the bronze from touching your skin. The bronze flieger is available in a 45mm case with a hand-winding and AN automatic movement in both Baumuster A and B type dials. All watches are priced at €1,498. You can’t go wrong.
BULOVA CURV CHRONOGRAPH
OK, these models are not new, they were introduced a year ago, but they were on show at this Baselworld, so they still count. And if you count on accurate time keeping, the Bulova Curv has a 262 kilohertz frequency, as opposed to around 32 kilohertz for a conventional quartz oscillator. This results in accuracy of about +/- 10 seconds a year. Mechanical watch purists turn up their noses, but the combination of high accuracy and sleek, gracefully arching good looks for just $599 or maximum $899 for the titanium version, has made the Bulova Curv a huge ratings winner.
HAMILTON KHAKI NAVY SCUBA
Less rugged than the tough model that inspired it, the sturdy Khaki Navy Scuba offers precision in a range of three colorful variations. Emulating the triangular hour-markers of its stylish predecessor, each combines a fun and youthful diving appearance.
Solid hour markers stand out on a crisp black dial for easy reading and contributing to the imposing presence of the watch.
The Khaki Navy Scuba’s unidirectional rotating bezel is animated with bright orange detail, complemented by a matching second hand and minutes track, and available with stainless steel bracelet or two-tone, “soft feel” NATO strap designed for maximum wearer comfort on the wrist. Additionally, a full black bezel and dial is also available and can be fitted with a triple-row stainless steel bracelet secured by a smart adjustment folding clasp. CHF 695.00
HAMILTON BROADWAY AUTO CHRONOGRAPH
Hamilton has a Broadway smash on its hands with the Broadway collection, introduced last year. Inspired by the masculine wardrobe, the Broadway collection marries street style with function. The automatic chronograph, with its 60-hour power reserve, is dressed in burgundy both on the strap and the dial. Gentlemen looking for a longer power reserve can have a look at the automatic day date version with its ever-lasting 80-hour power reserve and the same wine color combination.
For 2017, there are three new cosmopolitan executions featuring colors and materials with character-filled combinations. The timepieces come in white or two-tone dials, including chic blue and urban grey, all with a day date window at 3 o’clock. All feature a trademark Hamilton Broadway red-tipped seconds’ hand and skyscraper style hour indexes with Super-LumiNova® highlighting even the darkest hour. These watches come in just under the wire at CHF1850.
EDOX DELFIN FLEET 1650 DIVER
Edox isn’t always the first name you think of when it comes to Swiss brands, but more than 50 years ago Edox launched the Delfin, a 200 meters water resistant sports watch that featured, what was for the time, revolutionary technical achievements. For 2017, they have brought out a special bronze limited edition version of the watch which retails at $2500, but the stainless steel version, seen above, retails for just $1725, and therefore falls into this price category. However, if you can afford to shell out a little more for the bronze version, I would do so because it’s a rare beauty.
EDOX LES BEMONTS CHRONOGRAPH MOONPHASE
Yes, it’s a Swiss quartz watch, so that may be a complete no-no for some, but this elegant 42mm chronograph could be on your wrist for $925 or less if you shop around.
SEVENFRIDAY P3/03 ‘BULLY’
Please note, the Ernie Romers inspired colorful shirt does NOT come with this watch. This SEVENFRIDAY P-Series – nicknamed The Bully – features a stainless-steel case with frozen grey PVD treatment and a white rubber animation ring with snow groomer tread pattern. The P3/03 has a frozen grey and bright white interface comprised of 5 layers with orange highlights. As with all SEVENFRIDAY P-Series watches the Bully’s engine is an open balance wheel on Miyota 82S7 which has a 40 hour power reserve. Around $1000. In the UK it can be snapped up for around £850.
SEIKO 62MAS MODERN RE-INTERPRETATIONS (SPB051 and SPB053)
These new divers are not to be confused with the more expensive and highly praised SLA 017 vintage re-interpretation of the original 62MAS SEIKO diver. That was the most eagerly awaited release at Baselworld 2017 from the SEIKO camp and will be covered in our upcoming price category, Best of Baselworld 2017: $2000 to $5000. The modern re-interpretations, shown here in blue, will come in one of two varieties, a black/gray dial variety on steel bracelet for €1,100, and the blue version on rubber strap for €900. Both feature sapphire crystals, screw down crowns and the hacking 6R15 movement. Water resistance is also 200 meters. Diameter is 42.6mm. They have received some flak from various quarters for looking under par, but they look much better when seen in the true light of day.