However, I am now 23 and working full time and want to "step up my game".
Currently, I have:
+ Bulova 98E102 Marine Star Diamond Case Bracelet Mother of Pearl Dial Watch Two Tone Stainless Steel (Black / Rose Gold, Pearl Face)
+ Seiko SWW210 Two Tone Stainless Steel (Silver / Gold, Black Face) [an older watch]
+ Nixon 51-30 Tide Stainless Steel (All Gold)
First of all, welcome to WUS; I think I speak for most of the people here when I say you have chosen an excellent sub-forum to start talking about watch collecting. Your current collection seems right up our alley.
That said, the Nixon is more of a fashion watch than something that is taken seriously. I'm not suggesting that you sell it - if you like it you should keep it - but keep in mind that it probably won't get all that much love if that's all you talk about.
I've seen alot of Invictas out there and they look nice but have read some pretty bad stuff about them and everyone has told me to stay away from Invicta.
Also, what are your favorite sub $1000 watches and where do you find the best deals?
As for Invicta, yes, stay away - not necessarily because of the lack of quality but because of its disingenous marketing. Invicta does make some legitimately Swiss made watches (only a handful, mind you - and these adhere to the legal convention and are properly labeled "Swiss Made"), most bear other non-sanctioned marks (such as "Swiss Movt." and "Swiss Parts") that are disingenuous and give the appearance of being Swiss Made when they are in fact not so. Secondly, "flame fusion" appears to be a fancy term for simple mineral crystal. Third, the "sale" prices you see are in fact stable all year-round (i.e. that they are listed at MSRPs of hundreds and thousands of dollars but in fact never retail for that but instead retail at a 90% "discount"); and in most cases the watches are barely worth even the heavily "discounted" price and use cheaper, readily available, mass-produced movements (but tag their own movement caliber designations on them). Also, their customer service has been poor in the past and shows no indications of improving.
As for sub $1000 watches, I can think of a few (the first three are on my "to get list" for the late summer):
Victorinox Swiss Army (VSA) Dive Master 500 automatic (uses the vaunted ETA 2982 movement and is readily available on Amazon and other sites for under $800 shipped):
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Obris Morgan Branco (uses the reliable Miyota 8215 and sports an unique design; costs $229 or $239 depending on what features you get for it):
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Bernhardt Binnacle Anchor (also uses the Miyota 8215; costs something like $259 - I posted a picture of the champagne variant but that color is out of stock; according to their website the white and black dial variants are still available):
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Related to this is the Kadloo Millenium (yes, I am aware that "millennium" is misspelled, but apparently that is how the model is spelled).
Another great watch for under $1000 (indeed, it can be had for under $100) is Seiko's SNK00 (part of the Seiko 5 line) series (I post here the black variant, the SNK007; all Seiko 5s, I think, use a Seiko in-house movement):
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Also, if you're into steampunk-y stuff (Retrowerk 002, available for $899 on eBay; don't worry, it's a "Buy It Now," not an auction - Retrowerk R002 Steampunk Watch Swiss Automatic Movement | eBay
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This was, at one time, my grail, and now it's my unicorn (Deep Blue Daynight PRO T100, and it was going for somewhere near $900 - see docvail's thread about Moby Dicks and unicorns):
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Just a sampling of what's out there. Other brands you definitely want to look into include (as mentioned by the Naf) Christopher Ward, Prometheus, Steinhart, Oris, Sea-Gull (perhaps the best Chinese make out there), Hamilton, Tissot, and the like. Occasionally you will also run across boutique-type brands that also have great watches for under 1k.