You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a timepiece that will earn you respect or even praise from a dedicated watch snob. While most “lower-end” watches will not satisfy the particular attention to detail or value that serious enthusiasts are keen to notice, there are a number of superlative “everyman” watches that will nevertheless garner a nod from the horological elite.
Why is it, however, that watch snobs are hard to please? Are they merely measuring up other watch lovers by how much money they are spending? It often appears that way, but that isn’t the precise truth. More accurately, it would be safe to say that most of the timepieces available that have unique or very refined designs and excellent materials, as well as features, tend to be much more expensive. Timepieces are often an inherently expensive item (hence why they are in the luxury category), so it isn’t surprising that cost is often associated with how “nice” something is.
Everyone would love to enjoy deep pockets when it comes to purchasing watches, but the reality is that finding a good watch that is also a really good value takes some work. Fortunately, the aBlogtoWatch team has compiled this list of 10 affordable watches that get a nod from snobs so that you can mingle with the elite timepiece collectors of the world and not feel as though your choice of watch is being immediately dismissed.
1. Seiko Monster, Seiko Sumo and Seiko SKX007
That is quite the trifecta: three world renowned dive watches. In some sense, they all represent some of the best in the segment. With extremely competitive prices, solid build quality, and a manufacturer like few others on this planet, one or more of these have more than likely made it to the “must-have” lists of beginner – and seasoned! – watch enthusiasts alike. Neither the Monster, with its unquestionably unique looks, the Sumo, with its standard modern dive watch style, nor the SKX007 with its fantastic legibility could have been omitted from this list – so we put all three in here. Solid cases, reliable, workhorse automatic movements, and excellent lume are just some of the key features that make these pieces really stand out. With suggested retail prices of around $450-$550, these watches would already be a remarkable value proposition, but since they are often available at discounted prices, any one of these truly is a lot of watch for the money.
2. SevenFriday P-Series
What SevenFriday has achieved within just a couple of years was to create a virtually brand new market for more unusual, “designer” watches priced around or below $1,000. To say that it has spiced up the low-to-mid range segment of watches would be an understatement: SevenFriday brought to a much wider audience design elements and aesthetics previously exclusive to high-end, luxury watches. The SevenFriday P-Series proves that point perfectly, as its unique dial and large, lugless case design dress up a no-frills Japanese mechanical movement like we have hardly seen before. Average price for the SevenFriday P-Series watch is around $1,050.
3. Victorinox Airboss Mechanical Black Edition
The Victorinox Airboss Black line encompasses three models, with the three-hander Mechanical Black Edition being the most affordable version, followed by two chronograph iterations. Despite its blacked-out design it offers exceptional legibility, made visually more interesting by a few splashes of red here and there – including the underside of the crystal. The Airboss proves why Victorinox Swiss Army is one of a handful of military-themed watch manufacturers: the Victorinox Airboss ticks most all boxes when it comes to judging a modern field watch – including legibility, build quality and modern, dare we say, trendy aesthetics – with a price tag of $995.