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Discussion Starter #1
I have an Oris and love it to death, but i'd like to pick up a rubber or cloth straped auto that is under $500. Sapphire Crystal as well. Hamilton seems like a solid choice, any others i should consider?
 

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I think of a few automatics under $500:

Archimede Pilots and other models
Stowa Antea and Airman
Seiko Spirit
Tissot Seastar
Louis Erard
Invicta

Cheers,
Bhanu
 

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I had a Tissot Sea Star and sold it because the bezel looked like a die-cast chrome Hot Wheel - really. Tissot's are good watches, but that particular model 'looks' cheap... it does have a sapphire crystal and all but looks should count for something.

New or Used - Oris watches are a very good value especially if a sapphire is important... same holds true of Marathons GSAR and TSAR (my favorite beaters/tools).

Hamilton has some beauties too.

edit... how could I forget Seiko, they have some great models with sapphires but they will cost a little more than the non sapphire models.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dang, im really liking some of these louis erard, but i cant seem to find any info besides some weird sites that i dont think i would deal with.
 

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Base sar is $575 I think, sapphire and swiss auto movement. Its a pretty good deal, but over 500 bones....
 

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I second the Archimede pilot.

I picked up a second-hand Archimede Pilot for ~$275. It is in mint condition - 42mm, ETA 2824-2 movement, decent lume, and sapphire crystal. The OE strap is pretty worthless so I put mine on a two-piece black ZULU ($12).

I get many compliments on it and it is keeping excellent time. :-!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the ideas guys, Im really liking them. Like i said above, the Louis Erards are pretty tempting, I like the idea of these smaller less known brands (Sorry Seiko!).

Is it a bad idea to buy from these smaller companies? like the Louis Erards for example have 2 places in the US for service, places that are literally across the country. Are 2nd hand auto watches alright to check out Via Ebay?

I just want a nice automatic watch for more durable duties such as photography and such, preferably with a rubber strap.
 

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Is it a bad idea to buy from these smaller companies? like the Louis Erards for example have 2 places in the US for service, places that are literally across the country. Are 2nd hand auto watches alright to check out Via Ebay?

I just want a nice automatic watch for more durable duties such as photography and such, preferably with a rubber strap.
It all really depends on what you want. I wouldn't worry about not having a local service center for a particular brand...just have a backup watch to wear when you send it in for servicing every 5 years or so.

You have to be very careful about buying on Ebay...if you're a tyro I wouldn't recommend it. You are probably better off buying from an established member here, or on a watch fanciers' site like Windy City -- http://www.chronometer.net/wrist.htm
Check out the Mars mission watch toward the bottom of the page for a terrific deal on a basic auto watch, for eg. [I have no relationship with the site or seller, BTW...I just think it's an amazing deal].

Rubber or synthetic fabric straps are cheap and easy to find...have a whale of a time!
 
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watchseller has some nice atlantic, oris and other brands ard 500. Some are mint, others are used but in good condition. Good thing is they'll tell you how the watch does on the timing machine and the pictures are really good. They have a good rep and have been in business for a number of years.

Most brands (the non-japs and russians) actually use the same swiss movement (more often than not, 2824/36) at that price point. Any competent watchmaker can service them. So I guess the main thing to look out for is case, dial work and bracelet quality, as well as overall fit and finish.

All these, however, come secondary to design, which is most important imho, WIS or non-WIS. If it looks ugly to you, you won't buy rite?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
watchseller has some nice atlantic, oris and other brands ard 500. Some are mint, others are used but in good condition. Good thing is they'll tell you how the watch does on the timing machine and the pictures are really good. They have a good rep and have been in business for a number of years.

Most brands (the non-japs and russians) actually use the same swiss movement (more often than not, 2824/36) at that price point. Any competent watchmaker can service them. So I guess the main thing to look out for is case, dial work and bracelet quality, as well as overall fit and finish.

All these, however, come secondary to design, which is most important imho, WIS or non-WIS. If it looks ugly to you, you won't buy rite?
Has anyone dealt with Watchseller before? They have the oris i want, new. Its about $175 less than a authorized dealer that i buy from, what do you guys think?
 
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They've a good rep and they've sold a number of watches off their Yahoo shop over the years. Meantime, why don't you give them a mail or call to inquire abt warranty and other concerns? They're pretty communicative.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, it states no warranty, which is okay at the right price. I did send an E-mail about the price and possible trade of a Raymond Weil, thanks!
 

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Without a doubt in my mind: Seiko 5.

They can be picked up on ebay for US$50. Excellent range of designs, excellent quality and reliability of Seiko, with a see-through display back.

That just can't be beat. :-!
 

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The Seiko Spirits offer a lot of bang for the buck under $500. They sport a sapphire crystal and the 6R15 movement which can be hand wound and hacks.
 

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I disagree with that. There are a few automatics that can be found for under $500 that are a bang for the buck. I went to a Hamilton Dealer and a Jazzmaster Viewmatic can be had for under $500. I think there are few Swiss Army watches that can be found for under $500 with an ETA movement and Sapphire Crystal. They are harder to find now, but they are still out there.
 

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Check out ORSA also... If you don't mind Miyota movement, they have a real solid new Dive Watch available on a rubber strap w/deployment.
 

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I had a Tissot Sea Star and sold it because the bezel looked like a die-cast chrome Hot Wheel - really. Tissot's are good watches, but that particular model 'looks' cheap... it does have a sapphire crystal and all but looks should count for something.
I have different feelings about the seastar. It's such a solid watch and the bezel is definitely unique.

 

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The Seastar is one hell of a watch - very hefty and very solid. Nobody has mentioned the Orient "Mako" Diver so I thought I would toss it out. It isn't hackable, doesn't have a winding crown, and isn't sapphire but in all other facets, it is a very good value. Looks great, keeps great time, solidly built.
 
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