A question I spent a lot of time thinking about and researching before purchasing my first luxury mechanical watch was: “How much watch can I get for under $2,500?” This same question seems to be on the minds of many in our social media community. It just so happens that Baselworld 2019 featured a number of new releases in this exact price range, but before we go any further, I have a preemptive answer to the question: You can get a lot of watch for under $2,500.
Junghans Meister Calendar
Our list begins with a classic, well-known model that’s received a few tweaks: The Junghans Meister Calendar. Junghans refers to the look of the Meister Calendar as “Italian chic.” We agree with their assessment: This 40-mm timepiece is only 12 mm thick and combines a dark blue dial with a cognac leather strap. It’s sure to appeal to fashion-forward gentlemen everywhere. Introduced in 1930, the Meister collection has always featured simple, minimalist dials and fine lines. This new model’s blue dial is in keeping with the latest trends. The Sellita-based automatic J800.3 movement powers this timepiece and provides it with its 38-hour power reserve. It also features a Dubois-Dépraz calendar module with the day, date, and month. The final timepiece is elegant yet perfect for everyday use. It is the ideal accessory to pair with any number of outfits. You can call this watch your own for €1,990 (approx. $2,200).
Sinn 104 St SA AG
Sinn, another German watch manufacturer, decided to give one of their most popular models the trendy color treatment, this time in green. Limited to a run of 500 pieces, the green dial of the 41-mm 104 St SA AG was a welcome breath of fresh air at Baselworld 2019. As usual, you’ll find the ETA 2836-2 with a stop seconds mechanism ticking away inside its polished stainless steel case. Being a pilot’s watch, its main focus is displaying the time. The pilot’s bezel with minute ratcheting distinctly marks this timepiece as a tool watch and is a reflection of Sinn as a brand. The metallic green dial adds a touch of contrast that makes the watch feel both stylish and lively. The final package strikes the perfect balance between robustness and practicality. As is often the case with Sinn, there’s a choice between a wide variety of leather straps and two stainless steel bracelets. Even though it’s a limited edition, Sinn isn’t charging an exorbitant price. The version of the 104 St on a leather strap costs as little as €1,250 (approx. $1,400).
Seiko Presage SPB 093
Porcelain, sometimes referred to as white gold, represents elegance, timelessness, and quality. The Seiko brand embodies these three traits and is known as an industry leader when it comes to value for money. With the SPB 093, Seiko has once again managed to capture our imaginations with a watch of pure elegance and quality. The highlight of this 40-mm timepiece is its dial made of Arita porcelain. Arita is a small town in southern Japan famous for its porcelain industry. What makes this type of porcelain particularly special is its mix of hardness (according to Seiko, it’s four times as hard as conventional porcelain) and flexibility. Other brands might choose to avoid the time-consuming manufacturing process and investing in the required expertise – but not Seiko! This is why they are so beloved by their fans. The automatic caliber 6R27 reliably performs its duty and has already made a name for itself in other Presage models. Its features include a pointer date and a power-reserve indicator. It may be hard to believe, but this stunning Presage timepiece has an official list price of only $1,900.
Monta Atlas GMT
This year has seen many indie brands trying to step out from behind the shadows of larger industry titans. In our opinion, no one did it better than the American brand Monta with their Atlas GMT. Why? The Monta Atlas GMT is modern, functional, and offers a high level of quality. Here, we see the “premium” edition on a stainless steel bracelet, which sells for only $1,700. A robust stainless steel case makes it clear that this timepiece is all about functionality. However, Monta still manages to give the watch a distinct character by treating its case to a unique finish rather than relying on existing designs. The bezel’s sunburst-like pattern is especially eye-catching. At 38.5 mm in diameter, this timepiece is also supremely comfortable to wear. The Atlas GMT is available with a white, blue, or black dial. All three dials look modern and sporty thanks to their GMT hands and colorful elements above the hour indices. Monta has also made no compromises when it comes to technology: They decided on the Sellita SW330 with a 42-hour power reserve. The same movement is used in some TAG Heuer and Mühle Glashütte watches.
Oris Aquis Date (39,5 mm)
Any list of affordable watches with great value for money is sure to include Oris, especially their diving watches. In terms of the new Aquis Date, Oris hasn’t skimped on functionality or performance, not even underwater. What is new, however, is its trendy green dial and practical 39.5-mm case size that makes it an ideal unisex watch. Even under the light bulbs of the showroom floor, the Aquis Date’s sunburst dial continued to shimmer, transitioning from dark green in the middle to lighter at the dial’s edge. It’s a treat to look at and lends this otherwise robust watch a stylish twist. We can imagine ourselves wearing this timepiece while enjoying a relaxed day at the beach. Another interesting detail? The bezel. Oris has crafted it out of matching green ceramic instead of the typical black. This version shares its water resistance of 300 m (984 ft) and the caliber 733 (based on the Sellita SW 200-1) with other Aquis Date models. With a price of€1,650 (approx. $1,900) on a leather or rubber strap and €1,850 (approx. $2,100) on a stainless steel bracelet, the Aquis Date is an obvious choice for fans of diving watches.