Does this type of watch form a genre of its own?
There are certain brands that most non-affluent, budding watch enthusiasts will become familiar with early on for their relatively affordable quality. These are some of the most basic items from some of those brands. They represent, to me, some options to get acquainted with quality mechanical watches without needing to jump right in the deep end.
These are dress watches that have caught my attention because they seem to offer a lot considering their modest price tags. This, even though I am not really in the market for such a watch myself. I would like to recommend these pieces to a friend looking for a basic but solid mechanical dress watch. A couple here are also particularly appropriate as an all-occasions watch, so they’d make a good gift or a good way to get started yourself with mechanical watches.
You will notice that they all have pretty similar specs and conform to at least some certain minimum requirements, such as sapphire crystal and a solid automatic movement. A lot of brands in this price range often use sourced movements from ETA and you will find that affordable three-handed pieces with a date will often have something like an ETA 2824. I have also chosen models that are visually similar (black dial, steel bracelet) for easy comparison (and because I like it), though in each case there are, of course, other options to consider.
All these watches retail for around $1000, but can often be had for significantly less, so shop around. Now for the watches:
Orient Star Standard-Date. Japanese Orient does not offer the prestige of a Swiss name or movement. That is a valid consideration when making your decision. But this watch would not only be an interesting choice, but a handsome one, and should not be written off. Actually, it may be my first choice among the pieces presented here, or generally for a watch of this style and price range. It wins with its classic masculine looks and as a part of a collection, it’s interesting. I also like the textured dial. Sapphire crystal, steel, 40mm case, 11.6mm tall, display caseback, 40hr power reserve. Never pay full retail price, but look at it more on Orient‘s site (they often have discounts and promotions of their own).
Think of this as an example of Frederique Constant. There are other models with similar specs offering similar value. A very classic (almost retro), conservative look to go with your suit and not distract from the content of your presentation. Also have that European refined elegance thing going on. I like a nice thin dress watch.
I’ve got a whole article about this brand. Seems like you can get a Swiss watch with an ETA movement and sapphire crystal for a good price from them. But they are mysterious (see article). As of writing this, their website has been down for at least several days. But they are available through your various discount sites online.
Check out this Tissot Le Locle for something that for some reason strikes me as a little sportier, even if the roman numerals would say it’s formal. Tissot is a solid brand. Just make sure when you look them up you’re looking at mechanical rather than quartz watches cause they’ve got both. Again, it should have an ETA 2824 in there.
This is the Jazzmaster Viewmatic. But Hamilton has other watches at this value and price point also totally worthy of checking out. Hamilton has a certain style (some may call it a brand DNA) that recalls its American roots in a cool way. It’s got less continental refined elegance perhaps than the Frederique Constant or Revue Thommen, and that may be more attractive to some people who find that to be somewhat effete. I think its basic appeal is obvious.
What else should be included on this list?